Does Spicy Food Cause Acne Breakouts?

Wondering if last night’s spicy dinner gave you acne? Everyone would wish to have a perfect, clear skin. But thanks to painful acne breakouts, this is rarely possible. Going out with those big spots all over your face is, at times, a challenge to your self-confidence.

It’s not just your lifestyle choices that cause acne but also your food habits. But, these factors affect each person differently. Spicy food alone may or may not be the culprit, but what you eat along with it can make a difference. You are very likely asking for trouble if you have milk or processed foods along with your spicy meal.


What Causes Acne?

Causes of acne

Acne is primarily caused when the hair follicles are clogged with bacteria, oil, or dead skin cells. Although acne can occur at any age, it is common during puberty. This happens due to hormonal changes, which cause the oil glands to enlarge and produce more oil.


In addition to the food you eat, using the wrong skin products, stress, exposure to air pollution, and overwashing your face could be causing the breakouts.1

The Link Between Spicy Food And Acne

Spicy food and acne: Are they linked?


Spicy food, by itself, does not cause acne. Studies suggest that spices are not really the troublemaker, but eating spicy food may worsen the condition.2 You might argue otherwise… you probably got a severe acne breakout after eating something spicy. In such cases, you could blame the sweat!

Spicy foods can cause heat and increase your body temperature. As a result, you sweat because your body needs to cool down. Sweating, in turn, can trigger acne by clogging the pores. So, unless you are ready to wipe your face constantly while eating spicy foods, choose something lighter.


Foods That May Trigger Acne

Foods that can cause acne

The relationship between food and acne is still under debate.3 However, certain studies suggest that sugar, cow’s milk, and processed food may be the reason for an acne flare up.4


1. Sugar

If sugar is causing an acne breakout, decide if the taste is really worth it. There’s no need to assume that you’ve to completely give up on sugar. Instead, experiment with the quantity. If you are eating a lot of sugar on a daily basis, more oil is released from the skin, which can cause a breakout. Try reducing the sugar intake and see if notice any difference.

2. Cow’s Milk

Although the exact reason is not clear, scientists show a link between drinking cow’s milk and acne breakouts.5 Cow’s milk can cause a spike in blood sugar, which in turn increases your insulin levels and the production of oil on your skin. The excess oil production clogs pores, resulting in pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. Additionally, cow’s milk contains hormones that may cause an overgrowth of skin cells that may lead to blocked or clogged skin pores.


3. Processed food

Processed food is easily digested by the body, causing insulin spikes and increasing your blood sugar. This can result in inflammation, which is the main cause of acne. Avoid cakes, cookies, and white rice as they have a high glycemic index and are broken down easily. Instead, go for whole grains, vegetables, and brown rice, which keep your blood sugar stabilized and prevent inflammation.

It is important to note that every individual reacts differently to different foods. If you are experiencing breakouts, make small changes in your diet to identify the acne triggers. To avoid acne, exfoliate your skin regularly to prevent the clogging of pores and follow a balanced diet.