They say you are what you eat, and that spicy food is bad for skin. Is that really true though? We did the research.

It’s no secret that we Asians love our spicy food. Most of us enjoy that little sprinkle of spice. It sets our tastebuds ablaze. That’s why we’re so serious about this.

Spicy food doesn’t technically cause acne

Spicy Food Bad for Skin sweat


Spicy food itself doesn’t directly cause acne and breakouts. It is the side effects experienced from eating spicy food that increases the chances of a breakout. This is even more so if you’re not used to eating spicy foods in the first place.

Our body temperature rises when eating a spicy meal. This produces sweat which in turn triggers the oil in the skin to be released. Acne occurs when dirt and bacteria gets trapped by these oils.

So if you’re not used to the heat of spicy food, you might sweat more, and hence, breakout more.

It can exacerbate existing breakouts

Spicy Food Bad For Skin acne

If you are sensitive to spicy food, you may want to stay away from it. A study shows that 58% of women who ate spicy food experienced having blackheads.

Spicy foods can irritate the skin harshly and exacerbate existing skin conditions. It can also increase the amount of redness and facial flushing in those who are prone to these symptoms.

Gut inflammation may occur as well, as a result from acid reflux, upset stomach, or other symptoms. This inflammation may also cause eczema, skin flushing, or acne breakout.

How to tell you’re sensitive to spicy food

Spicy Food Bad For Skin acne

If you want to know if you’re sensitive to spicy food, you would likely know from experiencing these constantly after eating a spicy meal:


Sweat and inflammation triggers sebum production, which when over-produced, can lead to acne. Other symptoms can also occur such as blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples.

An in-depth research of Chinese women discovered a clear and significant link between oily skin and taking sweet or spicy food, so be extra cautious if you fall into this demographics!

Broken Capillaries/Spider Veins

Broken capillaries or spider veins is what happens when blood vessels beneath your skin enlarge and dilate, which can be caused by inflammation.

Spider veins commonly occur on the legs and face. They can be a nuisance to deal with as our skin isn’t as clear as we like. So, if you eat spicy food and see spider veins across your face, you know you’re sensitive.


Skin redness happens when blood vessels below the skin dilate and fill with more blood, which can happen due to an increase in body heat.

It might be time to lay off the spice if you look like you’ve fallen in love for the first time every time you eat spicy food.


A common skin condition, rosacea causes visible blood vessels, redness, and small, red, pus-filled bumps on the affected area.

These breakouts can occur for weeks, so if you have a stubborn breakout that won’t go away no matter what you do, it might be due to spicy food.

Methods on preventing a ‘spicy food breakout’

Spicy Food Bad for Skin spice tolerance

We’ve got a few methods here you can try to prevent a breakout caused by spicy food without cutting it out of your diet entirely.

Build your tolerance

Eating more spicy foods means you can build up your tolerance over time. Start by acclimating yourself to milder spices and peppers so you can slowly work your way up.

You can slowly train your body and have less extreme inflammatory reactions by getting used to mild chillies and then moving up to those with medium heat and up.

Try alternatives

You can replace spicy food with a better alternative for your skin. Our previous articles about the 11 best foods for skin brightening and foods that give you better skin may be helpful.

We also recommend these antioxidant-rich foods for a clearer, better complexion:

  • Ginger: It helps to flush out toxins, reduces damage caused by free radicals, and stimulates blood circulation.
  • Fennel: This food treats acne and helps in improving the overall texture of the skin.
  • Tea: Matcha and green tea lovers can celebrate because they fight stress and boost your chances of having clear skin.

Wash your face

After experiencing the rise in body heat and sweat caused by spicy food, you can wash your face to help remove the excess oils.

Additionally, you can use soothing skincare products like a clay mask to soak in the sebum and reduce pores after a particularly spicy meal.

Spicy food bad for skin? The conclusion

While spicy food doesn’t directly cause acne, its side effects can cause it and existing flare ups to worsen.

Those who are sensitive to spicy foods may experience extreme reactions due to inflammation. Common experiences include acne, broken capillaries, flushing, and rosacea.

Although changing your diet and avoiding spicy foods may be an option, you can also build your tolerance, wash your face, and prep your skin with soothing skincare.

For us, we’re going to continue enjoying our spicy meals – and sleep well at that!