Does Your Face Break Out When You Stop Eating Meat?

The messaging is everywhere. Cutting back or eliminating meat from the diet is a really significant action you can take to help slow the effects of global warming. But it’s a big change for the body and many worry their complexion will suffer. So, does your face break out when you stop eating meat? Let’s investigate …

Does Your Face Break Out When You Stop Eating Meat?

 Yes, when you stop eating meat you may experience some break-outs on your face. In 99.9% of people these effects are temporary and are a result of your body adjusting to your new diet regime. It takes time to undo all those years of a ‘Western’ diet. 


Watch: Erin & Dusty on quitting meat


Here in these “Great” British Isles we’re seeing record numbers of people cutting back on their meat eating ways. Driven largely by worries over climate change, the younger generations especially are very conscious of the links between meat and, shall we say, environmental negatives!

It seems like every other day now we see new records being broken for climate change related weather events. In July 2022 the UK smashed its previous record temperature by a huge 1.6 degrees celsius, hitting 40.3 degrees as the country struggled to cope!

Anyone still deluded enough to believe man-made climate change is not happening are so far gone they’re unlikely to ever be convinced of the supreme challenges we face in the near future.

These challenges are many and varied – they require our species to make some profound changes to our lives. Many are now arguing the only way to halt this march into oblivion is nothing less than complete systemic change.

We’re talking the overhaul of our entire economic infrastructure since it is greed and the pursuit of ever increasing rates of profit which have got us into this mess.

But I digress, sorry!

Your average Joe and Jane are not about to devise an alternative to these engrained financial complexities which rule our lives, but something you can do is …

Stop eating meat. Or at least, significantly reduce your consumption.

… and in the UK people are doing so in droves.


Quitting Meat Can Have Temporary Side Effects

Does your face break out when you stop eating meat? (close up of a woman's face with perfect skin)

If you’ve always enjoyed your meat but have started questioning the food choices you make then you’re certainly not alone. Many have concerns over the physical effects of giving up that steak and one of those is changes in your complexion.

Eliminating meat from your diet will, more often than not, cause your body to react in ways you may not have anticipated. Skin breakouts can be one of these reactions.

This is perfectly normal and the adjustment phase may last anywhere from a week to a month and a half. Your body responds quickly to a major dietary change like this.

Hormonal changes begin almost immediately. For example, red meat has been shown to reduce the levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) which can cause increased levels of both testosterone and estrogen in the body [1]. In women, one of the symptoms of this is acne.

This example is maybe not the best because it suggests quitting red meat will reduce your acne but what it does serve to illustrate is that meat consumption affects hormone levels in the body.

Any changes in hormone levels, especially testosterone and oestrogen, often manifest physically. Sometimes this will include skin break-outs.

Acne is strongly linked to the ‘Western’ diet. Meat and dairy consumption in particular have been shown to be positively associated with acne … a condition rarely found in non-industrialised nations [2].


A Short Period Of Adjustment

A hand that looks half human, half robot.

Our human body is an amazing feat of bio-engineering. The fact it works at all is a constant source of wonder to me. But thankfully, it does work 🙂

The phrase “you are what you eat” is very true and while the body can withstand years of abuse, eventually poor dietary choices catch up with us.

The pressure on our healthcare systems is due, in large part, to what we decide to feed on [3]. The Western diet of high meat and dairy, salt, sugar and ultra processed food consumption is really doing us no favours.

Many people are waking up to the revelation that more vegetables, fruits, pulses and wholegrains positively impact our health and reduce the burden on our healthcare professionals.

It’s really akin to a health insurance policy.

When we make these dietary changes we respond quickly and sometimes quite dramatically. Symptoms such as skin break-outs are common but do not last long.

As your body adjusts to your new healthier diet, this short period of adjustment is expected and is nothing to worry about.

Your face breaking out in zits is, happily, only a temporary effect as your hormone levels re-stabilise, adjusting to your new regime.


Your Body Will Thank You For Making The Changes

Close up of an apple cupped in the hands.

Once the initial adjustment is over, most people report positive results when giving up meat. As long as you pay attention to your nutrition, you can’t go far wrong.

If you have decided to go 100% plant based, or even vegan, then you will want to consider supplementing with Omega 3 and vitamin B12. Most people are low in these essential nutrients anyway, meat-eaters and vegans alike.

Red meat in particular is concentrated nutrition so if you ate a lot of meat previously you likely didn’t need to think about dietary needs. Apart from maybe getting enough fibre.

Eating too much meat has its own problems but we’re not addressing that in this piece.

For whatever reason you’re moving away from a meat based diet, whether it be for your own health, the environment or animal welfare, it’s worth learning a little bit more about human nutrition.

I’m not suggesting you become a professional nutritionist but it will serve you well to up your knowledge of the nutrients we need to thrive during our short time on this beautiful blue and green dot we call Earth.


Welcome To The New, Healthier You!

A jar full of lots of different vegetables.

The evidence is now overwhelming. Reducing your meat intake is one of the best things you can do for your overall health. Endless large-scale studies have shown correlating results in line with this conclusion.

I just made a quick search for scientific papers on Google relating to meat and human health and 165 million results were returned!

Now, I know not all of those results will be relevant but you get my drift.

Here’s just one of the papers returned. If you’re still in denial about the overconsumption of meat then maybe it’s time to give your head a little wobble!

I chose to go vegan, not for my health but for the sake of the animals which are subjected to untold suffering in the meat and dairy industries. I was, however, surprised at the profound effects it had on my health and this was a nice bonus to my ethical decision!

In truth, I gave up meat 27 years ago so I don’t remember if my face had a break out but I do know that my complexion these days is pretty good and people often mention how young my skin looks 🙂

So even if your face does break out when you quit the meat, you can be safe in the knowledge that after a few weeks this will subside and you can look forward to a lifetime of younger looking skin … if my experience is anything to go by!

I hope this article has helped you answer some of your questions about quitting meat and if so, please share with your friends using the social icons. I always welcome a comment or two as well so take 2 minutes and leave me your thoughts below. I will always respond.

Thanks for reading and have a compassionate day!



[1] – Yamamoto A, Harris HR, Vitonis AF, Chavarro JE, Missmer SA. A prospective cohort study of meat and fish consumption and endometriosis risk. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2018 Aug;219(2):178.e1-178.e10. Epub 2018 Jun 2. PMID: 29870739; PMCID: PMC6066416.

[2] – Melnik B. Dietary intervention in acne: Attenuation of increased mTORC1 signaling promoted by Western diet. Dermatoendocrinol. 2012 Jan 1;4(1):20-32. doi: 10.4161/derm.19828. PMID: 22870349; PMCID: PMC3408989.

[3] – Ursula E Bauer, Peter A Briss, Richard A Goodman, Barbara A Bowman, Prevention of chronic disease in the 21st century: elimination of the leading preventable causes of premature death and disability in the USA, The Lancet, Volume 384, Issue 9937, 2014, Pages 45-52, ISSN 0140-6736, (



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