Everyone wants to have healthy and clear skin, right? Some of us have a multi-step skincare routine and a lot of products, while others focus only on washing and moisturizing. The thing is, nothing has the power to affect the way your skin looks quite as much as what foods you eat.
It is well known that high-collagen foods and antioxidants represent natural ways to maintain a youthful skin. But there are also foods you may want to avoid if you want to keep wrinkles, acne and other skin issues away from you.
Before revealing these certain foods, it’s important to know that we have science on our side. For instance, several studies showed there is a link between acne and certain foods. Also, many dermatologists concluded that – spoiler alert! – alcohol can dry the skin and make it lose its elasticity.
That being said, here’s a list of 9 foods that affect your skin.
1. Fatty Meat
Fatty meat like pork ribs or ground beef is high in saturated fats which affect your insulin growth factor. Basically, the insulin growth factor is a hormone found in our body and it can reach high concentrations when eating high-fat meats. The result? Since the insulin growth factor stimulates the production of sex hormones, it can lead to serious inflammation in the skin. Yes, I’m talking about acne.
Both doctors and nutritionists recommend switching to lean meat, poultry and fish instead to control the amount of fat you ingest.
2. Bacon, Hotdogs and Pepperoni
These high-processed meats contain many preservatives, nitrate being one of them. The thing with nitrates is they can cause inflammation and wrinkles. Not only do these processed foods have a high concentration of nitrates, but they are extremely high in sodium too. Most commonly known as salt, sodium dehydrates the skin and weakens collagen production, especially if it’s in high concentrations.
So if you want to stay away from foods that affect your skin, you should avoid these high-processed meats.
3. Foods With a High Glycemic Index
According to Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a New York City dermatologist, high glycemic foods like white bread, french fries, and white pasta, are among those foods that affect your skin. Not only do high glycemic foods cause acne breakouts, but they may even contribute to premature aging.
Every time you eat high glycemic foods, your blood sugar levels increase, making those sugar molecules bind to collagen in the skin. This process, called glycation, causes the breakdown of collagen which leads to raisin-like skin.
4. Dairy Milk and Some Dairy Milk Products
Several studies showed there is a link between milk consumption and acne. Cow’s milk increases insulin levels, and some brands even have synthetic growth hormones. High insulin levels raise circulating cortisol levels, which can make our sebaceous glands secrete more sebum. Milk does not cause acne, but it can reveal an underlying genetic predisposition.
Because cow’s milk is associated with skin problems, other dairy products are no exception. Certain types of cheese and ice cream are also foods that affect your skin, leading to acne, particularly among those who consume a lot of it. On the other hand, fermented dairy hasn’t been associated with an acne risk.
5. Whey Protein
Whey protein, naturally found in dairy milk, can also be found in shakes. Studies looking at bodybuilders who tend to drink a lot of protein shakes showed that whey protein consumption has a high potential to cause acne.
As previously stated, whey protein can cause acne by increasing the production of a hormone known as insulin growth factor. As a result, insulin increases sebum production, which is linked to acne development.
A great alternative to the classic whey protein would be a vegan, plant-based protein powder.
Being a diuretic, alcohol makes your body expel lots of water. Losing fluids can lead to dehydration which basically means the skin becomes dry. Dry skin has more fine lines and pronounced wrinkles. Also, if not consumed in moderation, alcohol has the power to accelerate the aging process and change the skin’s texture, particularly in women.
No worries though! A glass of wine won’t make you look older as long as it’s just occasional drinking.
7. Fast Food
Yes, the name says it all. Those quickly prepared foods are your skin’s enemy too. I’m sure you know what kind of foods are in this category. From burgers to French fries and hod dogs, they are all rich in calories and refined carbs. And don’t forget about the beverages. Sodas and milkshakes have lots of sugar. While having a cheat day won’t hurt your skin, a Western-style diet can trigger some skin issues like acne, blackheads and even wrinkles.
8. Spicy Foods
It turns out that spiced and seasoned foods can do more than just make your face turn red. I usually don’t eat spicy food as I’m not a fan of it. But I remember one time I made a visit to my dermatologist’s office, and she was able to tell what I had for dinner the night before by simply examining my face. She was right. I’d eaten a food that was quite spicy (at least for me).
But what gave me away? She told me I had little broken capillaries around my nose, a skin condition commonly known as rosacea. Well, spicy foods can trigger rosacea, which is an inflammatory process. Note that not everyone has a sensitivity to this type of food though.
If you have acne-prone skin, then you may want to avoid eating too much sugar. Cookies, pastries and ice cream are foods that affect your skin. They all have lots of sugar in them and can increase inflammation. Because your body metabolizes sugar the same way as carbs, the process also leads to collage damage reducing skin thickness and strength.
Are you looking for some more healthy eating tips? Here are 10 reasons the Mediterranean diet is perfect for you!