Back to School Foods for Acne Prone Skin

Updated: Aug 29, 2019

The start of the school year means a jam-packed schedule of sports, classes and social events. For many teens, the added responsibilities and stress can all be triggers for acne breakouts. Acne affects up to 80% of people at some point, most often in high school. Though most moderate to severe acne needs to be cleared topically, research has shown that diet can play a big role in reducing acne and also maintaining clear skin. 

With a new school year starting, convenient lunches and quick on-the-go snacks can be loaded with acne aggravators, things that make acne worse.  The following are what we recommend to prevent acne through your diet.

1. Avoid High Iodide Foods Iodides are a type of salt that when excreted through the pores aggravates and inflames acne prone pores. When we sweat, it is the iodides in our sweat that aggravate and cause breakouts. Foods high in iodides include: Iodized salt, milk (cows lick salt sticks to produce more milk), fast foods, yogurt, cheese, whey protein, soy protein, spirulina, green and blue algae, seaweed and shellfish.

2. Avoid Foods with Androgens Androgens are male hormones that trigger increased oil production in the skin. Oil, though not the cause of acne, is an acne contributor and can make acne worse. Foods high in androgens include: peanuts, peanut butter, peanut oil, canola oil, corn oil, milk, cheese, yogurt, wheatgerm and whey protein.

3. Avoid Foods that Dramatically Increase Your Blood Sugar Levels A low glycemic diet helps eliminate spikes in blood sugar which can lead to a hormonal surge of increased oil production and hyperkeratosis (excess cell production, AKA acne) aggravating acne.

So, what should you eat and what are some alternatives to the above? The best clear skin diet includes whole, nutritious foods that fight inflammation.

Foods to Help Keep Your Skin Clear

  1. Whole grains and starchy vegetables: Sweet potato, quinoa, butternut squash, farro, brown rice, oats, buckwheat, etc.

  2. Healthy fats: whole eggs, olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, nut butters, coconut oil, etc.

  3. High-quality protein: salmon, chicken, turkey, eggs, egg whites, peas

  4. Fruits & veggies: any and all, especially broccoli, kale, cauliflower which research shows can help with hormonal imbalances.

  5. Dairy Alternatives: cashew milk, almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk, coconut yogurt, nut cheese

  6. Peanut Alternatives: almond butter, Sunbutter, Justin’s Cashew Butter, almonds

  7. Soy & Whey Alternatives: egg whites, peas, hemp protein, brown rice

  8. Beans: chickpeas, black beans, lentils, kidney beans to name a few

  9. Don't know what to eat in the morning? Start your day with a skin healthy “green smoothie”. It's a great way to sneak skin healthy ingredients into your diet and jump start your day! Here is a quick smoothie recipe: Acne Safe Skin Healthy Anti-Inflammatory Green Protein Smoothie. Short on time? Stop by the Joy Bar for a smoothie, just ask for no whey or soy protein.

  10. In need of an alternative soy or whey protein for workouts? Try pea protein, hemp protein, egg white powder or brown rice protein, Garden of Life Organic Fit Protein Bars, KOS Organic Plant-Based Vegan Protein Powder, Sun Warrior pea-based protein powder or brown rice protein powder, Jay Robb egg white protein are all acne safe. Make sure to mix with an acne safe alternative to milk. ;)

Acne is complex and is often the result of many factors most importantly hereditary and hormonal. Though a clean diet may help, for many it is only one factor in the clear skin battle. If you are not winning the battle against acne and are exhausted in your efforts to find a solution to control it, give us a call at (630) 488-6334 or book online to schedule a first-time acne consultation with us.

All the best and happy school year!

Christina & Karen








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