What is the link between diet and acne?

Acne, just like other skin conditions, is a representation of what’s going on inside your body!


It’s important to look at all the factors that contribute to or exacerbate this condition, but for now let’s look at the first and foremost thing to address: diet. Most people know that sugar is a culprit for pimples – we’ve all woken up with one or five after indulging in chocolate a bit too much the day before. But what are the exact mechanisms behind this?


Insulin and Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1)

There is a major role between these hormones and SREBP-1-mediated sebaceous lipogenesis (technical term for acne formation). Enhanced IGF-1 signalling is directly correlated with diets high in glycaemic load and dairy.

Glycaemic load (GL): a calculation based on amount of carbohydrates in foods and the effect on blood sugar levels. For more info on GL, visit https://healthengine.com.au/info/glycaemic-load-gl

To put it simply,

High glycaemic load and dairy intake

Insulin, IGF-1

Androgens, mTOR

Increased sebum production, inflammation, keratinization



The milk from most dairy cows contain A1 casein, a protein which causes inflammation, disrupts the immune system and causes digestive discomfort in susceptible individuals. The damaging and inflammatory effects have a direct effect of worsening acne.


So is all dairy a problem?

Milk from goats and sheep contains A2 casein instead of A1, meaning it doesn’t have the same inflammatory action. Goats milk and yoghurt is a good option if you’re after an animal-based substitute to cow’s milk – and it has many other benefits such as helping the body absorb more nutrients from food (cow’s milk is the opposite), has prebiotics and is easier to digest. For plant-based milk alternatives, my favourites are home-made hemp milk, almond milk and cashew milk.



mTOR is also worth mentioning – it’s an enzyme that regulates metabolism and is needed for the function of muscles, adipose tissue and the liver. Elevated levels of mTOR will stimulate keratin, sebum production and inflammation, thus contributing to acne.

Other conditions linked to high insulin, IGF-1, and mTOR are PCOS, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and cancer. Treating acne by improving your diet will in turn reduce your risk for these diseases later in life.



This group of hormones have many important functions in both men and women. Increased androgens in women have a role in acne pathophysiology but are also indicated in other hormonal conditions such as PCOS. It’s best to check in with your GP or naturopath if you have any of the following symptoms as well as acne: irregular or absent periods, hirsutism (hair growth on the upper lip or chin), thinning of head on the head, weight gain or difficultly losing weight. We’ll talk more in-depth about excess androgens, PCOS and their treatments in another blog.


What dietary changes can I make?


Veggies, leafy greens, sweet potato, berries, avocado, nuts, seeds, eggs, fatty fish, green tea are your friends. Search up foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, selenium, antioxidants, vitamins A, E, C and Bs. Prebiotic and probiotic foods are also super beneficial for the skin.


This doesn’t mean giving up the sweets all together – make yummy raw desserts that contain good fats, protein and fibre. These components slow down the spike in blood sugar, and subsequently insulin, therefore reducing the glycaemic load.


Processed foods, white bread, cow’s milk, saturated fats, refined sugars, alcohol need to be reduced or avoided if you want to see results.

Artificial sweeteners are definitely not the answer, as research shows they still raise insulin levels, cause glucose intolerance, cause dysbiosis in the gut and lead to metabolic syndrome.


For phytonutrients and herbal medicine specific to enhancing and fast-forwarding the healing of acne:


Treating acne isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Making changes in the diet is just the first step in treating the problem!


We have to consider other factors to understand the whole picture, such as hormone levels, inflammation, intestinal permeability, gut function, the microbiome, and nutrient deficiencies.


It’s best to see a naturopath to determine which of these factors are at play and how to address them. Contact us on info@miss-vitality.com to book a consult or for more information.


The Miss Vitality Naturopathic Team

You can get in touch with us at pa@miss-vitality.com 

Or if you would like to take the next step in boosting your health and vitality book a free clarity session now.


Free Energy Training











Info gathered from:
Iftikhar, U., & Choudhry, N. (2019). Serum levels of androgens in acne & their role in acne severity. Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences, 35(1), 146–150. https://doi.org/10.12669/pjms.35.1.131
Liauchonak, I., Qorri, B., Dawoud, F., Riat, Y., & Szewczuk, M. R. (2019). Non-nutritive sweeteners and their implications on the development of metabolic syndrome. Nutrients, 11(3), 1–19. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11030644
Melnik, B. C. (2012). Diet in acne: Further evidence for the role of nutrient signalling in acne pathogenesis. Acta Dermato-Venereologica, 92(3), 228–231. https://doi.org/10.2340/00015555-1358



Photo by Katie Smith on Unsplash

Spring – A time to cleanse and let go!

Feeling the urge to get that Spring in your Step!


Spring is about transition, shifting and changing and the start of a new season, but also it brings about this air of wanting to cleanse and also wanting to clear out (Spring Clean). 


We may start to notice that, after the hibernation of winter, we come into spring and we feel the urge to start clearing things out. Spring cleaning, cleaning our bodies, cleaning out our pantries, our houses, our wardrobes or focussing on our health (mind and body). 


Spring can also bring about allergies and sneezing with all the pollen movement and as a health practitioner, I really start to notice that some clients are going through an immune challenge, allergies, bloating or a congestion challenge within their bodies. 


As we go through spring, we start to crave different foods, and being able to use those beautiful spring foods like your fresh veggies that are in season, and bring them into our bodies and homes and into our daily life.  Just like Spring Cleaning, Spring cleansing can be really helpful to lower congestion within your body and remove the bloating and the digestive disturbances that happen after the comfort zone of the winter hibernation (and the comfort foods that go with that). 


So get that spring in your step, notice the seasons changing and focus on the shift within us where we want to be able to increase our energy and get back into the exercise and outdoor stimulation as the weather shifts.


Cleansing takes you out of your comfort zone. It’s shifting and changing and helping your organs eliminative congestion or the toxicity that your body has been harbouring possibly by being more stagnant over winter. It’s absolutely necessary though to have that season and to draw inwards and be able to have that cleansing take place.


We need to support our body and the change that’s happening. So the best way to do that is definitely to gain some plant energy into your daily life; through juices; smoothies; fresh salads and fruit.


Miss Vitality has a spring detox and we have naturopath nutritionists that are able to support you to bring about this change to your unique state of health because everybody is different. 


And this is the thing that we can get bogged down in is that when we feel like we want to be able to shift that five kilos or shift to add digestive function into something that we know is more of a healthy space, it’s very individualized. Miss Vitality offers qualified practitioners to be able to support you. We look at your medications, your health status, and then we give you foods that are going to match that. 


So if you’re feeling a bit sluggish after winter and want to head towards getting more active in summer, feeling better in yourself, being able to lose those five kilos or just feel lighter and less congested and be more in tune with your body, then we can help you with developing a program to take your power back.


If you’re not sure of where to start, please get in touch with us. We are here. We’re ready to help you spring clean your body with the Miss Vitality Spring Detox or you can check our free energy training here


You can get in touch with us at pa@miss-vitality.com 


Or if you would like to take the next step in boosting your health and vitality book a free clarity session now.


Free Energy Training – click click












Check our bestsellers!



Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash