Acne Diet Tips: Top Foods for Clear Skin

Acne Diet Tips: Top Foods for Clear Skin
Heather Nicholds, C.H.N.

Acne diet tips might seem strange, if all you’ve seen is the ads for special soaps, cleansers and medications telling us that acne is a problem with dirt or oil buildup. But the truth is, there’s a link between what you eat and what shows up on your skin.

Even if you don’t have severe issues with acne, pimples are never fun. Getting them when you’re older is a bit embarrassing – shouldn’t you know better, aren’t you washing your face properly? Keeping your skin washed and clean is important, but even more so is eating the right things to nourish your skin – and not eating the things that trigger acne.

Skin issues, like eczema and acne, are often a symptom of an internal reaction to something. It could be an allergy, an overload of toxins in your blood stream, or just your body letting you know that you had too much of one particular thing. Sugary, fatty and spicy foods are really common triggers for skin eruptions.

Here are some general acne diet tips to try that you might find have a big impact.

1. Eliminate Common Triggers

There are some things that show up really often as triggers for acne. They might not be a trigger for you, but it doesn’t hurt to try eliminating them to know for sure. Finding your trigger – the root cause – is really one of the most important acne diet tips.

  • Sugar
  • Dairy
  • Spicy foods
  • Rancid and trans fats (e.g. refined oils, fried foods)
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Soda
  • Cigarette smoke

Acne is sometimes called ‘diabetes of the skin’ because it’s so closely linked with sugar. Refined (white) sugar is especially bad, so avoid the obvious like candies, chocolate, ice cream, cookies and muffins. Almost any sweet treat you buy in a store or restaurant is made with white sugar and/or high-fructose corn syrup.

Also be on the lookout for hidden sources of sugar – like milk, juice, ketchup, salad dressing and other processed foods.

I know this one can be really tough to put into practice. But just look at it as eliminating sugar for a set period of time – 2 weeks, or 3 if you can handle it. See if it has any positive effects on your skin. Have some fruit when your sweet tooth kicks in, and stay strong by thinking of the clear skin you can have.

2. Cleansing Foods

Mildly pungent and bitter foods help to clean toxins from the liver, giving them less of a chance to cause acne. Try to incorporate them into meals on a regular basis.

  • Beets
  • Onions (all types)
  • Celery
  • Asparagus
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Turnips
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Alfalfa
  • Bitter greens, like watercress, radish, dandelion and mustard greens
  • Quinoa
  • Citrus peel
  • Spices: ginger, turmeric, cardamom, cumin
  • Herbs: basil, bay leaves, marjoram, dill, rosemary

3. Skin-Nourishing Foods

Beta-carotene is one of the most important nutrients for healthy skin, acting as an antioxidant to counter the aging effects of free radicals. Eating lots of beta-carotene-rich foods (yellow and green vegetables and fruit) helps nourish and strengthen your skin, and help in protecting and repairing from sun damage.

  • Carrots
  • Winter squash and pumpkin
  • Dandelion greens
  • Beet greens
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Collards
  • Swiss chard
  • Apricots
  • Peaches
  • Cantaloupe
  • Mango

Other nutrients important to healthy skin are vitamin E and selenium, which both act as antioxidants to help counter the free radical damage that causes signs of aging, and zinc, which contributes to cell production. Vitamin E is also involved in collagen production.

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashews
  • Sesame seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Soybeans
  • Tomatoes
  • Garlic
  • Broccoli

Essential fatty acids (EFA) are another super-important skin nutrient, particularly omega-3 which is involved in collagen production. Although bad fats can trigger acne, good fats are crucial for healthy skin, keeping it soft and youthful.

  • Nuts and seeds, especially ground flax or chia seeds
  • Avocados
  • EFA supplements (oils or capsules)

Do All 3: Cleanse Plan

Doing a cleanse or a detox is a great way to hit all three of these at once, and start cleaning up your system and your skin. Try a 3-day green smoothie cleanse, taking some spirulina or chlorophyll to purify your blood and minimize skin reactions.

Getting lots of water and fiber is really important during your cleanse – and all the time, really – to help flush triggers and toxins out of your system faster.

It’s also important to properly fuel and nourish your body while you’re cleansing. That’s why I set up a full plan for cleansing, with video guidance from me along the way. More details here.

Download a PDF Cheat Sheet:



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