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Acne Diet Plan

clear skin diet & foods to avoid that cause acne

An acne diet can be adopted to help settle the underlying drivers of acne formation. It was once wrongly believed that diet did not impact acne. Over a decade ago, groundbreaking research from RMIT University and the Department of Dermatology at The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne provided scientific evidence that an acne diet plan could help settle acne. The full original clear skin diet published by Women’s Weekly at the time was revolutionary. With the emerging science of the gut microbiome and the gut’s role in skin health, there is now a clearer understanding of how diet affects acne and the gut microbiome’s role in acne formation. What has remained the same is the need for the elimination of sugars, processed carbohydrates and dairy. Additional information on the importance of lower meat protein and the role of omega 3, probiotics, zinc and vitamin D in assisting settling gut and skin microbiome dysbiosis to gain clearer skin. Our clinical nutritionists and naturopaths implement gut healing protocols with acne diet modifications to assist in settling acne.

Acne Diet Summary

  • Reduce sugars and high gi carbohydrates in your diet.
  • Increase plant-based foods, fresh vegetables and fruit, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
  • Eliminate dairy.
  • Increase plant-based protein

Foods To Avoid That Cause Acne

  • Avoid sugary drinks, soft drinks, fruit juice, milk (including in your flat white)
  • Avoid white bread, white rice, pastries etc
  • Avoid biscuits, cakes, lollies, low-quality chocolates.
  • Avoid processed foods and foods with added sugars (check the labels)

How Long Does Clear Skin Diet Plan Take To Work?

The original clear skin diet plan was shown to reduce acne by 50% over 12 weeks. Eating whole foods such as proteins and vegetables stop insulin spiking caused by sugars and junk carbohydrates. They decrease inflammation and so may also have a role in preventing new outbreaks of acne. So your anti-acne diet plan should be considered an ongoing healthy eating plan. The acne diet has all sorts of other potential health benefits like preventing a host of chronic disease.

Acne Diet an integral part of your treatment plan

At Pearl, we advise adopting the acne diet plan as part of a broader gut healing and acne treatment. Depending on your acne’s type and severity, our team will provide more natural treatment options to settle your acne.

The first step is a complimentary assessment with our therapists, who can devise a skin barrier and inflammation settling plan. You can undertake our gut health questionnaire, and we would recommend referral to our Clinical Nutritionists & Naturopaths. Our therapists provide LED, extraction facials, chemical peels, BBL all aimed at settling acne.

There is a charge to see our Nutritionists, but there is a rebate available on many private health funds.  The cost of the first consultation is $130 – $160. Our team address acne from outside in, as well as inside out.

Call us on 3350 5447 to book an assessment with our Team.


Why a Western Diet Causes Acne.

The Western diet is characterised by high-calorie high sugar load, increased dairy products, high saturated fat and meat intake. The primary driver of acne appears to be the overactivation of the mTORC1 pathway by components of the western diet.

The enzymes mTORC1 is responsible for the activation of cell growth as well as protein and oil production. At puberty, the mTORC1 pathways are activated to accomplish the growth spurt. However, normal mTORC1 activation does not cause acne. (as witnessed in populations who do not have a westernised diet – acne does not occur at puberty). It is the superimposed signalling from a Western Diet that leads to acne.

Activation of the mTORC1 pathway by nutrients is relatively understood. However, there is emerging evidence of the role of nutrients from the diet and the cross-talk between the gut microbiota and the mTOR pathway and the impact on the bodies homeostasis. All of these lead to undesirable acne.

What causes over activation of mTORC1.

mTORC1 is activated by various food signals such as sugar, insulin, insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) and amino acids – principally leucine.  Dairy products not only contain sugars that stimulate IGF-1 and insulin; it is also high in leucine, providing a double whammy.

  • mTORC1 is activated by several nutrient pathways typical of the western diet, including high sugar and high glycaemic load, high meat intake, high dairy intake, (leucine)
  • The Western diet stimulates all three major pathways important for mTORC1 activation.

But wait – it does not stop at acne.

Other mTORC1 driven diseases include obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, so correction of diet potentially prevents a range of chronic diseases later in life. Changing mTORC1 signalling is possible by increasing the consumption of plant-based foods.

  • Decrease total energy intake by increasing nutrient-dense foods (plant-based)
  • Eliminate hyperglycaemic carbohydrates (sugars and high GI carbohydrates found in processed carbohydrates and grains)
  • Increase legumes and bean groups
  • Eliminate insulin and IGF- 1 producing dairy
  • Restrict leucine-rich meat and dairy protein (increase plant-based proteins)

Melnik B. Dietary intervention in acne: Attenuation of increased mTORC1 signaling promoted by Western diet. Dermatoendocrinol. 2012;4(1):20-32. doi:10.4161/derm.19828

(S. Fitz-Gibbon et al. J. Invest. Dermatol. 133, 2152–2160; 2013).


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