Acne-Safe Super Greens Alternatives

by Emily Linehan on January 31, 2022
Updated July 13, 2022

Many people turn to "super greens" (such as spirulina, chlorella, blue green algae, seaweed, kelp, and sea moss) thinking that it will help their skin. Unfortunately, for those of us who are acne prone, this couldn't be further from the truth. 

If you’re consuming super greens for their supposed skin benefits and are still experiencing breakouts, you aren’t alone. This is because super greens will not clear acne, but will trigger it instead. Here’s why -

Because many of these "super greens" are forms of algae or seaweed, they are very high in dietary iodine. While iodine is a mineral that is essential for healthy hormone production by the thyroid, an overabundance of it is problematic for those with acne prone skin. When there is more iodine than the body can use, the excess is excreted through the sweat glands. Since iodine is a follicle/pore irritant, this sets the stage for an inflammatory (acnegenic*) response on the skin, often leading to inflamed acne, rosacea, etc.

*Acnegenic = irritation/inflammation to the pore which is the ideal environment for acne to form.
Comedogenic = ingredients that block/clog the pore and increase comedone formation.

If you’re struggling with acne, it’s best to eliminate the following acne triggering super greens from your diet. It’s also important to make sure to check the ingredients of any protein powders, supplements, or vitamins you are taking as well, as they often contain super greens**! If you find that you protein powder contains super greens, be sure to check out my list of #EmmeApproved Acne Safe Protein Powders.


  • Spirulina
  • Chlorella
  • Algae
  • Seaweed
  • Kelp
  • Sea Moss
  • all sea-based greens

Replace with:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Collard greens
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Green beans
  • any green or leafy vegetable that is not sea based

Many like to add a green powder to their smoothie or to make a green drink. Unfortunately, most of the green powders do contain the acne triggering super greens. However, there is a green powder that is ACNE SAFE that I highly recommend which is Amazing Grass Amazing Trio!

xoxo, Emme

Disclaimer: Always consult your doctor before beginning or ending any supplement or vitamin.

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