How to Get Rid of Acne Naturally Part 1 (Food to Help Acne)

For many people, the key factor in how to get rid of acne is based on consistently making better food choices and choosing real foods over processed foods. Check out this post for tips on how to heal acne naturally and for food-based solutions that actually make a difference! This post is Part 2 of a three-part series focused on how to get rid of acne naturally. Part 2 is all about lifestyle swaps and Part 3 covers topical solutions for acne | Primally Pure

→ This post is the first of a 3-part series focused on how to get rid of acne naturally. Check out Part 2, which focuses on lifestyle factors, and Part 3, which will cover topical solutions for acne.

As a teenager/young adult, I was prescribed various pills and topical creams for acne. 

You name it – I’ve more than likely tried it at some point.

Some of these treatments worked for a little while – and some didn’t work at all. But none of the creams, pills, and treatments were a true solution to my problem. 

They didn’t address the underlying issues that were causing me to break out in the first place. It was a bandaid fix that would never truly heal my skin from within. 

No wonder none of these acne solutions ever “stuck.”

Once I changed my diet, I began to see real and lasting improvement in the quality of my skin. That’s exactly why I want to start with dietary factors in this 3-part series on how to get rid of acne naturally. 

While it’s not a fix-all, it IS a solution that’ll bring abundant health in all areas, regardless of your specific outcomes with acne. But the good news is that for many people, consistently making better food choices does play a huge role in curing acne. So if you’re struggling with acne, know you’re not alone, but there are changes you can make – starting today. :)

There are three essential categories to cover when it comes to healing acne naturally. Let’s start with the foods to avoid for acne. This is the first step in cleaning up your diet.

Foods to Avoid for Acne

As important as it is to nourish your body + skin with the right food to help acne, it’s just as important (if not more!) to know what kinds of foods to avoid for acne. 

A note about acne from a holistic perspective: Acne can often indicate inflammation in your body. And processed foods are often the culprits. We all know processed foods aren’t great for us, but when you start looking at inflammation levels in someone eating whole foods vs. processed foods, the results don’t lie. 

Some of the biggest inflammatory food groups include items like:

  • Gluten: When giving up gluten, focus on eating real food carbs such as potatoes, plantains, and white rice instead of gluten-free junk food. I know it’s tempting, but many gluten-free alternatives are just as processed and are also on the list of foods to avoid for acne.
  • Dairy Products: Many people are sensitive to dairy, and their gut doesn’t process it well. So while dairy products may be fine for your body, they definitely can’t safely stay in the category of “food to help acne.” 
  • Low-Quality Fats: Canola, vegetable, soybean, and seed oils (sunflower, safflower) are highly processed and should be avoided. These oils are unstable + many are formulated with chemical processes. 
  • Nuts and seeds: Generally, nuts and seeds are tolerable for most people in small amounts. Just don’t overdo it. 
  • Anything with SUGAR: This is mostly about refined sugar. But even natural sugars like fruit and honey have the potential to cause issues in some cases if you overdo it. 

The bottom line when it comes to determining which foods to avoid for acne: We’re all unique and process certain foods differently. 

But using these as a starting point, you can eliminate common triggers like dairy and gluten completely (for at least a month) to see how you feel. Seriously limiting or eliminating sugar and/or nuts and seeds for a period may also be helpful.

Your skin won’t change overnight, but give it time, and you’ll see how much impact nutrition has on your skin’s health. 

And you may find you’re able to slowly re-introduce some of these foods. It all depends on how your body reacts to them. If your skin tends to be more reactive (or if you’re just looking to clean up your diet + get healthier), the paleo diet could be a good option to explore!

When in doubt, choose whole foods. But the good news is, even when a craving strikes, there are far more holistic-focused + organic companies creating excellent alternative foods, minus the inflammatory ingredients. 

Just be mindful of balance with your diet. Indulging every once in a while won’t ruin your skin. Just limit it to special occasions + celebrations. 

Now let’s discuss which foods you should be eating more of. Because yes, there is such a thing as eating delicious food to help acne!

Foods to Eat More Of: Food to Help Acne

Just as certain foods can make acne worse, some can also improve it! It’s not just a far-fetched idea – there are plenty of options if you’re looking for food to help acne.

Our cells are literally created from the foods we eat. That’s why I believe we can use food to help acne. Nutrient-rich foods not only help resolve our hormonal fluctuations and vitamin deficiencies that often cause acne, but they can also bring LIFE to tired, dull skin. In other words, food can provide natural healing for acne.

