Banish Hormonal Acne Through A Healthy Diet

Banish Hormonal Acne Through A Healthy Diet

By Abigail Kor

While we’d all love to leave pimples and blemishes behind once we exit our teen

years, the reality is that flare-ups in the form of hormonal acne can happen well into

adulthood. In this article, we suggest 3 ways that hormonal acne can be managed

through diet.


What is hormonal acne?

Hormonal acne is acne that is tied to hormonal changes, especially a rise in

androgens such as testosterone. A rise in androgen levels can increase sebum

production and cause thickening of the skin, leading to blocked pores and breakouts.

Hormonal acne typically forms on the lower part of your face, e.g. on the chin, around

the jaw line and bottom of the cheeks. This is because hormonal fluctuations

stimulate the oil glands, many of which are found in the lower part of the face.

Hormonal acne can often manifest as painful cysts, which are deeply embedded and

tender to the touch.

Those suffering from hormonal acne may find topical treatments of little help as these

do not address the underlying hormonal fluctuations that cause the acne. In general,

it is advisable to consult a dermatologist if you have deep, cystic acne to determine if

they are caused by conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or

thyroid issues which require medical attention. Making dietary changes would form

part of a holistic approach to tackle hormonal acne from the inside out.


1) Reduce high GI foods

One way to tackle hormonal acne is through eliminating food with a high glycemic

index (GI). The glycemic index is a value assigned to foods depending on how slowly

or quickly those foods raise your blood sugar level. Examples of high GI foods are

white bread, white rice, white potatoes, boxed cereal, sweetened baked goods and


There is growing evidence showing a link between eating high GI foods and

hormonal acne. When your blood sugar spikes quickly, it causes the body to secrete

a hormone called insulin. Having excess insulin in your blood can increase sebum

production, contributing to the formation of acne. Research also shows that high GI

foods can cause inflammation, which plays a role in acne.

Therefore, if you are struggling with acne, do consider reducing your consumption of

high GI foods. This will not only help your complexion but also improve your overall



2) Cut down on dairy, especially skim

According to a 2016 study published in the Journal of the American Academy of

Dermatology, people who consume a lot of skim or low-fat milk also tended to have

acne. Surprisingly, researchers found that wasn’t the case for people who consumed

full-fat milk.

One theory hypothesizes that this could be because the process of removing fat from

milk also strips away some of the healthy components, particularly health fatty acids .


Vitamins A and D are also removed and then put back into skim milk. However,

these vitamins may not be absorbed as well without the presence of fat. As a result,

your skin might not receive enough of the good stuff it needs to stave off acne and

stay clear. Additionally, it is commonly known that dairy products contain hormones,

which might stimulate acne formation.

As such, if you might wish to consider cutting out skim or low-fat milk and switching

to full-fat milk, organic milk. Your skin might thank you for the switch. 



3) Consume acne-fighting foods

In addition to reducing high GI foods and skim dairy products, it will be beneficial to

incorporate the following foods that may help to combat breakouts:

Spearmint tea: There are studies that show that spearmint tea has anti-

inflammatory properties and can help reduce the amount of circulating

androgens. The recommended beneficial amount is 2 -3 cups a day.


Zinc: zinc plays a critical role in maintaining healthy skin, and oral zinc

supplements have been shown to improve acne in several studies.

Alternatively, you may consumer zinc-rich foods such as nuts, oysters, and



Antioxidant rich food: Since acne is an inflammatory skin disease,

increasing antioxidants can help combat acne through free radicals that

counter inflammation. Berries, pomegranate seeds, and beets are some great

examples of foods high in antioxidants.


About our writer:

Abigail is a new mom to a 5-month old baby girl. When she's not working or spending time with her little one, Abigail loves to read and discuss her favourite topics - skincare, nutrition and baby care.

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