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Brian C Jensen Identifies 12 Foods That May Cause Your Acne to Get Worse

Hormonal acne, or acne that’s irritated by certain foods, can be tough to cure. The problem is that it tends to come and go. Brian C Jensen says on some days, you can eat whatever you want without seeing side effects on your complexion, while on other days everything seems to set off a zit. In order to keep blemishes at bay, it helps to know what foods you should avoid when your skin is acting up.

Brian C Jensen: The following is a list of 12 foods that may cause your acne to get worse.

This is not medical advice, and these recommendations do not apply to everyone. It’s just food for thought the next time you’re at the grocery store or eating out!

1) Anything fried

One large, 2013 study published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that foods like chicken nuggets, French fries, and onion rings all cause more inflammation when broken down inside the body. If you suffer from hormonal acne, it’s best to avoid anything fried like the plague, shares Brian C Jensen.

2) Margarine

This spread often contains Trans fat (which has been linked to heart disease), GMOs, dairy products (which some people are allergic to), artificial colors and flavors, and preservatives. If you’re eating margarine, chances are you’re eating something that contains a ton of ingredients that may be causing your acne to get worse.

3) Sugary foods

Just like processed food, sugary treats tend to contain a lot of weird chemicals and other ingredients that could make acne flare up even more. Cut back on the candy if you can.

4) High-sugar fruit

It’s best to avoid large amounts of high-sugar fruits such as pineapple and watermelon when you’re looking for ways to improve your skin’s appearance. Both fruits are great for overall health, but they may cause breakouts in some instances.

5) Gluten

Brian C Jensen says gluten is often found in wheat, rye, and barley. If you’re not eating gluten-free foods for medical reasons, it’s best to avoid them when your skin is sensitive or irritated. Some studies show that certain people who eat a lot of processed food may suffer from acne due to the additives in these products.

6) Nuts

Although nuts are healthy snacks, they tend to be very high in sebum (an oily substance), which can cause pimples. So reserve snacking on nuts for special occasions only.

7) Carbs

It’s best to avoid large amounts of carbs when your hormones are giving you grief. Try replacing red meat with fish when possible because it’s lower in saturated fat. Pasta has also been linked to breakouts in some cases, so if you eat pasta more than once a week, it may make sense to cut back.

8) Soy

Soy is often touted as an omega-3 rich super food, but large amounts of this ingredient could cause pimples for some people. If you’re not sure what that means for your skin care regimen, talk to your doctor or dermatologist next time you visit the office for advice on how to change up your diet.

9) Alcohol  

Drinking alcohol can increase sebum production (which causes more acne). So limit yourself to one drink per day if possible. And never drink while taking Accutane.

10 Ice cream

Although there is no research linking ice cream to acne, dairy products such as milk and cheese tend to increase sebum production. So it’s best to avoid these ingredients if you feel like they might be making your skin worse.

11) Brown sugar

Just like white sugar, brown sugar may contain preservatives and other chemicals that could irritate the skin. If you’re not sure what foods may or may not be irritating your complexion, try keeping a food diary for a few weeks and write down everything that passes through your lips. That way you’ll get a better idea of which items may be causing breakouts.

12) High-sodium condiments

This includes items such as ketchup (it can also contain high fructose corn syrup), soy sauce, hot sauce, and teriyaki sauce. These condiments can cause acne flare-ups in some people because they are high in sugar and store-bought versions usually contain a ton of ingredients that could irritate the skin.


Although there are no specific studies linking certain foods to acne, it makes sense for people who suffer from hormonal breakouts to avoid large amounts of processed food and high-sugar items. If you’re looking for clear skin that’s free of blemishes, this is the best way to approach diet changes.

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