Foods to Combat Acne

More than one-third of people with acne see a connection between what they eat and their blemishes.  Whilst there are no studies to prove certain foods cause or prevent acne, like many dermatologists, we at Skin Revival believe diet has an effect on acne.

citrus fruit oranges vitamin c helps combat acne

How Our Diet Affects Our Skin

Acne is a disorder of the turnover of skin cells.  Improper turnover of skin cells leads to old skin cells being retained, which block oil glands and pores and trap protein and sebum (your skins natural oil) under the skin.  The trapped proteins and oils become food for P.acnes, the bacteria that cause acne.

The skin is constantly under construction and it uses nutrients from food to rebuild and repair.  Our diet represents 25% of the picture when it comes to dealing with acne.  The other 75% includes our hormones, stress, sleep levels and your environment.  There is no magic food you can add to your diet to clear or prevent acne.

Skin Revival recommends a balanced diet, preferably low fat, non-processed foods and a selection of fruit and veg.  We recommend avoiding chocolate, French fries and other junk food.

Acne-Fighting Foods


There is evidence to suggest people with acne have lower levels of zinc.  Zinc creates a hostile environment for the P.acnes bacteria and can also calm irritated skin.  Zinc is found in turkey, almonds and brazil nuts.

Vitamins E and C

Vitamins E and C calm irritated skin.  Vitamin C is found in citrus fruit like oranges and lemons, as well as tomatoes.  Vitamin E is found in nuts, olive oil, sweet potatoes, avocado and broccoli.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A helps regulate the skin cycle.  This reduces the risk of protein and oils getting trapped beneath the skin.  Vitamin A can be found in fish oil, salmon, carrots and broccoli.  Too much vitamin A can lead to toxic side effects and your daily dose should be limited to 10,000 IU.  Never take vitamin A when pregnant or nursing.


Selenium is a mineral with anti-oxidant properties and it helps protect your skin from sun damage.  There is research to suggest people consuming selenium with vitamin E for 12 weeks saw improvements in their acne.  Selenium can be found in salmon, tuna, garlic, eggs and brown rice.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids support the normal healthy skin turnover that helps keep acne at bay.  Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in trout, salmon, walnuts and almonds.


Water helps flush out the toxins that cause skin problems.  Keeping your skin hydrated results in plump, healthy looking skin.  Skin Revival recommends drinking 5 – 8 glasses of water a day.

Foods to Avoid when you have Acne


Some research suggests cow’s milk can cause or worsen breakouts in some people.  This is caused by the hormones used to encourage growth in the cow.  Hormones in dairy products increase levels of male hormone androgens.  Androgens increase sebum production, which can affect acne.

Simple Sugars

Foods with a high glycemic index appear to cause breakouts in some people.  High glycemic index foods break down quickly during digestion and can cause spikes in insulin levels, resulting in increased androgen levels.  Read more about sugar and your diet here.  LINK TO OTHER POST.

Keeping a Food Diary

You can find out which foods have a negative effect on your skin by keeping a food diary for a month.  Highlight any outbreaks.  At the end of the month, look back 72 hours before your outbreaks and see if you can spot any patterns.

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