Young woman looking in mirror | How to clear spots

How to clear spots by making changes to your diet

If you want to discover how to clear spots from your face or back, rather than just thinking about what you put on your face, it’s worth spending some time thinking about what you eat.

Spots and acne are common skin conditions and although most prevalent in young people and teenagers, they can affect people of all ages.

Breakouts are caused when the skin’s pores become clogged with dead skin cells and bacteria. The pores then become inflamed, resulting in pimples or spots.

If you suffer from acne, you are not alone. The NHS estimate 95% of people aged 11 to 30 are affected by acne to some extent.

Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes when it comes to working out how to clear spots. But the good news is, that by reducing the amount of certain types of food and trying to keep your skin healthy from the inside, you should see an improvement in your skin over time.

How to clear spots by avoiding key foods

While certain foods can help you maintain a clear complexion others have been linked to causing spots and acne.

Here are some of the main foods you should try to reduce or avoid if you suffer from spots or acne.

Dairy products

Although further study into the link between acne and dairy is needed, anecdotal evidence and early studies suggest eating a lot of dairy products can aggravate acne.

But why is this?

Scientists think it could be due to the growth hormones produced by pregnant cows which in turn find their way into milk. It is thought these hormones speed up the production of sebum – the skin’s natural oil, which can, unfortunately, contribute to acne breakouts.

Switching to plant milk alternatives like oat milk or almond milk and limiting your intake of foods like cheese and ice cream may help to clear up your skin.

If you do decide to cut back on dairy, make sure you include plenty of calcium in your diet in some form, so you don’t risk damage to your bones later on in life.


Dermatologists have long held that chocolate can have a negative effect on the skin, although there are several different theories about why it’s a no-no for acne sufferers.

Some studies have shown chocolate with a high cocoa content doesn’t appear to have a negative impact on the skin – in fact, cocoa contains high levels of antioxidants and is a potent anti-inflammatory.

Milk chocolate on the other hand is widely believed to contribute to spots and acne, probably down to the fats it contains.

The myth about oily food

You’ve probably heard people say that eating a lot of oily food is bad for your skin. This is a bit of a myth as the grease contained in the food you eat is not the same as the oil secreted by your pores.

However, if you spend a long time cooking oily food, it can stick to or clog the hair follicles in your skin, which may lead to acne.

On top of this, many oily foods like french fries and doughnuts are either sugary, starchy or both, which is what makes them bad for your skin, so it is worth cutting out this type of food if you are trying to find out how to clear spots.

Sugary and starchy foods

If you’re acne-prone, stay clear of high glycaemic index (GI) foods. These include sugary and starchy foods such as white bread, potatoes and white rice.

High GI foods cause a rapid increase in blood glucose levels which causes the body to produce insulin (the hormone which breaks down glucose). This also affects the levels of other hormones in your body such as those which boost oil production in the skin, triggering an acne breakout.

Here’s a great example of a delicious low-GI recipe from The Food Medic, Dr Hazel Wallace.

Zesty Pasta Salad with Salmon


2 cooked salmon fillets
3 good handfuls brown penne pasta
100g cherry tomatoes, halved
3 bell peppers, chopped
1 courgette, chopped
1 red onion, diced
3 handfuls of spinach, washed
Olive oil
1 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp of Dijon or wholegrain mustard
Salt + pepper

Cook the pasta, drain in cold water and set aside.

Heat a good drizzle of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and add the onion, peppers, courgette and a pinch of salt for 10 minutes until soft.

Once the veggies are soft, stir through the pasta and cherry tomatoes. Transfer to a bowl, allow cool for 20 minutes. Stir through the spinach.

To make the dressing whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl. Pour over the pasta salad when cool and divide between 3 lunch boxes.

Break up the salmon fillets with a fork and add to the top of the pasta.

Be patient if you want to clear spots!

It’s important to stress that when you change your diet, unfortunately, you probably won’t see any changes in your skin straight away.  You’ll need to be patient and consistent as changes to your diet may take about three months to take effect.

Keeping a food diary in which you record what you eat and note down any changes that you see in your skin should help you to pinpoint foods that trigger your spots or acne.

Wondering how to clear spots naturally?

HRI offers two natural remedies which are specifically designed to help promote clear, healthy skin.

HRI Clear Complexion™ comes in easy-to-swallow tablet form and offers two herbal extracts which are used to help clear spots and acne: burdock root and blue flag rhizome.

HRI Clear Complexion is a unique herbal medicine for mild acne and other skin conditions such as eczema and is licensed under the UK’s Traditional Herbal Registration (THR) scheme, which gives you the reassurance that it is safe and contains exactly what it says on the pack.

HRI Teen Skin™ is a full multivitamin complex that also contains skin-friendly ingredients specifically chosen to keep teenage skin clear and nourished. It is formulated with 26 natural ingredients which help support skin health by helping to regulate energy release, balance blood sugar levels and probiotics to help improve gut health, making them particularly suitable for teens who have a less-than-perfect diet.

Want to find out more about natural ways to help clear spots? Why not join our HRI Facebook Community for tips on natural ways to support your health.

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