Picture of How to Prevent Pimples and Reduce Acne Naturally by Eating Right
You can prevent, clear up, or eliminate acne by reducing high glycemic load foods from your diet and keeping your insulin levels low. This may sound difficult, but it's really just a complicated way of saying, "eat fewer processed and refined foods and your pimples will go away."

This Instructable will share why this works and show you how to determine what foods are potentially pimple causing.

  • original image by slopjop available here shared under a CC license.

Step 1: Why should I care, won't pimples just go away once I'm 20?

Picture of Why should I care, won't pimples just go away once I'm 20?
Common thinking seems to be that acne is simply a hardship of adolescence. Once you've established your independence, realized your parents are probably good people, and stopped listening to music too loud, they're supposed to go away. Perhaps pimples are just some sort of physical marking to help society isolate members during their most awkward phase of development?

Studies of various human cultures across the globe and my own experience indicate this is simply false. I'm 10 years past being a teenager, and will occasionally still get a pimple. More convincing perhaps, studies of non-westernized cultures that follow a traditional diet low in refined sugars and starches show a complete lack of acne in all age groups. Here's once such study found here. Similar reports can be found in the journals of pioneers and explorers who were among the first Europeans to contact indigenous peoples: no pimples, no acne.

  • original image by gemsling available here shared under a CC license.
1-40 of 116Next »
picturesofsilver made it!6 days ago

I wish I had a better 'before', but you don't let anyone photograph you when you are broken out with pimples. This has been a lifelong problem, since age 27 I have seen a dermatologist who always prescribed Retin A, peroxide cream, & antibiotics every day. At least in the before you can see some of the scarring & hyperpigmentation from the pimples, from the times I would try to get off antibiotics. I was beyond thrilled the first time I was able to go without heavy makeup, even with the scars showing, I was so happy. Before, I NEVER went anywhere, not even around the house without heavy makeup trying to cover up cystic acne. Diet truly does affect acne, particularly wheat and sugar.

lips 4.6.15 lips.jpgskin improvement.jpg
drsteevo6 years ago
Diet does not affect acne. If you need your acne treated, see a physician.

Dr. Perricone, and Dr. William Davis have both written about effects of diet on acne and other chronic illnesses. Not only is my acne gone, I have much less problems with arthritis and digestive problems.

ewilhelm (author)  drsteevo6 years ago
The evidence is against you. Provide a reference for your claim.
Well, generally, the person who states a link exists is usually the one who should prove it. It is incredibly difficult to prove a lack of difference.

However, I will refine my statement. There is no evidence in the medical literature that there is a link between diet and acne. There are few studies, but the ones that have been done don't prove an effect. I did a quick search and limited it to pubmed articles available for free.

Here is a review article:


Here is another article. Even though this study is flawed and very small, it shows no link between diet and acne (but it does show a link between weight and acne):


Considering insulin's role in acne is interesting, but it is only a hypothesis, and not a very well supported one. The authors of one article cite polycystic ovary syndrome as an example of a disease with high insulin and acne. However, there are other diseases with high insulin which are not associated with acne. I seriously doubt insulin elevation causes acne, it is probably something else. PCOS patients for example are usually obese.

I respect your enthusiasm and intellect, but you are on the wrong track with this article. Please be careful when you give people medical advice unless you are a trained and licensed physician.
I've got vitamins I take that reduce my acne by a ton. they aren't medication, mind you. just good old fashioned vitamins.
What type of vitamins if i may ask?
If you go on Mercola.com and search acne, you will find a lot of articles about it and how grains affect acne. That's my source. Dr. Mercola is a reputable natural health physician.

I've had bad acne my whole life, and when I eliminated grains (pastas, cereals, breads, etc.) and refined sugars out of my diet, my face began to clear up drastically.

It completely makes sense. Grains cause your insulin to rise, which promotes testosterone, which then produces sebum on the face, allowing bacteria to multiply. The result is acne.

It may not work for some people, but it definitely works for me. I've also seen it work with many other people.

To add on this further: I decided to test if I ate grains for a few days, would my face break out? It did.

