Foods For Oily Skin: What To Eat And Avoid

Written by Jyotsana Rao

Oh, the perils of having oily skin! Every morning, there is enough oil on your T-zone to fry French fries on. (Gross, I know! But that’s what most of us with oily skin go through.) But, ever heard the adage, “You are what you eat”? Yes, ladies, it is true. What you eat directly impacts your skin. Not only does it make your skin oily, but it also leads to skin issues like acne, enlarged pores, whiteheads, and blackheads. But, the good news is, by making just a few changes and following a diet and a set of foods for oily skin, you can fix your skin woes. Here, I have listed out foods to eat and avoid for oily skin that will help control the oil secretion from your sebaceous glands.

Best Foods For Oily Skin

1. Cucumbers


Cucumbers have 95.23 g of water per 100 g. That means they are mostly made up of water. As we all know, hydration is very important for good skin. Water flushes out toxins from your body and facilitates the proper secretion of hormones. On top of that, cucumbers have a high antioxidant content, which is essential for good skin. They are also anti-inflammatory, which helps reduce acne.

2. Whole Grains

Consuming whole grains instead of processed carbohydrates will enhance skin texture and improve your complexion. Always opt for foods that are minimally processed – for example, choose whole wheat bread over white bread. Foods such as whole grain buckwheat contain the antioxidant rutin, which helps prevent inflammation-related skin damage. Wheat germ contains biotin, a B-vitamin that helps in the processing of fats. If you have low levels of biotin in your body, your skin will become dry, itchy, and scaly.

Foods high in fiber, like oats and brown rice, help eliminate the toxins from your body, making your skin, hair, and health better. Fiber can help combat constipation, which leads to an imbalance in the body, and is a major contributor of clogged pores, acne, and other skin issues.

[ Read: Amazing Benefits Of Whole Wheat For Skin, Hair, And Health ]

3. Nuts

Nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for clear, healthy skin. They also have anti-inflammatory properties and help enhance your skin’s texture. But, beware, don’t consume too many of them, or they may have the opposite effect on your skin. Restrict it to a handful a day (should be contained within your fist), or lesser.

Foods like soya bean, avocados, nuts, salmon, and tuna contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are excellent for the skin. Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and play a role in the regulation of systemic inflammation. Increasing dietary omega-3 fats will facilitate healing of the skin. Regular consumption of omega-3 fatty acids decreases inflammation and may reduce the risk of acne and other skin issues by decreasing insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) and preventing hyperkeratinization of sebaceous follicles.

4. Bananas


Bananas contain vitamin E, phosphates, and potassium, which enhance skin health. They are also amazing detoxifiers. Eating a banana a day can help diminish pores, which prevents the dirt from entering into them.

5. Avocados

Another great fruit for healthy skin is avocado. It contains fatty acids that are extremely healthy for the skin and prevent the secretion of excess oils from the sebaceous glands. It is a great source of antioxidant carotenoids like alpha-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, and lutein. Adequate amounts of carotenoids in your diet will improve your skin’s density, thickness, tone, and texture.

[ Read: Benefits Of Avocado For Skin, Hair, And Health ]

5. Spinach

Green vegetables like spinach, kale, and broccoli do not contain any oil. They are rich in fiber, which, as I mentioned before, helps to clear your skin and regulate oil production. One cup of spinach contains about 164 grams of water. Your skin needs water to stay healthy. Without enough water, it will become dehydrated, dry, taut, and flaky, and your sebaceous glands may go into overdrive trying to combat this, resulting in oily skin.

Broccoli is also a superfood. It contains vitamin C, magnesium, and vitamin A, which prevent blocked skin pores. It is also anti-inflammatory and soothes the skin. It helps in controlling the oil production, which reduces the risk of acne and other skin problems.

6. Lentils And Pulses

Lentils are nutrient-dense. Consuming them regularly in the right amounts can help in controlling the production of oil, facilitating clear skin. Pulses too control the oil production in the body. They contain amino acids that don’t break into sugars when consumed, which actually aggravates oil secretion.

7. Oranges


Citrus fruits, such as oranges and lemons, contain vitamin C, which is amazing for the skin. They also contain detoxifying agents that flush out the extra oil from your skin, making it healthier. The natural oils in oranges help to moisturize the skin. They also contain citric acid, which helps to dry out acne, improving the texture of your skin.

Lemons, on the other hand, help eliminate toxins from the body and facilitate healthy liver functioning, which makes the skin clear and supple.

