Does Fasting Cause Acne

Does Fasting Cause Acne?

Fasting is a practice of abstaining from food for a specific period of time. It has been practiced for centuries for religious, health, and cultural reasons. In recent years, intermittent fasting has become popular as a weight loss and health improvement strategy. While fasting has been shown to have many health benefits, there is some concern that it may also lead to acne breakouts.

How Does Fasting Affect Acne?

The exact mechanism by which fasting may affect acne is not fully understood, but several theories exist:

  • Hormonal Changes: Fasting can cause changes in hormone levels, including an increase in insulin and a decrease in growth hormone. These hormonal changes may stimulate the production of sebum, an oily substance that can clog pores and lead to acne breakouts.

  • Gut Health: Fasting can affect the composition of gut bacteria, which may impact the immune system and inflammation in the body. Some studies suggest that an imbalance in gut bacteria may contribute to acne development.

  • Nutritional Deficiencies: Fasting can lead to nutritional deficiencies, particularly if it is not done properly. A lack of essential nutrients, such as zinc, vitamin A, and omega-3 fatty acids, may contribute to acne breakouts.

Is There Evidence to Support the Link Between Fasting and Acne?

There is some evidence to suggest that fasting may be associated with acne breakouts.

  • A small study published in the journal “Dermatologic Therapy” found that intermittent fasting (IF) led to a significant increase in acne lesions in participants with mild to moderate acne.

  • Another study, published in the journal “Nutrients,” found that IF was associated with an increased risk of acne vulgaris in young women.

However, it is important to note that these studies are small and more research is needed to determine the exact relationship between fasting and acne.

Can Fasting Help with Acne?

While some studies suggest that fasting may worsen acne, other studies have shown that it may actually help.

  • A study published in the journal “Experimental Dermatology” found that intermittent fasting improved acne symptoms in mice. The study suggested that IF may help reduce inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity, which are both factors that contribute to acne development.

  • Another study, published in the journal “BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine,” found that intermittent fasting was associated with a decrease in acne severity in participants with mild to moderate acne.

Should You Avoid Fasting If You Have Acne?

If you have acne, you may want to consider avoiding fasting or talking to your doctor or a registered dietitian before starting a fasting regimen. However, it is important to note that fasting may not be the only factor contributing to your acne breakouts. Other factors, such as diet, stress, and hormonal changes, may also play a role.


The relationship between fasting and acne is complex and not fully understood. More research is needed to determine the exact effects of fasting on acne.