Anti-Acne Diet: Foods to Eat and Avoid to Get Rid of Acne

Anti-acne diet: foods to eat to get rid of acne

Last updated on May 11th, 2020 at 12:22 pm

According to Indian Acne market report, over 90% of the world population is affected by acne. Obviously, it is one of the most common inflammatory skin disorders. We often receive queries on how to deal with acne and obviously there is no one straight forward answer because there can be so many reasons behind acne and what you eat or not eat is definitely important. if you are tired of acne and want to know about what to eat and avoid to get rid of acne, the here’s the post worth reading. Today in this post, I am going to talk about the best anti-acne diet that includes foods to eat and avoid in order to get rid of acne symptoms.

Acne is more frequent with teens and older children, and there is a valid reason behind it, and that reason is, the hormonal changes that one goes through during puberty. Acne is a skin condition where you get several bumps like whiteheads, blackheads and pimples on the surface of your skin.

The symptoms of acne may vary from mild to severe and it may affect an individual in many ways. Several medications are there to reduce acne and I am sure many of you might be using or planning to use them to get rid of acne.

But have you ever thought of making some changes in your diet in order to get flawless and acne free skin?

Well, yes, your diet plays an important role in acne and avoiding the unhealthy ones and opting for the healthy items is definitely a smart way to deal with your acne issue.

And, if you are confused with what diet plan to follow, then I have got you covered. Today, I am discussing about some of the best anti-acne diet and I will talk about what to eat, and avoid in order to get flawless acne-free skin.

The surface of our skin has several small holes called pores that connect to the oil glands or the sebaceous glands beneath the skin.

The oil glands produce sebum which is nothing but an oily liquid. The glands send the sebum to the surface of the skin through follicle, a thin channel.

The oil gets rid of the dead skin cells by carrying them through the follicle to the skin surface. Now, acne mainly occurs when the pores of your skin clog up with the dead skin cells or with excess oil and sometimes bacteria.

In fact, the hormonal changes during puberty most of the time, lead to the excess production of the oil, thereby increasing the chances of having acne.

Our diet have a serious role here and it definitely affects our skin, and studies are a proof to that.

If you eat the healthy foods, it will help in the reduction of your acne. But if you eat unhealthy foods, it can actually cause or aggravate the acne issues.

So, let’s just find out the best anti-acne diet and know in details about what to eat and what not to eat in order to get flawless acne-free skin.

Best foods to eat to get clear acne-free skin

Foods that we eat everyday can seriously impact our overall health and well being. There are certain foods that are considered to be the best for skin and at the same time there are some foods that are considered to be bad for our skin and may be for our general health and well-being.

If you are frustrated with frequent acne then this may be the right time to audit your eating habits. Make sure to eat healthy and nutritious foods and avoid foods that are considered to be bad for skin.

Listed below are some of the best foods that are worth eating to get rid of acne. Add these foods to your diet to get clear acne free skin.

Eat zinc rich foods

If you are serious about getting clear and acne free skin, then you should eat zinc rich foods more often. Zinc is a powerful anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory agent and zinc therapy is considered as a great treatment for acne.

According to this study published in the journal Biomed Research International in 2014, it was seen that lower levels of serum zinc was related to the severity and the type of acne lesions in many people. Therefore, it is said that if you increase the levels of serum zinc by eating more of the zinc containing foods, it will help you enjoy clear, acne-free skin.

Hence, eat more of whole grains, nuts, beans, etc. to get zinc.

Drink green tea

Green tea is next in the list of foods and beverages to get clear acne-free skin. The reason why green tea helps you get clear acne free skin is because of the polyphenols present in it that helps reduce the production of sebum and skin inflammation even when you apply it topically on your skin. And studies are a proof to that.

In a 2010 study, published in the Bosnian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences, it was seen that applying 3% ethanolic green tea extract for about 8 weeks showed a significant reduction in the sebum production in men aged 24 to 40 years. In the first week, there was 10% reduction and by the end of 8 weeks trial, it became 60%.

However, if you do not want to apply it topically, you can at least drink green tea regularly to gain the similar benefits in dealing with acne.

