When the body is unable to eliminate toxins naturally, either due to lack of minerals or other factors, it is eliminated through the skin among other ways. This is how acne is generated, that is why it is closely related to the functioning of the liver. The following are foods to avoid if you are on your goal of clearing acne.

When it comes to acne, the debate in the scientific community revolves around whether diet plays a causal role. The experience of many is that diet plays a decisive role in improving or worsening the skin. So today I am going to highlight certain foods that you may want to remove from your diet if you have problems with acne. But before we go there, let’s briefly see what acne actually is and how it forms.

What is acne

Since we don’t have a formal cure for acne, it makes much more sense to avoid developing acne in the first place. Technically, acne is classified as a disease that affects the sebaceous glands of the skin. Think of your pores (the little holes in your skin) as tubes to the oil glands (under your skin). Anything that clogs these pipes, and you already have acne.

Beyond that, your sebaceous glands produce sebum, which, for our purposes, can simply be thought of as “oil.” Many people do not know that all of this happens constantly, inside our bodies. But these complex processes are largely affected by simple dietary changes, so being careful what exactly you put in your mouth is essential.

What causes acne

When too much oil (sebum) is produced, a plug of dead skin cells forms and clogs the pipes. Technically, what is really happening is that your follicles are being blocked. Once red bumps or cysts appear, this process has already happened.

So when it comes to preventing acne (which is everyone’s goal), the key lies squarely in your diet. When the correct amounts of insulin (and other chemicals) are produced, sebum production should be constant, leaving you pimple-free.

So, without further ado, here are some acne-causing foods to stop eating immediately.

Foods to avoid to get rid of acne


Bread is problematic for many reasons. But when it comes to acne-causing foods, the main culprit here is gluten. Gluten can not only cause damage to the small intestine, but it also increases systemic inflammation. One of the main triggers for acne is inflammation.

Interestingly, bread may be depleting some of your valuable antioxidant stores, which means you are also more likely to develop acne through that mechanism. Additionally, many scientific studies have linked psoriasis to gluten sensitivity. Beyond that, there are even some studies showing that gluten sensitivity is linked to dermatitis herpetiformis.

This condition is sometimes called “celiac skin disease.” Bread is problematic for many other reasons, so it is best left out of your diet if you want to avoid acne.

Fried foods

Fried products like French fries (made with white potatoes) are one of the most popular junk foods in the world. However, not only are they fried in poor quality oils and lacking in almost all vitamins and minerals, they are also one of the top acne-causing foods that ruin our skin.

The reasoning here is largely that they contain too many carbohydrates, produce a rapid spike in insulin, and cause systemic inflammation. On top of that, industrial seed oils used in making fried products are very high in omega-6 fats, which is very bad news for your body.

Try eating wild caught fish (which is high in beneficial omega-3s) instead.


According to the journal Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, in a study carried out in 2010, specialists from Hong Kong have found a relationship between acne and the consumption of foods with soy. It is advised not to prioritize its consumption and to do it moderately in case of acne.


According to research published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics conducted by a team from New York University , it has been found that a high average of those studied with acne consumed a good percentage of sugar daily. It is advisable to lower your glucose intake to avoid acne .


Soda is hands down the worst acne-causing food or drink on the standard diet. In addition to being loaded with fructose (which has its own unique set of problems), soda is completely devoid of nutrients. As many different scientific researchers pointed out, soda is almost on par with alcohol when it comes to how harmful it is to your body.

But how does it cause acne? Well, simply put, fructose is sugar, and sodas are loaded with both. This sugar causes a huge spike in insulin and then a subsequent crash, which is part of why you’re really hungrier after consuming a soda. Discard the dark brown poison and replace it with water. Your skin will thank you.

Dairy products

Milk is a staple in the standard diet. But should it be? Dairy products undoubtedly cause many problems. But when it comes to acne, there are two main problems that arise. The first is that dairy products are highly insulinogenic. This means that the body produces a lot of insulin when you consume milk.

As we’ve already covered, this is bad news for your skin. But the second problem, unique to milk, is that it is a hormone-dense delivery system. Hormonal problems have been linked to acne problems for many years. If you are looking to eliminate acne, definitely stay away from dairy products.


There is no older known group of acne-causing foods than chocolate, and recent scientific studies have confirmed this link. But why is chocolate so bad for your skin? Well, you know that cascade of chemicals and neurotransmitter action that occurs in your brain seconds after a decadent bite? Turns out, it’s also causing a flood of acne-causing chemicals to spread, too.

However, mainly, the problem with chocolate is the sugar. Chocolate can be good immediately after a breakup with your boyfriend, but that quick rush of sugar can wreak havoc on your skin. Stay away, and go for the very dark type, if you must be pleased. Darker chocolate will have more antioxidants and will be much lower in sugar than milk chocolate. Or use the cocoa sweetened with Stevia.

Final advice

As you can see, sticking to a diet of whole foods and low in sugar is the best approach to limit the foods that cause acne. Eat plenty of cruciferous veggies (which are beneficial for many other reasons, too), grass-fed protein, and healthy fats.

Gluten, dairy, and processed foods are left out of a Paleo diet for one reason: They harm your body.

Anxiety and a high degree of stress can lead us to seek the excessive consumption of foods rich in fats, sugars, additives and dyes, which can lead the body to accumulate a large amount of toxins that end up causing the typical rashes on the skin. For this reason, it is very important to lead a life less loaded with pressure and stress equivalent to a diet and good eating habits.

Since your skin is the largest organ in the body, treat it well with a nutrient-dense diet. Of course, you shouldn’t discount the importance of a proper lifestyle either.

Get enough sleep (8-9 hours per night), drink at least 64 ounces of water per day, and exercise regularly. Don’t use harsh chemicals on your skin, and try to limit acne contact areas. Having blemishes is a surefire way to ruin your day, so be sure to avoid the foods mentioned above to boost your confidence and look flawless.

You may find it helpful to read more about the natural ways to get rid of acne that we’ve already posted.

Dr. Eric Jackson

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses. He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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