Acne breakouts and food: what is the relationship?

Acne and food: is there a relationship?

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Is acne a bad memory from teenage years? Well, unfortunately, a large number of adults still suffer from it. Many reasons are put upfront including foods. Let’s take a closer look at whether diet plays a role in acne and pimples. What foods cause acne breakouts? And what solutions are there to fight acne?

Does diet play a role in acne?

Acne and foods have a complicated relationship. It is said that some foods may trigger acne breakouts. But as of today, the scientific community is still debating and trying to establish the exact links, gathering evidence and conducting trials.

What is acne?

Acne is an inflammatory disorder of the skin, and in particular of its hair- sebaceous follicle – a pore. The pore is represented by a tiny pouch made of fine hair and a sebaceous (oil) gland. During puberty, the sebaceous gland produces an excess of sebum due to an increase of hormones. Sebum is an oily fluid whose usual function is to protect the skin.

When these sebaceous glands start making more oil, they can clog pores. Acne and pimples develop when pores become clogged.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association specifies that acne is a complex “skin condition that can cause blackheads, whiteheads, pimples and acne cysts or nodules (deep, painful breakouts)”.

Although acne is very common during teen years, a quarter of adults are still affected by this skin disorder.

In addition to puberty, which triggers acne outbreaks, other reasons are responsible for this skin condition: genes, medication, stress, lifestyle and even diet.

In spite of many studies carried out on the role of foods on acne, no “clear conclusion” was established to date on its influence, according to French website  Passeport Santé.
On the other hand, there is good evidence that a healthy diet contributes to clear skin.

However, nutritionists and dermatologists agree to say that certain foods stimulate the production of sebum, which may trigger acne outbreaks. So, what are these foods?


Acne breakouts and food: what is the relationship?
“What foods may trigger acne?”

What foods may trigger acne?

There are three categories of foods which are suspected to trigger acne and pimples on one’s face:

  • Sugar
    Known as “carbs” or carbohydrates, sugar is considered as key in making acne worse due to its high glycemic index (GI).
    Refined carbohydrates such as sodas, alcoholic drinks, pasta, white bread, white rice, cereals, cakes, cookies, chocolate… are causing one’s body to produce insulin, which causes inflammation in the skin and may trigger acne. Onhealth specifies that “the hormone [editor: insulin] cascades that follow intake of these foods increase oil production in your skin.”
    Sugar and some carbs are are the worst for the skin, often considered as the number one enemy. 
  • Milk and dairy products
    Despite a 2016 American survey incriminating milk and dairy products to worsen acne and pimples, there is no accurate study that has demonstrated to date a clear link between acne and milk or dairy products.
    The American Academy of Dermatology Association puts forward a theory that “some of the hormones in milk cause inflammation inside the body. Inflammation can clog [editor: one’s] pores, leading to acne.” But then concludes that “more research is needed to know for sure.”
  • Fat
    In the case of fatty and oily foods, again, there is no clear study that has established greasy foods were acne villains.
    However, diets containing fatty acids or deep fried foods eaten regularly may increase levels of inflammation and acne breakouts.

So, does eating a healthy diet help for clear skin?

Alimentation et acné visage : y a-t-il un lien réel ?
Seboderm products range from ALPOL Cosmetique aims to help fight acne-prone skin

What are the solutions to fight acne?

Although a change to a healthy diet rich in fruit, vegetables, vitamins and low in fatty foods, is best for clear skin. It is also important to keep in mind that it does not cure acne because it does not treat it.

Depending on its form whether it is light or severe, acne can be treated with dedicated dermatological treatments of acne-prone skin.

For oily skin, prone to skin blemishes, a specific beauty ritual comes in addition to a dedicated acne treatment.

The Seboderm range for acne-prone skin from ALPOL Cosmetique, French cosmetics manufacturer, aims to regulate sebum production, reduce shine and purify the skin.


Do you have an anti-acne cosmetic product development project? You are one click away from making it happen: contact the ALPOL Cosmetique teams.

Range.s has.have been developed basis on information related to ingredients only and they can’t be claimed on finished product without specific test, previously placing on the market. It is up to brand owner to ensure claims conformity in accordance to the product and provided functions.