Do high-fat or other specific foods cause acne?

Dr. Doris Day, MD
Studies have not been able to show any association between acne flares and greasy foods. It seems that all of the foods implicated in causing acne are tasty. This includes such delicacies as chocolate, candy, nuts, soda, fried foods, and orange juice. I think that over the years everything has been suggested to cause acne -- from water to nearly any food you can imagine.

The reality is that there is no scientific evidence available to show that high-carbohydrate and/or fat intake has any effect on sebum production or acne. Part of the problem is that there are so many factors can cause acne to get worse, it is very difficult to isolate a single factor and prove that is does or does not affect this condition.

It may be that certain situations or stressors that make those foods more tempting or harder to resist at any given time may be the ultimate culprit for acne flares. In the meantime, if you feel that a certain food makes the acne worse for you in particular, you should try to avoid that food, within reason. You clearly won’t benefit from being malnourished, but I have never heard of anyone becoming malnourished from giving up high-fat, high-carbohydrate junk food or most of the foods that people most commonly complain of.
100 Questions & Answers About Acne

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100 Questions & Answers About Acne

100 Questions and Answers About Acne provides you with all the information you need to manage your complexion problems. Written by Dr. Doris J. Day, a world-class expert in the field, this clearly...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.