Are Greasy Foods Really Responsible For Acne?

If you are suffering from acne or have ever had acne in the past, you know what a struggle it can be. When it comes to acne, there are so many different products, treatments, and myths that people believe, and it can be hard to pinpoint what actually works and what is just hearsay. 

In fact, a lot of what we believe when it comes to acne is actually false. Growing up, many believe that acne is only an issue for teenagers, but of course, as we age, we learn that this is not true. Other myths, like the idea that poor hygiene will cause acne and getting sun will help clear up your skin are also not true, per Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist.

But if you have been struggling with breakouts, your peers may point you to your diet. Many people believe that eating bad foods, mainly greasy options like french fries or fried chicken, are the cause of many skin issues, including the onset of acne. According to GoodRx Health, this belief comes from the idea that oil causes breakouts, therefore oily foods will as well. But, do greasy foods actually cause acne? 

Greasy food doesn't cause acne, but diet matters

If you have been dealing with acne, go ahead and order those french fries you've been craving. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, there is no scientific link between greasy foods and acne. Verywell Health posits that the belief that fried, greasy, or oily foods contribute to acne may be because many people turn to these types of foods when they are stressed, and stress causes acne. 

However, there are instances where greasy food can make your skin worse. WebMD says that if you cook with lots of grease or oil, your skin could be affected, as the oils cling to your hair, which can trickle into your pores.

But before you get the large fry, there is some conflicting research regarding greasy food and irritated skin. During a study done in 2020, adults that suffered from acne often ate more fast food and foods considered unhealthy than adults with clear skin. Scientists studying this research believe that fatty foods can affect our hormones, which have a direct link to our skin. And while the idea that greasy food causes acne is still up for debate, there are certain foods that should be avoided if you are dealing with skin issues.

Foods that help and harm acne-prone skin

So while it's likely okay to indulge in your favorite fast food meal every now and then regardless of your skin type, there are certain foods that those suffering from acne should try to eliminate from their diets. According to WebMD, skim milk is the biggest culprit when it comes to acne. In fact, having a glass of milk every day increases your risk for skin issues, but skim milk makes it even worse. Similarly, diets high in sugar can exacerbate acne, so consider cutting out sugary drinks like soda, or refined carbs like white bread, white rice, and cake.

If you want to incorporate some foods that will help clear up your skin, Healthline recommends adding nutrient-rich foods like sweet potato, berries, lemon, kale, and papaya to your diet. These foods not only help clear up acne, but they can also reduce the visibility of acne scars, hydrate your skin, and increase the production of collagen. Unfortunately for some, acne will occur regardless of what they eat, per Verywell Health. If you are suffering from cystic acne or breakouts that won't clear up, consult a dermatologist for help.