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Foods That Cause Acne Breakouts

Foods That Cause Acne Breakouts Foods That Cause Acne Breakouts

Acne is a skin condition characterized by pimples, blackheads, whiteheads and cysts. It is caused by a buildup of bacteria, dried oil and dead skin cells clogging the pores of the skin. Just as hormones, such as testosterone, can also play a role in oil production and skin growth, diet can influence the appearance of acne.

Seafood and Spinach

Seafood, such as oysters, crab, lobster and shrimp, and spinach are rich in iodine, which can trigger acne outbreaks. Iodine is the only dietary component proven clinically to trigger acne outbreaks, and there is evidence stemming from studies dating back to the 1960s.

Dairy and Meat

Milk is a processed food and contains hormones and antibiotics that are given to the cows. These artificial hormones and antibiotics can trigger acne, and thus, dairy products should be avoided in patients suffering from acne. Milk also contains iodine due to cows having iodine in their feed, which leads to acne outbreaks in milk drinkers. A 2008 paper by Dr. F. William Danby in "Clinics in Dermatology" suggests increased oil production and resulting acne may be caused by the active metabolites of testosterone contained in milk, including dihydrotestosterone (DHT), 5?-androstanedione and 5?-pregnanedione. Meat also contains DHT, possibly triggering acne.


Trans fats in processed foods can cause inflammation in the body and trigger acne outbreaks. In addition, fatty foods are often highly salty, and the iodine in iodized salt can trigger outbreaks.

Refined Sugar

Foods high in refined sugar can increase insulin levels, which increases levels of testosterone and can trigger an acne outbreak. Foods high in sugar include white bread, white potatoes, candies, ice cream, desserts and soda. Acne sufferers should eat a low glycemic diet, that is one low in sugar.

Processed Foods

Processed foods, such as microwave dinners, packaged cookies and chips, cold cuts and frozen pizzas, can include many preservatives and additives that are toxic to the body if eaten regularly. If the liver has to break down these toxins on a daily basis, it may not function as well, and toxins left in the body could trigger acne outbreaks.

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