Cooking Acne: Dos and Don’ts


The condition of your skin has a lot to do with where you live and work. If you’re exposed to heat, grime, and impurities from long hours in the kitchen, the effects are sure to show up on your complexion. Could grease from the pan and heat from the stove be causing your blemishes? Is cooking acne even a real thing? Let’s find out.



Can cooking cause acne?

Yes, it can. Here’s a closer look at how your hours in the kitchen may be leading to cooking acne.

  • Heat is a problem. Steam burns could leave you with painful blisters or boils. But you could land up with acne even if you don’t get burnt. That’s because the heat in the kitchen makes you perspire, and sweat can clog up the pores. As you well know, clogged pores are often the first warning sign of acne waiting to happen.
  • Grease is a problem. As food cooks, the grease from oil, butter, ghee, or fat spreads through the kitchen. Just as the cooking hob and the kitchen backsplash get sticky from the grease, so too does your complexion. That’s a problem because oil and acne often go together. People with oily skin are naturally prone to pimples, but if your skin is collecting grease in the kitchen, you are at risk too. Oil traps grime and dead skin cells within the pores, setting up just the right environment for acne bacteria to flourish.
  • Grime is a problem. Touching your face while handling meat, vegetables,
    and other food products is a bad idea. Each time, you risk transferring bacteria and dirt from the food to your face. The impurities could irritate your complexion and cause breakouts.


Eating greasy food versus cooking greasy food

If you are acne-prone, the standard advice is to cut back on your consumption of greasy food—from fries and chips to pakoras to even rich curries. The jury is still out on whether the food we put into our bodies leads to acne, but it doesn’t hurt to play safe. 

What you eat may have an impact on the skin from the inside. But when you cook greasy food, the effect on your complexion takes place at the surface level. If the grease from cooking spreads throughout your kitchen, it’s likely that minute oil particles are deposited on your face as well.

(Here are 9 reasons your skin may be breaking out all of a sudden.)


Cooking tips for acne-prone skin

Do: Use an exhaust or a chimney in the kitchen.
This will push the grease and the pollution from the stove out of your kitchen. You might also consider investing in an air purifier. Fresh, clean air is less of an acne risk.

Don’t: Stay in the kitchen for hours at a time.
Your skin will thank you for going outdoors at regular intervals. Soak in some fresh air and Vitamin D on your breaks.


Do: Upgrade your acne care routine.
You can’t stop cooking but you can amp up your skin’s defences against cooking acne. Here are two simple fixes:

  1. Upgrade your cleansing routine with Clearica Anti-Acne Cleanser, a gentle and moisturizing formula that cleans out tough pore blockages and washes away acne bacteria. Use this twice daily as part of your skincare regimen. (Get tips on how to use a face cleanser.)
  2. Apply Clearica Anti-Acne Cream after you’ve cleansed and swiped on some toner. The lightweight cream clears clogged pores, reduces inflammation, fights acne bacteria, and leaves your skin feeling healthy and rejuvenated. After using the cream, massage in your daily moisturizer as usual.

Don’t: Cleanse your face repeatedly.

Cooking leaves you sweaty for sure. But cleansing too often will leave your skin feeling dehydrated, which could then trigger the sebaceous glands to produce more oil. When cooking acne is a problem, oily skin is definitely bad news. Do yourself a favour by not overdoing it. Rinse off the sweat using just lukewarm water.


Do: Safeguard your skin while cooking.
Maintain a safe distance from hot vessels and heat sources. If the weather

permits, wear a cotton mask or scarf to protect your face while in the kitchen. You could also try applying lightweight sunscreen as a defence against the heat and light emitted by the stovetop or oven.

Don’t: Skip hand hygiene.
Make sure to wash your hands frequently. This will prevent bacteria and impurities from transferring from the food and kitchen surfaces onto your skin.



If you are in the habit of cooking up a storm on a regular basis, cooking acne remains a risk. But this is no insurmountable challenge. So long as you follow some basic kitchen tips, you should be able to keep breakouts away.






Disclaimer: This page is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a recommendation or for diagnostic purposes. Please consult your dermatologist or doctor before acting on any of the information provided here.