How to Cure Your Acne with the Carnivore Diet

The carnivore diet (also known as “zero-carb”) is by far the most talked-about diet lately and for good reason.

Yup, that means you’ll be eating no fruit, no vegetables, no nuts, seeds, or legumes. Just meat.

You can see why this would be controversial. We’ve been told for years that you need to eatat leastsome vegetables to survive. How else would you get all those vitamins and minerals?

Despite this controversy, hundreds of people who have tried the carnivore diet claim it’s the ultimate cure for severe autoimmune disorders, including depression, leaky gut syndrome, and even arthritis.

There are a few main root causes of acne that we know about so far:

I’m not going to go into depth here about the root causes of acne, but you can read the linked articles above if you want to learn more about them.

Given that acne is largely caused by your diet, it begs a pretty simple question – does the carnivore diet sidestep the root causes of acne?

One of the primary goals of the carnivore diet is to eliminate foods that cause autoimmune disorders and symptoms. These autoimmune disorders are usually caused by a few things:

  • An unbalanced gut microbiome or leaky gut that allows undigested protein or food to enter the bloodstream, triggering inflammatory acne
  • Food intolerances or allergies that are difficult to pin down
  • Large hormonal changes due to pregnancy, stress, or general lifestyle changes

Surprise, surprise, the same things that generally cause autoimmune disorders also cause acne by triggering inflammation.

The carnivore diet is that it is essentially the ultimate elimination diet – in one fellow swoop, you get rid of 99% of the foods that could be causing your symptoms. There are people out there who are intolerant, sensitive, or allergic to just about everything, includingvegetables. This can be caused by digestive disorders like leaky gut syndrome or SIBO, or simply environmental or genetic factors.

For this small portion of the population, the carnivore diet may be the only diet that really alleviates their autoimmune symptoms, including acne.

It’s key with the carnivore diet that you eat all forms of meat possible, including vital organs. Yeah, steak tastes great, but you’ll be missing out on fat-soluble vitamins and digestive enzymes that are found in organ meats:

  • Liver: Iron, vitamin B12, and vitamin A in retinol form (crucial for acne)
  • Pancreas: Digestive enzymes necessary for the absorption of protein & fats (great for the gut, which means it’s great for acne)
  • Kidney: Selenium for proper antioxidant functioning (helps prevent against skin oil clogging pores)

These organ meats are all real superfoods. One simple reason your acne may clear up if you try the carnivore diet is that you’re finally eating organ meat. That’s exactly why I recommend eating grass-fed beef liver or taking a grass-fed beef organ supplement even if you’re not on the carnivore diet.

The only major vitamin you may miss out on is vitamin C, which promotes proper antioxidant functioning. Still, vitamin C’s importance for health, especially when on the carnivore diet, seems to be overestimated.

Many pioneers who have tried the carnivore diet and receive bloodwork show no signs of vitamin or mineral deficiencies, despite not eating vegetables.

No matter what diet you go on, the quality of your food matters.

If you’re on the carnivore diet and you’re eating grain-fed beef, farmed fish, or caged chicken, you could be compromising your health goals and cause acne.

Grain-fed beef has significantly more acne-causing omega-6 fatty acids than grass-fed beef. It also has fewer acne-fighting omega-3 fatty acids. The same goes for farmed fish in comparison to wild-caught fish, and conventional versus free-range chicken.

Table of Contents

Frequently Asked Questions

Does red meat cause inflammation?

Processed red meat is high in saturated fat, which is known to cause inflammation.

Is the carnivore diet good for your skin?

The carnivore diet is an elimination diet that requires only allows participants to eat meat. Many people who try the carnivore diet end up having clearer skin because the carnivore diet requires them to cut out sugar and processed foods.

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Analyzed by Sam Wood

Sam has battled acne for a better part of his life. He created this website after his skin cleared up when he changed his diet and lifestyle. He built GoodGlow.co to be the ultimate guide to clear skin from within. Read more of Sam's articles.


8 thoughts on “How to Cure Your Acne with the Carnivore Diet”

  1. Hi… Love this! So I have been doing keto for about 7 years but went to carnivore 7 months ago for other health reasons…. and carnivore works wonders for me! But, during COVID19 I got sick with something ??? and had no appetite.. and really only wanted veggies.. and so I started cooking a heavily plant based diet out of boredom and just a taste of something different.. WELL.. my skin erupted! I am…struggling.. I haven’t had a single pimple, whitehead or blackhead in YEARS and now I have hundreds of tiny whiteheads and pimples everywhere… I am thinking a huge culprit is the almond milk creamer I started using.. it has healthy ingredients, no carbs or sugar.. but I’m thinking this is a huge part.. I have now gone back to carnivore…. going to see how skin does.. sure it will clear up…. I do this about every decade.. I decide I want to try plant based and my whole inflammation system blows up and my joints get terrible and my skin breaks out.. even though I would love to eat plant based it just doesn’t work for me!

    Reply
    • When going keto I was looking to replace flour. Went to almond flour. I have back acne and it was still there, it sometimes even got worse.
      I decided to reduce my diet to brassicas and meat (which meant I dropped almond flour) and my acne decreased. More I researched, I realized I didn’t need vegetables so I went full-on carnivore, acne gone.

      Diary does seem to cause 1 or 2 acnes to pop back up so I’m playing around with creamers in my tea.

      Reply
  2. Been on the carni for about a month. Miraculous results on my face. Skin smoothing out, black heads gone, no red spots and scars healing. I’m also doing a 20/4 deal for autophagy. I assume my cells on the inside are doing as well as my cells on the outside.

    Reply
  3. I started a carnivore diet after being a strict vegan for 3 years. I went vegan in an attempt to clear some mild but persistent breakouts. My skin just got progressively worse. I would do so much research and convince myself it was “purging” and that it would heal.. 3 years later I was left nutrient deficient, hormonally unbalanced, extremely skinny with a face full of cystic acne and scars…35 days on a carnivore diet and my skin is healing like I never could have imagined!! I am so grateful <3

    Reply
    • Hi Anna!

      Awesome to hear 🙂

      Yes, so many folks fall into the “purging” myth, but on carnivore, my skin got nothing but better each and every day.

      Best of luck to you, keep it up!
      Sam

      Reply
    • Hi Bethany!

      I have seen large improvements in my acne scars, but to be quite honest with you, I’m not sure I can attribute it to the carnivore diet specifically, or my fasting protocols.

      One interesting thing to note is that both vitamin A and zinc can increase wound healing – so if you were going to try carnivore for acne scars, specifically, it may be worth trying vitamin A-rich foods (liver, cod liver) and zinc-rich foods (oysters, clams) to see if it makes any improvement.

      Cheers!
      Sam

      Reply
    • I am not sure about it but steakandbuttergal has shown pictures of healing her acne and minimizing scars but I am not sure of the specifics.

      Reply

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