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Seven Foods to Eliminate to Help Clear Acne

Acne affects approximately 80% of the worlds population, particularly adult women (hormonal acne).

Acne occurs when the combination of oil from our pores and dead skin cells, clog the pores. Sebum (oil secretion) builds up beneath the blocking pore predisposing bacteria such as Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) to multiply, causing a breakout. We know the physiological changes but determining the root cause of your breakouts is the key to preventing acne.

While not all these foods are technically "bad", they are know to exacerbate inflammation.Here are seven foods to eliminate for at least 14 days while clearing and recovering from Acne breakouts.

1. Dairy

A common food allergen, dairy products have been linked to artificial growth hormones and spiking insulin levels, both worsening acne. Dairy is pro-inflammatory and the sugar (lactose) which is found in milk, increases the potential for skin damage.

Where does it hide?

Cow, goat and sheep milk yoghurts, (goat and sheep are classed as dairy as they come from a lactating mammal),frozen yoghurts, cheese, skimmed milk, cottage cheese, creamy soups and sauces, salad dressings, desserts, ice cream, whey and casein.


Unsweetened rice, almond and coconut milk.

2. Gluten

Gluten triggers the release of a protein called zonulin, which loosens the tight junctions of your small intestine, making it more permeable and allowing particles to slip through and create an immune reaction and inflammation.

Where does it hide?

Gluten containing grains – wheat, barley, rye and most oatmeal. Flours, breads, baked goods, cereals, soy sauce, snacks e.g. pretzels, popcorn, pizza, pasta, stuffing, puddings, breadcrumbs, couscous, barley drinks, gravies and sauces, soups, salad dressings, beer/ales, most processed foods.


Non gluten grains and starch e.g. brown rice, oats, millet, quinoa, tapioca, potato flour, amaranth, almond flour, coconut flour

3. Peanuts

Actually a legume, peanuts are prone to mould and a nasty fungus called aflatoxin. They are highly allergic. Their fatty acid profile is inferior to other tree nuts. Most store brand peanut butters are high in trans fats and high-fructose corn syrup.

Where does it hide?

Peanut butter, cookies, peanut oil, snacks, candy, food toppings


Walnuts, sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, pecans, almonds and cashews, nut butters such as almond.

4. Corn

Most corn is genetically modified, heavily fertilised and full of pesticides. It is grown to fatten swine and cattle and mass produced to cheaply feed the growing population. This can cause inflammation in the gut, raising your cortisol levels.

Where does it hide?

Corn on the cob, taco shells and tortillas, cornmeal, pancakes and desserts, salads, mixed veggie dishes, stuffing, cornflour, as an ingredient in processed foods.


Any other vegetable – raw, steamed, sautéed, roasted

5. Caffeine

Caffeine increases your cortisol levels, without raising blood sugar levels and it affects slumber sleep which is necessary for good skin. Most coffees are served with sugar and milk which are trigger foods.

Where does it hide?

Coffee and other caffeinated beverages


Green teas, white or fruit teas, herbal teas

6. Alcohol

Alcohol affects hormone balance. It damages the liver, affecting detoxification of hormones. Alcohol slows down digestion, affecting absorption of nutrients and exposing the lining of the gut to toxins longer, increasing inflammation. Alcohol also affects insulin levels, tricking your body into thinking it is starving so you crave food after a night out.

Where does it hide?

Beers, wines, spirits, liqueurs, champagne, ready to mix drinks


Fruit juices, sparkling water, Non-alcoholic drinks

7. Sugar

Sugar is one of the hardest foods to remove as it triggers the same pleasure centres in the brain as cocaine, so sugar is addictive. Artificial sweeteners are actually worse, their sweetness can trigger an insulin response, and one study showed people who drank diet sodas gained more weight than regular soda drinkers.

Where does it hide?

Anything with the word sugar and syrup in it. Dextrose, fructose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey lactose, maltose, molasses, sucrose, treacle, rice malt syrup


Agave nectar, stevia, vanilla and cinnamon

If you would like to learn more about how to treat your acne with a personalised skin consultation and treatment book in for an appointment here.

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