Written by 6:09 am Food

What does food allergy acne look like?

Food allergy acne on woman's face

Millions of Americans experience allergy symptoms all year round, which ranks allergies as one of the most frequent chronic diseases. Although most reactions are mild, some can be severe and caused by pet dander, pollen, mold, dust mites, or food.

Studies show that approximately 85 million Americans suffer from a food allergy, which can occur when the immune system releases antibodies to fight the food protein, which appears as a threat. This can cause inflammation, mild itchiness or even anaphylaxis. Researchers have also discovered that the inflammation of the gut represents a link between food intolerances and acne.

But what does food allergy acne look like and what are the connections between allergenic foods and Leaky Gut Syndrome? Read below to find out more.

What are food allergies?

A food allergy occurs when the body’s immune system reacts unusually to a food protein and mistakes them as a threat, releasing antibodies to fight it. This can cause a host of inflammation, headaches, brain fog as well as eczema or acne.

If you are allergic to a specific food, the reaction can occur within minutes or up to a few hours and although most of them are mild reactions, these can also be life-threatening. If you develop any symptoms, make sure you check in with a board-certified allergy specialist, who can provide the best action for your condition, and give alternative testing options besides the elimination diet. There is no cure for food allergies, but medical diagnosis and avoiding the specific foods that cause the allergic reaction are the best ways to prevent serious symptoms and health effects.

Can food allergies cause acne?

The short answer to this question is yes, but there is a more complex process behind it. Acne is a common skin condition which affects not only teenagers but adults as well. It causes pimples, that can be painful to touch sometimes, and oily skin. Around 80% of acne cases are inherited, but it turns out that food allergies which cause Leaky Gut Syndrome can contribute to developing acne.

What is the Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Leaky gut syndrome, or inflammation of the gut is a digestive condition where the intestinal lining allows bacteria and toxins to pass through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream. These can also alter skin microbes and cause the overgrowth of skin bacteria, such as Cutibacterium acnes. The body responds by fighting these toxins, which leads to systemic inflammation, which also inflames your acne. Therefore, while intestinal permeability may not be the main cause of your acne, it certainly can cause a more inflamed and persistent case of the condition.

What are the symptoms of a leaky gut?

The most common symptoms associated with intestinal permeability are:

  • Gas and bloating from fermentation by overgrown bacteria in your gut
  • Diarrhea
  • Low energy/fatigue
  • Painful indigestion

If you experience any of the symptoms above, make sure you get yourself checked by a board-certified allergy specialist like Arizona Allergy Associates, who can help you determine the root cause and recommend the best treatment plan for you.

Common allergenic foods that can lead to acne

According to multiple studies and information found on WebMD, consuming the following foods can cause acne, and, if you manage to keep them out of your diet, your acne can disappear altogether.

  • Refined grains: once absorbed into the bloodstream, these are the culprit of high blood sugar levels. This means that your body will produce more insulin and trigger acne.
  • Dairy: These products also increase insulin levels and stimulate the production of a substance called IGF-1, which is responsible for acne flare-ups.
  • Added Sugar: Just like refined grains, they impact your blood sugar and insulin levels, which causes inflammation.
  • Fast Food: Anything from burgers, nuggets, sodas or French fries is highly inflammatory, so better to avoid them altogether.
  • Processed Meats: Because they contain preservatives, artificial hormones or antibiotics, they contribute to inflammation and therefore, acne.


As seen above, if you have certain food intolerances, these can lead to inflammation of the gut, which contributes to the appearance of acne. If you have any questions about your diet and how this affects your skin condition, contact your healthcare provider.