Acne Relief: The Clear Skin Diet

Why is it that teens in New Guinea and Paraguay have no acne? Or in Kenya, rural Japan, or Malaisia, for that matter? The reason goes against the commonly held viewpoint of most dermatologists who think acne isn’t caused by diet.

A seminal study on acne published in the Archives of Dermatology in 2002, reported that there was not one single case of acne—zero—in two non-Westernized populations studied for a diet-acne connection. One population was in New Guinea and the other Paraguay.

What do these two cultures have in common? They were eating the diet of our hunter-gatherer ancestors: Food you could hunt, gather, pluck or fish, what Loren Cordain, Ph.D., author of the study and book by the same name, calls The Paleo Diet.

Some of these natural Paleo Diets are purely plant-based. The key appears to be that there is nothing refined, processed, but instead are diets high in fiber and low in sugar.

Cordain hypothesizes that a diet that produces high levels of the hormone insulin is partly the culprit when it comes to insulin. Insulin spikes in response to sugar and processed carbohydrates.

Could it be that those with acne don’t metabolize sugar very well?

Other possible culprits of acne include milk and lack of fresh vegetables. As reported in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, a significant positive association was found between acne and milk intake. Further, diets rich in plant foods contain huge amounts of antioxidants and natural anti-inflammatories.

Here are natural prescriptions for acne:

  • Eat the Paleo Diet: No grains, dairy, beans, or soy; eat foods high in protein, vegetables, fruits (especially berries), nuts, and omega fats. Eat only whole foods are high in fiber and low in sugar.
  • Saw palmetto (an herb derived from the dried, ripe berry of the American dwarf palm); 320 mgcapsule. Or use Clearogen ( Both are used to balance hormones.
  • Zinc: 30 mg two or three times a day, use 30 mg for maintenance.
  • Essential fatty acid supplement or fish oil.
  • GLA (gamma-Linolenic acid, an omega-6 essential fatty acid found primarily in vegetables: 320 mg capsule.
  • Tea tree oil topically (an essential oil available from most health food stores).
  • Azelic acid (an anti-inflammatory): Use as directed.

Adapted from The Most Effective Natural Cures on Earth, by Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S. (Fair Winds, 2008).

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Fi T.
Fi T.about a year ago

Our diet and lifestyle help a lot

Teresa W.
Teresa W.about a year ago

spamer flagged

Teresa W.
Teresa W.about a year ago

Anyway, I'd rather go breatharian.

Teresa W.
Teresa W.about a year ago

The Paleo diet? Hmmm... polar bears don't get acne, nor do tigers...

Teresa W.
Teresa W.about a year ago

I agree with Linda.

Arial Bargeon
Arial B.1 years ago

I'm 23 years old and I still have terrible acne, it's such a confidence destroyer :/ I love dairy too much to give it up, but I will definitely work on my sugar intake since I have multiple reasons to do so now. Thank you for the article! I'll also be trying the tea tree oil and maybe the saw palmetto and zinc.

Carole R.
Carole R.1 years ago

Wish I had heard this years ago. Hope it works.

Elena T.
Elena Poensgen1 years ago

Thank you :)

Linda Wallace
Linda Wallace1 years ago

Not so sure that a diet high in protein is a good thing.