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11 Foods That Can Cause Acne Around The Mouth

I’m sure by now you know well that acne breakouts can also occur around your mouth.

What you may not be aware of, however, is that there are certain foods that can trigger this type of acne. Here are 11 foods that cause acne around the mouth.

Acne is a skin condition typically caused by clogged-up skin pores.

That is when the skin pores become blocked by a combination of excess oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells.

Acne Breakouts Around The Mouth

Acne is a common skin condition characterized by pimples on the face, neck, forehead, chest and back.

This condition is most prevalent in teenagers but can also occur at any age.

Studies show that an estimated number of people between the ages of 11 and 30 will experience at least a mild or severe form of acne at one point or the other in their lives.

Acne occurs because of blocked skin pores, that is when the pores of the skin become blocked by bacteria, dead skin cells, hair and an oily substance known as sebum.

Although acne appears on the face and other areas of the body.

People often complain of acne breakouts around their mouth, just right above the upper lips, corners of the mouth, and jaw areas. But what could cause this?

The body is composed of various oil glands, some more than others. The areas of the body with more breakouts are usually parts with more oil glands than others.

This is because pores are more susceptible to dirt, oil, and bacteria in these areas, because of their oily nature.

Breakouts vary and may be mild, occasional, severe, or moderate depending on the individual and causes.

There are several forms of acne that can occur, such as;

  • Blackheads: Mostly open bums filled with excess oil and dead skin particles.
  • Whiteheads or bumps closed by oil and dead skin cells.
  • Pustules: These are pimples filled with pus, but look like whiteheads with red rings.
  • Papules: Small looking bumps with red or pink tinge that are easily inflamed.
  • Nodules: Large, painful pimples deep in the skin.
  • Cysts: Usually pus-filled pimples that leave scars after they heal.

11 Foods That Cause Acne Around The Mouth

Sometimes acne is also triggered by food. These foods cause acne by signaling your hormones, which then leads to the production of excess oil.

When this oil (sebum) mixes with bacteria, it causes the cycle of recurring acne.

Foods more likely to cause acne include;


Dairy products like milk, cheese, yoghurt and butter should be a no-no if you often have recurring acne breakouts.

These products, especially milk, increase your insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) leading to increased production of cells and oil, making your skin pores blocked.

You can however substitute the following;

  • Milk for almond milk, cashew nut milk, hazelnut milk and coconut milk.
  • Olive oil and coconut oil rather than butter
  • Cheese replaced with cashew cheese, zucchini or pesto.
  • Coconut cream, almond milk, dark chocolates, or bananas in place of ice cream.

Refined Grains

These are refined carbohydrates, typically known as refined carbs.

This type of food has very little nutritional value because of over-processing; it is sometimes called empty calories.

They are high on the glycemic index and often cause a rapid spike in glucose. This means that they can also lead to an increase in your insulin-like growth factor.

Examples of refined carbs with little nutritional value include:

  • White bread
  • Pasta
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Pastries
  • Salad dressing
  • White potatoes
  • White rice.

Substitutes for nutritional value are whole grain foods such as oat or barley, fruits (apple, banana, or oranges in moderate amounts) brown or wild rice, whole-grain bread, and legumes.


One of the biggest foods to spike insulin levels and trigger acne breakouts.

Not only does it cause excess oil and cell growth in the skin, but it also has oxidative properties associated with cardiovascular diseases.

Sugar is used by various industries today, as many foods are made of artificial sweeteners.

If you are prone to acne, consider limiting or canceling your intake of foods like

  • Ice cream
  • Cake
  • Cocktails
  • Candy
  • Soft drinks
  • Alcohol infused beverages
  • Flavored yoghurt or super sugary things.

Switch to substitutes like dark chocolate, water or sparkling flavored water, or red wine.

Fast Foods

Fast food is a combination of the above mentioned.

They contain various fillers, oils, and highly inflammatory sugar that can trigger acne. It may be difficult to completely cut off fast foods.

You can therefore start by slowly eliminating them from your diet.

