My Experience with Eggs & Acne

Here’s my experience with eggs and acne…

Several months ago, I gave up eggs – kind of by mistake – but I went 40 days without eating them. I started a seed cycling protocol to help with balancing my hormones because I had stopped taking oral contraceptives. The protocol required incorporating all kind of seeds into my diet, so I started eating Powerseed Overnight Oatmeal instead of eggs, just about every morning for breakfast. It was an easy way to get in the seeds.

Prior to going off the pill (and even before I started taking it), I was getting huge, deep acne cysts on my neck. I’d get a few breakouts on my face from time-to-time, but they were minor and nothing like what was happening on my neck. The cysts on my neck randomly popped up all month long, so they didn’t seem related to my hormones. They were semi-painful and looked terrible (and no amount of concealer covered them up), so I asked my GI doctor, Registered Dietitian friends, and Googled like crazy to figure out how the heck to get rid of them. No one really had an answer and, not surprisingly, the Internet was all over the place with what to do. I struggled with this awful neck acne for months and months (and wasted money on so many acne products), but then, during the seed cycling protocol, they just went away. It was like magic! My experience with eggs and acne was finally starting to make a little bit of sense!

Once I realized that maybe eggs were making me breakout, I continued to avoid them in my diet. My skin got so much better (I also credit Beautycounter for the improvement!) until… Kerrie and I went to San Francisco. Since we were traveling and ate all of our meals out, I ended up ordering a variety of egg breakfasts during our stay. I guess I was getting a little cocky because my skin was the best it’s been in years, and I didn’t think a few eggs would make a huge difference. Plus, eggs were an easy source of protein, and I just couldn’t say no to the delicious avocado egg sandwiches on just about every menu. Of course, breaking out crossed my mind, but I figured, worse case, it was a good test to see what would happen. Sure enough, once I was back home, a few cysts popped up on my neck. Darn eggs!

My Experience with Eggs & Acne

My experience with eggs & acne; www.carrotsncake.com; Two side-by-side photos of the same female face comparing acne; photo of eggs benedict breakfast with avocado

Do eggs cause acne?

After that, I laid off the eggs again until New Years Eve day when Mal offered to make me an egg sandwich one morning. It was the last day of 2017, and I figured, “What the hell?” Plus, I wanted to see if just a single egg would make me breakout. The outcome: A cyst on the side of my neck popped up just a couple of days later. Whomp whomp.

So, eggs are out of my diet right now. If they’re cooked into something, like a donut, things are mostly fine, but I just try not to go overboard on recipes/foods with eggs in them. That’s just part of my experience with eggs and acne. From what I know about eggs, it’s typically the whites that give people problems. I want to try eating just some yolks (since they’re so nutritious) to see what happens. I’ll be sure to report back! In the meantime, I wanted to share some egg-free breakfasts that I’ve been eating lately. I definitely miss eggs, especially egg sandwiches, for breakfast. But now that I’ve found some new favorites, it’s not so bad. I hope you guys find them helpful!

Corn tortillas with mashed sweet potato, baby spinach, shredded chicken, and BBQ sauce Rice cakes with peanut butter, banana slices, and cinnamon

Top left clockwise: Egg-Free Breakfasts 

  • Corn tortillas with mashed sweet potato, baby spinach, shredded chicken, and BBQ sauce
  • Rice cakes with peanut butter, banana slices, and cinnamon
  • Avocado toast with hemp seeds and ground flaxseeds
  • Chicken sausage, roasted potatoes, and sauteed spinach with Everything but the Bagel Seasoning

Check out my Eggless Paleo Breakfast Ideas!

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56 Comments

    1. I over consumed egg 3weeks ago, like i will Scrambled 4-6 eggs and eat by myself every day for like 10-14 days i guess.. after 2 weeks i have break outs and this is severe! I dont know what to do

  1. such an interesting observation. I’ve been having more often acne lately and I’ve been putting egg whites to my oatmeal. Are they related? now I wonder. will experiment too! 🙂

  2. Very interesting! My body is the same way with dairy products, so I gave up milk 8 years ago and am mostly vegan now. It has made a world of difference to me.

    1. I also find that eggs break me out. Milk is a possibility as well. But I’ve also found that pantothenic acid in high doses has helped eliminate 95% of my breakouts. It’s been a game changer for me. Only thing that almost immediately breaks me out with cystic is eggs.

  3. I have struggled with cystic acne on my upper back/shoulders for years now. It used to be all over my face and neck, as well. Its severity comes and goes and I can’t figure out a pattern to it or what is related to! I have tried eliminating all sorts of foods and worked on hormone balance. Currently, it seems better dairy and gluten free. I have heard others say they experience acne with eggs, too. I’m not sure I am ready to restrict yet another staple from my diet.

