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Eradicate acne from the inside out: The power of food & lifestyle

Eradicate acne from the inside out: The power of food & lifestyle

Many of us use face washes, creams, and medicines to fight acne. While these treatments have their place, true skin healing often originates from within. Both diet and lifestyle choices significantly influence our skin’s health and appearance. Let’s delve deeper into how to fight acne with food and lifestyle changes.

Food that causes acne

Some recent studies suggest that certain foods may cause or worsen acne.  The following are some of the worst foods for acne that you should avoid.

High glycaemic index (GI) foods

These are foods that can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar. Examples include white bread, white rice, sugary cereals, and other refined carbohydrates. Foods with high GI can raise insulin levels, which might cause more oil on the skin and acne.


Dairy, especially skim milk, might be linked to acne. This could be because of hormones in milk or how it changes insulin levels.

Fast foods

Fatty foods like burgers and fries might cause acne. It’s unclear if it’s the fats or other things in fast food, like salt or high sugar, that are the problem.

Whey protein powder

People say whey protein supplements can cause breakouts. This might be because whey raises insulin levels or has other growth factors.


Recent studies suggest that eating a lot of milk chocolate might cause acne. It’s still a topic of debate among researchers.

Foods rich in omega-6 fats

Western diets tend to be high in omega-6 fatty acids and low in omega-3s. Some research suggests that a high ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats can increase inflammation, potentially exacerbating acne. Examples of foods high in omega-6 fats include many vegetable oils like corn, sunflower, and safflower oils.

Sodas and sugary beverages

High sugar content in these drinks can increase insulin and IGF-1 levels, potentially leading to acne.
Now you know the foods that causes acne, be mindful of what you are eating.

What to eat to remove/prevent pimples

Some foods can make acne worse, but others can help clear the skin. Everyone’s different, but here are some generally good foods for those with acne:

Omega-3 fatty acids

These can help reduce inflammation in the body, which might help with inflammatory acne. Foods rich in omega-3s include:

  • Fatty fish (e.g., salmon, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies)
  • Chia seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Flaxseeds

Antioxidant-rich foods

These can help combat oxidative stress and inflammation. Examples include:

  • Berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc.)
  • Dark leafy greens (spinach, kale)
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots


This mineral reduces inflammation and helps prevent pores from getting clogged by reducing oil production. Foods rich in zinc include:

  • Lean meats (beef, turkey)
  • Lentils and beans
  • Seafood (especially oysters)
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Cashews


These can support gut health, which might play a role in skin health. Foods rich in probiotics include:

  • Yogurt (preferably plain and without added sugars)
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Miso
  • Kefir
  • Tempeh

Vitamin A

Helps in skin cell production and has anti-inflammatory properties. Foods rich in Vitamin A include:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Apricots
  • Eggs

Vitamin E

This vitamin can help protect the skin from oxidative stress. Foods rich in Vitamin E include:

  • Almonds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Avocados
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli

Whole grains

Compared to refined grains, whole grains have a lower glycaemic index (GI) and can lead to more stable blood sugar levels. Examples include:

  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Whole grain bread and pasta
  • Oats

Green tea

Contains polyphenols that can reduce sebum production and have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.


Staying hydrated can help maintain skin health. While water doesn’t directly "cure" acne, it aids in detoxification and maintaining skin elasticity.


This spice contains curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties. It can be added to dishes or consumed as tea.

Now you know what to eat to remove pimples.

Lifestyle: Beyond what’s on the plate


Have you seen a pimple before an important day? Stress can cause acne. It makes our body produce hormones that create more oil, leading to pimples. Doing things like meditation or yoga can help reduce stress and acne.


The term "beauty sleep" isn’t a myth. Quality sleep allows the body to heal and regenerate. Poor sleep patterns can disrupt hormone balances and impair the skin’s ability to recover, leading to breakouts.


Drinking adequate water ensures toxin elimination, promoting clearer skin. Ensure you’re consuming at least 8 glasses a day.


Regular workouts increase blood flow, nourishing skin cells and keeping them vital. However, remember to wash your face post-exercise to prevent sweat and bacteria from clogging pores.

Skincare routine

Using gentle skincare without harsh chemicals can support your diet and lifestyle choices.
Acne, as distressing as it can be, provides an opportunity to listen to what our bodies are telling us. By addressing it from within through dietary and lifestyle modifications, we can achieve lasting results and overall well-being.

While immediate results might not always be visible, consistency is key. Remember, every individual is unique, so what works for one might not work for all.

Consulting with a dermatologist or nutritionist can further personalise your approach to clearing acne from within. Need clarity? Talk to one of our dermatologists at Acne Express who can take you on the right path towards achieving flawless skin.

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