What Foods Cause Acne and Why?

Acne …

One of the most hated conditions in the world, it affects 10% of the world population, this means around 7 hundred million people are affected by acne and their looks are not the way they prefer.

Why acne happens is a wide topic that we may discuss in a different article, but we are here to talk about what foods can cause or worsen your acne and why do they cause acne, and what alternatives are recommended for someone who suffers from acne so he can recover from the nasty acne.

so let’s dive deep into the article and find out the foods that affect acne.

Refined Grains And Sugars

The question that may arise when you read this subheadline is what is the relation that connects refined grains and sugars with acne? or how does refined grains and sugars cause acne? or does refined grains and sugars really cause acne?

It needs a full article to fully answer these questions and explain the how and why of the relation between refined sugars and acne, but here’s a quick explanation:

There’s a hormone inside our bodies called Insulin, insulin is produced inside our bodies to deal with the amount of sugar in our bloodstream, natural products contain small amounts of sugars so when we eat them small amounts of insulin gets produced, meanwhile when we eat refined grains and sugars the amount of sugar that goes into our bloodstream becomes much higher and thus larger amounts of insulin needs to get produced in order to deal with this huge amount of sugars.

Insulin affects androgen hormones and makes it more active, one of the androgen hormones that’s affected by the increased production of insulin is testosterone, testosterone is known as the male hormone but it’s actually produced in both male and female bodies, however it’s produced 20 to 25 more times in the male bodies than female ones.

Testosterone affects the production of sebum, and sebum is a natural oil that our bodies secrete from the sebaceous glands, you may consider it as your body’s natural source of hydration for your skin.

Sebum is necessary for skin hydration, but when its production is above the natural levels it starts to clog inside your skin and causes whiteheads and blackheads or what is known as acne.

It’s a long chain of elements that connects refined sugars to your acne but this is the relation between them.

Dairy Products

In many studies that have been conducted it has been proven that there’s a relation between dairy products and acne, although the research that has been done on this topic is very few and very few of it is high quality yet the relation seems to arise and it stimulates more curiosity around this topic.

The idea is that milk increases insulin levels in the bloodstream and as we have explained in the above section increasing insulin affects the androgen hormones and of the androgen hormones there is testosterone which affects the production of sebum, so when insulin increases, production of testosterone increases which leads to increased production of sebum, which leads to whiteheads and blackheads when it exceeds natural levels that your skin needs.

Why milk causes the increase of insulin is yet to be known but researchers have set a bunch of theories explaining why:

The first theory is that dairy cows are treated with artificial hormones that affect their milk supply, these hormones could be the cause of the hormonal imbalance that causes acne to get worse.

Another theory is that milk naturally has growth hormones that aggravate acne no matter what.

A third theory is that milk products when combined with refined foods and processed sugars leads to the disruption of insulin levels in the bloodstream.

Foods Rich With Omega-6

Omega-6 is known that it increases inflammation and it has been proposed that acne is an inflammatory disease, thus consuming foods that are rich with omega-6 fatty acids may be connected with worsening acne severity.

Examples of foods that are rich with omega-6 are:

  • poultry
  • eggs
  • nuts
  • hulled sesame seeds
  • cereals
  • durum wheat
  • whole-grain bread
  • most vegetable oils
  • grape seed oil

On the other hand, consuming foods that are rich with omega-3 fatty acids may reduce levels of inflammation and thus reducing acne severity.

Examples of foods that are rich with omega-3 are:

  • Milk
  • Turkey
  • Lean red meat
  • Giant tiger prawn
  • Broccoli
  • Strawberry or Kiwifruit
  • Eggs


Several research studies have been conducted that show that chocolate might be a cause for acne.

It’s exactly not clear why does chocolate cause acne, although one study found that eating chocolate increased the reactivity of the immune system to acne-causing bacteria, which may help explain these findings.

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