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Can Smoothies Cause Acne?


You might be reading this thinking, “what?!” Could smoothies cause acne and breakouts?

Based on my personal experience, I’m afraid yes, for some of you.

I’m always talking about how diet is connected to your skin. Healthy diet will support skin health.

If you are still working on improving your diet, you don’t have to worry about smoothies (instead, focus more on eliminating sugar and processed food).

But, if you’ve already eating super healthy, you’ve cut out the known acne trigger foods like dairy and sugar, and your skin is not clearing up; I recommend doing an experiment of taking a break from smoothies for at least one month to see how your skin responds.

Can smoothies cause acne breakouts and pimples

But aren’t smoothies healthy?

The first question that always comes up is, “What do you mean, I thought smoothies are healthy? That’s why I’ve been drinking them!”

Yes, smoothies are healthy.

Depending on what you put into them they can be packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, protein and healthy fats.

But for someone with acne or chronic breakouts, sometimes drinking something that’s made with so many ingredients or so high in carbs/sugar, could be messing up your skin.

There’s no doubt that smoothies are nutritious, but they’re not always the best food for everyone.

How can smoothies cause acne or breakouts?

The two main issues why smoothies could cause your breakouts and acne, is that the mixture of so many ingredients are very difficult to digest, and depending how much fruit, dried fruit, superfoods, and juices you put into your smoothie, it can be VERY high in sugar (even too much natural sugars can give you breakouts).

Too many ingredients makes anything extremely difficult to digest

Take a look at the ingredients people put into their smoothies:

  • fruit
  • vegetables
  • greens
  • green powders
  • superfood powders
  • protein powders
  • dried fruit
  • honey
  • maple syrup
  • yogurt
  • oats
  • milk
  • nut milks
  • soy milk
  • tofu
  • nut butters
  • nuts/seeds
  • coconut water
  • coconut meat
  • coconut oil
  • freshly pressed juice

That’s a lot of ingredients to choose from!

And, most people want to pack in as many ingredients into their smoothie possible, so they get a wide array of nutrition in their drink.

But the problem with putting so many ingredients into a smoothie, it makes it very difficult to digest, especially when you’re mixing things like fruit with protein powder, nut butter/nut milks, and various superfood powders. You’d never put a meal together of fruit, protein powder, and coconut oil, but we mix all that up in a drink and wonder why it’s giving us problems.

If the food you’re eating is too difficult to digest, and causing bloating, gas, and heaviness in your stomach – it could start affecting your skin. That’s why if a smoothie has too many ingredients and is upsetting your stomach, the energy your body wants to use to heal your skin is diverted to dealing with the difficult-to-digest smoothie you’re drinking every day. As nutritious as that smoothie is, it could be standing in your way to clear skin.

If this sounds familiar to you, and your smoothies don’t feel so great in your stomach, stop eating them. And instead, make real food out of the ingredients you’d put in those smoothies, like eating a small bowl of fruit, or making a green salad with nuts and seeds sprinkled on it. You’re not cutting the ingredients out of your diet, you’re just making real meals out of them that you eat and chew instead of throwing 10 ingredients into a blender and drinking it down. This will be a whole lot easier to digest and you’re continuing to feed your body the nutrition it needs (just in a more “skin friendly” way).

Too much sugar and carbs does mess with your hormones

I do also want to mention that another problem with smoothies is the amounts of carbs and sugars in it.

It’s not only fruit that is high in carbohydrates, but a lot of superfood powders, dried fruit, nut milks, coconut water, oats, and other ingredients thrown into smoothies that are high in sugar and starches.

And yes, these are all natural sugars, which come with a full array of nutrients and fiber that processed sugar just doesn’t have – but sugar is sugar, and even too much natural sugar isn’t good for everyone (especially if you have hormone-related acne).

The thing with smoothies is you can put a lot of food into one smoothie and drink it down, not realizing just how much you are consuming. Some smoothies can have up to 1000 calories and just as much sugar as a Coke. And the things is, you’re drinking it and swallowing it very quickly, big difference to eating solid food, chewing it, and connecting to your body’s cues when you’ve had enough.

