Can Keto Diet Reduce or Cause Acne Breakouts?

The ketogenic diet, which is often referred to as ‘keto diet,’ has attracted a lot of buzz in the recent past. Supporters of this diet, which put more emphasis on increasing protein and fat intake and limiting carbs, use it to lose weight. Critics argue that it is not sustainable and can even promote unhealthy living.

Now, there is another debate- keto diet can have a significant effect on your skin, possibly help or even worsen acne. But are these claims true? Can keto diet cause skin problems?

Well, in this post, we will cover more on the relationship between the keto diet and acne.

If you suffer from frequent acne and wondering whether or not a keto diet can help improve acne, keep reading this to learn more.

So, Is Keto Good For Acne?

While there are divergent views from medical practitioners and researchers about this topic, at least most of them agree that carbohydrate consumption can accelerate facial breakouts.

By reducing your carbohydrate consumption, you may be able to clear up your skin and prevent future acne outbreaks.

Although trials and studies on keto diet and acne are yet to be concluded, many people who are on keto diet claim that their skin becomes clearer with time.

Here is a brief of some of the studies that focus on the effect of keto diets on acne;

– Ketogenic diets decrease insulin levels. High insulin levels increase the production of sebum, skin cells, and androgens. All these often drive acne progression (1)

– Ketogenic diet and low carb diets reduce inflammation. Inflammation sets the stage for acne eruptions. (2)

– Ketogenic diets decrease levels of IGF-1. IGF-1 increases sebum production, which plays a major role in acne eruptions (3)

– Too much fat can from the keto diet cause overproduction of sebum, which may lead to acne (4)

Although there is a need for more studies and research, the emerging evidence for the benefits of keto diet in acne reduction is promising.

By cutting carbs and increasing fat intake and protein consumption, it makes sense that keto diet can be beneficial when it comes to reducing acne eruptions.

Yes, it may seem counter-intuitive to increase fat intake as recommended in virtually all keto diets, but by reducing carbohydrates, you are likely to get clearer skin.

Keep in mind that you must be increasing the intake of the right fats and cutting back on carbs.

In most cases, carbohydrates are responsible for causing excessive inflammation. And by reducing inflammation, you will reduce the chances of getting an acne breakout.

Remember that when increasing fat intake, it must be the right fat. The right fats, especially the omega-3s, may help soothe itchy, dry skin.

Now that we have covered more on how keto can help reduce acne breakout, let’s flip the coin and discuss the negative side of this diet.

Can Keto Diet Cause Skin Problems?

While keto diet can be beneficial for most people in terms of clearing the skin, for some, it can worsen their acne.

One reason this may occur is because of an increase in the production of sebum on the skin, which can increase the risk of acne. A study done in 2015 found that high-fat diets can increase the production of acne. (4)

If you experience an acne breakout because of switching to keto diet, here are some of the tips you can follow to reduce the severity of your acne;

Hydrate. Keto diet can suck moisture out of your skin leaving you dry and irritated, and thus you should up your water intake

Limit lactose. Try to avoid foods that are high in lactose such as whey-based proteins and dairy products as they tend to increase acne breakout

Use hydrating products to plump up your dehydrated, dull-looking skin

Exfoliate. Have a nighttime face wash routine that exfoliates your skin several times in a week. This helps to clear out excess dirt, grime, and oils that may have accumulated from your face.


While studies are still in preliminary stages, there are many reasons to believe that keto diets can help improve acne.

If you need more information on how keto diet affects your skin, we have another exhaustive guide on this topic. You can find it here.