It's RIDICULOUS that you think it's okay to go to a physician for this. They're just going to pump you full of harmful antibiotics or even worse, Accutane. Diet plays a HUGE role in how your skin looks, especially regarding acne.
cl0ney drsteevo5 years ago
Yeah!!!!! Pills!!!!! That's the solution, lots and lots of chemicals!!!! Treat the symptoms, not cure the patient. Money, money, money.... (Pardon my contempt, but I'm frustrated with chemical solutions to environmental and biological problems. But I don't blame you at all. You're only perpetuating what you were taught and In my opinion, that's all doctors seem to do these days; prescribe. Thanks for hopefully understanding.)
ewilhelm (author)  drsteevo6 years ago
Did you even read the article you sent? They throw out dietary factors not because they don't work, but because they are judged to be too hard for teenagers:

But, perhaps, of more immediate practical significance, is the fact that the therapeutic institution of such a non-western diet is unlikely to be acceptable to adolescents with acne. The dietary restrictions which Western adolescents with acne employ in managing their condition are trivial compared to the differences between their diets and those of hunter-gatherers.

Further, there have been more recent studies that show a link between acne and diet:

- Adebamowo CA,Spiegelman D,Danby FW,et al.,“High school dietary dairy intake and teenage acne”,J Am Acad Dermatol (2005);52(2):pp.207–214.
- Adebamowo CA, Spiegelman D, Berkey CS, et al.,“Milk consumption and acne in adolescent girls”, Dermatol Online J (2006);12(4):p.1.
- Smith R,Mann N,Braue A,Varigos G,“Low glycemic load,high protein diet lessens facial acne severity”,Asia Pac J Clin Nutr (2005);14 Suppl:p.S97.
- Smith R,Mann N,Braue A,Varigos G,“The effect of a low glycemic load,high protein diet on hormonal markers of acne”,Asia Pac J Clin Nutr(2005);14 Suppl:p.S43.

Try to remember "do no harm." The choice should be obvious between broad spectrum antibiotics and skin-drying medications with known (and potentially unknown) side-effects vs. reducing one's intake of refined and processed foods.
Yes, I did read the article, did you? Here is the key sentence to the second article I quoted: "Because the participants in the LGL group lost weight, we cannot preclude a role for the change in BMI in the overall treatment effect. When we statistically adjusted the data for changes in BMI, the effect of the LGL diet on total lesion counts and HOMA-IR was lost."

If you want me to read those articles you posted, you are going to have to post the links to the entire article, I don't have access to those journals.

There is certainly no evidence that "refined and processed foods" have anything to do with acne.

"The choice should be obvious between broad spectrum antibiotics and skin-drying medications with known (and potentially unknown) side-effects vs. reducing one's intake of refined and processed foods."

I agree with you there, the obvious choice is antibiotics.

So, how many people have you effectively treated for acne?


There's lots of... needless hostility here.

The bottom line is that with certain foods, your body produces different hormones. Some of these hormones have been proven to be linked to Acne. Thus, an adjustment in diet will obviously alter these hormones, possibly helping Acne.

Whether or not antibiotics work better or worse is of no circumstance in this instructable, as it is simply Eric Wilhelm (Founder and most-important guy on instructables) trying to help people that have Acne trouble by offering them what is, if not an alternative, a supplement.

While he may not have directly treated anyones skin (that comment was not necessary), he did put in the time and effort to impart his knowledge and experience with acne to those who are looking for it.

Now, I'm pretty sure neither of you meant for that squabble to happen, and I don't by any means want to continue it. So please, just think about what happened, and re-join us as another awesome member of instructables. K?

I can show you Proof. My husband has suffered from acne since he was a teenager. His mother was always buying junk food ( pop tarts, sugary cereals, marshmallows, etc.) These all play into the way your skin looks. He was still eating this type of food well into adulthood. We both wanted to know why he was still having breakouts. FOOD! If you don't recognize the ingredient (soliumlactillatootiefrutti-whatever), your body won't either. He went from eating regular beef you can buy cheaply in the tubes, chicken with hormones, fruit loops, soda, EVEN GOING OUT TO EAT..Now his diet consists of fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, natural chicken and beef, everything has to be natural, and if anything minimally processed. If the ingredients were not made natural or have preservatives in them he couldn't eat them. A true test was done and we both have seen a MAJOR improvement in the condition of his skin. He went from having cystic breakouts and constant PAINFUL acne all over his body, to having almost NONE. So for you to say that diet has no effect on acne, you must not have the issues these other people do. if you suck down Mountain dew ( Sugar, high fructose corn syrup, blah blah) you're obviously going to see reactions in your body.

