While foods don't cause acne, some can be a major acne trigger for people with acne prone skin. Even if you think your diet is on point and you are into clean eating, there still could be some hidden food culprits that are contributing to your breakouts. Here are the top 5 foods that might be triggering your skin.
Dairy and Soy:
Milk, coffee creamer, cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, kefir, ice cream, tofu, tempeh, edamame, faux meat made from soy, etc...all of these are very triggering to acne due to the high iodine content that is naturally occurring in these foods. Soy is also high in phytoestrogens that mimic hormonal breakouts.
Some great acne-safe alternatives to these would be:
- Almond, coconut, cashew milk (there are also coffee creamers made from almond milk and coconut milk at the grocery stores now as well as options at Starbucks)
- Almond milk or coconut milk yogurt
- Cheese made from nuts
- Cashew Milk Ice Cream (my favorite) or the Almond Milk or Coconut Milk versions.
Super Greens aka Spirulina, Chlorella, Blue-Green Algae, Kelp, Seaweed:
While I don't dispute the health benefits to these super greens (in fact they are very healthy for you!), they are unfortunately very triggering to acne because they are sea-based greens and very high in iodine. But this doesn't mean you can load up on the healthy benefits of greens.
Some acne-safe alternatives are:
- Collard greens
Peanuts and Peanut Butter:
I know I might gain a lot of haters by sharing this but it's true! Peanuts and peanut butter are high in androgen activity which is the culprit behind hormonal breakouts.
The best alternative to peanut butter is almonds, almond butter, any other nut or nut butter :)
Whey Protein Shakes and Bars:
Once again, here is a food that is known to be healthy but it is a major trigger for acne prone skin. Whey is made from dairy, and like discussed above, it is naturally high in iodine and very triggering to acne. Alternatives to these would be some plant based protein sources (but make sure they don't contain any of the super greens or soy like mentioned above). You can find lots of suggestions for acne safe protein powders and bars in our Acne Bible
While this isn't a "food", it is a supplement that is all the rage for hair, skin and nails. And unfortunately for acne prone people, it is a huge trigger for inflamed acne. Acne is caused by a malfunction of the pore causing it to hyper-shed dead skin cells that can create a clog in the pore. Biotin actually increases how quickly we shed dead skin cells...so this turns the malfunctioning pore into a super duper malfunctioning pore that leads to increased, severe breakouts. The best supplements for healthy skin, hair and nails? Vitamin D3 and fish oil.