Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size
A
A
A

Acne FAQ

Almost everyone has had at least mild acne at some point. Acne is the most common of all skin disorders, affecting some 40-50 million Americans. A generation or so ago, it was thought that eating too many sweet or greasy foods caused acne; now doctors know much more about why breakouts happen and how to treat them.

Can what I eat cause acne breakouts?

Generally, no. The primary trigger of most cases of acne is the fluctuation of hormones. Hormones stimulate the oil glands to produce more sebum, which can block pores. Bacteria can then grow within the pores, causing them to become inflamed and break out.

That happens at times of major hormonal change, such as during the menstrual cycle, and during the teen years, no matter what you eat. So despite what your grandmother told you, eating too many potato chips won’t make you break out in pimples.

But there some evidence that certain diets may have an effect on acne, says Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, MD, PhD, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine. Studies, such as one published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, have suggested that high consumption of dairy products raises the risk of getting acne because of the hormones in milk, cheese, and yogurt. However, subsequent studies have not supported the theory.

Still other studies of acne's relationship to nutrition have shown that a diet with a high glycemic index, such as white breads, waffles, and other carbs, worsens acne.

Should I stop wearing makeup if I have acne?

You don’t have to stop wearing makeup altogether, but you might try switching brands or going with a different type. If you’re noticing breakouts along the sides of your temples, hair creams or gels might be exacerbating your acne, says Alexiades-Armenakas. Look for cosmetics and toiletries with the label “noncomedogenic,” meaning that they don’t clog pores.

Does acne mean I’m not keeping my face clean enough?

Not necessarily. In fact, scrubbing too hard at your face can aggravate your acne, and using alcohol-based astringents can dry out the skin. Acne is triggered by hormones, and while gentle, regular cleansing with soap and warm water can sometimes help with mild breakouts, more significant acne requires more than just good hygiene.

Today on WebMD

Girl with acne
See if you know how to control your acne.
happy woman with clear skin
Triggers and treatments for blackheads, whiteheads, and cystic acne.
 
Bride with acne
Dos and don’ts for hiding breakouts.
close-up of a young man soaping his face
Why adults get acne and how to treat it.
 
Doctors
Article
Boy cleaning acne face
Quiz
 
HPV Vaccine Future
Video
beauty cream
Article
 
Bride with acne
Slideshow
Woman applying mineral makeup
Slideshow
 
69x75_mineral_makeup.jpg
Video
Arrows pointing on teen girl blemish
Quiz