Food and acne

So much misconception out there about food and acne.

Really, there are only 3 categories of food that may affect acne and there are circumstanaces with each category​​

  • Dairy
  • Carbs
  • Iodide


  • There is scientific evidence to prove that some women can have acne as a result of dairy consumption
  • However, this is not due to the product itself, but rather on the hormones from the cows
  • If you suspect that your acne is caused by dairy,  like milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream etc, simply stop consuming any form of diary for 6-8 weeks and observe if there is any cahnge or improvement in your condition


  • In one major study that was conducted, patients with acne who had high carb intake (sugar, starches, snack food, bread, pasta, potatoes etc) where placed on a low carb diet and they noticed a significant improvement in their acne prone skin.
  • This is somehow connected to hormones as high carb diets affect insulin levels which affects the hormone levels in the body​.


  • This is rather rare, but for some people, a high iodide diet can cause acne flare ups.
  • High iodide foods include things like kelp, seeweed,beef liver, shellfish
  • There are some natural supplements which are also kelpbased, so if you are one of the people allergic to high iodide diet, this is something to be mindful of.


Bottom line for food and acne is ..

  • If you suspect that certain food groups may be trigger for acne flares, simply exclude that food for 6-8 weeks and observe if there is a change in the skin condition.

Skincare products

  • Applying the wrong skincare product is responsible for certain forms of acne.
  • It is important to choose your skincare products carefully to avoid comedogenic and acneginic skincare products
  • Comedogenic skincare products are products or ingredients that can cause hyperkeratosis in the follicle resulting in eventual compactions and comedones.
  • Comedogenic ingredients include things like fats, some body butters e.g. cocoa butter, oils, waxes and fatty derivatives
  • Acnegenic skin care products are products that have the ability to cause infammation in the skin and as we discussed earlier, inflammation is a major precurssor for acne
  • Some acnegenic ingredients include fragrances, stimulants, high and low PH products/ surfactants, some oils etc.
  • Constant use of such products can either initiate acne or cause acne conditions to get worse

Hair care products and Hair style

  • Another way our hairstyle can dispose us to acne is through hair care products
  • This is especially more in people with natural hair, the truth is that some of the produts that we apply on our hair, especially oils and low viscosity liquids can easily run or trickle down our faces and cause our skin to break out.
  • Other times, it is the hair styles that introduce the hair products to our face
  • Most times you notice these types of acne around the hair line or forehead


  • The issue of hygiene can not be glossed over in dealing with acne.
  • Frequent face washing
  • Avoiding hand to face contact except with clean washed hands
  • Making sure bedding( pillow and pillow cases are frequently washed, dried and kept clean

Common ingredients for treating acne

  • Salicylic acid
  • Glycolic acid
  • Niacinamide
  • Kaolin
  • Willow bark extract
  • Alcohol
  • Sulphur
  • Kojic acid
  • Zinc
  • Tea blends
  • Calamine

For the other causes of acne hormonal and therapeutic causes of acne, kindly check our earlier posts to see what steps you can take to effectively manage these sort of skin conditions.

3 secrets of acne management :Part 1 : Physiological condition of the skin and Acne(3- Part Series)


Acne Series: Part 2 – Hormonal Acne