Can food cause acne? Yes and no.


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If you have oily skin, then you’ve had them, and you absolutely abhor them. Blackheads: dastardly scourge that is a pox on noses — and sometimes other areas of your face. They are exposed pimples — that is, pimples with no skin over them. When they get exposed to air and sunlight, the top layer of the sebum darkens, hence the name.

People with oily skin and large pores are prone to getting blackheads. They seem to turn up mostly on your nose because the nose has a higher concentration of oil glands than the rest of your face. Those with oily T-zones might see a few blackheads crop up on their chins and foreheads as well.

You might be tempted to use special washes and masks to address your oily skin, or wash your face too often, but this only gets those glands producing more sebum. So while you will have to clean your pores to address the blackheads you already have, you will also have to stave off fresh outbreaks by taking a good look at what you’re eating.


But food doesn’t cause acne!

No, eating chocolate and greasy food does not directly cause blackheads. But hormones, certain medications and diet may either trigger acne, including blackheads, or aggravate an existing case.

Some studies have suggested that eating dairy products and carbohydrates, such as bread and chips, can trigger acne. But it’s not like slapping that extra pat of butter on that toasted everything bagel is going to give you blackheads. It’s that eating that buttered bagel may affect your blood sugar levels, which may lead to a hormonal reaction, which gets your oil glands working double time. And on a person who already has oily skin, it’s the perfect storm for blackheads a-brewing.

Cutting out fatty and processed foods, carbs and dairy alone won’t prevent the little pests from rearing their ugly heads again. But doing so in combination with keeping yourself hydrated, exfoliating regularly and not overdoing it with moisturizers that will clog your pores and washes that will overstimulate already hyper oil glands will help keep blackheads at bay.