    Glad your skin is improving – these cysts are soooo painful and leave terrible scars!

  4. My dad has an egg sensitivity with similar limitations: he cannot eat a cooked egg, but if its an egg or two mixed in a baked good he can handle it…. You should mention it to your PCP because there are certain immunizations that are cultured in egg white that he has to get alternatives for — he does get the flu shot though because the risks of his reaction (minor) outweigh the benefits of the flu immunity.

      1. @Tina: It’s definitely possible! My dad gets stomach ish when he eats eggs and gets low-grade version of it for a couple days after the flu shot. He’s in his 70’s so he figures not getting the flu is worth a couple days of discomfort – but still, its good to be aware!

  5. Wow this is so interesting! I wonder what it is about the eggs…cystic acne is the absolute worst because you really just let it run its course I feel like. Warm compress really works for me when it comes to inflammation!

  6. Say it isn’t so! I went off the pill a year and a half ago and my acne flared up! It is especially bad on my neck!

    Eggs are my go to meal for everything. Super easy, always on hand and you can do so many things with them. May have to experiment to see if this is my cause of cystic acne. Was thinking it may be dairy because I suddenly started eating a lot of yogurt. Not really helping to not eat it tho.

    Bummer

  7. I’m curious if there is research out there on this? I know there is some research on dairy and acne. I’ve struggled with acne for many, many years as well. I went diary free for 2 years and it made a world of difference with my skin! Am very curious about this as I do eat eggs quite regularly.

  8. Thank you for sharing this! I’ve had a similar experience. My cysts were always on my chin. Nothing I was trying was working and I had already cut dairy from my diet. I was having tummy troubles almost daily even though I eat a really clean diet.

    I tried the seed cycling protocol based on your review. The cysts were still popping up, but it seems like my hormones were becoming more balanced. I determined it must be something I was eating.

    Fast forward to a New Year’s special discount from EverlyWell for their Food Sensitivity test. I took the test and can report that egg whites were in my next to highest category for reactivity. Carrots and coconut were in the highest level. These are three foods I was eating almost daily.

    I got the results back almost two weeks ago and can report that my skin is getting much better!

  9. I was wondering if you went off oral contraceptives for any particular reason you could share. I also have cystic acne and have been considering going off the contraceptives, but am worried it will make the acne worse.

  10. I’m so surprised to hear that about eggs! It makes me think how many different foods someone can be sensitive to without knowing it. Now if someone tells me I react poorly to nut butter, I’m going to lose my mind!

  11. This past weekend I noticed I had some bad acne on my upper arms which I never get. I had no idea where it came from. After reading this, I realized I had eggs for breakfast the two days before and hadn’t eaten eggs in a very long time. I might need to test this out to see if it happens again.

  12. I’ve been experiencing a lot of cystic acne on my neck as well. I don’t eat too much dairy and eggs, but I think it is worth cutting out to see if it has any effect. I don’t like using traditional medicine on my neck especially, so this is something different to try.

  13. That’s crazy, man. I’ve always been curious if I have an egg intolerance. I definitely do with dairy, so I wouldn’t be surprised with eggs. It’s been awhile since I’ve eaten an egg, but come to think of it, every time I did, my stomach wouldn’t feel so great. Lots of bloating and discomfort, similarly to when I eat dairy. Our bodies can be so weird and smart! If you’re craving scrambled eggs, give scrambled tofu a go. It’s super nutritious!

  14. I am curious, as I’ve been looking into testing or certain diets to help with food sensitivities, was eggs something that popped up as a red (or yellow) flag on your LEAP test? I know sometimes things don’t show up or are masked/overlooked when there is so much else going on, so I’m curious! Glad you were able to figure it out, funny enough it was by accident! And I’ll be interested to see how you do with the yolks! Thanks for always sharing your journey with us!

    1. Eggs didn’t show up on the LEAP test, so I have no idea what to believe now! Maybe my hormones are just more settled now, but every time I eat eggs, I break out.

  15. Never ceases to amaze me how much what we put in our bodies impacts our external. Although the struggle would be real if I had to skip eggs. Have you tried flax eggs?

