Acne vulgaris (hormonal acne), or acne, is a skin disease characterized by blackheads, whiteheads, inflammation, rashes, red skin, and sometimes deep lesions.
It’s classified according to its severity :
- Mild acne: non-inflammatory lesions, few inflammatory lesions, or both
- Moderate acne: more inflammatory lesions, occasional nodules — hard, painful lesions, or both, and mild scarring
- Severe acne: extensive inflammatory lesions, nodules, or both, and scarring, ongoing moderate acne that has not improved with treatment after 6 months, or any acne that causes serious psychological distress
Acne typically occurs on parts of your body that have sebaceous glands, which are tiny oil-producing glands that are influenced by hormones. These exist on your face, back, chest, neck, and upper arms .
What causes acne?
The factors that lead to acne are complex and multifactorial.
Hormones can play an important role in the development of acne, which is why it’s often referred to as “hormonal acne.” It typically occurs during adolescence due to increases in sex hormone levels during puberty, regardless of gender.
Women also experience acne later in life related to hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy, premenopause, and when using hormonal birth control .
Inflammation and diet are thought to play a role as well, though some argue that diet is less significant. Still, there is strong evidence that some dietary changes make a significant difference in acne treatment .
The best diet tips to control acne
Research has shown that changing certain dietary habits can significantly reduce acne symptoms.
The following are the most evidence-based ways to control acne through your diet.
Foods to eat and avoid
Research shows that refined foods, dairy products, and sugary foods and beverages may be associated with acne development and worsen its symptoms.
Therefore, it’s best to eat whole, nutritious foods.
Foods and beverages to enjoy
- Vegetables: broccoli, spinach, kale, peppers, zucchini, cauliflower, carrots, beets, etc.
- Fruit: berries, grapefruit, oranges, apples, cherries, bananas, pears, grapes, peaches, etc.
- Whole grains and starchy vegetables: Sweet potato, quinoa, butternut squash, farro, brown rice, oats, buckwheat, etc.
- Healthy fats: whole eggs, olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, nut butters, coconut oil, etc.
- Plant-based dairy alternatives: cashew milk, almond milk, coconut milk, coconut yogurt, etc.
- High-quality protein: salmon, tofu, chicken, turkey, eggs, shellfish, etc.
- Legumes: chickpeas, black beans, lentils, kidney beans, etc.
- Anti-inflammatory herbs and spices: turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper, parsley, garlic, ginger, cayenne, etc.
- Unsweetened beverages: water, sparkling water, green tea, hibiscus tea, lemon water, etc.
Foods and beverages to avoid
Dairy products, refined foods, and high-sugar foods and beverages should be avoided:
- Milk and dairy products: milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.
- Highly processed foods: fast food, frozen meals, meal bars, sugary cereals, chips, microwave meals, white bread, etc.
- Sweets and sugary beverages: candy, cake, soda, cookies, table sugar, energy drinks, sweetened sports drinks, juice, etc.
Summary The best diet for acne revolves around whole, nutritious foods that fight inflammation. Avoid highly processed foods, sugary items, and dairy.
The best skincare to control acne
Simple 3 step Botanical Skincare Routine: