If you’ve suffered with blemishes and pimples for most of your life, you’ve probably been told to avoid sugar and processed foods. But can you eat your way to clearer skin? Are there foods that can fight acne?

The answer is yes, there are foods that are known to fight acne. But when it comes to diet and acne, the science on the topic can be murky at times.

  • There is conflicting advice surrounding the topic of acne and diet. Although more research is needed, there are some foods which show promise for improving acne.
  • Eating foods rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation and improve acne symptoms.
  • The combination of a nutrient-dense diet and a men’s acne treatment system can help men achieve clearer skin.

    Before we get into which foods are best for your acne, we’d like to get a few things out of the way:

    Most of the current research is on teenagers. Nutritional studies on acne are notoriously difficult because (a) most of them are done on teenagers and (b) there are many potential factors other than diet which can cause acne.

    There is hope for more adult-focused studies. According to the International Dermal Institute, adult acne is on the rise, which is spurring more researchers to study adult-onset acne.

    Be wary of anecdotal evidence and fad diets. Your friend might swear by the ketogenic diet for clearer skin, but we’re zeroing in on specific foods for a reason. With diets, it’s difficult to know which foods are truly effective at reducing acne.

    man choosing groceries at store

    Everyone has different nutritional needs. If you are allergic to nuts, then it goes without saying that you shouldn’t eat walnuts, no matter how good they are for your skin. These foods may or may not clear up your skin and they aren’t meant to be a complete “cure” for your acne.

    If you want to completely clear up your acne, it’s important that you use an effective acne treatment system. When used in combination with clean eating, you can potentially achieve a brighter, clearer complexion in a couple of months.

    With that out of the way, we can now proceed. Without further ado, here are the best acne-fighting foods:

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    Wild Salmon

    When it comes to super foods for skin health, few can rival the amazing power of wild salmon. Packed with omega-3s, this fatty fish is extremely effective at calming inflammation in the body.

    Omega-3s are known to hinder the production of cytokines which can promote inflammation and exacerbate acne. This calming effect also prevents the breakdown of collagen and elastin, which help keep your skin looking firm and young.

    If you can’t get your hands on wild salmon, consider picking up some fish oil supplements. There is some evidence to suggest that fish oil supplements can help those with moderate to severe acne.

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    As it turns out, there is a scientific reason for putting cucumbers on your eyelids. Although cucumbers are made up of mostly water, they also contain important nutrients which soothe inflamed skin and reduce puffiness.

    Cucumbers have an abundance of Vitamin C and E, both of which are known to reduce skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis. Eating this food can give you the skin benefits, but cucumber can also be applied topically as well. The soothing properties of cucumber make it a powerful ingredient in skin care products (that’s why we include it in the formulation for our Facial Exfoliating Scrub).

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    As if you needed another reason to dive into some guacamole, here is one more: avocados are loaded with nutrients that benefit your skin. Rich in antioxidants such as Vitamin E, this super food is shown to improve acne by reducing inflammation and keeping skin hydrated.

    Keep in mind that while avocados are good for your skin, this may not apply when it’s an ingredient in your skin care. Avocado oil has a comedogenic rating of 2 out of 5, which means there is a slight chance that its oil might clog pores and cause additional breakouts for those with acne-prone skin.

    While many people do just fine with avocado oil on their skin, it’s still a good idea to test a small patch of your skin first. See how it reacts over a 24-hour period before you apply it elsewhere.

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    Packed with antioxidants, blueberries are mostly known for their anti-aging properties. But there is more to love about blueberries other than their ability to turn back time.

    Studies show that blueberries can also improve insulin resistance, which has been linked to severe acne. High insulin levels are known to trigger androgens (sex hormones), which in turn trigger our oil-producing glands to produce excess oil. This oil can clog pores and cause breakouts.

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    Dried Apricots

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    This nutrient-rich fruit is under-appreciated. Sure, it might not be as sweet and juicy as a peach, but apricots are rich in magnesium, beta-carotene (which is converted into Vitamin A) and a host of other nutrients that can potentially fight acne.

    With their high concentration of antioxidants and their anti-inflammatory properties, apricots are a powerful ingredient used in a variety of skin care products. They’re also a good source of fiber, which can help control insulin levels from rising too high.

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    Dark Chocolate

    Whether or not chocolate causes acne is still up for debate. While some studies show that it can worsen acne, other evidence shows the opposite.

    It is true that sugar-rich foods can worsen acne, but dark chocolate in small quantities may have a positive effect on your skin. First, it has a wide variety of antioxidants including zinc, which studies show can have a therapeutic effect on moderate acne.

    Dark chocolate is also known to relieve stress. Although most of us don’t need a study to know that chocolate reduces stress, scientists went ahead and studied the topic anyway. Their research suggested that chocolate can lower anxiety in both highly-stressed and normal individuals.

    As you’ve probably heard countless times before, stress can make your acne worse. Nibbling on a little bit of dark chocolate can lower your stress levels and possibly prevent acne flareups.

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    Oysters aren’t for everyone. Some people love slurping them down, while others can’t stand the slimy feel.

    But if you can get past their texture, your skin will thank you for it. Oysters are extremely high in zinc, an antioxidant which boosts immune function to destroy acne-causing bacteria. It can also help control inflammation and reduce the redness of severe acne.

    shucked oysters on plate

    Zinc also has a collagen-stimulating effect and can promote cell turnover. This can help your skin slough off dead skin cells that could potentially clog pores and give you a clearer, brighter complexion.

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    Eggs are a powerhouse of disease-fighting nutrients, containing Vitamins A and B-12 to keep the immune system healthy. Omega-3 fatty acids can also be found in certain egg brands, which helps reduce inflammation.

    In addition to omega-3s, eggs also contain 22 percent of the recommended daily intake of selenium. In smaller amounts, eggs have zinc, manganese, copper and Vitamin E, all of which can help prevent acne.

    If you’re worried about your cholesterol, rest assured that it’s perfectly safe for healthy people to eat up to three whole eggs per day. In fact, a recent study found that eggs lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.

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    bowl of raw broccoli

    Broccoli is packed with vital nutrients, including Vitamins A, B complex, C, E and K. These powerful antioxidants provide a host of benefits to our skin, including the ability to fight off UV radiation and reduce inflammation.

    This super food is deeply concentrated with Vitamin A, which plays an important role in shedding dead skin cells which can result in clogged pores. A low dose of Vitamin A in capsule form has also been shown to improve moderate acne, according to one study.

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    Although turmeric is technically something you put on your food, we’re counting it because it’s chock-full of skin health benefits. It’s also incredibly easy to sprinkle on your broccoli for a double whammy of acne-fighting foods.

    Turmeric is full of flavonoids, a large group of phytonutrients which inhibit the enzymes that may cause an inflammatory response and worsen your acne. Turmeric has been proven to reduce not only acne, but also improve symptoms of eczema, psoriasis and photoaging.

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    Sweet Potatoes

    Another food that’s high in beta-carotene, sweet potatoes are an excellent source of Vitamins A, B6 and C. Vitamin B6 (also called pyridoxin) plays an essential role in maintaining a calm nervous system to keep stress levels under control.

    Sweet potatoes also contain copper and manganese. Although these two trace elements are often overshadowed by zinc, they are known for their role in combating acne. Both copper and manganese can help the body form collagen, which helps boost the healing process and potentially prevent acne scarring.

    Want to really make your skin happy? Skip the greasy sweet potato fries at your local restaurant and make your own instead. The health benefits of sweet potato fries can be lost during the deep-frying process.

    chopped sweet potatoes

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    Brown Rice

    It’s a common skin care myth that carbohydrates are the enemy. While brown rice may be a carbohydrate, it’s also packed with skin health benefits.

    Brown rice is an excellent source of magnesium, a mineral of which most people struggle to get their recommended daily allowance (400-420 mg/day for men and 310-320 mg/day for women).

    Although an overdose of magnesium is also a concern, getting enough of this mineral is key to controlling acne. While there isn’t a direct link, magnesium is known to relieve anxiety, improve sleep and fight insulin resistance—all of which have a connection to acne.

    Brown rice also contains selenium, an antioxidant which plays a critical role in neutralizing free radicals and preventing cell damage. Selenium is often used in conjunction with zinc to prevent inflammation and reduce the severity of acne.

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    Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, cashews and other nuts count as some of the best foods for healthy skin. Not only are they a tasty snack, but nuts are packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber that can fend off acne.

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    Nuts such as pumpkin seeds are high in copper, zinc and Vitamins A, C and E—all of which play an important role in keeping skin healthy and clear. Vitamins A and E are commonly used in skin care products for both their anti-aging properties and Vitamin C is essential for a healthy immune system.

    Just be careful about eating too many—nuts are high in calories, so a little goes a long way.

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    You’ve probably eaten legumes before, even if you didn’t realize it. This vegetable group includes peas, kidney beans, lentils, soybeans, chickpeas and more.

    Packed with both an array of vitamins, minerals and fiber, legumes contain many nutrients that can help keep acne at bay. For instance, chickpeas are full of Vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin which new studies suggest promotes tissue growth and renewal.

    Soybeans contain a healthy dose of Vitamin K, along with manganese, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids. This legume also contains soybean peptides, which boost immune function to fight bacteria-causing acne.

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    Alright, so maybe water doesn’t count as a food. But your water intake is critical to keeping your skin healthy and happy. Plus, it’s found in a lot of foods such as watermelon and cucumber.

    Granted, there isn’t much research on the benefits of water for acne. However, we do know that water supports many metabolic processes which can aid in the fight against acne.

    For instance, drinking water helps support your kidneys, which flush toxins from the body. A buildup of toxins can weaken your immune system and reduce your body’s ability to fight off bacteria that can lead to breakouts.

    Similarly, water plays a key role in maintaining healthy cell production, which helps you retain the youthfulness and vitality of your skin. Dehydration can cause a breakdown of collagen, making your skin more vulnerable to premature aging and wrinkles.

    How much water you need depends on how active you are, the temperature and how much you sweat. Government authorities generally recommend drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day.

    Clean Eating for Clear Skin

    If you’ve tried everything to clear up your skin, it makes sense to look more closely at your diet. Although your diet shouldn’t replace your daily skin care routine, eating cleaner can potentially help you reduce your acne and achieve a better complexion.

    man checking face in mirror

    Keep in mind that these acne-fighting foods can’t work their magic overnight. Give it a month or two before you call it quits.

    If your breakouts continue, you may need to switch to a better acne system for men. Our acne system is designed to clear up your skin and enhance your handsome with a simple, but revolutionary routine.

    Check out how we’ve helped regular guys finally eliminate their acne and achieve the clearer, brighter skin they’ve always wanted. If you have any questions, we’re ready to help in any way we can!