The hardest part of controlling your acne is food. Food is very addicting just like smoking, drugs, and working

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Fast food – hamburger, soda, and pizza

out too much. When the American diet has eaten these “no-no” foods since we were children, stopping them can be doubly hard. We grew up eating dairy, sugar, peanuts and iodide salt. So you have to decide what you want more, clear skin and that aggravating food that will last 5 minutes. Finding other “safe” foods to eat takes strength and perseverance. If you can do it, your skin will thank you by helping to clear your acne.

 The following foods can increase oil production, hormone imbalances, and inflammation—all which can lead to pimples no matter what your body is like.

Below are some of the most common acne triggering ingredients:


The hormone factor alone makes milk products a major factor where acne is concerned—even growth hormone-free milk is still naturally full of hormones. But there’s more. “From a nutrition standpoint, low fat and no-fat milk is nothing but a sugar “bomb”, going on to explain that removing the fat content from milk leaves nothing behind but the sugar—a whopping 12 grams per cup. The fats are there to help break down milk’s fat soluble vitamins A and D for better absorption. Without the fat content, these vitamins may not be properly absorbed and you’re left with a sugary cocktail that could leave your skin in hormonal disarray.


Acne is, essentially, an inflammation, and one of the biggest inflammation triggers is refined sugar. When sugar enters our body it causes our insulin levels to spike, which results in inflammation of our system. For the acne prone, that means a fresh crop of pustules. What’s more, combine sugar with hormonal milk and you’re brewing up trouble. “If a patient tells me chocolate is causing them to break out, it almost never fails that it’s milk chocolate of which the key ingredients are milk and sugar. There are your two triggers right there! Can’t give up your chocolate addiction?If you are a chocolate lover, indulge in 70, 80, or 90% dark chocolate, which is low in sugar and higher in antioxidants. Dark chocolate is less likely to trigger breakouts. 


This favorite legume is a secret zit trigger that we never saw coming. “We ask acne-prone people to avoid peanuts and peanut products because they contain a type of hormone called an androgen that can irritate follicles on your skin by increasing sebum production, which then exacerbates breakouts. This means that PBJ (or that yummy deep-fried egg roll) could have you on the fast track to oil city! Look for peanut oil in potato chips too which can be commonly blamed for surprise breakouts. Chick Flay cooks its chicken in peanut oil. Learning to read labels carefully can be the first step to a clearer skin.


 Iodine is lurking in most all of our favorite foods. Iodized salt is a staple on most dinner tables, but the trigger also comes in high doses of seaweed. Sushi lovers, be warned. Algae is another iodine vessel, and if you’re a fan of green smoothies or superfood supplements, the admittedly beneficial green is definitely a part of your diet. Algae is typically a very hydrating ingredient, and it can also offer antioxidant benefits, along with sun protection. However, it can also exacerbate acne breakouts, so it depends on what type of algae it is and how it’s derived, and those are things we are still learning. We want to not give an algae product to a person with an acne problem because there is the potential for it to break them out. However, iodine is even present in veggies such as asparagus. Studies show that small amounts of iodine-rich foods (1-2 servings a week) are less likely to aggravate acne, but going overboard could trigger pimples.


If you break out around the mouth and along your jawline, tofu and other soy foods could be to blame. And it’s all about the natural plant estrogens found in soybeans. Phytoestrogens mimic natural estrogen levels, and that throws off our hormones. Soy derivatives show up in everything from veggie burgers to energy bars, so read labels carefully. It also shows up in almost every pre-packaged foods from boxes to canned goods. And, since I have been an Acne Specialist, I have seen a great increase in soy being placed in packaged foods. You can almost bet every pre-packaged food has soy in it. Read labels, please. I have another blog post about soy and all of its names. Check out this list:

Finally, contrary to popular belief, it takes 60 to 90 days for acne to form—that’s up to three months to brew a crop of pimples! If you think the foods you’ve been eating are triggering your breakouts, try laying off one ingredient at a time for a month and see if you notice a difference. Skipping that Snickers bar tonight may not ward off tomorrow’s breakout but stick with it and you may notice a clear-up down the road.

As an Acne Specialist, I give you all my tools and knowledge to achieve clear skin. Persistence and perseverance can clear your skin than anything you have tried so far.

Book an Acne Consultation today from the BookNow button at the top of this page to learn more about the best skin care products.

Begin your clear skin journey today.

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