5 Foods to Eat for Acne-Free Skin

December 23, 2015

I’m an adult—so why am I still dealing with acne!? At night I alternate wrinkle cream with pimple cream. So not cool. I’m ready to try just about anything as long as it helps me get rid of zits. What do you recommend? —Tia N.

Acne is devastating at age 13, but at 30? It’s just plain obnoxious. If you’re tired of trying every anti-acne treatment under the sun, it might be time to rethink your blemish-banishing plan entirely—and consider whipping up a different menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Here’s the thing: You don’t have to totally change up your diet in order to transform your complexion into a pimple-free zone. Simply adding a few ingredients into your smoothies, salads, pasta, and cereal might be enough to get rid of acne for good. Alexis Wolfer, creator of TheBeautyBean.com and author of The Recipe for Radiance, dropped by to chat all about how to fight back against blemishes and dish on her favorite clear-skin cure!

Leafy greens

All hail kale. Leafy greens are an acne sufferer’s BFF thanks to their high vitamin A content. Vitamin A encourages cell turnover, making cruciferous veggies nature’s version of retinol. Saute them or add them to a morning smoothie daily to start seeing clearer skin with less scarring.


We knew we loved our gorgeous turmeric face mask for more than just its bright color! Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory, meaning it calms aggravated skin and promotes faster healing. If painful cystic acne is your arch-nemesis, supplementing with this spice in pill form or incorporating it in a mask can help ease skin woes.

Pumpkin seed oil

If pumpkin seed oil isn’t already in your arsenal, you’ve gotta get your hands on some. It’s loaded with zinc and vitamin E, two compounds that healthy skin craves. In fact, zinc is one of the best minerals for skin because of its antibacterial properties.

You know how some people pop a few zinc tablets when they’re feeling kinda sick? That’s because the stuff is awesome at stopping bacteria in its tracks, whether it’s the type that lands you in bed with the flu or the type that causes pimples. Slather pumpkin seed oil directly on skin like you would any facial oil, or add it to salads and veggies to eat your medicine.

Brazil nuts

Alexis and I agree: Brazil nuts are very underappreciated as a skin booster (and they also happen to taste great in trail mix). Just four of these oversized nuts gives 100 percent of the daily recommended value of selenium, not to mention a hefty dose of vitamin E and healthy fats. Vitamin E helps skin heal from scarring, meaning when you inevitably pick at that obnoxious blemish, it’s less likely to leave a mark that lasts for weeks.

And selenium is an amino acid that is linked to youthful skin: In a study of nearly 90 men and women with moderate to severe acne, researchers found that supplementing with selenium daily improved patients’ complexions.

Non-dairy milk

Ever notice the connection between a Friday night pint of Ben & Jerry’s and a Saturday morning pimple? That’s no coincidence. Allergenic foods, specifically dairy, can cause skin reactions like acne. With all of the non-dairy alternatives available—even good ol’ Ben & Jerry will have an almond milk ice cream option soon—it’s worth eliminating dairy for a few weeks to see if it’s the root cause of skin issues. When you’re off the sauce, try coconut milk instead: the lauric acid in inside is also an acne-fighter.

For all things health, wellness, fitness we’re here—leave us your questions in the comments below!

Michelle Pellizzon is a certified health coach, personal trainer, and holistic nutritionist. She received her Bachelor’s degree from New York University and her nutrition training from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.

Video credits
Produced and Directed by: Liza Glucoft
Director of Photography: Naeem Munaf
Editor: Stephanie Provence

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Michelle Pellizzon

Certified health coach and endorphin enthusiast, Michelle is an expert in healthy living and eating. When she's not writing you can find her running trails, reading about nutrition, and eating lots of guacamole.

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