Foods to eat and avoid when you have a breakout

healthy eating

Eat your way to clearer skin by following these rules

Beauty Crew Beauty Editor / May 25 2017

As we all know, our facial skin can be totally unpredictable as there are so many contributing factors that can affect how our skin behaves and reacts. The products we use, the environment we frequent (you’ve no doubt noticed how your skin can dry out when you’re sitting in air-con all day), the levels of stress we’re going through, and even the time of the month can affect how our skin can look and feel. And while eating a balanced diet and filling your plate with lots of nutrient-dense foods can improve your overall wellbeing, it turns out that there are certain food groups we should be eating and avoiding to improve healing in our skin. We spoke with Rhea Beilharz, naturopath and Swisse skin care expert for her top tips on the subject.

Avoid: Dairy

Found in chocolate, milk, cheese, yoghurt and ice-cream, this food group is one to avoid when you’ve got a pimple. “Dairy is often problematic for those that suffer acne as it can lead to increased levels of inflammation and skin breakdown, which can result in ageing and acne in many people,” says Beilharz.

Try: Zinc

Found in spinach, brown rice, lentils, chickpeas, oysters and most meats, zinc is one vitamin you should add to your diet, stat. “Zinc is fantastic for encouraging healing, and may also help minimise future breakouts,” says Beilharz.

Avoid: Sugar

Whether you love to snack on a handful of sweets or add a teaspoon of it into your coffee and tea, sugar should be avoided when you are suffering from breakouts. “Sugar is another common trigger for people with acne,” continues Beilharz. “This doesn’t necessarily mean that if you enjoy a chocolate bar occasionally that you’ll break out, but if you continually overindulge in sugar it might worsen your skin. Try reducing sweet things to a few times a week as a treat rather than a daily necessity.”

Try: Omega 3

It’s good news for those that love a handful of chia seeds in your breakfast pudding or a slab of salmon for lunch. “Omega 3, which can be sourced from foods such as fish and nuts and seeds, contain alpha-linolenic acid which can help decreases dryness and keep skin soft, smooth, and supple.”

Avoid: Refined carbohydrates

When you’ve got a breakout, it’s best to avoid refined carbohydrates like biscuits, fried foods and processed breakfast cereals. “Everyone is individual in what they find may trigger their acne flare-ups however common food culprits are dairy, sugar and a diet high in refined carbohydrates. Keep a food diary in which you track what you eat with a few notes on how your skin is to see if you can find your culprit!”

Try: Fermented foods

From a refreshing drink of kombucha to a small snack of kimchi, getting your dose of fermented foods can be easy and delicious at the same time. “By cleaning up your diet your gut health will improve, which may help your skin health,” finishes Beilharz. “You can further support gut health with a probiotic or by increasing gut-friendly fermented foods.”


Want to kick your bad food habits? Follow this guide and discover seven ways to do so.

Main image credit: Getty

Iantha is BEAUTYcrew's Beauty Editor, and has been part of the team since the site launched in 2016. Besides pinky-nude nail polish and wispy false lashes, she has a healthy obsession with face masks and skin care ingredients. Her previous work can be found in Virgin Australia Voyeur, Women's Health, and SHOP Til You Drop.