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Skin Care

The Best and Worst Foods for Acne

by Burt’s Bees | 3 min read

Breakouts happen, even with the most diligent skin care routine. Despite acne being the most common skin condition in the US, doctors are still learning about the mechanisms behind it. But there’s growing evidence that when it comes to your skin, you are what you eat. 

Does Diet Matter With Acne?

Though there isn’t much merit in the myth that eating greasy foods causes acne (unless you get that grease on your face!), milk is a different story. Studies have linked milk consumption to an increased risk of acne, as well as high-glycemic-index foods, such as pasta, bread and white rice.

So, if you’re getting serious about curbing acne, you could benefit from focusing on a diet rich in fiber, with plenty of fruits and vegetables.

What Foods Are Good for Acne?

It’s a pretty safe bet that what’s healthy for you is also good for your skin, thanks to antioxidants and inflammation-fighting benefits. 

Fresh Vegetables & Fruits

Eat the rainbow and your skin with thank you. High levels of antioxidants and Vitamin C in berries and bright veggies help fight inflammation from the inside out.


High in omega-3 fatty acids, a study discovered eating fish may help prevent acne. Learn more about sustainable salmon options here

Steel Cut Oats

This breakfast food is a winner to keep down inflammation and blood sugar spikes. It’s the least processed oatmeal and takes longer for your body to digest, giving it a low glycemic index.


Beans are another low-glycemic winner, with a healthy dose of fiber and high protein which has also been shown to help with acne. 

What Foods Are Bad for Acne?

On the flip side, high-glycemic foods can spike your blood sugar and cause inflammation and an uptick in oily sebum on your skin.  

White Bread & White Rice

Avoid the sugar spikes and swap in for a fiber-rich whole grain bread or brown rice instead.

Doughnuts & Pastries

This one shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, right? Sugar + refined carbs = inflammation central. 

Sugary Drinks

Another culprit for blood sugar spikes! Instead, reach for unsweetened beverages like iced tea or sparkling water. 

Cow’s Milk

Though doctors aren’t quite sure why, drinking milk does worsen acne. (It may be the hormones in the milk.) Best to avoid it if you’re trying to curb breakouts.

Treating Acne

In addition to a healthy diet, sticking to a consistent routine of cleansing, treating and moisturizing with noncomedogenic skin care products specifically formulated for acne will help you beat breakouts and balance your skin.

To find a solution for more severe cases, such as cystic acne, you should consult a dermatologist who will be able to recommend a clinical treatment plan.

Build up your routine

Your response to skin care products may vary. Ask a healthcare professional about the most suitable skin care regimen for you.

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