Nix These 5 Foods for Improved Skin

Your skin is the largest organ in your body, which means that when something is going wrong on the inside, your skin is going to be the first to let you know about it.

Whether that warning manifests as acne, rosacea, dry skin or premature aging, skin problems are often directly linked to inflammation and imbalance within the body. If you’re eating foods to further inflame these imbalances, you are essentially eating foods that will inevitably harm your skin. Here are 5 foods to nix from your diet for healthier skin, backed by science:

Sugar. You’re probably not surprised. I mean, what isn’t sugar responsible for? In terms of your skin health, sugar consumption has been proven to lead to acne. And don’t be fooled, processed foods generally fall into the ‘sugar’ category, too. Most processed foods are loaded with sugars and refined flours that spike insulin levels. This fuels the growth of unwanted, blemish-promoting bacteria as well as encourages an acne-friendly imbalance of sex hormones. Avoid foods high in sugars as often as possible.

Dairy. While dairy, especially fermented dairy, can be part of a healthy diet for some people, there are many of us who simply would be better off without it. Recent studies have confirmed that dairy is inflammatory in the body. For some, this shows up as adult acne or rosacea, much like sugar. If you struggle with adult acne, know this: acne bacteria thrive on sugar, and dairy products are loaded with natural sugars. Additionally, the hormones naturally present in cow’s milk may influence human hormones, paving the way for acne and other inflammatory skin conditions.

Deep-fried or high temperature foods. Bad news for lovers of fire-blackened burgers and fries. When foods are heated too much, as they are in deep-frying and grilling, a chemical reaction occurs to creates compounds known as advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGEs are highly inflammatory to the body and linked to oxidative stress, which can lead to aging, dull, wrinkly skin (among other, more serious long term effects, like diabetes and cardiovascular disease). Essentially, AGEs lead to premature skin aging, and worse. Never has there been a more apt acronym.

Coffee. I know that the majority of those reading will wince at the thought of giving up coffee, even briefly, but hear me out. Stress triggers the release of the hormone cortisol, which wreaks havoc on your skin when in large quantities. Coffee boosts cortisol levels. If you’re concerned about premature aging or skin inflammation, it might be time to consider nixing the morning mud.

Excess cortisol can also lead to an overproduction of insulin, which we already know can encourage acne, so coffee is a double whammy. If you love your morning dose of caffeine, give green tea a try, which is incredibly high in skin-healing antioxidants and provides a milder caffeine kick. Of course, there are many benefits to drinking coffee for some of us, so it’s up to you to decipher how your body handles that morning cup. If you won’t give up coffee, consider not drinking it freshly upon waking when your cortisol levels are at their highest.

Alcohol. While a glass of red wine once in a while is an antioxidant-packed delight, consuming alcohol too regularly in your diet can result in increased inflammation in the body, and your skin is the first to show it. Alcohol can make skin appear and look puffier, duller, saggier, older, and generally more lackluster. If you do drink, balance out any alcohol you consume with plenty of water and antioxidants throughout the day, or just consume red wine on occasion instead of a cocktail.

*While that’s a serious hit list of delicious foods to ban from your diet, you can take solace in the fact that the queen of delicious foods—very dark chocolate—is conspicuously absent, regardless of what your mother told you growing up. Hallelujah!

What should you be consuming instead to promote skin health? Drink plenty of water, consume probiotics and omega-3s, eat plenty of leafy greens and diversely colored produce, and get some fresh air once in a while. It’s pretty simple, and your largest organ will glow with thanks.

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W. C
W. C7 months ago


William C
William C7 months ago

Thank you.

Jerome S
Jerome S1 years ago

thanks for sharing.

Melania P
Melania Padilla1 years ago

Mmmm not coffee or wine? I don' think so....

Philippa P
Philippa Powers1 years ago


Siyus C
Siyus Copetallus1 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

George L
George L1 years ago


Chun Lai T
Chun Lai T1 years ago


Dennis Hall
Dennis Hall1 years ago


Chen Boon Fook
Chen Boon Fook1 years ago