Acne Awareness Month: Best (and Worst) Foods for Your Skin

Acne Awareness Month is in full effect, and while we’re sure you’re already cutting down on all your bad skin habits, have you given any thought to a clear skin diet? While things like chocolate and French fries have always been on the “zit list,” there are some lesser-known culprits to your skin’s saddest moments. Behold, our list of the best and worst foods for your skin. Hint: Inflammation is your worst enemy. 

The Best

Oily Fish

Fatty fish high in omega-3 and omega-6, including salmon, mackerel and sardines are the ones to eat. They help reduce inflammation.

Green Tea

No, not Arizona Green Tea, the real stuff. Not only is green a tea metabolism booster, it is filled with the antioxidant catechin EGCG, which has been proven to improve skin quality.

Purple Stuff

But not purple drank. Veggies and fruits like acai, purple carrots, beets and black grapes contain anthocyanins, which help maintain blood flow to the skin and help skin regeneration.


Foods with selenium, a powerful antioxidant, help maintain skin’s elasticity. Try a handful of almonds a day as a healthy and skin-loving snack.


With Vitamin A, B complex, C, E and K, broccoli is your one-stop-shop for clearer skin.

The Worst


We hate to say it (because we can devour an entire block of triple cream brie in one sitting), but there are numerous theories connecting dairy to acne—namely that dairy contains small amounts on testosterone, which can stimulate oil glands. Boo hiss.

Veggie oils

Like sesame, sunflower and canola oil. They cause hormonal inflammation that can make acne worse even only an hour after you eat. So maybe the French fry thing is totally true.

Refined Sugar

White is not right, y’all. White bread, white sugar, etc. It’s all bad. Here’s why: Sugars raise your insulin levels, causing a burst of inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation causes a breakdown of collagen and elastic. Gross.


Foods rich in iodine, like shellfish (and even spinach) have been known to cause acne breakouts due to (you guessed it) inflammation.

Salty Foods

It’s those damn French fries again! Salty foods dehydrate the skin and make it puffy, which can lead to clogged pores. Like sugar, salt also upsets your insulin levels and leads to the dreaded inflammation. 

Image: ThinkStock

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