  16. Egg whites are also high in histamine while egg yolks are not. Acne and skin related allergic reactions (allergic eczema, hives, etc.) are all symptoms of an excess of histamine – along with many other types of allergic reactions (GI issues, sore throats, congestion, etc.). But it’s very common for people to have individual triggers and certain symptoms that always along with that trigger. Issues with histamine are also very strongly correlated with IBD. Studies have shown people with IBD have an increased number of mast cells in the gut, an increased rate of histamine secretion, and reduced function of both the DAO and HNMT genes. (source: http://alisonvickery.com.au/the-histamine-intolerance-ibs-and-ibd-connection/). All of the food issues I’ve seen you write about over the years can easily tie back to a mast cell disorder. Histamine issues are also strongly correlated with hormones – estrogen is correlated with an increase of histamine while progesterone is correlated with the breakdown of histamine. So if there’s anything out of whack there it can exacerbate issues. Mast cell disorders are considered ‘rare’ at the moment, but they’re now realizing it’s probably not that rare, just wildly misdiagnosed and under-diagnosed. I know it’s always challenging to try yet another diet or look into yet another possible root of the problem. But it’s worth looking into! It could impact quite a few of the issues you’ve been dealing with. Plus antihistamines/mast cell stabilizers make it easier to manage and live a more normal life. This is the most comprehensive food list: chrome-extension://oemmndcbldboiebfnladdacbdfmadadm/http://www.mastzellaktivierung.info/download/foodlist/21_FoodList_EN_alphabetic_withCateg.pdf

      1. @Tina: Yes and no. There are tests that exists, but they don’t really do them in the U.S. At least not at the university research clinic I go to. It’s much more widely accepted in Europe & Australia/New Zealand (go figure). The only test they do is for Mastocytosis, which is the most extreme mast cell disorder. All other forms of mast cell disorders can be treated the same, so they don’t bother looking into it.

        There are a few issues that lead to an excess in histamine in your body:
        1) You have too many mast cells so when they get triggered they release too much into your body
        2) You have the right number of mast cells but each one is releasing too much histamine when they are triggered
        3) You don’t produce enough DAO – the enzyme that breaks down histamine – so you can’t clear it fast enough

        It could be one or a combination of those issues. There are genetic SNPs that are correlated with DAO deficiency and a couple of other genes mutations that are also correlated with histamine issues (KIT & MTHFR). If you’ve done 23 and Me you can look it up. In my case, nearly all of the DAO genes show reduced production of DAO. SoI know that’s probably one contributing factor. But I don’t have the MTHFR or KIT mutations.

        For most mast cell disorders, a mix of antihistamines and mast cell stabilizers will decrease the amount of histamine being released into your body and help with symptoms. Sensitivity varies and it gets worth over time. They use the bucket analogy. If you can’t clear it or you’re adding too much, at some point the bucket is going to overflow. Once your bucket is full, you’re going to have frequent reactions. It takes a couple of months to get it back down. But once you’re levels are back down, with medication you can have high histamine foods in moderation. And trigger foods are different for everyone. You’ll have stronger reactions to some foods and tolerate others.

        To get diagnosed in the US you really need to go to an allergist at a research hospital or clinic; most standard allergists are not familiar with mast cell disorders. My sister has the same issue (and my dad – there’s a form of it that’s genetic) and her regular allergist in the Boston area could not figure out what was causing her reactions. Whereas my allergist (in NC) deals with cases all the time and diagnosed me right away.

        Some of the better articles on the subject:
        https://draxe.com/histamine-intolerance/
        https://chriskresser.com/headaches-hives-and-heartburn-could-histamine-be-the-cause/
        http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/85/5/1185.long
        https://selfhacked.com/blog/deal-histamine/
        http://healthypixels.com/?p=1044
        http://www.thepatientceliac.com/2014/01/04/mast-cell-activation-syndrome-madness/
        http://www.allergynutrition.com/faqs-fact-sheets/ (Dr. Joneja is the most well known doctor that studies it)
        https://www.pinterest.com/swmccoy/mast-cell-disorder-low-histamine-diet/ (I pin a lot of recipes – but there are articles peppered throughout)

        [Apologies for the novel! There’s a lot to it! Feel free to email for more info. I’ve spent much of the past year after receiving the diagnosis trying to figure it all out. And it’s still a work in progress.]

  17. have you seen a dermatologist? if you break out off of OCP or even on it, you may have hormonal imbalance that was somewhat improved while on OCP. (oral contraceptive). Acne you get on your face especially chin neck jaw area is related to hormonal imbalance. Would hate to blame it on eggs because i love eggs and have the same problems you do.

  18. I have cystic acne on my chin and always assumed it was hormonal, I think it partially is, but I can get flare ups when I’m no where near that time of the month. I’ll have to try experimenting with going egg free etc. I’d love to get off birth control but am nervous everything will get worse!

  19. I would also try giving up dairy for awhile-its hard but worth it. I have psoriasis on my scalp plus dandruff and I also used to get yeast infections all the time. Both symptoms went away when I stopped eating dairy and returned when ever I eat it. Cheese is my friend but I can live without most other dairy (I like milk substitutes better).

    If you or anyone has problems with those symptoms, try to give up dairy for at least a month to notice the difference, but it will probably only take a few weeks.

  20. I have never heard egg could cause acne! Thank you for sharing the post! It’s very hard for me to remove acne out of my meal, but I will reduce my consumption.