Other foods to avoid acne breakouts are;

  • Fatty foods
  • Fried chips
  • Crackers
  • Juices

Other Causes Of Acne Breakout Around The Mouth

Sometimes acne breakout around your mouth may not only be caused by what you eat.

It could be a combination of other factors and your diet. Some of these other factors include;


Hormones cause acne by triggering excess production of sebum, which clogs up your skin pores and leads to acne.

The hormone responsible for this production is known as androgen. Hormonal fluctuations in women can occur because of these factors;

  • Menstruation
  • Pregnancy
  • Puberty
  • Menopause
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Birth control

Lip Balms

The daily skincare regime is one of the most ignored causes of acne around the mouth. While these can help treat breakouts, they can also trigger acne around your mouth.

Lip balms contain wax that can easily irritate the skin around your mouth. They can clog up the skin there and cause acne.


Men also experience acne from shaving. This type of acne is most common around the chin.

it can be caused by shaving creams, oils, or shaving sticks that clog and irritate sensitive skin.

Skincare Regimen

Every individual skin type varies. Some skin types require little to no skincare effort.

Practicing an unhealthy skincare routine can cause acne, some skincare products are also known to clog up your skin pores.

High Stress Levels

Stress is a major factor in various conditions.

When you are highly stressed, your body cannot relax, leading to sleep disorders, disorientation, lack of concentration, and lifestyle changes.

All these combined or occurring separately can affect your hormone levels and cause acne.

Treatment For Acne Around The Mouth

Acne can be quite frustrating, most especially if it is severe and recurring. Besides physical effects, it can also affect individual confidence.

There are various treatment methods available for acne around the mouth, however, depending on the type of acne and cause, you might have to see a dermatologist.

He / She will work with you to find the most suitable treatment for your condition. Treatment includes;


Over-the-counter medications like creams, oils, cleansers, gels and face wash that contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can treat acne.


For severe acne, you may be prescribed an oral or topical antibiotic along with gels, cleansers or creams.

But these are only prescribed if your dermatologist finds it acceptable to you.

Isotretinoin (Accutane)

This is a powerful drug for severe acne. Although effective, it requires strict instruction, appointment, and diagnosis before it can be prescribed or sold.

This is because of the various side effects that may occur.

Light Therapy or Chemical Peel

This is a type of surgery done to peel off the top layer of the skin with clogged-up pores and acne.

How To Prevent Acne Breakout Around The Mouth

  • A healthy diet and skincare routine can help prevent acne breakouts around your mouth. This includes;
  • Use makeup brands labeled non comedogenic, this means that they do not clog up pores
  • Do not pick or pinch pimples
  • Avoid constantly touching your face
  • Reduce excess lip balm to avoid getting excesses on your skin when applying
  • Gently cleanse your skin twice daily with a mild cleanser
  • Keep oily hair products and extra strands of hair away from your face
  • Shower frequently, after a workout, exercise, or stressful event
  • Use oil free and non-clogging skin products on your face
  • Apply moisturizer and use acne-fighting agents, for those that have acne and recurrent breakouts
  • Exfoliate regularly, it helps remove dead skin cells and particles that may block skin pores
  • Get enough rest. Set a regular sleep pattern and avoid factors that trigger sleep disorders.
  • Reduce your sugar intake, limit processed foods, and avoid sugary things
  • Eat healthy, eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and proteins.
  • Limit and gradually eliminate smoking if you do
  • Cut down on alcohol intake

It is possible for you to successfully treat acne with the combination of some lifestyle changes and medications.

For acne around your mouth and chin, make sure you avoid the triggering factors like certain types of food and skincare products that can easily irritate these areas.

Wash and cleanse your face regularly with mild face wash and cleansers. Eat healthy, rest, relax and get enough sleep.

Cut down on lifestyle choices that do more harm than good.


Healthline: What Causes Acne Around The Mouth And How To Treat And Prevent It

Averr Aglow: 4 Foods That Cause Hormonal Acne

Winslow Skincare: Breakouts Around The Mouth, How To Clear Them Quickly!

Cleveland Clinic: Acne

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