You’ve probably been warned at least once in your life about eating chocolate and skin breakouts , right? The good news is that chocolate doesn’t necessarily cause acne breakouts. What CAN cause acne is the dairy and salt commonly found in many chocolate products. Dark chocolate is actually loaded with antioxidants that are beneficial for your skin!

Researchers have been investigating possible links between diet and acne for many years. When looking at native people in Papua New Guinea and Paraguay, they do not get acne. Their diet consists of low glycemic index (GI) foods and no dairy. The “Western American diet” – high GI carbs, dairy, fat and sugar – has been seen as a possible culprit for acne outbreaks or increased severity.

Acne And The Glycemic Index

Put simply, the glycemic index is a number that tells you approximately how fast your body will convert a carb into glucose, or sugar. The smaller the number, the lower the impact a specific food has on your blood sugar and insulin levels. When blood sugar levels rise, the resulting production of hormones tells your sebaceous glands to produce more oil. More oil in the skin inevitably leads to an increase in breakouts if you’re prone to acne.

The glycemic index of foods can be easily found online. Here is a list compiled by Harvard Medical school: Glycemic index for 60+ foods. Research shows that a diet consisting of high glycemic index foods elevates blood sugar levels and contributes to an increase in acne vulgaris, or common acne. On the flip side, recent studies have proven that a low glycemic diet helps to relieve acne symptoms.


Food’s Impact On Skin Health

What you eat has a significant impact on the health of your skin. As our largest organ, our skin has a big job to do. Not only does skin protect us from the elements by providing a defensive barrier, but it also helps to regulate our body temperature and allows us to feel the sensation of touch. Beyond these essential functions, your skin is also the face that you present to the world. When clear and healthy, it’s easy to put your best face forward in confidence. When inflamed and covered in pimples, the tendency is to want to cover up and hide.

Even though you’re not putting food directly on your face, the food that you put into your body can cause inflammation, allergic reactions, sensitivities, excess oil production, and aggravated acne. At the same time, the right foods can have the opposite effect, resulting in the clear, glowing skin.


Nutritional Support For Optimal Skin Health

Eating the right foods will help heal your acne, bring down inflammation, protect your skin from oxidative damage (premature aging), and get you clear faster. The foods below are high in antioxidants, vitamins, androgen blockers, and anti-inflammatory support. Eating a well-balanced, low-glycemic diet is helpful in all aspects of your health, including the skin.

Foods That Heal Acne

Vegetables Beets, purple cauliflower, purple sweet potato, purple carrots, broccoli, green and  red

peppers, tomatoes

Fruit & Berries Blueberries, dark cherries, pomegranates, acai, black grapes, papaya
Healthy Oils Avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil
Leafy Greens Spinach, kale, watercress
Tea & Spices Green tea , spearmint tea, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Deep leafy greens, blueberries, Brussels sprouts, wild-caught salmon, sardines,

Herring, Anchovies, white fish, Atlantic mackerel

Supplements Curcumin, Omega Fatty Acids, Zinc, & probiotics**

**Consult with medical professional or dietician before taking any supplements to your diet.


Acne-Causing Foods & Where You Will Find Them

 The first step to avoiding acne-causing foods is checking all the nutritional labels of the foods that you purchase. Some foods are more obvious, such as milk and other dairy foods. Soy and algae are also very commonly found in the diet, yet most people are unaware that they are eating them on a regular basis. These ingredients are often hidden in processed foods.


Foods That Inflame/ Aggravate Acne

Iodized Table Salt Table salt (purchase non-iodized), fast foods, French fries, chips, red meats, shellfish,

Pink salt

Whey and Dairy Products Milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, butter, baked goods, protein shakes, protein bars
Kelp & Seaweed Kelp & seaweed supplements, miso soup, and seaweed used in making sushi comes from

the ocean and tend to be high in acne-causing iodine. Spirulina, chlorella, and freshwater

blue-green algae is typically grown in tanks and not high in iodine (so it should be safe)

Soy Tofu, soy milk, protein shakes, protein bars, tempeh, edamame, soybean oil, fast food,

baked goods, dressings

Peanuts Peanut butter, peanut oil, peanuts
Inflammatory or Androgenic Oil Corn, canola, soybean, peanut, safflower, sunflower (many nuts are processed with peanut oils)
Seafood Shellfish, shrimp
High Glycemic Foods White rice, white bread, pasta, white potatoes, corn, popcorn, tortillas, whole wheat bread,

oatmeal, bagels, cereals, taco shells, and sugary drinks

Organ Meat Pâté
Added Sugar Energy drinks, coffee drinks, tea drinks, packaged foods, desserts, fast food
Maca Supplements, smoothies, protein powders
Supplements Do not take any supplements that contain iodine, iodides, biotin, or high doses of B12.**

Do not drink Dasani Water.

Pre/Post-Workout Supplements Do not take any pre/post-workout supplements that contain Branched Chain Amino Acids

(BCAA). These can increase testosterone levels and therefore cause acne outbreaks.

Look for workout supplements without BCAAs.

**Consult with medical professional or dietician before taking any supplements to your diet.



Surprising Foods That Can Cause Breakouts

If you’re going through acne treatment, it’s essential to examine the hidden triggers that can sometimes come from foods and ingredients you’d least suspect. Making smoothies with a quality protein powder is excellent for promoting health in many people. For those with acne-prone skin, however, this could be the culprit behind your breakouts. Most protein powders contain whey and also biotin, two ingredients known for making acne worse.

So, choosing a diet consisting of whole foods and minimizing refined carbohydrates (pasta, white bread, rice, and sugary drinks) is not only best for your skin, but also ideal for optimal overall health. A variety of whole fruits and veggies, lean protein sources, and healthy fats will promote balanced blood sugar, hormones, body weight, and oil production in your skin.


If you suspect that something in your diet might be the cause of your acne, one of our estheticians would be glad to help you through the process of figuring that out. Consultations and Acne Treatments can be scheduled by calling 716-631-0964 or Click Here.