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Foods you should avoid if you are dealing with Acne

Food is medicine. Figuring out which food is medicine for you is the key.

What is Acne

Acne is a common skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide, and its causes are often multifactorial. While hormonal imbalances, genetics, and stress are all contributing factors, diet can also play a significant role in the development and severity of acne. In this blog post, we will discuss some foods that you should avoid if you are dealing with acne.

Our recommendation is not to completely eliminate any foods or food groups. Instead, we suggest moderating and cutting back on certain types of food. It has been observed that the "Try to Reduce" group of foods tends to cause issues for many people with acne. While some individuals may have specific trigger foods such as citrus, this is not universally applicable.

Foods to try to Reduce Acne

As I was conducting my research and reading about foods that contribute/affect acne, I was a bit shocked at some of the items that are on the list to avoid. Many things appear to be "healthy", and generally recommended, but in looking at what it does to the body in terms of dead cells shedding, the body's ability to "flush"/clean follicles, etc, it made sense that someone trying to rid their skin of acne should avoid these foods. The good news is there are some alternatives that you can try as a replacement for the items you are reducing/eliminating. Below is the list.

Iodides & Iodized Salt
  • Instead try Sea Salt, Uniodized Salt, Celtic Salt
Milk (including organic and especially nonfat)
  • Instead try Almond Milk, Coconut Milk, Rice Milk
  • Instead try nut cheese
Whey or Soy Protein Shakes and Protein Bars
  • Instead try Pea Protein, Egg White Powder, Hemp – still check for iodides and biotin before buying (Vega Sport Performance Protein & Perfect Fit are a few safe ones.)
Seafood, Shellfish e.g., cod, scallops
  • Instead try Fresh Water Fish – lake trout, bass, catfish
Peanuts, Peanut Butter
  • Instead try Almond Butter or other nut butters
Peanut Oil, Corn Oil, Canola Oil
  • Instead try Olive Oil, Coconut Oil (internal consumption)
Other foods to avoid:
  • Soy products: tofu, soy milk, tempeh, edamame, soy sauce
  • Kelp, Miso Soup, Seaweed, Seaweed Supplements
  • Vitamins with iodides, iodine, kelp, potassium iodide (also avoid Biotin and B12)
  • Foods High in Androgens
  • Shellfish
  • Organ Meats including patè

Foods that cause inflammation

The following foods have shown to cause inflammation throughout the body including the skin. As you work on improving your skin, also try to reduce your intake of the following:

Trans Fats
  • Cakes, pies, and cookies
  • Biscuits
  • Breakfast sandwiches
  • Margarine (stick and tub)
  • Crackers
  • Microwave popcorn
  • Cream-filled candies
  • Donuts

Additionally, other things that have shown to increase you inflammation in the body are overheated fats such as those found in baked foods or foods cooked at high temperatures, excess sugar, Omega 6 oils (most vegetable oils), and known food allergies/sensitivities (e.g. Gluten).

Food that provides support

Just as there are foods that can cause inflammation throughout the body, there are foods that can actually help to reduce inflammation. Below is a list of foods that provide support to your body in your fight to reduce inflammation and thus acne.

  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Green Tea (especially Matcha) Ceylon Cinnamon
  • Foods high in Vitamin B3
    • Crimini Mushrooms
    • Leafy Greens
    • Asparagus
  • Deep Leafy Greens – Spinach, Kale, Watercress
  • Walnuts
  • Blueberries
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Mustard Seed
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Winter Squash
  • Navy Beans
  • Foods high in Omega-3
  • Ceylon Cinnamon
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Green Tea especially Matcha

Check in with our Acne Clinic

While these foods may contribute to acne development, it's important to note that everyone's skin is different. Some people may find that certain foods don't affect their acne, while others may find that avoiding these foods helps improve their skin. If you're struggling with acne, consider scheduling a consultation and treatment at our Acne Clinic. Here at Onyeka Tefari Wellness & Spa, we will work with you to to develop a personalized treatment plan and an at-home skin care regimen that's right for you.

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