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While nutritional choices and habits affect many organs and systems in the body, the relationship between skin and nutrition has always been a matter of curiosity. While seeking answers to the question of whether many problems such as skin disorders, wrinkles and skin blemishes are related to nutrition, acne is one of these issues.

Although the acne-nutrition relationship has not been proven with definitive findings, it is a fact that our dietary habits play a role in the development of acne.

Scientific researches on how eating habits affect the skin reveal more concrete data day by day. For example, it has been observed that acne formation can be reduced or even completely prevented by consuming more omega-3 fatty acids, less dairy products and foods with a low glycemic index. While experts still haven't found clear evidence of a link between food eaten and acne breakouts, they do agree that poor diet increases acne-prone skin.


Pimples occur when the pores in the skin become blocked as a result of an increase in the amount of sebum, dead skin cells, bacteria, or a combination of both. Clogged pores can lead to inflammation and lead to acne and other types of lesions.

During puberty, the body produces more growth hormone and androgens. Some studies have shown that these hormones increase sebum secretion and acne formation in the body. In addition, since some foods can cause an increase in these hormones, it is possible to say that there are foods that cause acne. Nutrition for acne starts with avoiding these foods. This change in diet can help reduce, improve, or prevent acne symptoms in the first place.



People with acne problems may be inclined to consume more refined and carbohydrate-containing foods than people who have little or no acne problems. Foods rich in refined carbohydrates include:

  • Desserts made with bread, crackers, cereal or white flour

  • Pasta made with white flour

  • White rice

  • Soda and other sugary drinks

  • Sweeteners such as cane sugar, maple syrup, honey, or agave syrup

In a study, the nutrients mentioned in the above list; shows that it falls under the heading of foods that cause acne. In the study, it is revealed that people who frequently consume added sugar have a 30% higher risk of developing acne, while those who regularly eat cake and cake have a 20% higher risk. This increased risk can be explained by the effects of refined carbohydrates on blood sugar and insulin levels. Refined carbohydrates enter the bloodstream at the same rate, raising blood sugar levels rapidly. When blood sugar rises, insulin begins to be secreted to help transfer blood sugar from the bloodstream to the cells.

High levels of insulin also increase another insulin-like growth hormone, making the androgen hormones more active. This, in turn, causes skin cells to grow faster, contributing to sebum production and therefore acne development. on the other hand, foods with a low glycemic index that do not significantly raise blood sugar or insulin levels; It can reduce acne breakouts.


As a result of many studies, it has been found that there is a direct correlation between the amount of dairy products consumed by young people and their acne. Two studies also proved that young adults who regularly consume milk or ice cream are 4 times more likely to suffer from acne than others.

In addition to its effects on blood sugar, which can increase acne severity, milk also increases insulin levels. Since high insulin levels will also trigger the formation of acne, milk can be counted among the foods that cause acne.


When it comes to the list of foods that cause acne, of course, fast food rich in calories, fat and carbohydrates will attract. Fast food items such as hamburgers, nuggets, hot dogs, french fries and milkshakes will all increase the likelihood of acne breakouts due to the high and unhealthy fat they contain. A study of more than 5,000 teenagers and young adults showed that a high-fat diet increased the incidence of acne breakouts by 43%.

In another study of 2,300 men, eating hamburgers or hot dogs frequently increased the risk of acne by 24%. About fast food, the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to acne-inducing foods, some researchers think that eating too much fast food may affect gene expression and change hormone levels in a way that promotes acne development.


A diet high in omega-6 fats increases the risk of inflammation and acne. This is because in such a diet, foods rich in animal fats and omega-6 fats; It consists of foods that are poor in omega-3s, such as vegetable oils and fish oil. An imbalance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids also disrupts the body's balance, causing an increase in the amount of inflammation that causes the skin to produce more acne. Therefore, supplementing the body with omega-3 oil can prevent acne formation by reducing the level of inflammation in the skin. For this and many other benefits, eating fish needs to be made a habit.


It has been suggested that acne is actually an inflammatory disease, which is supported by the fact that anti-inflammatory drugs such as corticosteroids work well in treating severe acne, and people with acne have high levels of inflammation in their blood.

One of the reasons why food can cause acne breakouts may be food sensitivity. Food sensitivity occurs when the immune system mistakenly perceives food as a threat and shows an attack against it. As a result of this attack, high levels of pro-inflammatory molecules begin to circulate in the body, and these molecules can exacerbate acne formation. Because there are countless foods to which the immune system can react, the best way to understand the strongest triggers is to do supervised food eliminations with support from a dietitian or nutritionist.


The diet for acne should consist of foods with a low glycemic index, consisting of complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are found in the following foods: whole grains, legumes, and unprocessed fruits and vegetables.

Foods containing minerals, zinc, antioxidants, and vitamins A and E are thought to be good for the skin, as they reduce inflammation.

Foods that contain these components and are beneficial for the skin are as follows:

  • Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, apricots, and sweet potatoes

  • Spinach and other dark green and leafy vegetables

  • Tomato

  • Blueberries

  • Brown bread

  • Brown rice

  • Quinoa

  • Turkey

  • Pumpkin seeds

  • Beans, peas and lentils

  • Salmon, mackerel, and other oily fish

  • Hazelnut

There are many answers to the question of why acne occurs, and one of these answers may be related to nutrition. However, regulating diet alone will not replace acne treatment. It makes the most sense to consult a dermatologist to begin a proper acne treatment process.

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