Does Soda Cause Acne?

(Last Updated On: August 3, 2018)

Is this not one of those self-evident truths like you find in the United States Constitution? That soda causes acne? It has been the rumor for years that soda is so loaded with sugar that you would get acne just looking at it. This was especially the case if you were prone to get acne anyway.

For years grew up hearing that I drank too much soda and that my face would someday be covered in pimples. Well, guess what? I became a teenager and my face was covered with big and ugly pimples. But I do not know if it was because I drank too much soda or it in my genetics. We need to explore the reality if soda really does cause acne or not.

Soda and Acne Fact or Fiction

Soda and Acne Fact or Fiction

There is no solid evidence that supports that soda and acne go hand-in-hand. It has not been proven that acne is a direct cause of any type of acne. Currently, there is no solid clinical proof that this is the case. But this does not let us off the hook about drinking too much soda. Don’t go out and start drink wheelbarrows of soda every day.

If you drink too much soda it may catch up you sooner or later. Because soda does contain a ton of refined sugar and this will lead to increased levels of blood sugar and testosterone which will lead to skin inflammation. Skin inflammation can cause acne to appear.

Experts do say that acne is much more complicated than just food but it involves genetics, stress, and of course hormones. Puberty in teenagers is another big root cause of acne.

Americans drink a ton of soda every year which will not help in the fight to get rid of acne. People in general really need to cut back on soda consumption it just is not healthy to consume large amounts of soda.

It is becoming the dominant way of thinking in some health camps that soda will not cause acne directly but it is a side effect of soda that acne is proliferated in the body. But there are those that would disagree.

This really is a mystery because some people will drink sugary drinks and break out in acne like it was going out of style but then they stop drinking soda and the acne clears up.But this does not necessarily mean that it was the soda that was causing the acne directly or indirectly. You could argue that it was the soda that caused the acne but the problem is it has not been definitely proven that it can cause acne.

The experts are still trying to figure out exactly what causes acne to develop.Like it was said before there are of reasons why acne happens in the human body. We really do not have a solid grasp of the way acne incubates and then develops underneath the surface of the skin and then becomes an inflamed bump above the surface of the skin.

There are a lot of studies being conducted as to how acne is developed but there is a major problem with the results because they are inconsistent. This can go along with soda causing acne there may be studies conducted to investigate if soda causes acne but the results are not standardized enough to definitely say that soda will cause acne every time a person drinks too much of it.

Then the problem arises as to what is defined as too much soda? People who are prone to acne can drink one soda and breakout severely in acne and have repeat episodes for months. Other people who are not prone to acne can drink a ton of soda on a daily basis and never see one single pimple appear.

Soda Break Down:

Soda Break Down

We will break soda down into its single ingredients and see how each ingredient may affect acne production.

High Fructose Corn syrup and Your Buddy Acne

High Fructose Corn syrup and Your Buddy Acne

High fructose sugar is the ingredient that makes soda so sweet and fun to drink. People crave that fructose corn syrup but don’t really know that is why they are drinking or that it is why the soda tastes so sweet. This substance is foreign to the body it is not a natural element the body produces every day.

Anytime, a substance the body perceives as foreign it will muster up its defenses and attack that substance to eliminate it. This will cause all kinds of wild side effects such as the sugar being broken down into starch and this will cause inflammation to occur in the skin. The result will be acne.

Another negative result is the pancreas becomes overworked; it is the main organ of your body that produces insulin and keeps the blood glucose levels in balance. If the pancreas is overloaded with the fructose it will pass it on to the liver. The process is repeated the liver will filter out the toxins in the body and get rid of them. But if too many toxins enter the liver it is unable to cope with the toxin blitz and will send the toxins to the skin. Acne is the result of this poisonous process.

There is another relationship which involves fructose a candida. Candida is a bacteria that is found in the body normally at low levels. But if you drink a bunch of soda that fructose corn syrup will invade your gut and weaken the immune system. The immune system cannot fight off all the toxins result will be the candida will develop at an accelerated rate and cause acne.

