Does Watermelon Cause Acne? Let’s Find Out How!

What you eat directly affects your health. And the healthier you are, the healthier your skin will be.

But for people with chronic or recurring acne, it can be a constant struggle trying to figure out which foods might trigger the condition. Many acne-inflicted people have also stopped consuming their most favorite delicious fruits, such as watermelons.

But what is the truth? Does watermelon cause acne in actuality?

Well, the answer varies. And a lot comes down to the root causes of acne, besides of course, your own treatment of your skin.

Read on to find out how watermelon affects acne-prone skin.

Does Watermelon Cause Acne?

The safe answer to this question is: yes. Although watermelon might not outright cause acne, it can certainly aggravate it because of its high sugar content and, consequently, high GI.

What Is High Gi and How Does It Affect Acne?

If you don’t already know, “GI” stands for glycemic index. This is a number between 0 and 100 assigned to food that measures the level of glucose in it. Foods with a high glycemic index are known to cause a quick spike in blood sugar, and give rise to the problems associated with high blood sugar.

One of the possible effects of consuming high GI foods is hormonal fluctuations. Particularly when the level of insulin in the blood is raised, it might lead to a higher production of sebum.

Sebum is a dreaded word for all acne patients. It is an oily substance produced by the skin, which blocks pores and leads to the development of a breakout.

In fact, it’s not just watermelon that can facilitate a breakout. Studies show that any fruit with high levels of natural sugar, such as bananas, mangoes, plums, tangerines, peaches, and pineapples, can lead to an increase in acne breakouts through a spike in blood sugar levels. And so can fruit juices and smoothies with lots of natural sugar in them. Of course, you should also steer clear of refined sugar.

Watermelon and Insulin Resistance

The main problem arises in people with insulin resistance. When your body is resistant to insulin, your muscles, liver, and fat have a hard time interacting with insulin, which leads to the pancreas making even more insulin to bring about the required blood sugar levels.

For people with an insulin resistance issue, it’s important to address the problem in order to enjoy sugary organic foods like watermelon more easily.

Read on to find out the healing properties of watermelon.

Skin Benefits of Eating Watermelon

Watermelon is actually one of the foods which promote skin health in many ways:

Watermelon Is Extremely Hydrating

Watermelon is one of the most hydrating fruits in existence (it’s even in the name). So the idea is, when you consume watermelon, your body is receiving an extra hydrating boost, and this can be a very positive thing for your skin. Many of the most popular skincare products today contain watermelon.

If you’ve suffered from having zits for a long time, you most likely have consistently oily skin. Many acne patients think that the solution is to dry out their skin, while others do it inadvertently by overusing drying skincare products and medications.

This is incorrect. Hydrated skin is actually much less prone to developing pimples than dry skin. Even if you don’t consume watermelon, try to choose skincare products that don’t have a drying effect and won’t cause acne breakouts.

Watermelon Is Highly Anti-Inflammatory

It’s not fair to blame watermelon entirely for its acne-instigating effects. This is because watermelon is one of the most nutrient-rich antioxidants and anti-inflammatory fruits you can consume. And given that acne is an inflammatory condition (a popular idea expounded in many recent studies), consuming watermelon, as well as other anti-inflammatory foods, might actually help you.

However, you might be more likely to see anti-inflammatory results if you actually apply the watermelon to your skin rather than consuming it. That way, your body’s hormone levels won’t be raised. So next time you break out, why not try a watermelon face pack?

Watermelon Consumption Aids Nitric Oxide Production

Watermelon is a great source of L citrulline, which is an amino acid that your body converts to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide, in turn, is a molecule produced by your cells that inhibits inflammation. So, increasing nitric oxide levels in your body can be good news for fighting a breakout.

You can read more about the anti-inflammatory effects of nitric oxide here. Furthermore, here is a list of foods naturally containing nitric oxide.

Watermelon Is High in Vitamins

It comes with two vital vitamins: A and C. And studies show that both of these vitamins can greatly bolster the condition of your skin and help with a breakout.

In your body, vitamin A works to create and repair skin cells. Without adequate amounts of this vitamin, your skin is likely to dry out more easily. And as we know, having dry skin can worsen pimples, so your acne-prone skin might actually benefit from being repaired more easily and efficiently.

Meanwhile, vitamin C is known to help your body produce collagen, a protein that contributes to smooth, supple skin and strong hair. So stock up on those citrus fruits!

Watermelon Might Protect Your Skin from Sunburn

The naturally occurring chemicals that give this fruit its irresistible red coloring are called lycopene and beta-carotene. Foods with these chemicals are known to inhibit UV damage from excessive sun exposure.

