Hormonal Acne Diet: What to Eat to Improve Your Acne

Medically Reviewed on 9/14/2022
Hormonal Acne Diet
Some researchers believe that androgens play a key role in hormonal acne.

Acne vulgaris, commonly called acne, is one of the most common skin conditions. Acne develops due to clogging of skin pores, hormonal disruptions, and/or inflammation due to overgrowth of the bacterium Propionibacterium.

5 foods to eat to improve hormonal acne

Research shows that certain types of diet and dietary habits can ease the symptoms and breakouts of acne.

  1. Low-glycemic foods:
    • Generally, low-glycemic foods are popular among people with diabetes for blood sugar control. However, some studies control fluctuating glucose levels and can ease the symptoms of acne.
    • Low-glycemic-index (GI) diet includes foods that slow the process of breaking down sugars, thus controlling sugar fluctuations in the bloodstream, whereas high-GI foods can contribute to a higher level of breakouts of acne.
    • Some of the low-GI foods include:
      • Whole grains and cereals
      • Nonstarchy vegetables
      • Fruits, such as berries, apples, and bananas
      • Nuts, seeds, and some beans
    • Generally, many foods with more proteins and fats do not affect GI; therefore, they are not considered. Incorporating good sources of protein, such as chicken, and fats, such as mono and polyunsaturated fats (olive oil and ghee), into your diet helps a lot in controlling acne.
  2. Dairy-free food:
    • Consuming chocolate or cheese is one of the main reasons for the breakouts of acne. Cow’s milk is one of the dairy products that has been blamed over the years for acne because it is linked to increased levels of insulin. Therefore, to avoid a breakout, cow’s milk is to be avoided when you have hormonal changes in the body.
    • Research conducted on 70,000 or more people suggests that people who consume dairy have a greater probability of getting acne than those who don’t consume dairy products.
  3. Antioxidants: Foods consisting of high antioxidant values help repair and regenerate the skin and fight stress. They help avoid acne breakouts. Antioxidants have various benefits; therefore, consuming foods rich in antioxidants helps overall health. Some of the foods that have good antioxidants are grapes, peanuts, fish, seafood, and beef.
  4. Foods having anti-inflammatory properties:
    • Foods rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are good for hormonal acne.
    • Foods, such as salmon, nuts, and olive oil, are rich in good fats and help fight hormonal acne.
    • Overall, the diet should contain high amounts of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, good lean protein, good fats, dairy alternatives (such as soy, almond, and other forms of dairy), and anti-inflammatory foods (such as salmon and chia seeds).
    • You can enjoy beverages as well, but only a few are allowed, such as green tea, hibiscus tea, sparkling water, and certain others, which are healthy and do not have dairy in them. 
    • Green tea has a property that can treat active lesions and help ease hormonal acne symptoms. It also has powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that protect or act against acne.
  5. Fiber: Studies report that increasing your soluble and insoluble fiber intake can help combat acne. This includes soluble fiber-rich foods (such as chia seeds, fenugreek, psyllium husk, and fruits) and insoluble fiber seen in vegetables and fruit skins. Fiber may help stabilize your blood glucose spikes and thus help in acne, particularly in women with the polycystic ovarian disease.

Foods to avoid

This article has discussed many aspects of the diet; however, you should avoid the following foods if you frequently experience acne breakouts:

  • Foods high in glycemic index values and those with high carbohydrate content should be avoided.
  • Dairy foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt, other forms of dairy, most sweets, or foods with high sugar content (such as desserts, beverages, sports drinks, and juices) should be avoided. 
  • Processed foods, which are high in trans fat, such as fast foods, fried food, frozen foods, and microwaved foods, should be avoided.

3 levels of acne severity

Acne is classified into three levels based on the severity:

  1. Mild acne: Only comedones (white and blackheads) with a few pustules
  2. Medium acne: A few bumps along the chin and forehead
  3. Severe acne: Multiple painful bumps and abscesses throughout the skin

The secretion of sebum through the tiny pores of the skin can cause acne when the sebaceous glands are blocked. 

Generally, most sebaceous glands are located on the face, neck, chest, and upper arms; therefore, acne is common at these locations. These are hormone-influenced, and hence, acne can flare up during times of stress and pregnancy.

What factors can cause acne?

There are several factors that can cause acne, some of which are mentioned below:

  • Hormones
  • Genetics
  • Oily skin
  • Excessive pore blocking


Acne is the result of an allergy. See Answer

What are the common triggers for hormonal acne?

You may have a breakout:

What are the causes of hormonal acne?

Some researchers believe that androgens play a key role in hormonal acne. These androgens cause skin and glands to produce more oil and sebum, which causes acne.

There are some specific reasons for an increase in androgens in the body; these include (but are not limited to) conditions, such as:

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Puberty
  • Stress
  • Certain medications

What is the role of supplements?

There are several supplements that can balance the required vitamins and minerals in the body.

  1. Vitamin D: Low vitamin D levels may be related to hormonal acne although evidence for this is lacking. Nevertheless, having a good amount of vitamin D supplements helps fight hormonal acne.
  2. Fish oil: As discussed earlier, anti-inflammatory properties are helpful in the fight against hormonal acne; therefore, intake of supplements, such as fish oil tablets, can boost your omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid levels and help ease the symptoms of acne.
  3. Probiotics: People think probiotics are just for gut health, but they serve many other purposes. Some research suggests that they work toward reducing skin inflammation. Hence, these can be very helpful when you have acne.
  4. Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar contains various organic acids, such as lactic acid, malic acid, and acetic acid. Acetic acid acts as an antibacterial that helps kill acne-causing bacteria.
Medically Reviewed on 9/14/2022
Image Source: Getty images