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Acne Treatment: Diet

A Nutritional Medicine approach by Elson Haas1 recommends that you reduce fried foods and hydrogenated fats from the diet, as well as increase water consumption, vitamin A, B vitamins, zinc, essential fatty acids, pantothenic acid, calcium, and sulfur.

Anti-inflammatory diet is helpful for acne. To follow this diet:

  • Increase omega-3 fatty acids, fruit, and vegetable intake.
  • Eliminate or greatly reduce trans-fats and simple carbohydrates, fried foods, and iodized salt
  • Reduce intake of animal products,. If you do consume animal products, especially milk and meats, make sure they are organic and have no exogenous hormones typically given to non-organic animals.
  • Use bitter herbs before meals if you have problems with malabsorption or other digestive issues.

One interesting study compared a low glycemic load diet against a high carbohydrate diet, and found that the low glycemic load diet reduced acne symptoms.2

Other nutrients that are recommended for acne treatment include chromium, vitamin E, and selenium.

The main environmental issues to consider are contaminants in the food such as mercury in fish, antibiotics and hormones in meat and milk, and pesticides on produce. Eat organically as much as possible and use high-quality supplements.

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Effect of Zinc on Acne

Zinc is an important element that is found in every cell in the body. More than 300 enzymes in the body need zinc in order to function properly. The effect of zinc on acne is not clear, though studies...

Read more about Acne and Zinc.


  1. Haas, E. (2006). Staying Healthy with Nutrition. Berkeley: Celestial Arts.
  2. Smith RN, Mann NJ, Braue A, et al. A low-glycemic-load diet improves symptoms in acne vulgaris patients: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;86:107-15.

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