3 Foods To Avoid To Banish Acne and Fix Period Problems

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Diet is the cornerstone of healing any period problem, acne breakout and hormone imbalance.

Without addressing what you are putting in your mouth, no amount of supplements, herbs, dermal treatments or skin care products will truly get rid of your acne. 

The food you eat provides the building blocks for your hormones and skin cells.

I like to think of diet as addressing your skin issues from the inside-out

Most of the conventional methods of treating acne work externally on the skin.

These treatments do play a role in clearing out dead skin cells and build up in the skin, but not addressing why your spots are emerging from deeper within your body is leaving a huge piece out of the puzzle.

The good news is, a few simple tweaks to your diet can dramatically improve your acne, reduce period pain and eliminate PMS.

Let’s cover what to avoid eating to reduce acne and period problems. See my other post for foods to enjoy to reduce acne.

Acne Causing Food #1: Cow’s dairy 

Cow’s dairy contains a protein called A1 casein. 

This causes inflammation in some people due to an inability to breakdown the protein with the necessary enzymes, triggering the immune system to create inflammatory cytokines.

Several large studies have linked dairy consumption with increased experiences of acne.

One of the clues that your body responds with the type of increased inflammation that causes acne and period pain, is suffering from recurrent tonsillitis or ear infections as a child.

These infections often subside by adulthood, but are replaced with other immune system-stimulated conditions like hay fever, sinus and chest infections, asthma and eczema.

The immune system disruption caused by cow’s dairy can trigger period problems like acne, heavy periods and PMS.

 The good news is that most people who react to cow’s dairy are able to consume sheep and goat’s milk products like yoghurt and cheeses without the same inflammatory reaction.

Try Replacing Cow’s Dairy With:

  • Sheep and goats milk yoghurts and cheeses

  • Almond milk

  • Coconut milk

  • Coconut yogurt

  • Nut-based cheeses and sauces

Think you might have a hormonal imbalance?

Take my free 3-minute quiz to find out which one might be causing your symptoms and receive an individualised protocol on what to do about it:

Acne Causing Food #2: Avoid sugar

Similar to cow’s dairy, refined sugar creates inflammation in our body which can trigger and worsen acne and period problems.

Excess sugar intake is seen as a threat to our tissues and triggers the immune system to create inflammatory cytokines to repair the damage.

This increased inflammation leads to acne and period problems in a similar way to the cow’s dairy reaction described above.

When eaten in excess over a long period of time, excess sugar intake can contribute to the development of insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas in response to a carbohydrate or sugar-rich meal.

Insulin’s main role is to escort the sugar which came from our food out of our bloodstream and into our cells where it can be used for energy or stored for later use.

The problem is, when we consume sugar in excess, our body pumps out a huge amount of insulin to keep up with all the sugar we are eating. 

Over time, our cells get tired and become less responsive to the effects of insulin, eventually leading to a condition known as insulin resistance.

What Does Insulin Resistance Have To Do With Hormones And Period Problems?

Too much insulin can stimulate your ovaries to produce extra testosterone and cause irregular ovulation. 

This is why insulin resistance is estimated to be the major driver of around 70% of PCOS cases, a condition that involves irregular cycles and excess androgens like testosterone that cause classic symptoms like acne, unwanted hair growth and hair thinning on the head.

How Do You Reduce Refined Sugar In Your Diet?

Focus on eating protein-rich meals and snacks. 

This helps to stabilise your blood sugar and prevent sugar cravings.

When you do eat something sweet, opt for a single piece of fruit, a few squares of dark chocolate or a protein ball. Overtime, your tastebuds will adapt and these foods will begin to taste much sweeter.

Sugar addiction is absolutely a real thing - when you get a copy of my best selling PCOS book, the PCOS Repair Protocol, or pick up any of our natural PCOS vitamins you get a free guide on breaking up with sugar cravings forever.

Acne Causing Food #3: Vegetable oil

To create hormones, we need to eat plenty of healthy fats. 

This is a common reason why women on low-fat diets suffer from missing periods and other hormonal issues - fat literally provides the building blocks for your hormones.

When it comes to eating fat for your hormones, however - quality is extremely important.

Vegetable oils may sound healthy because of the word “vegetable” in the name, but these oils are unfortunately some of the worst fat sources for our hormones.

Vegetable oils include oils like canola, soy, corn and cottonseed oils. 

These oils cause inflammation and have been shown to raise LDL (our “bad” cholesterol) and lower HDL (our “good” cholesterol).

Vegetable oils are high in an inflammatory type of fatty acid known as omega-6. 

This type of fatty acid promotes the creation of inflammatory prostaglandins which can contribute to increased period pain, acne and PMS.

How Can You Reduce Inflammatory Omega-6 Oils In Your Diet?

Focus on the naturally anti-inflammatory omega-3 rich sources of fat.

Great Sources Of Anti-Inflammatory Omega-3 Fatty Acids Are:

  • Salmon and other oily fish (with the skin on)

  • Organic eggs

  • Grass fed meats

  • Walnuts

  • Chia seeds

  • Flax seeds

When it comes to swapping out vegetables oils for cooking at home, opt for less inflammatory oils like olive oil, grass fed butter, ghee or avocado oil.

Now that I’ve overwhelmed you with what you should be avoiding to clear your hormonal acne and experience drama-free periods, head on over to the much more positive blog on foods you can eat to banish hormonal acne and support hormone balance.

Focus on filling your plate with these hormone-loving foods, and you will naturally crowd out the 3 foods to avoid above.

Have you experimented with removing cow’s dairy, sugar or vegetable oil from your diet?

Let me know your experiences in the comments below - I’d love to hear from you.

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About The Author - Tamika Woods

Tamika Woods | PCOS Author | Nourished Natural Health
Tamika Woods, Clinical Nutritionist (B.HS; B.Ed), Bestselling Author

For a decade, Tamika battled chronic acne, irregular cycles, mood swings, hair loss, painful periods, severe digestive issues and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). You name it - she's been there!

Tam was finally able to clear her skin, regulate her cycle, be free of period pain and fall pregnant naturally with her daughter in 2020. It took Tam 10 years and tens of thousands of dollars in tertiary education to get the answers she needed to get better.

She didn’t want other women to suffer as long as she did which is why she has dedicated her life to helping women in the same position as she was.

Tam helps women interpret what their bodies are trying to communicate through frustrating symptoms, and then develop a step-by-step roadmap to find balance again. She's here to help you get on track!

Tamika Woods is the author of the Amazon best seller PCOS Repair Protocol. She holds a Bachelor of Health Science degree (Nutritional Medicine) as well as a Bachelor of Education, graduating with Honours in both.

She is a certified Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) Educator and a certified member of the Australian Natural Therapists Association (ANTA).

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