3 Acne Food Myths You Should Stop Believing

Our users often ask if their diet affects acne and the answer is YES.  What you eat can increase or decrease sebum production.  However, it isn’t what you’d expect … so let’s first start off by debunking some long-held, myths spread by our well-meaning grandmas:

  • Eating oily foods does not cause more oily skin:

    There are a number of studies that have shown that consuming greasy foods does not result in more oily skin.  Let’s put this one right alongside the old wives tale that every grain of rice that you don’t finish in your rice bowl will turn into a pimple.

  • There is no evidence that “heaty” foods cause acne:

    There are no credible studies that we’ve seen that link the “heaty-ness” of foods to acne.  However, we do recognize that the body is a complex system and concur that we should all eat a balanced diet which includes fresh fruits and vegetables (see below).

  • Little evidence that Chinese herbal medicines reduce acne:

    Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have claimed that drinking/eating a variety of herbs can treat acne. However, there is little evidence or studies shown to prove these claims.

    The issue with herbal medications is that it’s hard to know what you are getting since there is little regulation regarding the contents and concentration of active ingredients in these herbs. At Clearly, we focus on medications that have a strong track record of stopping acne. Our Clear Out formulation uses retinol, AZA and Amazonian tea tree oil which have been well documented to stop acne and foster scar repair.

A. Foods That Increase Oily Skin:

Here are the foods which boost sebum production and therefore trigger more breakouts on acne prone skin.

  • French fries, instant noodles:

    Wait, didn’t we just write that greasy foods have no relation to acne? The issue with fries and instant noodles is not the grease but rather the starch. Refined starches boost up blood sugar, insulin and ultimately the production of androgen hormones.

    Why does this matter? Harken back to those wonderful teenage years when hormones would kick sebum production into overdrive and cause a wave of breakouts. A binge of refined carbs may create a similar effect, so moderation is key. Cut back on white rice and white noodles and opt for whole grains instead.

  • Soda:

    A 12-ounce can of regular Coke contains 39 grams of sugar … over 9 teaspoons.

    Similar to refined carbs, the sugar in soda will quickly boost up blood sugar, insulin and ultimately the production of sebum.

  • Milk:

    Reconsider drinking that glass of milk. Approximately 90% of Asian adults are lactose intolerant.

    Every individual’s response to lactose may be different but increased sebum and mucous production are common symptoms of lactose intolerance.

B. Foods to Make Your Skin Happy:

Your skin is a reflection of your total body health so we cannot stress the importance of eating a healthy balanced diet and drinking enough water.  We should be consuming 4-5 fist-sized portions of fruits and veg every day and drinking 8 to 12 cups of water. The key is to maintain long-term healthy habits.  Below are some easy ways to get started:

  • Drink water before you drink another beverage:

    Start your day with a glass of water before you eat or drink anything else.  Repeat again right before you’re about to have a cup of coffee or any other drink.  This fills you up on the good stuff so you drink less of the junky stuff.

  • Add fruit to your snack routine:

    Let your mid-day snack start or end with  a few pieces of whole fruits.  Nab a few good-looking pieces from a fruit stall or bring something easy from home.  Having snacks on hand that’s perishable forces us to eat it more often.

  • Color Code Your Veg:

    Veggies not your thing?  Make it fun by picking a food color a day to eat, just to keep it exciting.  How?  Have a green day, focused on dark greens (ie:  spinach, long beans, avocados, etc…), then a red day (tomatoes, bells peppers, beets), etc…

C. Hitting Close to Home:

In 2010, a study was done on 1,285 Koreans where those who ate a healthy diet of fish and vegetables were compared against a group which ate instant noodles, carbonated drinks, processed cheese and junk food.

The study showed that “a high glycemic load diet, processed cheese, a high-fat diet, and iodine play a role in the exacerbation of acne in Koreans.”

In another study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, researchers found that following a low-glycemic, high-protein diet for 12 weeks improved acne in men.

Clearly has developed a line of over-the-counter products that you can easily integrate into your routine to keep acne away.

The Clear Out combines three active ingredients in order to hit acne from multiple angles. Use the Lighten Up to fade the redness from post-acne marks once the Clear Out does its work. Save 8% by ordering both items together in a Duo set:


See what others have to say about Clearly Basics.

@carliedaniel18 I have suffered with acne since i was 13, After years of medication, and spending absolutely £1000s on products that didn’t work i decided to try prescription oral medication, and it was the hardest 8 months of my life. I got all the side affects, and even though eventually it did clear my skin after being off it for just 3 months my skin got bad again especially hormonally!

I then came across clearly basics, although the reviews were good I was very reluctant as it wasn’t cheap and could be another dud that didn’t work! Eventually I gave in as I always do and it was the best decision ever! I can’t believe I hadn’t come across this sooner, my skin has cleared up so much. It’s made my skin soft and glowy as well, it genuinely is everything in a bottle!

@_myskinstory 😭 I feel like I’m an addict and someone has taken away my drugs 😂

Saturday night I came to the end of my @clearlybasics Clear Out bottle. After consistently applying it every night for 3 months along side Niacinamide & Zinc so last night I had nothing to apply. (Right picture: a few days previous. Left picture: This morning) As soon as I woke up I knew it different feel great! 😭

Regardless off the other amazing benefits that a 2% Retinol & AZA has; I JUST WANT MY GLOW BACK!! I’ll dedicate my next post to the ingredients and how they ‘clearly’ work!!

@beas.bareskin Clearly Basics have been with me for about a week and I’m so happy I’ve been using their product!!!!!

My fave between these 3 is the “Lighten up” one because it has definitely helped with the redness! The redness on my cheeks are slowly dimming down and the texture of my skin is so soft and smooth.

You may not be able to tell cuz pictures don’t do it justice but if you were to have felt my skin before I used their products compared to now you can definitely feel the difference !!!

@mysevereacneblog I’ve been using @clearlybasics for over 4 months but here’s a difference from June 3rd and August 2nd!

The ingredients in @clearlybasics Clear Out is AMAZING for hyperpigmentation.

A complete GAME CHANGER!

@pimpledgirl The 1st week was amazed! Fascinating skin texture, there were no stinging. The 2nd week were pretty same. The 3rd week – purging starred – bumpy skin, redness. The 4th week – same but I added #ProtectiveMoisturiser either from @clearlybasics and in three days redness was reduced. The 5-6th weeks – skin smoother, less red, breaking out badly. The 7-8th week – is it my skin? not red (even after washing as it used to be).

I’d say the amount of pustules has been reduced in 85%. I still have some tiny-tiny pimples and will keep going with mu treatment. • Honestly I’m very grateful to Clearly Basics • I’ll keep you updated.

@roxyrogan I have struggled with hormonal acne for over 1 year and had tried every face cream, scrub & peel you could find! When I started with Clearly Basics my skin started to clear within using the first bottle of ‘Clear Out’!

My skin is now on the road to recovery and I still use Clearly Basics ‘Clear Out, Protective Moisturizer and Lighten Up’ products every day! Highly recommend clearly basics to anyone who’s suffering from stubborn acne! 💛

Results may vary