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The link between nutrition and acne

Posted by Aisling Murray on

The relationship between food and health is vital, including diet and skin. What we put into our bodies can affect our skin with a poor diet leading to more regular breakouts. Below is a list of foods which may help ease the appearance of acne or prevent flare-ups.  

  1. Omega -3 over Omega – 6

Omega – 6 fatty acids are present in poultry, eggs, nuts, whole-grain breads, and most vegetable oils. In the correct quantities they are very beneficial but if over consumed can increase inflammation and lead to a breakout. Instead, consume more omega -3 fatty acids as they have anti-inflammatory properties and may ease acne, sources include; oily fish (sardines, salmon, tuna, and herring) and flaxseeds.

 Include more low glycaemic index (GI) foods

Insulin and Glucose from food have a very unique relationship in the body. Insulin helps relocate glucose from the blood stream into the cells where it can be used as energy. Low GI foods take longer to digest and increase insulin levels at a steady rate unlike high GI foods which cause spikes in Insulin. Too much insulin in the blood stream increases androgen circulation; both hormones are associated with acne. Increase intake of low GI foods like beans, legumes, lentils and cereals. Porridge is a great Low GI food and a great start to the day. Stay clear of refined foods.


  1. Don’t overindulge on dairy

Studies have shown that a high consumption of dairy products can aggravate acne in individuals and the reason why is believed to be the hormones present in the milk. Unfortunately these hormones once ingested can change to androgen which as a result causes acne. This is not to say that every individual who drinks cow’s milk will get acne it will just aggravate individuals who may be sufferers.


  1. Zinc enriched foods help ease acne

Zinc helps reduce inflammation and kills acne causing bacteria. It plays an important role in protein production and collagen formation, both essential processes in the formation and maintenance of skin. Zinc also significantly reduces sebum production on the skin’s surface. The best sources of zinc include seafood, oats and spinach.




  1. Include Vitamin A and E in the diet

Being deficient in either vitamin can increase severity of acne as both help to reduce the inflammatory responses of acne. Vitamin A is also said to control the sebum production that makes skin oily, including foods such as liver, fatty fish, and dark leafy vegetables is essential. Vitamin E rich foods includes avocadoes, seeds, and nuts, however, these should be monitored as nuts and seeds can exacerbate breakouts in some people.


We are all individual, it’s important to know that just because one food may cause a breakout in someone doesn’t mean it will do it with every person experiencing acne. Get to know your body and what foods can make your acne more severe; trial and error comes into play here. To test some foods try them one week at a time, not all at once.



Free acne skincare consultation at Whelehans Acne Clinic

May is acne awareness month at Whelehans Pharmacy; we are offering free acne skincare consultations at our Acne Clinic with skincare expert Trish Wallace. Learn how to remove dead cells and impurities, unclog pores and reduce redness and blemishes. Whelehans offer a range of effective products that give clearer skin in a safe and effective way. Book your free appointment; call our award winning Beauty Salon at Whelehans at 04493 34591 to discover clearer skin.

Aisling Murray has a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and offers a one to one specialist nutrition service at Whelehans Pharmacy. Call Whelehans at 04493 34591 for an appointment. Aisling’s Nutriton Clinic costs only €10 per week.



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