How to get rid of acne

How to get rid of acne

Most of us are left asking at one point or another 'how do I get rid of my acne?'.  Our nutritionists explain the causes of acne, how to prevent and minimise the risk of getting acne, and the best foods and supplements for avoiding acne. 

What is acne?

Acne is a common inflammatory condition of the skin. There are several types of acne, however, the most common is called 'acne vulgaris' which is the typical pimple-causing acne. This type of acne generally causes oily skin, and the skin can become painful and hot to touch. The oil gets trapped in the pores of our skin and infection sets in, resulting in spots.

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What causes acne?

Few people go through life without experiencing acne at one time or another, and it's not just limited to teenagers - adults are just as prone to acne. 

Teenage acne

Acne in teenagers is most commonly hormone-related. The fluctuations in hormones as we go through puberty can cause an increase in the thickness of 'sebum'.

Sebum is the oil that is naturally produced by our skin. If the sebum is too thick, the body has a hard time pushing it up and out of the skin, resulting in blocked pores and pimples.

Adult acne

Acne in adults can also be due to unbalanced hormones, however, it is more likely to be caused by dietary factors which contribute to the thickness of sebum, excess bacteria and inflammation.  Your diet can reduce the thickness of sebum and the risk of getting acne. 

Poor diet acne

Poor diet and nutrient deficiencies are bad news for our skin. If there is not enough fibre in our diet, toxins will not be excreted by the bowels in time and they will get pushed out through the skin, contributing to inflammation and acne.

Learn more in 'What does your poo say about your health'. 

Nutrient deficiencies also contribute towards hormone imbalances which are reflected on the skin through pimples and inflammation.

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Preventing acne


Our diet plays a vital role in the management of acne as teenagers and adults. We all know we should eat our fruits and vegetables, and this even more important for those suffering from acne. The nutrients and fibres in fruit and veg have a very positive and calming effect on the skin.

Having the right oils in your diet is also important. Too many trans and hydrogenated fats cause inflammation. However other oils, including cold-pressed oils, nuts and seeds, and omega 3, have an anti-inflammatory action and help minimise the risk of acne. 

Learn more in 'Best oils for cooking' and 'Best foods and vitamins for glowing skin'.

Natural face cleaning products

Using gentle, natural cleaning products. Get yourself into a cleansing routine that helps to keep the pores clear which in turn helps to prevent the formation of pimples. Choose products that have a natural anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial action. 

We recommend natural and organic skincare brands including Tropic Skincare and UpCircle Beauty

Best foods for acne

Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds contain high levels of Zinc which helps to regulate testosterone levels in the body. Too much testosterone contributes towards thick sebum and clogged pores. Pumpkin seeds also contain beneficial healthy fats and Magnesium. Magnesium is needed for managing insulin and helping to regulate our blood sugar levels. Too high or uncontrolled blood sugar levels can contribute towards acne.

Learn more in 'How do I know if I'm deficient in Magnesium'.

Discover our highly absorbable Magnesium | 400mg

Fresh fruit

Fresh fruit contains Vitamin C and helps deal with acne in a number of ways.

Vitamin C works as an antioxidant and helps with the healing and repair of skin. Vitamin C is also needed directly for the production of collagen. Just increasing your Vitamin C intake alone can make a huge difference to the health of your skin and other collagen dependent structures in the body. 

Fruit also promotes the growth of good bacteria in your gut, and your gut health plays the biggest role in the health of your skin as an adult. A healthy gut and gut microbiome can help to keep inflammation under control, reducing some of the negative effects of acne.

Beans, lentils, nuts and seeds

Consuming protein with each meal or snacks through beans, lentils, nuts and seeds helps to prevent blood sugar spikes. When your blood sugar spikes, it causes the body to release a substance called 'insulin-like growth factor'.  In excess, 'insulin-like growth factor' causes the glands in our skin to produce more oil, potentially leading to more clogged pores and acne. 

High fibre diet

Fibre is essential to remove the toxins out of our body with regular bowel movements, and this process helps prevent the toxins from being pushed out through the skin which otherwise can cause acne.

Fibre also feeds the good bacteria in the gut which further aids the elimination of toxins, and fibre has an anti-inflammatory effect on the whole body, including the skin. You should aim for 7-9 portions of vegetables and fruits per day and make sure you're eating whole grains instead of refined grains.

Best acne supplements


'Antioxidants' have free-radical scavenging properties. 'Free radicals' are unstable atoms in our bodies that can damage cells, cause illness, ageing, inflammation and acne.

The best vitamins that are antioxidants include Vitamin C, Vitamin E and beta-carotene, along with Selenium, Vitamin A and lutein.

Discover the complete Daily Multivitamin

Antioxidants have been shown to help reduce inflammation in a few ways. Because acne is an inflammatory condition, the higher your intake of antioxidants, the better, as they help reduce inflammation. These free-radical scavenging nutrients are also beneficial for collagen production in the skin - collagen is a protein that forms the main structural and elastic component of our skin. 

Did you know collagen supplements are made from the boiling of bones and skin of cows?  Learn more in 'The truth about collagen'. 

Omega 3

Omega 3 fats are important for general health, and especially to the health of our skin. They have potent anti-inflammatory actions within the body and are needed for the integrity of the skin. Studies show that daily omega 3 supplementation reduces acne - this study used fish oil, however, algae oil is the vegan equivalent, has the same active compounds and is a much kinder choice to the fish and the planet. 

Discover our Vegan Omega 3

Curcumin & Turmeric

Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric has a number of anti-inflammatory actions. Curcumin targets the biological source of inflammation and decreases inflammation on the skin and in the gut. Decreased inflammation in the gut leads to better growth of probiotics which helps regulate inflammation further through the immune system, producing favourable on the skin and in the whole body.

Learn more in '5 benefits of Turmeric'.

Discover Curcumin & Turmeric

If you enjoyed reading, we think you'll also enjoy our nutritionist written articles The truth about collagen and Best foods and vitamins for glowing skin

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