Yet there is another cause and effect of consuming too much fructose corn syrup and that is the body will be blitzed with too many unnatural substances this again will produce acne.

So, just from this one ingredient, there are several ways acne can be produced indirectly from soda. This is just the first ingredient. We have a few more to go.

Phosphoric Acid When It Is Not Your Friend

Phosphoric Acid When It Is Not Your Friend

Believe it or not phosphoric acid is stronger than battery acid. But this acid can become your deadly enemy. If you consume too much soda the acid travels to your kidneys. The kidneys cannot handle the overload of phosphoric acid and they will become damaged.
It can also cause tooth decay and increase the risk of kidney failure.

As was mentioned before the soda brings the acid directly into the kidneys. Normally the kidneys would filter this toxin out of the body. But in this case, the kidneys will not filter the toxins properly and they will leak into the other organs in the body. These organs will become damaged as well. There are all kinds of unnatural and unhealthy processes taking place in the body.

Coke and Acne

Coke and Acne

We all love the stimulation that caffeine produces in our bodies. But it can be a problem when we drink too much-caffeinated soda. The skin will pay the ultimate price for this beloved burst of energy we get from consuming caffeine. Caffeine increases the male hormone, androgen, in the body and when this hormone increases in the body acne will be knocking at your door.

As you increase the levels of androgen in your body it releases a stress response that produces cortisol. If cortisol is produced it will cause the skin to produce excessive oil (and we are talking large amounts of oil) which will eventually clog your pores. Your pores get clogged and the skin becomes inflamed and you will have acne breakouts.

Another hardship caffeine will cause is if you are not drinking water is dehydration. This will cause your skin to become dry and when this happens dry dead skin cells will accumulate in your pores. Your pores will become clogged and acne will develop.

Oh No the Color of the Soda

Oh No the Color of the Soda

Yes, even the color of the soda can influence the production of acne. There is caramel coloring in your soda that gives it the dark coloring. Now, they are saying that it could be a carcinogen. This means that it could cause cancer in your body on top of everything else.

Artificial colorings are just that “artificial”. The body perceives anything as artificial (we talked about this earlier) as a threat. The body will treat a threat as an invading enemy. What do you do to enemies? You get rid of them. The body will get rid of the artificial colorings and the skin becomes inflamed and you have acne produced again.

Another Risk Aspartame

Another Risk Aspartame

Oh, come now haven’t we talked about enough risks that soda can have? No, because there is another risk that we take when we drink too much soda. That risk is known as aspartame. Aspartame is considered a carcinogen and we know what carcinogens can produce in our bodies. Aspartame may be able to change the bacteria in your intestine which will ultimately suppress your immune system which will weaken it greatly.

The body will perceive this as a carcinogen. Besides, the obvious risk of cancer the aspartame will make it difficult for the immune system to ward off acne-producing bacteria. Well, you know the story that type of acne proliferates in the body and acne will breakout everywhere.

Drinking a lot of soda can cause acne in so many ways. Is it worth it? Just individual ingredients discussed above can cause acne in so many ways that you probably never thought of. It is obvious that soda can cause acne indirectly but it still cannot produce acne in the body directly.

The evidence seems overwhelming that soda is a culprit for acne production. Again, for the sake of argument will all the ingredients in the standard soda produce the above effects in every single person that drinks too much soda? That question is still out for debate and really has not been answered adequately.

There could be and if there is not there should be studies conducted to prove if all types of people would experience the same acne producing results as discussed above. You know that again genetics could play a big factor in affecting the results of ingredients producing acne as a side effect.

Drinking Too Much Soda Is Like Smoking

Drinking Too Much Soda Is Like Smoking

In some health circles, it has been concluded that drinking soda can have the same effects on the skin as smoking. The effects are very similar and are not that sobering thoughts? If you drink too much soda then you are setting off a chain event that will cause all kinds of inflammatory reactions to occur in your body. The skin will take the brunt of all those unhealthy processes. The skin will develop eczema, cystic acne and a host of other conditions.

