Can Allergies Cause Acne?

Officially, the cause of acne is simply a clogged pore. But, have you ever noticed that you get a breakout after eating certain foods or coming into contact with something? Can allergies cause acne, or is it just your imagination?

Discover the correlation between allergies and your skin to restore your skin barrier.

What Is Acne?

Acne is one of the most common skin conditions.  Between 40 and 50 million people in the US have recurring acne. Although most people encounter acne in their teenage years, you can also get acne in adulthood.

Acne happens as a combination of four different circumstances:

  • Excess sebum
  • Clogged pores or hair follicles
  • Excessive growth of acne-triggering bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes (P acnes)
  • The body’s inflammatory response

Unfortunately, there is no miracle cure for acne. However, you can manage it and avoid the circumstances which lead to a breakout.

Regular cleansing and using the right products to target acne-prone skin is crucial to restore a healthy and glowing skin barrier.

What Are the Causes of Acne?

Sebum and dead skin cells clog your pores, bacteria grows, and you get an acne breakout. It seems pretty straightforward, but it doesn’t mention anything about how the sebum got there.

And definitely nothing about allergies.

Apart from the science of acne described above, it helps to understand what triggers an acne breakout.

Changing hormone levels have a known link to acne. Certain medications, such as steroids, lithium, and epilepsy drugs can also trigger a breakout. Smoking is also bad for your skin.

And in some cases, allergies can actually cause acne.

5 Common Allergies That Can Cause Acne

Despite little scientific evidence, many experts believe that allergies to certain ingredients and natural fibers can cause acne.

Knowing which allergies are commonly linked to acne can help you figure out the reason for your breakouts.

These five types of common allergies can easily disrupt your skin’s health.

1. Dairy Products

A large number of studies have shown a big link between acne and dairy products.

Although some believe the real culprit is sugars in dairy products, it remains unclear exactly why milk, yogurt, butter and cheese can contribute to acne.

Yet, various studies confirmed the connection.

Many experts suggest a dairy-free diet will clear up acne. If you find that your acne gets worse when you drink milk or eat cheese, try to avoid dairy for a while and see how your skin reacts.

Dairy can be bad for your skin.

2. Refined Grains

Refined carbohydrates such as bread, crackers, pasta and various baked goods are another big trigger for acne.

This is because these carbohydrates—all based on refined grains—are very quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, causing a sudden spike in your blood sugar. This leads to your body producing more insulin which impacts your hormones, causing an imbalance that triggers acne.

While this isn’t a gluten allergy necessarily, it can impact your skin. If you find that your skin gets worse after eating a lot of carbs, it’s useful to cut down on bread and pasta for a while.

3. Junk Food

It’s no surprise that junk food is bad for us. But, have you ever thought that it triggers an allergic reaction that causes acne?

Similar to refined grains, junk food that’s high on the GI scale can raise your blood sugar quickly. This directly impacts your skin in two ways:

Firstly, it dries it out, which increases dead skin cells on the surface. Secondly, it increases sebum production. Both of these lead to clogged pores and acne.

There are a lot of reasons why quitting junk food is good for you. Add skin health to that list.

4. Pollen

Can pollen cause acne? What does pollen even have to do with skin?

This is still a subject of debate in the dermatology community. Some people believe that pollen can directly cause acne, others think it’s simply a contributing factor.

But, yes, pollen can cause acne.

On a molecular level, there’s no specific relationship between pollen and acne. But, there’s something to be said about how pollen sensitivity can irritate your skin.

This irritation disrupts your skin barrier, and this imbalance can easily lead to acne. So, your skin’s natural response to this type of allergy can result in acne.

Although, you may not even notice it when you’re struggling with hayfever.

5. Pet Dander

As with pollen, the general consensus is that pet allergies aren’t a direct cause of acne. But, they can be a contributing factor to a breakout. 

Pet allergies are much more likely to cause variations of dermatitis like hives, eczema and general itchy skin. And if you already have acne-prone skin, scratching it can make it worse. because you damage the skin and leave it open to germs and dirt.

Pet dander can cause allergies, and even acne.

How Do You Get Rid of Acne Caused by Allergies?

Getting rid of an allergy is nearly impossible. Luckily, you can get rid of acne caused by the allergy much more easily.

First, you need to limit your exposure to the allergen. If it’s a food-related allergy, cut out the acne-triggering part of your diet. If it’s a pet allergy, use calming creams and avoid scratching your skin.

Treating acne requires a targeted response.

  • Commit to a skin care routine: Creating a routine of daily cleansing and moisturizing, and weekly exfoliation can improve your skin drastically.
  • Use the right products: Salicylic acid and retinoids are two of the most effective skincare ingredients. You can also get a universal acne rescue kit that includes everything you need to fight acne.
  • Cleanse regularly: If you can’t commit to a routine, make sure you wash your face at least twice a day. This can remove sebum and dead skin cells that clog your pores.
  • Wash your makeup off before bed: Comedogenic products and makeup can clog your pores just as much as sebum or dead skin cells. Avoid these products if you can, and always wash makeup off before you go to bed.
  • Drink lots of water: Drinking water can keep your skin hydrated and prevent dry skin and flaking.

Get to Know Your Skin Better

The key to fighting acne is knowing your skin. If you know what triggers a breakout, you know how to fight it. 

And everyone’s skin is different.

Our goal at BIALife is to get you familiar with your skin. We provide personalized skin care advice based on your skin type and offer product recommendations that give you the best chance at defeating acne.

Become a BIALife member and trust board-certified dermatologists to restore your skin’s health.

With love, Janelle & Shasa

Receive a personalized consultation

Get Started