You know that saying, "You are what you eat?" As it turns out, that’s not too far from the truth. The foods we eat become part of us, and plenty of the foods and beverages we love wreak havoc on our skin.
Sure, the world promised you acne-free skin once you got through those terrible teen years. But that was a lie and now we all know it. The living hell of adult acne, redness, and splotchy complexion can make you wonder, “What the hell happened to me?”
While it’s important to maintain a skin care routine, you should first look to your diet before heading toward any $75 miracle cream.
Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and diet has a direct effect on your organs. According to a 2020 study by dermatologists, the big issue is inflammation. When you eat certain foods that cause inflammation, your skin gets visibly irritated.
If you’ve tried everything else, try cutting these five foods out of your diet to see clearer, glowing skin.
5 Trigger Foods To Avoid For Better Skin
1. Sugar = Premature Aging
Foods packed with sugar — like sodas, fruit juice, and candy bars — are linked to premature aging and disease. Sugar damages the production of collagen and elastin which makes you more likely to develop fine lines, wrinkles, and saggy skin. In other words: sugar ages you. If you don’t want a ton of wrinkles, limit your sugar intake.
Donuts may be good for the soul, but they're terrible for your skin.
Try to avoid foods with added sugar. If you do need to sweeten something, opt for more natural sweeteners like agave or honey. Stevia is a convincing replacement for sugar, too.
2. Gluten = Inflammation
While some people are fine if they eat their body weight in pasta, bread, or cookies, not everyone tolerates gluten.
If you have a gluten allergy or sensitivity, any food containing wheat, barley, or rye can inflame your skin.
Stamp out stubborn breakouts by reducing or eliminating gluten in your diet. Even Walmart carries gluten-free options these days, so it’s easy to replace traditional pasta with something skin-friendly.
3. Alcohol = Dehydration
Sorry, but your daily glass of wine is bad for your skin. We can debate the pros and cons of alcohol for your health, but when it comes to your skin, alcohol dehydrates you. If you have dry skin, alcohol could be the culprit.
And hey, the wicked hangovers make you look like death warmed over, anyway. Opt for sparkling water (or at least sub in water for every other drink) when you're out for the night to see a difference in your complexion.
4. Caffeine = Clogged Pores
This one hurts, but it’s true. Like alcohol, caffeine can dehydrate your skin. Actually, too much caffeine from drinks like coffee can make your skin break out. The culprit is skin-clogging tannins that worsen acne.
If you have to drink coffee to function (we feel you), limit your consumption to one cup of coffee a day. Supplement your skincare routine with hyaluronic acid to restore moisture to your skin.
5. Deep-fried Food = Oily Skin
French fries, chicken nuggets, and deep-fried Oreos are delicious, but they're awful for pretty much every inch of your body.
These oily foods can actually lead to excess oil production in your skin. Trans fats and free radicals from the oil are a no-go if you want Beyonce-level skin.
Limit fried food when possible. Go for goodies that are baked, grilled, or braised for clearer skin.
Still Battling Breakouts?
Yes, most of the foods on this list feel super essential. But if your skin looks off, it means you may not be fueling your body with the right foods.
So, if you’ve tried avoiding these five kinds of foods for a while (give it at least a month and half), and you're still not seeing any difference, you may want to try an allergy test. A doctor will test you for food intolerances and you may find out that even the healthiest foods (read: celery) can be causing your skin to flare up!
Bottom line? It’s okay to indulge every now and then, but as a rule, try to stick with minimally processed, whole foods that you know make your skin look and feel great.