The skin will become dry, dull the skin cell production will drop off. These are the same effects nicotine have on the skin. It will also cause inflammation as has been substantially proven. The good thing though is that the damage done to your skin from excessive soda drinking can be reversed. If you stop drinking soda and drink water instead the damaging results can be reversed in a short period of time.

Coke and Acne

Coke and Acne

On this particular website, there was an interesting thread about coke causing acne. There were some that said that coke will cause acne if you drink too much of it. One author said they started drinking coke and broke out in acne in a very short period of time. They went on to say they see people drinking coke at work all the time but they never break out in acne. So, here again, is it the coke that is causing the acne breakout or is it a genetic influence?

Another author said they drank coke a lot and broke out horribly. They Stopped drinking the coke and drank water instead and the acne disappeared and their skin cleared up and began to look very healthy. Then they started drinking coke again and this time they did not break out in acne.

The argument came up that coke as a lot of refined sugars and that will exacerbate acne especially if you are already prone to getting it. Another author said that this was not true that you had to have a sensitivity to coke to break out in acne. It seems like the question was not really answered in this discussion.

The puzzling conclusion is that people who drink coke will get acne but other people will drink coke and not get acne. The real issue is that these people really do not know if drinking coke can cause acne or not. On a broader scale, soda can indirectly cause acne but it cannot directly cause acne.

The question will rage on and it will not definitely be answered here within the confines of this article. But there seems to be more evidence supporting the fact that soda can cause acne indirectly. More as a side effect than a direct result. Drinking soda definitely is not healthy for your skin if it is done in excess.

Diet drinks are as unhealthy as regular soda drinks because they contain all the same elements that regular soda contains. They will have the same effects on the body as regular soda will have as far as acne production is concerned. So, the perception that diet soda is healthier to drink and that it will not cause acne simply is just that a fallacy. Guaranteed that all the processes discussed above the ingredients in regular soda causing acne will duplicate themselves in drinking diet soda.

But on a positive note if you drink soda in moderation you may be safe from an acne breakout. Even though it was recorded by an individual that she drank just one coke and she broke out.


We have presented some information that we hope will give you some insight into whether soda can cause acne directly or indirectly. People on both sides of the argument are equally passionate and convinced that their views are right about this question. It seems clear that the information presented in this article would prove that soda does provoke acne production at least indirectly.

There are individual ingredients in soda that can produce acne in so many ways and affect the organs that are involved in controlling acne production.The common theme is that these ingredients will overload the kidneys, liver, and pancreas in their functions in filtering and eliminating these toxins. The bombardment of these ingredients into the body overwhelm and cause these organs to not be able to function normally. The result is that the toxins are sent in the overflow to the skin and the inflammation develops on the skin and acne is proliferated.

The bottom line for you to take home is that drinking soda excessively will not help your skin look beautiful and it will cause you to break out in acne in many different ways indirectly. You could be in the minority that is able to drink a lot of soda and have no acne breakouts ever. You need to decide for yourself if drinking a lot of soda is healthy or not. It seems to be an unhealthy habit.

Written by Irina Radosevic MD
Irina graduated from the University of Belgrade, School of Medicine as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and spent over 3 years working in the Clinical Hospital Center Zvezdara, in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She also undertook a postgraduate in Cardiology from the same University and had previously worked for over a year as a Physician and Nutritionist Dietitian for the Fitness club Green Zone. She eventually left her chaotic but fulfilling job in the ER to pursue her passion of writing, travelling and mountain climbing which has included writing a first aid course for the alpine club of Belgrade. Irina currently works as a VA for PintMedia focusing on medical and travel writing. Feel free to connect with Irina on LinkedIn and FaceBook. Her CV can be seen here.