Avoiding your acne trigger foods can improve your acne.

The debate of acne and diet is a controversial one, however this webpage will give patients the definitive view on this topic. Unlike other clinics, the Acne Specialist Clinic at Westside Dermatology embraces all forms of acne therapy.

In fact we encourage patients to try the acne diet before visiting us. For more on the acne diet, download the diet guide. If the diet does not work, it maybe time to visit us for medical treatment. Avoiding your acne trigger foods can improve your acne.

Trigger foods include foods with a high GI index such as sugars, sweets, biscuits and processed food. Eating a health well balanced diet can improve acne.

Facts on diet and acne:

  • Eating a well balanced diet can improve acne
  • The results of an acne free diet can range from minimal improvement to a significant reduction in acne counts
  • Hormonal acne and severe forms of acne do not respond well to diet changes
  • Eating less sugars and processed foods can help reduce acne counts
  • Consuming foods with a low GI index such as non-milk based protein can help reduce acne
  • Chocolate does not cause acne, but sugars mixed with chocolate makes this a High GI food source and hence the relation to acne
  • We encourage patients to try the acne diet as a supplement to our medical approach to acne treatments


Over the past few decades stubborn academics refute the causal link between diet and acne. This myth has been now debunked. Recent research has shown that in some people there is a link between diet and acne, and if you change your diet, and your acne improves, you may not need to go on medication.

The acne free diet is not a fad diet, it is not based on eating hard to find foods, or restricting your calorie intake, it is a simple diet based upon eating less processed foods such as sugars, and increasing your Low GI foods. It may not work for everyone, but we do encourage patients to try it out- the absolute worse thing that can happen is that your acne does not improve on this diet, but you are eating more health meals!

Research has shown that foods with a high glycaemic index (GI) can flare up your acne. The mechanism is though to be hormonally mediated, via insulin like growth factor mechanisms. Most Dermatologists now believe that following a low GI diet can help some cases of acne.

High GI foods include simple sugars such as sweets and chocolate (chocolate is actually a fat, and not a sugar, however most chocolates contain simple sugars, a source of high GI foods.). Processed foods such as white bread, biscuits, chips and junk foods have a high GI index and should be avoided in patients with acne.

Eating foods with a low GI index can help improve acne. Food groups include complex carbohydrates, and protein such as meat, fish, eggs, and soy. Dairy products such as milk should be consumed in moderation.

No. The cause of acne in multifactorial, including genetics, hormonal, stress, and dietary.  Diet related acne usually has trigger foods, such as chocolate, sweets, sugars and high GI foods. Most people are usually aware of their triggers as acne lesions tend to flare 2-3 days after certain food types.

Hormonal acne is usually seen around the chin and jaw line area and fluctuates with the monthly period cycle. Diet changes have minimal impact on hormone related acne.

Bacne or back acne is a form of tunkal acne. This form of acne may respond to dietary changes, however the overall improvement maybe modest, compared to the severity of acne.

Cystic forms of acne affecting the face, and occasionally back can be resistant to diet changes. In most cases this type of scarring acne responds to Roaccutane.

Ideally, yes! The acne diet is a simple but most importantly a healthy diet that encourages sensible intake of all food groups, minimizing sugars and processed foods. Dietary changes may not necessarily be the first line treatment of scarring forms of acne, however in some situations it maybe indicated if acne is mild, or non-scarring.

Apart from diet, there are numerous natural remedies that may help reduce acne. These natural treatments should be considered if your acne is mild, non-scarring, or if you would like to consider a more natural approach to treatment. Ideal if you are contemplating pregnancy or for breast-feeding mums.

AHA or Fruit acid peels

Simple chemical peels derived from fruit acids, great acne and skin rejuvenation. Can help with mild scars.

Zinc Sulfate tablets

Obtainable via a health food shop. Take as directed, as dosages will vary.

Tea tree oil

Can be used to dry out acne lesions. Be very careful not to cause irritation. This acts as an antibacterial agent and does not treat the cause of acne.

Omnilux Blue or red light therapy

Be very careful of this treatment as it has been around for over 10 years, and has had recent been revived by Kerri-Anne Kennerley. This does not cure acne, and in 9 out of 10 times acne recurs when this procedure is stopped. We find it useful as adjunctive treatment of acne or in situations where other medication is contra-indicated- such as pregnancy or breast-feeding. Phototherapy works by temporarily supressing bacteria associated with acne lesions.

No, in fact protein can improve acne. Make sure you are on a low GI protein powder, with a low sugar value. Protein is LOW GI, and this diet can actually improve acne. As discussed, a recent publication in the American Academy of Dermatology Journal has found a positive correlation between MILK and acne. If you are mixing your protein shakes with milk you may want to consider swapping to water. There may other factors contributing to your acne including sweating, occlusion, and hormones.

Most weight lifters suffer from Bacne, sweating and hormones may worsen cases of acne on the back, shoulders an trunk.

The mainstay of acne treatment is medical not dietary, however Specialists at the Acne Clinic at Westside Dermatology endorse and encourage health eating. Remember the acne free diet can reduce acne lesions, however this well balanced diet that can actually build lean body mass and decrease body fat percentage. Even if the diet does not produce the reduction of acne lesions you are looking for, it will make you a healthier person.

If your acne still persists despite optimal dietary control, we do have effective acne treatments including tablets, creams, hormonal control, chemical peels and Vitamin A taken as a tablet. The Specialist Acne Clinic can also provide natural treatments such as phototherapy using OMNILUX and Red Light therapy.

Our dietetic acne clinics are on Saturday mornings. For more information on available bookings call 07 3871 34 37.

Cost for diet review is $108.