Does Beef or Pork Cause Acne?

Some people with acne blame certain foods for their breakouts, according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. Conventional medical practitioners have long been denying a link between diet and acne. While foods such as beef and pork do not cause acne, they can make it worse if you’re already a victim of this stubborn skin condition. If you’ve been battling it for a while, consult a dermatologist for more information on how to treat it.

Causes of Acne

The real causes of acne include hormones, which explains why acne usually pops up initially during the teen years, a period of rampant hormonal activity. Hormones increase oil production in your skin, and along with dead skin cells, this oil clogs pores and encourage bacterial activity that causes pimples. The bacterial activity also causes inflammation, which is at its worse in cystic acne, leading to large, painful, pus-filled pimples.

Role of Beef and Pork in Acne

These two foods that are common in the American diet increase insulin levels, and in turn inflammation, which contributes to acne. Also, meats are acid-forming foods, which means they temporarily increase your body’s pH above the ideal level of 7.35 to 7.45. Too much acid in your body also increases inflammation. An anti-inflammatory diet is the key nutritional step for fighting acne, according to Nicholas Perricone, a dermatologist and author of “The Acne Prescription.” So indulging in beef and pork won’t help you achieve this goal.

Testing If Beef or Pork Triggers Your Acne

Foods that can trigger acne flares vary from person to person. The only way for you to determine if they are really a problem is to eliminate them from your diet. It may take up to six months to see any improvements, however. After that period, you can try adding the foods back into your diet to see if your acne becomes worse. If it does, it’s more likely that these foods are key triggers for your breakouts.


Although there are no studies to prove that beef or pork can trigger acne, the discovery that acne is extremely rare in cultures that do not eat these foods suggest that they play a role, notes the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. The benefits of limiting meat in your diet goes beyond getting clearer skin. For instance, these foods are linked to health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and stroke. Still, consult a dermatologist — especially one who is nutrition-focused — for advice on altering your diet to clear up acne. The dermatologist can also recommend other treatments such as over-the-counter topical remedies, prescription medications and natural acne-fighting products, such as tea tree oil.