Consume turmeric

Inclusion of turmeric in your diet is another easy way to treat acne. The bright yellow spice has got several medicinal benefits and treating acne is definitely one of them. It is mainly due to the presence of the main ingredient curcumin in it which is actually a potent polyphenol, very beneficial in reducing the production of bacteria that otherwise may cause acne.

The benefits of turmeric can be derived both by eating it and by applying it topically. When it comes to eating, you can easily add it to rice dishes, soups, smoothies, hot tea or even hot milk.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Without mentioning omega 3 fatty acids, the list of best foods to eat to get clear acne free skin will certainly remain incomplete. We all know about the various health benefits of omega 3 fatty acids.

Omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory in nature and hence it is very much beneficial in treating acne. You should try to balance the consumption of omega 6 fatty acids and omega 3 fatty acids to get maximum benefits in treating acne.

However, as far as the balance is concerned, there is a debate regarding it as some think it to be 4:1 while others consider it to be 1:1. But, whatever it is we today are eating closer to 16:1 ratio.

This results into a pro-inflammatory diet as omega 6 fatty acids are pro inflammatory which in turn may result in acne occurrence. So, in order to maintain the balance, it is very much needed that you increase the consumption of omega 3 fatty acids.

To get the clear and acne free skin, you can consume more of chia seeds and flaxseeds etc. and reduce or eliminate the consumption of fried foods and processed vegetable oils. 

Vitamins A, E and D rich foods

Vitamins are in general good for your well being and eating the fat-soluble ones like Vitamin A, E and D can actually help you improve your skin quality. In fact, having less amounts of them in your system can actually cause acne.

Vitamin A is found in carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, apricots, pumpkin, cantaloupe, dark leafy greens etc. And Vitamin E is present in sunflower seeds, peanuts, hazelnuts and broccoli.

So, make sure you eat all of them as a part of your diet. As far as Vitamin D is concerned, you get it when you expose yourself to the natural sunlight, especially in the morning hours.

Probiotic and fermented foods

There is a possible connection between your gut health and the condition of your skin and hence it is necessary to heal you gut in order to enjoy clear acne-free skin. This is why it is recommended that you eat more of those food items that support a healthy gut bacteria balance like for example, probiotics and fermented foods.

In fact, probiotics can directly help you improve your skin as well. In a 2007 study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, it was found that the bacteria balance of the skin is needed to improve acne, and probiotics can actually be helpful in it.

You can get probiotics in the form of supplement or in fermented foods like yogurt, tempeh, kimchi, natto, miso etc.


Your diet must be full of antioxidants if you want to treat your acne from inside. They are excellent in treating various diseases but as per reports, treating acne is one of the important benefits.

One of the most powerful antioxidants when it comes to acne treatment is resveratrol which is good in preventing the overgrowth of the Propionibacterium acnes bacteria. You will get this antioxidant in large amounts in cranberries, blueberries, peanuts, red grapes, pistachios etc.

However, do not forget to include barberries in your diet as they are one of the best antioxidant rich dried fruit available and they are also highly beneficial against acne. In a 2012 study, it was shown that those who ate barberry had about 43% reduction in pimples.

So, to get the maximum benefits of the antioxidants, make sure you eat all the colorful berries, citrus fruits and dark leafy greens.

Foods to avoid to get rid of acne naturally

There are many foods that may increase the blood sugar levels in your system really fast. And when the sugar levels increase, it actually leads to the release of a hormone called insulin. And, having excess insulin can stimulate the excess production of oil by the oil glands which in turn, may increase the chances of acne.

Anti-acne diet: foods to eat to get rid of acne
Anti-acne diet: foods to avoid to get rid of acne

So, you need to be choosy about what you are eating.

Listed below are a few of the foods that should be avoided or eaten moderately to get rid of acne.

Dairy products

Well, dairy products may have a number of health benefits, but when it comes to acne, the consumption of dairy products past infancy is said to be the biggest cause behind the occurrence of acne. This has been proven by a study that was done as a part of Nestle Nutrition Workshop Series Pediatric Program in 2011.

One reason why consumption of dairy might lead to acne is because they promote insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) which is known to cause acne. Also, the dairy products leads to an increase in the activity of an enzyme called mTORC1, which contributes in acne development along with other health concerns like cancer, insulin resistance, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s Disease etc.

Hence, it is better to avoid the consumption of milk and other dairy products. However, just be a little careful because even if you are not directly drinking milk or eating cheese, many products have got milk in it, so check the levels properly before consuming. In fact, you may actually choose the plant-based milk products because they do not have the same properties as that of the cow milk that promote acne.

Refined sugar and carbohydrates

The next in the list of the foods to avoid to get rid of acne is the refined carbohydrates and sugar. This is very much true and is also proven by research with over 2300 adolescent participants. Those who ate more amount of added sugar were seen to be at a 30% higher risk of developing acne, and those who consumed most sugary baked goods had 20% higher risk.

Consumption of refined carbohydrates may lead to higher acne chances as they lead to more production of sebum. They also have higher glycemic index. which is also not good for acne. In fact, as per studies, they fuel the occurrence of acne.

Moreover, studies has also shown that foods with low glycemic index can actually improve the acne condition. So, it is advisable that you replace the high glycemic foods like white bread, sugary beverages, white pastas etc. with low glycemic foods like whole grains like millet, quinoa, barley, oats, etc.

Fast food

If you want to reduce your acne, it is highly recommended that you limit or avoid fast foods. Studies have shown that those who eat fast foods like burgers and sausages etc regularly are more prone to having acne by about 24%.

However, we are not fully aware why fast food consumption increases the acne risk but it is believed that maybe it is due to the sugar, salt, dairy, animal products, or bottled oils that they contain. But, since we do know that it leads to acne, it is best to avoid them.


I know it will break the hearts of many, but chocolate does lead to the occurrence of acne to some extent. The primary reason behind this is because of the presence of sugar and cow’s milk in it which we already know to be the diet-related contributors to acne. However, as per the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, not all seems to get affected by it.

So, my advice will be to eat chocolate in moderate amounts because it is full of antioxidants and has many health benefits. But if you see that in your case, chocolate consumption is causing too much acne then lessen your intake of it for your own good.


Acne can be painful and ugly and in some cases, it may even leave permanent marks on your skin that can be even more frustrating. Above 90% of people suffers from acne, with the majority of them being the teens.

Most of the time teenage acne occurs due to the hormonal changes in the body and it generally goes once you attain puberty. But, in some cases, acne can also happen in adults. There can be many reasons for acne, but the most common ones may include:

  • Excessive oily skin
  • Lack of proper skin care routine
  • Bad food habits

Talking about Acne remedies, it is vital that you take good care of your skin and make sure you get rid of the excess oil from your skin. You need to maintain a proper skin care routine on daily basis to get clear acne-free skin.

And obviously, your diet is a very important factor and you must eat only the healthy foods to get healthy skin.

But even if you are taking good care of your skin, if you fail to eat foods that promotes healthy skin and rather eat unhealthy foods, then you may have acne issue.

While we all know that we should eat healthy foods to avoid acne, most of us are not fully aware of which foods to avoid to get clear and acne free skin.

I have already shared a full list of foods wroth eating and avoiding and if you follow this anti-acne diet, then you will be able to enjoy clear acne-free skin for long.

I firmly believe that if you follow these and remain disciplined with your diet, you will be able to get rid of your acne problem fast and easily. It’s equally important to maintain proper meal timings and not skipping any meals.

Apart from eating right, it is also advisable that you keep yourself stress-free because excess stress may affect your skin badly. And finally, you should sleep well because that helps your skin to repair fast. An adult requires 7-8 hours of sound sleep daily and if you maintain proper sleep timings, you will be able to sleep well.

Which anti-acne foods do you eat and avoid everyday to ensure your skin is clear and acne free? What works for you, feel free to share your favorite skin friendly foods by commenting below.

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About Babi Ghosh 269 Articles
Babi the chief editor at bodyandbeans is a professional yoga instructor and a fitness freak. She has done her master’s in history from Kolkata University. She is passionate about healthy eating and living practices.