Fact or Fiction: Junk Food & Acne

Everyone knows junk food is not healthy, and for a long time there has been a media attack against my favorite food group of all time. Rumors that chocolate, pizza, and french fries are responsible for acne. Researchers continue study the link between foods we eat and the appearance of acne, and the jury is still out on some specifics, but before I give up eating my beloved chocolate cupcakes and pizza nearly everyday- I need some cold, hard facts about my favorite foods.


Chocolate induced acne is probably the longest running urban myths of skin care. It’s not so much the cocoa (the actual essence of chocolate) but it is actually the sugar that is to blame. A diet high in sugar triggers your body to produce more insulin, which then ramps up your skin’s oil production, contributing to clogged pores and clogged hair follicles. Ehk!

Now that we know it’s the sugar, be weary because sugar is hiding everywhere! Replace sweet snacks with something like carrots or cucumber slices. Try to avoid sugary drinks and instead drink water or naturally flavored, no sugar seltzer. Chocolate is ok to eat, but opt for a small piece of high quality, dark chocolate to appease your cravings.

Pizza, Pasta, and Bread

Ummmmm. That’s basically all I eat- so you’re telling me I can’t eat?

These foods contain “simple carbohydrates”. Your body reacts the same way to simple carbohydrates as it does with sugar. Try to limit these items in your diet, instead of heading for chips, try a handful of almonds. Substitute starchy pasta with spaghetti squash.

Greasy Food

There is no evidence that eating greasy foods like fried chicken or cheeseburgers contributes to acne. However being exposed to a greasy, oily environment, like working in kitchen that serves that sort of food is hazardous to your pores. The air in most commercial kitchens is saturated with oil particles and humidity. To prevent breakouts, be vigilant not to touch your face frequently, and wash your face promptly after every shift with an alcohol free facial cleanser.


Research is still needed to conclude whether or not dairy products make you break out. Some believe there may be a correlation between the naturally occurring hormones in dairy products and acne flare ups. If you think dairy may be to blame for your congested skin, try eliminating dairy from your diet for one month, if your skin clears up, it may be something you want to avoid permanently. There are many tasty and nutritious dairy alternatives available.

Junk food may not be the sole cause for someone struggling with acne, but maintaining an unhealthy diet certainly does not help. Studies and science aside; swapping out junk for fruits, veggies, and low sugar natural alternatives will definitely help you on the way to glowing skin.

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