Anyways, Thank you for posting this instructable. I am so glad someone ut there realizes that the junk we put in our bodies everyday actually do make an impact and if you want to have clear happy skin, you need to eat a clean, healthy diet.

again, THANK YOU! ( I might just need to post something on this subject myself to PROVE my own case. <3 )

This is absolutely true. I am a type 2 diabetic, and I wanted to go on an anti inflammatory diet. Funny thing; a week into avoiding wheat and sugar products, my life-long acne completely disappeared. I am antibiotic resistant because of the years on antibiotics for the acne!!! Hey you folks that don't believe it, it is cheaper to try eliminating those 2 foods than buying up drug company's antibiotics! Wish I had learned about this years ago! Now people tell me all the time how beautiful my skin is. I never get a pimple UNLESS as this author says, I eat birthday cake! sometimes the homemade yeast roll will get me, but I know what I forfeit when I do choose to indulge, and sometimes it's worth it lol

Uru Wolf7 years ago
Hmm, as far as I understand it is bacteria on the skin that cuse zits. Aswer? Wash you face twice a day, make the zits go away. Anyway, nice instructible.
BethV Uru Wolf8 months ago

"Wash your face twice a day,

Make the zits go away."

Sounds like the start of a skin care nursery rhyme! :-D

P.S. I am NOT trolling; this made me smile when I read it.

I know this is probably going to sound gross for most of you peoples, but when i was younger everybody was telling me to wash my face, so i obeyed and i started washing my face. washing my face was the worst thing i ever did to my skin no matter what kind of soap i used, even that gentle stuff for sensitive skin... I stopped washing my face shortly after i started and have only washed my face when i needed to from caked on costume makeup (like going into washroom specifically to wash my face, scrub it so on).  I never had really bad acne like ive seen before, but i didnt understand why if my face wasnt breaking out into one big pimple why i would want to wash out what wasnt negatively effecting my skin to make room for what could.

however when i do get a pimple, i use this natural stuff from the health store. my favorite stuff was this clay stuff that dried it out and it would dissapear the next day. only makeup thing i use to rid of pimples is almay. i swear by it. put it on and its gone next day!
Keeping your face clean does have some effect, but pimples are actually caused by sebum (an oily skin secretion) that , as this wikipedia articlewikipedia article mentions. I've personally experienced much more effect from lowering processed foods and sugars from my diet than from washing my face more than during my daily shower. If you have an overly oily skin this might be useful, but affecting the glands that cause the stuff that fills the pimple would seem more useful either way.
I started doing that, but my face got so dried out my face was hurting.

I'm not sure about insulin levels but I've tried everything for my acne
(topical) nothing really worked, I always ate junk food and potatoes everyday suddenly I
stopped eating potatoes and all junk food with refined sugar and I don't wake up with a new pimple everyday now so I know for a fact it was my sugar levels going high. I did eat cookies and all that still but only with natural sugars which don't seem to affect me,I did cheat a few times and oh man I actually get worse acne that came back which kind of sucks,I can't even cheat or I'll wake up with a red face especially my nose for some reason.

PeterG21 year ago

Well you shared right things here about acne natural treatment. I am very happy to find out your views and feedback on it.


MonkiMan1 year ago

never squeeze acne you will just drive the zit deeper, making it more angry and last far longer.

Is that true?!? I guess I won't be squeezing acne in future...it just seems to be such a quick solution!

yes, quick solution are rarely any good
If you've always believed chocolate and oily foods cause acne, it's finally time to put that myth to rest. It's one of the biggest misconceptions about acne, but the only thing these foods can actually do is raise cholesterol levels. Follow a good skin care regime. Wash off your makeup before going to bed. Don't prick or touch acne with your nails. if If you feel it is really uncontrollable, see a dermatologist. Use products suitable for your skin type. I have been an oily skin type and the scars and acne made me look awful. I took a 3 month acne treatment along with a good skin care routine
SupraHD2 years ago
I find the picture funny but somehow disturbing.
Sara Mendes2 years ago
Our body is composed by various systems that are intertwined to make it work properly, as is commonly known. Our stomach, is connected to our nervous system and that's why we get "butterflies" in our stomach. Our nervous system is also connected to our skin. Some of us get more pimples when they are nervous. This connections are the neuroendocrin system in action. Wich means that the nervous system controls glands that directly act in ours bodys, besides sending electric impulses . So, the fact that you're balanced and healthy will probably improve your skin condition because it will make you reach homeostasis, balance in your body "stocks", machinery and their communication. By eating well, you will also have every element needed for your body to work properly and therefore, your body won't be in strain, looking for elements that it needs and stress will diminuish. This is what i remember from classes, hope it helps! :)
cjangir3 years ago
        Here are some helpful, Let us determine the handful of effective approaches that can carry out wonders to eradicate your spots. It truly is your selection but we advise you to decide on from homeopathic acne treatment options beneathInitially I choose to advise you about acne.This pores condition resulted simply because of the lack of vital vitamin B5, excess warmth and hormonal imbalance could be controlled with straightforward house remedies. Acne impacts each guys and ladies in selected age. Specially, youth is a frequent period for gaining acne.

