These Foods Are Making You Break Out Slideshow

So you thought the acne would disappear with your awkward phase. You were told it was something for pubescent teens, only a problem until you got older and your skin miraculously cleared. But your awkward phase apparently never ended. Your skin is still struggling with blackheads, breakouts, and blemishes no matter how often or well you wash your face.

You're not an anomaly — according to some studies, 20 percent of people struggle with acne well into their 20s and 30s. Some people even battle the frustration of acne throughout their entire adult lives. The amount of money and time spent on acne medication has likely added up to billions of dollars, while only some products have really ever made much of a difference.

Some acne is caused by neglecting to take care of your skin, but sometimes acne is unpredictable. It can be caused by hormonal changes, environmental factors, or stress. Lack of sleep could contribute to breakouts and even caffeine could play a role. While we don't know what will work to clear your complexion, these foods could be making things worse.


There are very few circumstances in which alcohol is good for you. So we're betting you saw this coming. But drinking, even in moderation, can cause immediate breakouts. The reasoning is simple: Booze is often consumed alongside a ton of sugar and alcohol dehydrates you. Both of these things combined are basically acne waiting to happen.


Unfortunately, this one's backed by science — chocolate makes you break out. If you're feeling down and craving a pick-me-up, chocolate will do the trick and boost your mood. But it'll bring it right back down later when you find the inflammatory evidence on your face.

Coconut Oil

Don't panic: We know the American Heart Association scared you earlier this year with that release stating that coconut oil isn't the elixir of health we thought it was. But the stuff is really good for you. It's got healthy fats and essential minerals such as magnesium. However, when eating foods cooked with coconut oil, it could clog up your pores. Wash your face often and you should be in the clear.


There's still no reason to cry over milk, spilled or not — contrary to what many messages out there will have you believe, dairy isn't inherently bad for you. Most dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese, are actually jam-packed with nutrients including vitamin D, calcium, protein, and more. However, dairy products have been associated with higher levels of acne in some studies. Many theorize this is due to hormonal changes that occur after you consume dairy, but the research is inconclusive.

Egg Whites

Myth, busted: Egg whites are not healthier than whole eggs. In fact, the yolks of those unbelievably versatile sources of protein contain acne-fighting compounds such as biotin and healthy fats. They help your hair and nails grow faster, too — egg yolks are pretty much the cheap, all-natural beauty elixir you never thought to try.

Ice Cream

We all scream for ice cream, but you might still be screaming the next morning when you see breakouts from your ill-advised late-night snack. Studies have shown that eating ice cream increases your likelihood of developing acne, likely due to the dairy and inflammatory refined sugars involved. Maybe this dairy-free, low-cal ice cream is a safer bet.

Fried Foods

Saturated fat, while decidedly not terrible for you, isn't the best thing for your skin. Digesting large amounts of saturated fat at one time can cause inflammation and feed bad gut bacteria, leading to breakouts and other complications. While most foods have more reasonable levels of saturated fat, fried foods tend to have a ton of it — along with other inflammatory chemicals and substances. McDonald's fries? Packed with ingredients that will have your skin reminding you it is not lovin' it.


Just like dairy can throw off hormonal levels, so can soy. Soy contains isoflavones, which can act like estrogen in your body to trigger blemishes and breakouts. Mayonnaise has large amounts of soy and saturated fat, two common culprits of acne. Keep the mayo to a minimum if you're nervous about your skin.


This is bringing a whole new level of realness to the term "pizza face." Turns out, your pizza face might actually be coming from the pizza you shoved in your face. That's a harsh reality if we've ever heard one. You see, the refined carbs in the grease-coated crust spike your blood sugar, which can wreak havoc on your hormones and affect your acne. Additionally, the layer of dairy-filled cheese is a common culprit of skin problems, alongside the grease left behind on your complexion that's likely clogging your pores.

Refined Sugar

Not all sugars are bad — we promise. But one study did link refined sugar intake to an increase in the prevalence of acne. The reason as to why refined sugars show up on your skin is unclear, but researchers suspect it has to do with the insulin spike and crash that happens when you eat them.


Soda, America's oldest and favorite carbonated vice, is one of the worst things you can put into your body. Whether it's diet or not, drinking the stuff spikes your insulin and messes with your hormone levels. There's nothing natural or nutritious about it. Try one of these healthier drinks instead.

Whey Protein

After numerous dermatologists expressed concerns based on anecdotal evidence about the association of whey protein with acne prevalence in patients, scientists decided to investigate. One study found that there was in fact a correlation between the supplements and acne. When a person eats too much protein, it can cause digestive upset and other complications. Since these things are also associated with the onset of acne, skin problems might just be another thing that happens to your body when you eat too much protein.