Pizza is a favorite food for many people, but there has long been the myth that it can cause acne. Is that myth true? At first, it may seem like it’s completely false. But, there may actually be some truth to it. Pizza has a wide variety of possible ingredients so that makes it more likely that one of them could cause acne. Let’s break it down and we can see if pizza causes acne and why.

What causes acne?

Acne is caused when pores or hair follicles in your skin are clogged with dead skin cells and oil. You may have a genetic predisposition to having acne. But it gets a little more complicated. Hormonal activity is linked to acne. That means that any food that may affect your hormones could lead to a breakout.

The food you eat can have an impact on your acne. Here are a few basics.

Does Greasy Food Cause Acne?

If you have touched an oily food and then touch your face, that can lead to acne. Why? Because of the direct application of pore clogging oil to an acne prone area. So, in that sense, any oily food that you eat with your hands can cause pimples if you aren’t careful, including pizza.

However, simply eating greasy food like pizza will not cause acne. In fact, there are some fats that can help prevent breakouts. Omega-3 fatty acids are linked to fewer breakouts, according to one study.

That’s not the end of the story. There are other components in pizza that could cause acne. Let’s look at one.

Do Carbohydrates Cause Acne?

Carbohydrates can worsen acne, according to a study in The Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. In that study, when participants reduced their carbohydrate intake, they had fewer breakouts. While the science behind it is complicated, it appears that reducing carbs can help acne. Pizza has both refined carbohydrates (white flour in the dough) and fats (cheese and meat toppings) so it’s not the healthiest food. All of us could likely benefit from eating a little less pizza.

In the study, the carbohydrates didn’t cause acne, though. They only made existing acne worse. So, if you don’t have acne, there’s no proof that eating foods like pizza will cause acne to appear.

What diet is best for people with acne?

If you have acne you could try a variety of low glycemic index diets. That doesn’t mean you have to strictly limit carbs. There are diets like the Mediterranean diet that are balanced and healthy. The point isn’t to cut out all carbohydrates. You just need to eat carbs that are lower on the glycemic index to help your acne.

Because acne is linked to hormones, anything that can affect your hormones can affect your acne. That includes having a vitamin or mineral deficiency. For example, acne has been linked to a low blood level of zinc. If you increase your zinc level, you may reduce your acne.

The best way to prevent acne with your diet is to reduce refined carbohydrates in your diet. That means reducing:

  • White flour (like that found in pizza dough)
  • Refined sugar (which may be in pizza sauce)
  • Pasta
  • White rice

So, eating pizza doesn’t cause acne, but it may make it worse. Also, if you touch your face with oily hands after eating pizza you may get a breakout. However, if you don’t have acne, there’s no evidence that pizza will cause you to get it.

If you have existing acne and you think it might be linked to your diet, you can make positive changes that can also make you healthier. By reducing refined sugar and eating healthy fats you can help your skin become clearer. Diets like the Mediterranean Diet have lots of healthy fats and are low on the glycemic index. They are also good for your heart.

While pizza may not be the cause of acne, eating less of it could reduce your acne. It can also help you to live a healthier life. So, if cutting pizza out of your diet might reduce your acne, why not give it a try? Your skin and your heart will thank you.