Acne: What to Eat and What Not to Eat?

Every individual aspires to look beautiful and attractive to the people around them. People go different lengths to preserve their youth and vigour to get more attractive and win the praise of their peers. However, blemishes and infection on the skin impedes this endeavour and often becomes the cause of depression in many people.

Acne is one such skin condition that not only affects the skin but also affects the mental status of an individual suffering from this condition.

The condition occurs when hair follicles get filled with oil and dead skin cells, which leads to the formation of pus-filled lesions such as whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples. Generally affecting mostly teenagers, acne can happen to anyone across all age groups. Topical treatment can be done at home by applying over-the-counter ointments or taking Ayurvedic skin-cleansing syrups; however, for a comprehensive treatment of the disorder, one has to consult a physician and maybe undergo an antibiotic regimen over a period.

What Causes Acne?

Acne has been observed to be caused by the following reasons in the majority of cases. These reasons include:

  • Excessive activity of sebaceous glands releasing excess oil through the skin pores. This often leads to the formation of pus and oil-filled pustules in the skin, predominantly around the facial region.
  • Most common cause of acne is attributed to clogged hair follicles. The hair follicles around the skin surrounding the face, chest, scalp often becomes clogged by oil and dead skin. This leads to the formation of whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples.
  • Inflammation due to an infection caused by bacteria or fungi, or any underlying condition may also cause the development and spread of acne in the skin.

Acne generally appears around the regions where the concentration of oil-producing glands or sebaceous glands is high. These regions include the face, scalp, forehead, chest, and lower extremities sometimes.

Acne usually presents itself in three forms:

  • Whitehead
  • Blackhead
  • Pimples

Acne is usually a secondary condition, which indicates a primary underlying condition triggering the development of acne. These underlying conditions may include:

  • Hormonal imbalance as during pregnancy or menstrual cycle
  • Reaction to certain medicines
  • Diet rich in gluten and other complex carbohydrates
  • Stress

Does Changing Diet Help With Easing Acne?

Studies have suggested that eating a high-fiber low-sugar diet may help in providing relief from acne in the majority of cases. Some food items that have shown to reduce acne are as follows:

1) Kale: Kale is a high-fiber member of the cabbage family and has more nutrients when compared to the rest of the cabbage family plants. Kale is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals and has been proven to reduce hyperpigmentation. Kale is also a rich source of Vitamin C that promotes collagen formation, helping in repairing acne scars.

2) Carrots: Carrots have a high concentration of beta-carotene, which gets converted into Vitamin A. Vitamin A acts as a barrier against discoloration, inflammation, and clogged pores on the skin.

3) Sweet potatoes: Similar to carrots, sweet potatoes have a high concentration of beta-carotene and helps by acting as an antioxidant to fight and remove the free radicals from the system.

4) Lemon: Lemons are rich sources of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for skin health. Incorporating lemon in the diet not only helps in reducing acne-related symptoms but also help in enriching the skin. People who incorporate lemon into their diet usually have a shiny and smooth skin texture.

5) Berries: Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are rich sources of Vitamin C and provide powerful antioxidants to counter the acne-causing free radical formation.

6) Pumpkin: Pumpkin is rich in fruit enzymes, zinc, and alpha-hydroxy acids. Hence, pumpkin can help in keeping the pH balance of the skin regulated.

7) Salmon: Salmon is considered to be the best source for omega-3 fatty acids; however, consuming any freshwater fish will have the same effect on the skin. Omega-3 fatty acids help in protecting the skin from the harmful effects of solar radiation.

What Not to Eat To Avoid Acne?

Just eating the right food is necessary to keep good health, it is also necessary to know which food items to avoid that may lead to the development of an ailment. Following are some of the food items that should be avoided or eaten in limitation to avoid an acne flare-up:

  • Refined sugar
  • Refined carbohydrates such as white bread, maida or refined flour, sodas with
  • artificial sweeteners
  • Dairy products
  • Fast food


Food plays an important role in deciding the health status of an individual; hence, it is important to eat the right food and in the right amount. Eating organic food items such as fresh fruits and vegetables can help in easing and gradual eradication of acne-related symptoms. However, in case of a severe health condition, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible to effectively counter and cure the symptoms.

Divya Khanna

Divya Khanna

I am a New Delhi based medical freelancer offering quality information related to medicines and health products for different Health conditions and their treatment.

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