8. Dark Chocolate

Finally something you were dying to hear! Yes, you can have dark chocolate – you just need to practice some portion control. Dark chocolate is not only yummy, but it also does a good job of preventing acne inflammation by controlling the oil production in the skin.

9. Coconut Water

Coconut water is great for skin hydration. It helps in keeping the skin clear and supple and prevents breakouts, acne, and blemishes. It is a good source of vitamin C, riboflavin, and calcium, and contains minerals like magnesium, potassium, and manganese.

10. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice helps to eliminate toxins from the body and facilitates healthy liver functioning, which makes the skin clear and supple. The vitamin C in lemon helps to rejuvenate the skin internally, preventing age spots. Regular intake of fresh lemon water can cure acne, blackheads, and all such skin infections and control oil production.

Now that we know what we should be consuming, let’s take a look at all the foods that we should totally NOT eat.

Foods To Avoid For Oily Skin

These are literally the worst foods for oily skin as they increase the oil production in the skin. Avoid them as much as possible.

1. Dairy Products


They may be a huge part of your diet, but they have a negative impact on your skin, especially if it is oily. They have high levels of hormones (such as testosterone) that stimulate the sebaceous glands in the skin, making it oily and greasy.

2. Caffeine

Coffee and tea can dehydrate your body. This may lead to excess oil production, causing acne and pimples.

[ Read: Does Coffee Cause Acne? ]

3. Refined Carbohydrates

Refined cereals like white pasta, white flour (maida), junk food, and processed juices can harm your skin as they spike your blood sugar levels, sending oil production into overdrive.

4. Inflammatory Fats (Saturated Fats and Trans Fats)

This one is a no-brainer. If you have oily skin, avoid fatty foods. Consuming a lot of saturated fats can increase inflammation in the skin, which can lead to excess oil production. Avoid red meats such as lamb, sausages, beef, and bacon, as well as pizza, butter, cream, cheese, cakes, and pastries.

Trans fats are also very harmful for your skin. They are formed when oil goes through a hardening process called hydrogenation (also known as hydrogenated fats). Trans fats can be found in most processed foods. So, check the labels before you buy them.

5. Added Sugars


Consuming sugar causes a spike in your blood sugar levels. This leads to the production of more insulin, which, in turn, causes the glands to produce more oil. This leads to oily skin and acne. Avoid cakes, cookies, jams, pastries, and sweets, as well as cereals, cereal bars, crackers, and fizzy drinks. Consume natural sugars, which are present in fruits and vegetables, in moderation.

6. Salty Snacks

Excess salt can lead to water retention and inflammation. It can also cause an increase in the oil levels of the skin as it tries to combat the dehydration caused due to salt. Avoid pickles, salted nuts, crisps, sauces, salad dressings, store-bought soups, cured meats and bacon, chips, and crackers.

7. Alcohol


Alcohol dehydrates the body, which makes the skin produce more oil to compensate for it. This often leads to acne and breakouts.

8. Fatty Meats

Meat contains very high amounts of sodium, which leads to water retention. This causes inflammation and greasiness, resulting in extremely oily skin.

9. Spicy Foods

Spicy foods cannot be digested very easily, and consuming excess spices can create toxins in the body. Chilis can create a lot of heat in the body, which can make the skin oily, causing a lot of pimples – especially if you are prone to getting them. If you have oily skin, consume more of soups and salads.

Wait! There is more to come! Take a peek at these tips, which would totally change the oil game of your skin. Practice these regularly to get smooth, glowing skin.

Additional Tips


Here are a few tips that will come in handy if you have oily skin.

  1. Don’t use soaps to wash your face. Prefer oil-control face washes.
  2. Use blotting papers.
  3. Try natural remedies like honey and clay to control the oil on your face.
  4. Workout regularly.
  5. Try yoga – it balances your hormones.
  6. Don’t punish your skin by scrubbing it too hard or washing it multiple times a day to combat oiliness.

It is not the end of the world, ladies. Keep an eye on what goes into your mouth, and you will invariably see results. Give it some time, though. You can’t expect to see results overnight. But a fortnight of good eating, and you will start to see a difference. Give your skin some TLC, and it will love you back. Are there foods to avoid for acne and oily skin you think should be included in this article? Comment below and let me know.

Recommended Articles:

Was this article helpful?
The following two tabs change content below.
Jyotsana Rao is an engineering graduate from NIT, Nagpur, who discovered her love for writing during her undergraduate days. She is passionate about writing about everything related to beauty - makeup, fashion, hairstyles, skin care, or hair care. When this social media junkie isn't stalking the world of fashion and glamour, she loves spending her time traveling.