5 Foods To Avoid For Oily & Acne-Prone Skin

There are many causes of oily skin and we can classify these causes into what we can and cannot change.

Oily skin is genetic. This skin type is what you inherited from your parents so no, you cannot change that.

Hormones play an important role in determining your skin type too — mainly androgens (the hormones that both men and women have). But there is always something that we can change and this is what I want to talk about today.

Although we cannot change our skin type, there are many things that we can do to improve it.

Certain foods could aggravate the already excessive amount of sebum production on their own.

By avoiding certain foods (such as the ones I will mention below) and replacing them with a healthier alternative, you will be able to notice a significant improvement in controlling your oily skin and pesky conditions like acne breakouts.

So with that said, here are…

5 Foods To Avoid For Oily Skin

  • Dairy products
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Refined grains
  • Spicy food

foods to avoid for oily skin

NB: If you’re someone with oily/acne-prone skin, you need my new book “The Ingredients Handbook for Acne-Prone Skin“. Download it here.

1. Dairy products.

I know that this gets thrown around a lot, and someone might have mixed feelings about it, but I have noticed a significant difference in my skin after eliminating dairy products like cow’s milk and butter.

I know that cheese fits in here somewhere too, but I will not be able to refuse eating cheese for the dear life of me, and that’s just how things are.

Anyway, dairy products contain a high level of hormones that stimulate the sebaceous glands and can lead to increased oil production and blocked pores.

Replace it with: 

Dairy-free alternatives like almond or walnut milk and vegan cheese are a better option if your goal is not to look like a cute little glazed donut every time you look in the mirror (or a car window, which I also do a lot).

If you are concerned about the lack of calcium, you can easily add green vegetables like spinach or kale that will provide you with pretty much the same amount of calcium.

Incorporating these foods on is beneficial for your overall health, but I’m sure you already know that.

2. Salt.

Let me re-write that. Too much salt may cause water retention in the body and dehydration in the skin.

A minimum and controlled amount of salt is good for our health, but when the skin becomes dehydrated it will try to fight water loss with an overproduction of sebum.

I believe this to be one of the easier things to change. All it takes to achieve this is to reduce eating crisps, popcorns, salty dressings, french fries, etc.

I’m suddenly starting to crave Pringles because it’s been a while.

3. Sugar.

Well, chocolate mostly. I can say this and not feel guilty at all because I rarely ever crave sweets.

I had a significantly bigger difficulty in reducing salty snacks rather than sweet treats.

Of course, I don’t always say no to chocolate either, but I have found reducing sugars in my diet to be highly beneficial for the health of my skin.

Replace it with: 

Dark chocolate is a much healthier option than standard milk chocolate that has the tendency of making acne and oily skin worse.

Dark chocolate doesn’t contain milk and has high contents of cocoa instead of sugar. I think we can all agree it tastes delicious too.

4. Refined grains

Refined flour loses fiber, minerals, antioxidants, and other important carbs, fats, proteins, and vitamins when it has been processed.

Refined white flour that is found in bread, cakes, cereals, and white pasta and rice are believed to cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels.

This will result in higher insulin in the bloodstream, and this will lead to the overproduction of oil on the skin.

Replace it with:

Some grains like oats are usually eaten whole which is an excellent alternative to refined white flour.

Opting for brown rice, quinoa, as well as whole grain pasta, will provide you with high levels of fiber which will keep your blood sugar levels stable and balance out the oil production.

5. Spicy food.

Spicy food like hot peppers, for example, can be useful for your metabolism but unfortunately, very bad for your skin.

Especially if you are prone to conditions like acne and rosacea which are caused by excessively oily skin, hot and spicy food will raise your body temperature and therefore dilate blood vessels, which will irritate your skin and further inflame your already delicate skin.

Replace it with:

If your goal is to balance oil production and control oily skin, then reducing the ingestion of hot and spicy foods is an excellent way to start.

If you are currently trying to clear conditions like acne and rosacea, my advice to you is to cut out spicy foods completely.

Another good tip in maintaining a balanced production of sebum is to drink plenty of water.

Hydration is essential, and with hydrating your body the sebaceous glands will not need to fight dehydrated skin by overproducing sebum to replace what is lacking.

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