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  • Writer's pictureBrian "B-Rob" Robinson

Foods That Fight Series-ACNE

I’m going out on a limb here and assume that if you are reading this then you pretty much know what acne is already. And you’ve read the title, so you’re probably ready to see which foods are supposed to help fight acne. What I do want you to know before we get to the food part is that although acne is most common in teenagers, it does affect people of all ages.

Since acne does affect people of all ages and keeping to the true Foods That Fight Series fashion, I am going to give you a brief overview of the food to acne relationship, give you some research based information about natural foods that may combat this issue, and tell you how I eat these foods. Let’s get to it!

How Does Food Cause ACNE?

I do have to give you some basics on what causes acne so that you can see the relationship to food. As you probably know, acne forms when the pores in our skin become clogged, mostly by oil that is produced to get rid of dead skin cells. Most often, hormones are the cause of our oil glands producing excess oil which leads to more clogged pores, which leads to more acne. Excess hormones are a normal part of puberty but can also become out of range due to certain triggers in other age groups.

Insulin, which is also a hormone, is what key factor in how our diet affects our skin.

When our blood sugar is quickly elevated, the body releases insulin to balance out excess sugar in the blood which then causes our oil glands to over produce, thus producing acne.

Now that we’ve established how food and eating habits can be triggers for acne. I have

chosen three foods that I believe are more commonly acceptable by the mass majority, foods that I eat, and foods that research shows can have a positive effect on combating your acne because of the benefits these foods have on our insulin levels and skin.


Turkey is a lean protein that comes with all the traits of lean proteins such as amino acids that provide the foundation for collagen production. Research suggest that turkey provides the antioxidant selenium, which preserves skin elasticity among other benefits, vitamin B3, which reduces skin inflammation and provides a protective barrier for the skin, and zinc, which protects cell membranes, controls sebaceous oil gland activity and speeds up skin renewal.

Complex Carbs

Complex carbohydrates like those found in some vegetables (like broccoli, green beans, and asparagus), some fruits (like apples, pears, and strawberries), brown rice, and whole-grain breads and pastas will help stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent sugar spikes. Research suggest that eating a balanced meal is key for those with acne.


Strawberries are not only delicious, but they are an excellent source of vitamin C and they contain a wide variety of antioxidants and health benefits. Research shows that strawberries also contain salicylic acid, which is found in some skin creams. Strawberries also are also low-glycemic, meaning that they won’t spike your insulin, which helps control the chain-reaction that could cause acne.

Your Action

What can you do with this great information I just gave you? Well, I’m so glad you asked. Provided you don’t have any allergies or health related issues with the three foods mentioned here and your doctor is ok with you eating these, you mission is to find exciting and healthy ways to eat these foods. Here are some of my favorite ways:

Turkey: I eat turkey, other than Thanksgiving, mostly on sub sandwiches. I also sometimes replace ground beef with ground turkey for tacos and spaghetti.

Complex Carbs: I eat brown rice, broccoli, green beans, and asparagus as my complex carbs of choice. I enjoy these as a side to lean proteins.

Strawberries: In my opinion, strawberries are in the class of the most versatile fruits. I eat them when I need dessert to calm my sweet tooth. My favorite is a strawberry shortcake and my second which is strawberries with whip cream. Make sure your whip cream is the healthier option.

I hope this information has enlightened and helped you. Please “heart” this blog and feel free to comment with other ways you eat the foods listed here and other helpful information.

Brian "B-Rob" Robinson is a Certified Sports Nutrition Coach, Certified Life Strategies Coach, Certified Personal Trainer, Youtuber, and co-founder of LEANWellonline. His YouTube channel is called thisisb-rob.


Mahmood, S. N., & Bowe, W. P. (2014). Diet and acne update: carbohydrates emerge as the main culprit. Journal of drugs in dermatology: JDD, 13(4), 428–435.

Smith, R. N., Mann, N. J., Braue, A., Mäkeläinen, H., & Varigos, G. A. (2007). The effect of a high-protein, low glycemic-load diet versus a conventional, high glycemic-load diet on biochemical parameters associated with acne vulgaris: a randomized, investigator-masked, controlled trial. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 57(2), 247–256.

P. Ravisankar et al. Acne-Causes And Amazing Remedial Measures For Acne. Indo American Journal of Pharm Research.2015:5(07)

Giampieri, F., Tulipani, S., Alvarez-Suarez, J. M., Quiles, J. L., Mezzetti, B., & Battino, M. (2012). The strawberry: composition, nutritional quality, and impact on human health. Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.), 28(1), 9–19.

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