Gluten Intolerances and Acne: Fact Or Fiction?

Last Updated on January 18, 2022

Today, we’re going to be looking at gluten intolerances and acne. Is there a link between being intolerant to gluten and having acne? It’s a question that there has been great debate about in recent years, so let’s take a look at whether gluten acne is really something you need to be worrying about.

It’s no secret that what you eat affects your skin. If you’ve had a few cheat days and eaten lots of junk food, you’ll often have a breakout, or your face may become red and puffy – food really can affect your skin. But can gluten cause acne? It’s certainly been linked to a variety of skin conditions in the past. Let’s take a closer look.

Skin Conditions and Gluten

There has never been any doubt that skin conditions are extremely common in those with celiac disease or with gluten sensitivity. The most common skin conditions you’ll often find in those with celiac disease are:

  • dermatitis herpetiformis
  • psoriasis
  • chronic hives
  • eczema

Our bodies react in different ways when having an intolerance or celiac disease. Abnormal immune responses occur when eating gluten and this can trigger any number of skin conditions or rashes. In fact, some patients do not have any digestive issues at all and can be diagnosed through their skin conditions alone.

Celiac Acne & Gluten Intolerance Acne

It’s important to note that there is no medical literature or findings behind gluten intolerance and acne, but it’s something that is still very much in the throes of research. Many individuals have claimed that since receiving their diagnosis and removing gluten from their diet, their acne has improved dramatically. Let’s take a look at why that might be.


Gliadin may not even be something that you’re familiar with. I know I wasn’t until recently. But gliadin is found in cereal grains such as wheat, rye, and barley (our arch-nemesis…gluten). This helps to give us well-risen, delicious tasting bread. But do you know what happens when our bodies reject the gliadin? Inflammation.

Inflammation can result in acne; especially if you’re already susceptible to it. Did you know that over half of acne sufferers also have issues with their gut too? So it’s no surprise these two conditions are so often discussed together.

However, it’s important to note that just removing gluten from your diet is highly unlikely to cure your acne. It will most definitely help the issue, if you’re gluten intolerant or celiac – but it’s always best to follow advice from your GP or other healthcare professional, as they know you best.

To summarize, gluten intolerance can mean you’re more likely to have acne, but there really are very few medical findings on this. Hopefully, there will be more research in the future.

Tips For Helping Acne

If you are experiencing acne and removing gluten has been some help, why not try some of these tips?

  1. Use your fingertips to apply the cleanser. Make sure it’s for sensitive skin and be gentle. Using anything else can be quite abrasive and irritate your skin further, which you most definitely do not want!
  2. Wash at least twice a day and after excessive sweating. Every morning and evening. Plus, if you go to the gym, or go on a bike ride, wash your face. Perspiration can make acne much worse.
  3. Do not scrub your skin. It may seem tempting, but it will irritate the skin more in the long run.
  4. Do not use hot water. Lukewarm water is a much safer, friendlier option for your skin.
  5. Don’t touch your face. I know…it’s an impossible ask! But try to avoid touching your face as much as possible. It can cause a flare-up, and picking at acne can make the healing process much slower, and means a far higher risk of scarring.
  6. See a dermatologist. Dermatologists will know better than anyone what is best for you. Every case of acne is different and may require different forms of treatment – so it’s always best to get a medical opinion than dealing with an issue alone.

See a dermatologist

  1. Make a list of foods you will and won’t be eating. This makes it easier to focus on what you can and can’t have in your diet. It’s also great to keep you motivated. Try to cut down on foods such as sugar and dairy…as well as gluten, of course.
  2. Be patient. This is one of the most important ones. It’s not going to be an overnight fix, and to see results will take time. I know you’ll want to see results instantly, but it’ll be worth the effort eventually.

Foods To Eat

There’s a range of supplements and foods to eat to aid inflammatory and gut issues. Here are some of the best ideas to add to your diet. You can find the full article from Mind Body Green here. The foods include:

  • Collagen
  • Cucumber
  • Cilantro
  • Basil
  • Avocado
  • Matcha
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Squash
  • Salmon
  • Manuka Honey
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Broccoli

These are all nutrient-dense foods to add to your diet that will help your skin massively. And of course, they’re all gluten-free too.


To conclude, what you eat is important to your skin. Whether it’s gluten or something else, what we put into our body is important and has an impact on our bodies, inside and out. Science has found that factors such as hormone imbalances, inflammation, and highly processed foods can contribute to acne problems, so maintaining a healthy diet is the most important thing.

Gluten intolerances and acne is something that is still being researched further, and hopefully something we’ll know more about in the future. Adding nutrient-rich foods is one of the best ways you can help your skin (along with our top tips from earlier). Meats, fish, seafood, eggs, nuts, fruits, and vegetables are all great ways to do this.

Have you found any links between your intolerance and acne? I would love to hear your experiences in the comments below.

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