Does Eating Greasy, Fried Food Cause Acne?


We all know greasy fried foods like French fries and fried chicken aren’t exactly health foods. And if you’re breaking out, you might be taking a good hard look at your diet.

But how much does diet really play a role in acne development? If you cut out all fried foods, will your skin clear up?


Fried Food Doesn’t Cause Acne

Although your mom may tell you to stay away from greasy fried foods if you want clear skin, the truth is fried foods don’t cause acne.

This admonition is often given to teenagers, probably because many teens don’t exactly have the healthiest of diets. But even adults with acne are cautioned against eating fried foods.

Fried foods, while not really all that good for you, aren’t making you break out. If you have acne, cutting out all fried morsels isn’t going to cause your skin to become clear. An otherwise clear-skinned person can fry everything they eat, and it won’t make them develop acne (high cholesterol maybe, but not acne).

Eating Greasy Food Doesn’t Make Your Skin More Oily

But doesn’t greasy, oily food cause greasy oily skin? Nope. This is just another myth. The fat in our diets has nothing to do with the oil that develops on our skin.

Oily skin is caused by overactive sebaceous glands, and not from the foods you eat. Some people naturally have more oily skin than others.

Nearly all teens have oily skin, and it’s not because they crave potato chips and French fries. During puberty, hormones can cause oil glands to rev up, creating shiny noses and foreheads and clogging pores. It’s those clogged pores that are causing zits, not the oily foods.

Of course, most nutritionists will tell you to limit the amount of fatty, fried foods you eat. But while fried chicken, pepperoni pizza, and other greasy foods aren’t necessarily healthy fare, they don’t cause pimples nor oily skin.

Acne Is Caused by Other Factors Irrelevant to Your Diet

Acne has more to do with hormones and genetics than it does with your diet.

Extra oil and dead skin cells clog the skin’s pores, creating a blockage called a comedone. When acne-causing bacteria invade, an inflamed pimple develops. All of this happens independently of your diet.

Hormones also play a big role in the amount of oil your skin creates. Hormones, specifically testosterone, stimulate your skin’s oil glands causing them to pump out more oil. This is why acne is more common during puberty for both genders, and right before menstruation for women.

Those with acne are genetically predisposed to developing it. So if your parents had acne, your skin is more likely to be sensitive to these hormonal fluctuations and developing acne. 

Treatment for Acne

Instead of banning all fried foods, focus more on using a proven acne treatment.

The best over-the-counter acne treatment options contain salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. But if OTC products don’t work, or if your acne is fairly widespread or inflamed, prescription acne medications will be your best bet. Use them and you can get clearer skin, and still enjoy Grandma’s fried chicken every once in a while.

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