I used to love drinking smoothies so much because they taste so good. But, after a while I noticed that whenever I drank them I’d feel dizzy and tired afterwards. I realized there was too much sugar, my body just couldn’t tolerate it.

Should you avoid all types smoothies?

There’s a lot of different types of smoothies:

  • Fruit smoothies
  • Green smoothies
  • Superfood smoothies
  • Breakfast smoothies
  • Smoothie bowls

If you suspect smoothies are causing your acne, I would avoid all of them for one month to see how your skin responds. If after a month you see your skin is improving, then you know the smoothies are causing the problem. If after a month there’s no difference in your skin, then you can start eating them again.

And just remember, this advice is for someone who’s already eating a super healthy diet and has taken dairy, sugar and processed food out of their diet and their skin isn’t getting better. If you’re still eating dairy products, junk food or processed food, don’t even worry about the smoothies, just work on improving your overall diet, especially avoiding dairy and sugar.

More blog posts for acne prone skin

About the Author

Hi, I’m Natasha St. Michael, Founder of Inspire Beauty. I’m also a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Natural Health Educator accredited by the Institute For Integrative Nutrition. I’m obsessed with skin care and self-care. I’m 47 years old, struggled with adult acne until I was 30, and now I’m all about preserving the youthfulness of my skin (and sharing all my tips and tricks). If you have a question about a product or need a recommendation, feel free to contact me anytime.


This blog is for information purposes only. The content is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Should you have a medical or dermatological problem, please consult with your physician. None of the information or recommendations on this website should be interpreted as medical advice.

All product reviews, recommendations, and references are based on the author’s personal experience and impressions using the products. All views and opinions are the author’s own. 

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6 Responses

  1. Hello
    My smoothie is only made with Vegan Protein powder, 1/4 avocado, frozen mixed berries (1/4 cup) and water. Is this considered a smoothie that can cause acne?


    1. Hi Tanis,

      Your smoothie could be causing acne because you’re mixing fat, protein, and carbohydrates all in one drink. How about doing an experiment taking a break from smoothies for 1 month and see how your skin responds?

      Out of all smoothies, the best digesting smoothies are usually the ones made with just some fruit and green leafy vegetables (like spinach, kale, parsley, lettuce, etc.) and water. These green smoothies are easier to digest because its just fruits and green leafy vegetables. Once protein powders and fats are thrown in, everything becomes a lot harder on your digestive system, and then starts showing in your skin.

      It’s definitely worth doing the experiment without smoothies to see how your skin responds. If after a month of staying away from them you don’t see any improvements in your skin, then you can certainly start drinking them again.

      Let me know how it goes!

  2. This is a tough one for me. I have 6 smoothies per week and they’re fruit, oats and nuts smoothies. Will have to look into alternatives because I do think they’re not working for me.

    1. I have a suggestion Colette, instead of putting all those ingredients all together in a smoothie, eat each ingredient separately at different times of the day. For example, have the oats for breakfast, have the fruit as a mid morning snack, and have the nuts as an afternoon snack. Many times the combination of too many ingredients in a single drink is what causing stress on your digestive system and can affect your skin. Try this out and let me know if it helps!

  3. Hi, I’ve never had even a pimple on my face, but over the last 6 months I’ve noticed a huge change in my skin. I’ve been using plant based proteins since the summer, but I didn’t add a lot of ingredients until about 6 months ago. I add the plant protein, banana, carrots- 2cups, 1:2cup of blueberries, and oat milk and sometimes I will use a vanilla protein, with 2 cups of carrots , banana, teaspoon of cinnamon and nutmeg, and oat milk.

    I will follow your advice and eliminate smoothies all together for a month to see what happens. And I also noticed the my digestive system is off.


    1. Hi Knikki,
      That might be what’s causing it! Try not to mixing fruit with any proteins or grains (no mixing fruit with protein powder or oats). Just eat fruit on it’s own, plain.

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