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Fact vs. fiction: Do eggs cause acne?

Spoiler: Eggs are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and protein, and they might be good for your skin, too.

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Curology Team
Jan 03, 2023 · 6 min read

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We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.
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Eggs are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and protein, and they make a great breakfast or snack. From scrambled and sunny side up to hard-boiled and poached, the options are (almost) endless, and eggs pair well with lots of healthy vegetables, too. 

But, as nutritious as they are, do eggs cause acne? Our dermatology providers dug to find out the truth and uncover how eggs may affect your skin.

The benefits of eggs

Eggs are nutritional powerhouses that boast several impressive benefits for your health and skin. They’re packed with protein that plays a role in not just your overall health but your skin health as well. A welcome addition to balanced diets, here are a few reasons to consider adding eggs to your daily menu: 

Eggs contain vitamin A¹

Topical vitamin A derivatives can benefit the skin by stimulating skin cell turnover and collagen production, which can improve the signs of aging.² Retinol, one of the best OTC skincare ingredients available for anti-aging, is a derivative of vitamin A. Vitamin A found in eggs can help with vision, boost immunity, and is essential for the development of new skin cells.³ 

Eggs contain protein

The protein in eggs is great for your overall health. This protein is very easy to digest and an excellent source of essential amino acids. Studies show that egg protein decreases malnutrition in underdeveloped countries and may increase height in children. Egg protein is essential to skeletal muscle health and can reduce appetite, which may help some people lose weight. It’s also been shown to protect against infection and cancer. One large egg contains approximately six grams of protein, more of which is found in the egg white.⁴ 

Eggs contain beneficial vitamins and minerals

Eggs contain an impressive number of vitamins and minerals essential to overall health. This includes choline, the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, and selenium.⁵

You may have heard that eggs are associated with heart disease due to their cholesterol content, but if you love your morning breakfast sandwich, you don’t need to worry! Current research shows that—for most people—the cholesterol in the food they eat likely has a smaller impact than dietary fat consumption on their body’s overall and harmful cholesterol level. According to recent studies, having one egg per day is not associated with an increased risk of heart disease in healthy people.⁶

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Eggs and acne: Is there a link?

There is no current evidence to suggest that eggs trigger breakouts. We can debunk several myths we’ve heard about why eggs may cause acne. 

Eggs are high in biotin, or vitamin B7, which may contribute to breakouts in some people. However, much of the research that’s been done regarding this link references supplemental biotin and not biotin from whole foods like eggs and meat. Similarly, there is not strong research to prove that the iodine or albumin content in eggs causes breakouts. You may be wondering, “Can eggs cause hormonal acne?” While some think that the link between eggs and acne is due to them containing the hormone progesterone, research has not confirmed that this is the case.

When it comes to egg benefits for skin, the omega-3 fatty acids in eggs may even have a positive effect on acne. Since this research primarily focuses on fish and oils, such as olive oil, more research is needed to show that omega-3s in eggs may benefit the skin.⁷

DIY egg-white face mask 

An egg-white face mask is a quick, easy, and fun way to add some self-care to your day, and the only ingredient you need is likely to be in your fridge. While there’s no research to confirm that egg whites improve wrinkles or help with acne, applying egg whites to your face may leave your skin feeling smoother and fresher. Here’s how to do it: 

  1. Cleanse your face and hands thoroughly.

  2. Take a pasteurized egg, and separate the egg white into a bowl. 

  3. Whisk the egg white into a frothy foam.

  4. Apply the mixture to your face in a thin, even layer.

  5. Allow the egg white to sit for 10 minutes before rinsing it off.

Are there foods that do trigger acne?

If you have acne-prone skin, high glycemic index (GI) foods may be to blame for some of your breakouts. Research shows that consuming high-GI foods with simple carbohydrates can make acne worse.⁸ 

The glycemic index is a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates, and high GI foods are, essentially, simple-carb foods that your body breaks down quickly. High GI foods cause a rapid spike in your blood sugar, potentially leading to increased oil (sebum) production and inflammation, both of which may lead to breakouts.⁹ High-GI foods include white rice, white potatoes, sugar, white bread, some breakfast cereals, and soft drinks. 

Dairy is another food that may contribute to acne. Components of foods such as cheese and milk can cause your skin to produce more oil, which can trigger breakouts. Whey and casein, in particular, are two proteins found in dairy that release the IGF-1 hormone, which has been linked to acne.¹⁰ 

It’s important to note that a range of factors can impact the development and worsen of acne symptoms, including stress, diet, and hormonal fluctuations, which can make it difficult to narrow down what’s causing a breakout. 

Curology is on your side 

Curology was founded in 2014 by a board-certified dermatologist, Dr. David Lortscher. We believe in taking care of your skin, which is why we strive to offer accessible and effective treatments to maintain your skin’s health.

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Becoming a member of Curology is simple: Just tell us about your skin and snap a few selfies. One of our licensed dermatology providers will work with you to examine your skin, assess your skincare goals, and provide custom treatment options. 

If Curology is right for you, we’ll prescribe you a personalized prescription formula containing a mix of proven, active ingredients chosen for your unique needs. You’ll also receive products to complement your treatment plan.* If you have questions, our team is here for you anytime.

FAQs

Do egg whites cause inflammation?

Our dermatology providers have heard this question before, and—once again—you’re in luck ! A recent study found that egg consumption had no significant effect on inflammation in adults.¹¹

Do egg yolks cause acne?

There is no scientific evidence supporting that egg yolk, specifically, causes acne, so enjoy your omelets without separating your eggs.

• • •

P.S. We did the homework so you don’t have to:

  1. Puglisi MJ, Fernandez ML. The Health Benefits of Egg Protein.Nutrients. (2022 July 15).

  2. Kafi R, Kwak HS, Schumacher WE, Cho S, Hanft VN, Hamilton TA, King AL, Neal JD, Varani J, Fisher GJ, Voorhees JJ, Kang S. Improvement of naturally aged skin with vitamin A (retinol). Arch Dermatol. (2007).

  3. McEldrew EP, et al. Vitamin A.StatPearls Publishing. (January 2022).

  4. Puglisi MJ, Fernandez ML. The Health Benefits of Egg Protein. Nutrients. (2022).

  5. Puglisi MJ, Fernandez ML. The Health Benefits of Egg Protein. Ibid.

  6. Eggs. The Nutrition Source: Harvard T. H. Chan. (n.d.).

  7. Baldwin H, Tan J. Effects of Diet on Acne and Its Response to Treatment. Am J Clin Dermatol. (2021).

  8. Meixiong, J., et al. Diet and acne: A systematic review. JAAD international. (2022).

  9. Pappas A. The relationship of diet and acne: A review. Dermatoendocrinol. (2009).

  10. Meixiong, J., et al. Diet and acne: A systematic review. JAAD international. Ibid.

  11. Sajadi Hezaveh Z, Sikaroudi MK, Vafa M, Clayton ZS, Soltani S. Effect of egg consumption on inflammatory markers: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials. J Sci Food Agric. (2019).

Donna McIntyre is a board-certified nurse practitioner at Curology. She obtained her Master of Science in Nursing at MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston, MA.

* Subject to consultation.

• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team

Donna McIntyre, NP-BC

Donna McIntyre, NP-BC

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