Are you frustrated that your acne spots cannot heal because your skin is just so uncooperative with the incessant acne flare-ups? If you are suffering from acne breakouts that seemingly happen mysteriously despite doing your utmost best to keep your face and home clean, perhaps you should take a long hard look at your diet.

Your skin forms a protective frontier to prevent foreign microbes and pathogens from entering your body, but the face is also sensitive and reactive to both external and internal environments. Making sure your surroundings are clean is only half the battle, some foods you eat can undo your best efforts and trigger breakouts.


Spicy Foods

As Singaporeans, few can withstand the lure of spicy food and even fewer can swear off the zingy and blood-rushing sensation chillis give us. However, even though chilli aids in weight loss and gives you that euphoric blood-rush, it also gives you acne! Many spicy ingredients contain lycopene, a kind of carotenoid that is also found in red fruits and vegetables like tomatoes and bell peppers can cause irritation in some people, leading to an imbalance in their skin’s pH levels.

Multiple studies have shown a marked increase in acne incidences when sufferers eat spicy foods. While researchers are not entirely sure what is the reason behind it, there is the possibility that the perspiration, along with the increased stress levels induced by the painful sensations when eating spicy food exacerbates acne issues.



Sadly for acne sufferers who also cannot do without milk, cheese and yoghurt, dairy is among the list of foods that trigger acne. Research is still ongoing about what exactly it is in dairy that causes acne, but most evidence-based studies have shown that dairy fare badly in acne sufferers.

Some theories suggest artificial hormones applied to cattle are to blame, while others pin it on the naturally-occurring growth hormones already present in milk. A third possibility suggests that the lactose, a kind of milk sugar, combined with a diet high in sugars can affect insulin levels and make the skin more acne-prone.



We are sorry and equally dismayed to say that caffeine is a culprit of acne. In the modern era, there are many sources of caffeine—coffee, energy drinks, soft drinks, tea and even chocolates etc. The reason why caffeine is so effective in keeping you awake is that it stimulates adrenaline-production. This same mechanism, however, also stimulates the secretion of cortisol, a stress hormone. Over a prolonged period, and a shorter period for those prone to acne, this stressful internal environment can make your acne problem worse.

Also, the stresses and disrupted sleep hinder your natural cell repair, making healing slower and inflammation taking longer to subside.


Sugary Foods

Turns out, sugary foods are not only bad for your belly but also your face. Sugar-laden foods are notorious for sending your blood sugar levels through the roof and inducing a sharp spike in insulin levels. This can spell bad news for your internal hormonal balance.

If you are struggling with acne, try avoiding high-glycemic foods like white bread and confectionery. Also, cut back on pastries, chips, chocolates, sodas as they contain lots of sugar that might exacerbate acne and moderate your intake of rice and wheat staples.



Nuts are a great source of vital minerals, fibre and good fats. But you should be mindful that good things to some may not be all good to others. Nuts contain omega-six fatty acids and androgen, a kind of steroid hormone of which testosterone is a part of. Having too much of these can trigger inflammation and make existing ones worse.

If you are nuts about nuts or your diet for other health reasons require an intake of it, go for almonds and cashews which are gentler on the skin.


Processed Foods

And yes, the evil processed food strikes again, and this time. Not only do they wreak havoc on your health and waistline, but they also aggravate acne breakouts, no thanks to its high sugar, fat and sodium content.

Compared to fresh foods, processed foods are high on the glycemic scale. And as we said earlier, these sugars make your insulin levels spike. The high salt content in processed foods also dehydrates you internally and externally. Dried skin can create more dead skin cells as well as also promoting the secretion of sebum, both of which give your facial bacteria a field day.


Fried Foods

Who can resist the greasy aroma of fried chicken, potatoes and battered fish? Just the pure thought of it can make people salivate. Fried foods rank high on the list of no-nos for acne sufferers because a diet high in fats spells trouble for controlling sebum-production.

Fatty foods can also disrupt your sleep since a dinner made up of fish and chips or fried chicken with mashed potatoes are not easy items to digest. A disrupted sleep cycle or just a bad night’s sleep can add stresses to your body constitution and aggravate your acne woes.