Top Food Allergens Known to Cause Cystic Acne


When most people approach acne treatment, they think of topical medications, creams and lotions. They think of taking antibiotics or vitamin A supplements. And while these treatments can be effective, they sometimes ignore the underlying problem that caused the acne in the first place. For some, this means weeding out potential food allergies that have been linked to cystic acne to see if they are the trigger for your particular case.

A woman examines acne on her face.
A woman examines acne on her face. (Image: Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images)


Dairy products are one of the most often cited food allergens. A reaction can result in a simple quickening of the pulse, hives or even shock. However, some people don't realize that acne is a symptom as well. While an allergy blood test is the best way to determine your allergens, you can monitor your resting heart rate, then take it again after eating dairy to see if there is a significant difference. If there is, you likely have a dairy allergy.

A variety of cheeses on a cutting board.
A variety of cheeses on a cutting board. (Image: Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images)


Gluten is found in many foods, particularly wheat, rye, oats and barley. An allergy to gluten can be fairly serious, causing abdominal pain and digestive problems, as well as hives and rashes. That being said, acne can also be a result of this allergic reaction. You can perform the pulse test after eating foods containing gluten as well to gain an idea if you are allergic.

A turkey sandwich on whole grain bread.
A turkey sandwich on whole grain bread. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)


One of the most serious food allergies occurs in those who have an allergy to shellfish. While the most common symptoms of this allergy include hives, rashes and swelling of the face and throat, acne can sprout up as well. If you notice that your acne worsens after eating shellfish, you may wish to have an allergy blood test down to be sure.

A plate of raw oysters.
A plate of raw oysters. (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)


Soy is used in numerous food products these days as a filler and as food products on its own. However, many people report allergies to the substance, making an allergic reaction that shows itself as acne likely. Should you notice your acne getting worse after eating foods that have soy in them, you may wish to discontinue use of said products.

A piece of tofu sushi.
A piece of tofu sushi. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

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