Home remedies Pimple can be a result of a blockage of the skin’s pore. Pimples are little skin lesions or inflammations generally arising from clogged or infected pores. Pimples could be a source of social isolation which will result in frustration and depression. Pimples impact nearly 90% of the population at some time in the course of their lives.
nelsonk4 years ago
frutose and glucose not only feeds cancer cells but multiply them look it up im not bull SS***ing i forget which one does which but they both are bad.
jimmydean7 years ago
That cake looks REALLY good!
jadedjas4 years ago
Eating well can help, but it also depends on your genes. I do not eat healthy as I could, yet my skin is very clear with little to no breakouts. My sister on the other hand is another story. She has always had acne issues. They eat gluten free, vegetables, etc. etc. and both her and her daughter have constant breakouts. They wash there faces regularly and still to no avail. Hell, sometimes when I'm tired enough, I got straight to bed with full make-up on. So though I agree with what you are saying, it's not a guaranteed solution.
imrobot5 years ago
does breakfast cereal seems to have a high gi or am i understandig this wrong?
red-king5 years ago
 I've never had a lot of acne.... maybe this stuff works, maybe it doesn't... i don't know, because i've never had much acne...
 i don't think i've eaten very well in the past either though... so for me i don't think this is true. it could work, but i don't know...
KalShii5 years ago
 I used to look butt ugly with my face all red all the time, but i realized, and solved my problem very easily. (eventually)
 what i realized was that while i had a few little pimples, just touching them irritates them, and then they get all red and stand out even MORE. So, along with washing my face daily, etc... i put HAND LOTION on my face every day before school. It soothes the skin and heals it. The pimples don't go away from this alone, but they are a LOT less noticeable. 
And lastly, a big part of it is confidence. I thought I looked SO horrible that I was very shy and avoided eye contact, kept my head down, etc. But just look at everyone at school. I DARE YOU! I will guarentee that there are at least 20 people who have acne but act like it's not even there, and so nobody knows it even there. Weird, right? But if you look for it, you'll find it. So just down make a big deal about it, and down be too down on yourself. All my friends treat me the same on both good days AND bad days.

some1146 years ago
I've never had horribly bad acne, but I have it. Like most teenagers (or adults/children for that matter), it's still unsightly. I've been treated by one doctor who put me on (spellings will probably be wrong on these, so I'm going to spell them how you say them lol) minicyclean, tetracyclean, erythrocin, erythromyocin, aqueous solutions, other antibiotics and creams. Nothing has worked. I tried proactive and STILL no result. So, my friend got an 'ACNE FREE' kit (similar to proactive) and I decided to give it another shot. I saw some results. Not great, but some. My doctor claims that none of those things work (I still use it anyway) and he put me back on a higher dosage of minicyclean. My pills, though, have been to keep scarring to a minimum (no big red bumps) as opposed to getting rid of acne. I had a friend who tried acutane (Super high dosage of vitamin A to close up your pores) and she went from bad acne to no acne. It sounds similar to that isotretinoin treatment.
Yea I believe none of the commercial acne creams and such work and here what I think. I'm sure they work for some people but not most because most of the creams contain Astringents...I think thats how thats spelled, which like alcohol (not the drinking kind) dries up your skin. I probably works for some short term period then the acne probably returns. I have heard of anti biotic creams working though. I am curious about that high dosage of vitamin A and how well it works.
It's not that they don't work. It's exactly what you said. They may wok but everyoe is different. It's also not just the astringent. It's the combination of benzoyl peroxide and astringenet. Benzoyl is a huge factor with those treatments. Accutane is highly regulated (at least inthe US). You take it or sic months (I believe) and you have to sign forms saying you won't have sex (especially for girls - conehead babies and other deformities). They draw blood every two weeks (i believe) and Its very controlled. It's "the cure for acne". Acne, though, canno be cured. Accutane shrinks your pores so that you are less likely to get dirt, oil, bacteria in them to get pimples. It will keep it away, but you can still get it.
drsteevo6 years ago
Insulin levels have nothing to do with acne vulgaris.
1-40 of 116Next »