  21. My diet was so consistent it’s amazing it took so long for me to figure this out. It consisted of a lot of beer, cigarettes and like 6 eggs a day. Mid twenties male musician… I’d get terrible acne on my neck and back. Honestly, I assumed it was from all of my other bad habits. I switched my breakfast to a salad, cut out eggs and it completely went away. Miss the simplicity, don’t miss the acne…

    1. The opposite has been true for my son. He heard from a gym friend that egg yolk might be causing his acne so he gave up the yolk & has only been eating the egg white for the past few weeks. I’ve already noticed a significant difference. His face has cleared up tremendously.

  22. The solution is simple. If you eat organic eggs, you won’t break out. It’s something in regular eggs that causes acne in some individuals.

  23. I googled “acne eggs” and found this site. I too accidentally discovered that eggs were the cause of my acne, and probably for decades! I was also having hip joint pain, post-nasal drip and clogged sinuses that I attributed to other factors. These issues have also lessened since eliminating eggs. My skin looks better overall, smaller pores and less puffiness. I loved eggs but love clear skin and no joint pain more.

  24. I’ve done the same thing but lemme say this as well and I hope you read it. I went egg-free for several months and my neck was clear with no acnes. But after several months, I experienced horrible hair loss. Been eating eggs for a while now and my hair is MUCH better. Do not go totally egg-free but if you do, make sure you get the necessary vitamins and nutrition eggs provide.

    1. I have the same condition, eating eggs gave me acne and worsen my keratosis pilaris . I stop eating eggs for 2 months and things certainly got better. I do still get acne but usually small , less painful and not so inflamed as if I was eating egg. Its hard cause I love eating scrambled egg a lot 🙁 not only eggs bread, pasta and noodle gave me acne too 🙁

  25. Wow, so it is true!
    I recently laid off eggs by mistake as well. I’m a broke student so I stopped buying them for a while ( 2 weeks) as I had more food. I haven’t had any big cystic acne on my back ever since. And typically I have 1-5 of them every week. I was wondering if it could be because of the eggs. I was eating scrambled eggs every day before going to the gym because of the protein. But it may be too much protein for me! I will hold on as long as I can before I buy them again and then see what happens when I eat them. It’s just horrible because the cysts are always in places I cannot access, and they tend to have a white head but nothing ever comes out. They give me neck tension as they lay on top of my muscles and push on my nerves. It’s really a treat. Thanks for this!

  26. Yo.. I went on vacation for a month and ate the most junk food I ever have, barely washed my face, and went out in harsh conditions all the time. For some reason… my frigging acne was better than it ever has been in the past 4 years. When i came back to the USA I resumed my normal healthy diet which includes a breakfast with eggs… Bam…. I started getting acne again and lots of it. WTF!! Its been a few months since then but every time I have eaten eggs, I have gotten acne. I guess it is them causing it and I definitely wont be eating them anymore. Sucks, but oh well what can I do.

  27. Really great I cam across this site. I too have been getting big cysts on my arms and tong! I cut out eggs, just by mistake, and now no more cysts. Also, my cysts never had any puss come out as mentioned above. I am a real egg lover too. Oh well, glad I found it. The cysts have been really painfull.

  28. I’m from Kerala, IN. Once I met an Ayurvedic Physician while consulting for my sister, the doctor was a graduate in Ayurvedic Medicine(BAMS), and she is from a Vaidyar family practising for generations, even her father is practising along with her. I expressed my acne problem with her. I was expecting some kind of Ayurvedic acne cream from her. She just looked at my face and asked me to avoid egg and okra. Since then, I stopped consuming both. Occasionally I had egg based dishes like chicken fried rice, even small quantities induces one or two non poppable acnes and usually I end up with scars after attempting to pop using finger nails.

  29. I recently went off birth control after being on it for over 15 years and have been getting very bad breakouts on my jawline, chin and forehead. I went to a naturopathic doctor who suggested I do an elimination diet to help my gut and I noticed that on no gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, nuts and fish, the acne almost totally cleared up. I started putting things back in last week and the day after I added eggs back in I noticed small bumps again on my jawline and a cyst zit on my chin. I’m now wondering if eggs are to blame. Wondering how quickly you noticed a difference and how quickly did eggs cause you to break out. I’ve honestly not seen much about eggs and acne but wondering if this is my issue.

  30. Yes. I attest. This is accurate for me. I’ve been experimenting with eggs and acne for the past year.

  31. Cystic acne comes from your own immune response attacking your own cells. When you overconsume eggs, it’s easy for the foreign protein to trigger your immune system because it seems like there is a flood of invader into your body if you’re not using the protein. That’s why a balanced diet is so important. Varying your protein source will make sure you’re not getting too much of a single kind of protein and trigger your immune system.

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