Why should you care about this?

Because, some dermatologists say that the damage caused by the sun’s UV rays can make your acne a lot worse, in the long run, making it easier for you to breakout. You can read more about the skin benefits of consuming or applying watermelon here.

Should You Eat Watermelon?

As we’ve seen, there is no straight-cut answer to this question. While watermelon does in many cases contribute to a breakout, in other situations, it might actually help thanks to its long roster of nutrients.

If you have severe, chronic acne and breakout frequently, you should not consume this fruit nor any of the other high-sugar organic foods we’ve named above. You might, however, prevent acne flares by applying the fruit directly to your skin.

On the other hand, if your case of acne is not so bad, and if you’re otherwise healthy, you should be able to consume small amounts of watermelon without worrying about its sugar content. But be cautious.

Ultimately, it comes down to how well you know your own skin. We understand if you really don’t want to miss out on that delicious red juiciness. If you’re willing to proceed with caution, why not experiment and see how you end up? Perhaps you might even seek the opinion of dermatologists.

And remember, outside of building good dietary habits that suit your skin, you also need to learn which acne skincare products will help you.

In the meantime, you should aim to stock up on foods that actually help to keep acne at bay. We’ve included a list of acne-inhibiting foods below.

Final Words

The high sugar content of watermelon might make it unsafe for consumption by acne patients. However, its numerous nutrients can also improve your skin.

So does watermelon cause acne? Remember that a lot depends on your unique physical constitution and your dietary habits.

If you want to give watermelon a chance, proceed with caution. If you find that it causes a breakout, it might be better to use watermelon as a face pack instead.

Good luck!

Originally Published: August 30, 2021

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I’ve helped over 2,500 people clear their acne naturally. If you cannot easily find an answer to your question on the website, please reach out to me by email ([email protected]) or send me a message on Instagram or Twitter. I will reply within 24 hours.

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sam wood is GoodGlow's Chief Editor
Analyzed by Sam Wood
Hi I’m Sam Wood. I’m the chief editor, lead acne expert, and health coach behind GoodGlow. I’m also an author of one of the top selling acne books on Amazon, a husband, father of two, and a pretty good cook!

I’m so glad you found GoodGlow and hope the information I have spent the last 10 years cultivating will help you clear your skin and improve your overall health.

I began experiencing acne breakotus as a sophomore in high school, but unlike most of my friends, my acne actually got worse as I got into my 20s. I exercised regularly, ate healthy (or so I thought) and spent hundreds of dollars a month on high end skincare products and supplements to help clear my skin. Despite these measures my acne breakouts and scarring only got worse as the years wore on.

This greatly wore on my self confidence and mental health. Simple things like taking pictures or going out with a large group made me feel self conscious. So I avoided these situations whenever I could help it.

As a last ditch effort I decided to try an extremely restrictive diet recommended by a close friend with an autoimmune disease. After following this diet for about two months my skin started to clear for the first time in over 8 years. The good news is that this restrictive diet is not actually necessary for 99% of people to permanently clear their skin, and over the course of a few months I was able to add back about 90% of my “normal diet”.

After clearing my skin I spent the next 4 years self experimenting on myself with different diets, supplements, skincare products to try and find a pattern for what was triggering my acne breakouts. I even tried different meditation, ice baths, and accupuncture to try and isolate the root cause of the breakouts.

In the end I realized that an extremely restrictive diet was not necessary for clear skin. The most important thing to do is to avoid inflammatory foods in your diet. Some common examples of this are fried foods, alcohol, sugar, and dairy.

Most impoirtantly I stopped reading trendy websites for skincare advice and began reading medical journals authored by dermatologists and nutritionists. Although the information in the articles was great the information was not easily understandable to most readers (including me). I spent hours dissecting individual posts and looking up terms I did not understand. Over the next 6 months I gradually began to understand these journals and started self experiemting some of the research on myself.

After experiencing quite a bit of success personally, I started sharing my research on forums and with close friends struggling with acne. When I shared the research it was in easy to understand, plain English. Everyone I talked to loved what I had to say and kept asking more and more questions. So I decided to start a blog so I could just send someone a link when they asked a question instead of rewriting something I had sent 100 times before 😅

While the same directional principles apply to everyone, acne is very personal and should be treated on an individual basis. That’s ultimately why I created GoodGlow. To help everyone reverse engineer the root cause of their acne and clear their skin permanently.

To date I’ve helped over 2,500 people clear their skin using a natural, holistic approach. If you are unable to find an answer to your question in any of the articles my team has written please reach out and I will do my best to guide you to the proper information and resources so you can make a thoughtful, informed decision. Read more of Sam's articles.