Based on my experience from both sides, I’m all about using food to help acne before diving into expensive treatments or risky medications + topicals. Choosing nourishing foods is one of the most natural ways you can assist your skin in healing from the inside out.

Food is such a powerful factor in how we feel on the inside + look on the outside. 

Here are a few of my favorite foods to eat on the go or with my family at home for a healthy + balanced complexion:

  • Healthy Fats: Unlike unstable seed oils that can damage cells, healthy fats can stabilize blood sugar + hormones. They can even build strong + resilient cells, so it’s crucial to consume healthy fats regularly. Some of my favorites include coconut oil, tallow, ghee, olive oil, and avocado oil.
  • Fermented Foods: This includes items like sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, or yogurt. These foods contain natural probiotics that can help boost beneficial gut bacteria. Healthy gut = healthy skin.
  • Pasture-raised meats: Another dose of healing foods for acne comes from meat from happy animals raised outside – and fed a diet they were designed to consume. These kinds of meat are more pricey, but you’ll get the most nutrients + the least toxins.
  • Bone BrothBone broth is also an abundant source of vital minerals since it’s packed with gut-healing and collagen-boosting gelatin. 
  • Vegetables: This may be a common suggestion, but trust me. Indulge in different types of veggies, and lots of them! Veggies are rich in vitamins and can help flush out the excess hormones sometimes responsible for acne. And as a woman, you can even choose specific foods to complement your hormonal cycles. 

What do you think of these healing foods for acne? Pretty straightforward, right? You don’t have to eat ALL of these foods every day. Take it one day at a time, making more skin-loving choices, and you’ll be on your way.

And in the meantime, check out these food-based supplements + superfoods you can benefit from in small, simple, routine servings.

Food-Based Supplements + Superfoods

Choosing food to help acne doesn’t always have to look like a main part/portion of your meal. Or maybe expenses are tight, and pasture-raised foods and fresh liver aren’t in the budget. 

Don’t worry, there are plenty of superfoods + real food-based supplements that anyone and everyone can take. A little bit goes a long way! Here are my favorite ways to get an extra boost of skin-loving nutrients:

  • Cod Liver Oil: Contains a powerhouse combination of skin-healing nutrients, including vitamins A, D, E, and K2.
Tip: Fish oils can, unfortunately, have questionable processing + transparency. This is the only brand I recommend.
  • Egg Yolks: The yolks in eggs (especially pasture-raised) are dense with vitamin A in a highly-digestible form that supports skin health. You’ll also find plenty of other nutrients, healthy fats, and protein in egg yolks. 
  • Probiotics: A quality probiotic supplement can help promote good gut bacteria and give you an added boost to food-source probiotics. A balanced gut is critical for skin health and overall health. 
Tip: Unfortunately, most drugstore or grocery store probiotic brands are low quality and not worth your time (or money). You’ll want to do some research to find the best brand/type for you and your body. I recommend this brand.
  • Turmeric: Seriously, this reduces inflammation like a beast! Fresh turmeric is best, but you can also find it in capsule form, which is how I get my daily dose of turmeric (it’s just so easy that way).
  • Beef Liver: It may not be the most popular superfood due to its flavor, but trust me on this one as a food to help acne. When sourced from grass-fed cows, beef liver is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. It’s also rich in vitamin A, Omega 3, CoQ10, and Alpha lipoic acid (a powerful antioxidant) – all of which support healthy skin.
Tip: Check out my liver smoothie recipe – making it easy + yummy to get your daily dose in!

Nourishing Foods = Happy Skin

As I said, food to help acne is just part of the equation. Fixing your skin won’t happen quickly – natural remedies or not. 

But don't underestimate the power of a whole-food, nutrient-dense diet. With some tweaks and a little intentional focus, it IS possible to begin healing your skin from within. And that’s when lasting change happens. 

Stay tuned for our next posts on lifestyle and topical tips.

Until then, prioritize food to help acne, and let your body do the rest.


    What has worked for you in terms of eating for better skin? Let us know in the comments!

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    Bethany McDaniel

    Bethany is the Founder of Primally Pure and lives in Southern California with her husband and two daughters. Having used all sorts of harsh prescription creams to treat her acne as a teenager and young adult (and dealing with red, raw, irritated skin as a result), Bethany was blown away by the effects she eventually experienced after ditching the harsh chemicals and replacing them with natural ingredients. Bethany’s journey inspired her to start Primally Pure (with an initial $250 order for ingredients + supplies) to help others experience the benefits of using clean products. In addition to leading the PP Team and envisioning new product ideas, Bethany is passionate about all things clean living, biohacking and personal growth - as well as taking regular tropical vacations with her family to reset + refresh.