Having acne as a teenager, I wish I had known of the many foods that ruin your skin, because I was eating most of them! I know that each of us have different triggers that can cause breakouts, but what I didn’t realize was how certain foods that ruin your skin can not only cause acne, but other skin problems too. The older I get, I’ll admit I am getting more concerned with the quality and softness of my skin. Though wrinkles don’t scare me, I’m sure not welcoming any either! Certain foods can help your skin look youthful, clear and vibrant, while others can make it dull, dry, give you acne and give you wrinkles. Check out these foods that ruin your skin so you can stay clear of some of the worst offenders.
Sugar in refined or added form is one of the worst, if not the worst, foods that ruin your skin. Sugar breaks down collagen in the skin at dramatic rates. Collagen is the protein that keeps your skin plump, smooth, and free of wrinkles. Inflammation is caused by sugar due to it being highly acidic, and it can cause acne quickly. Sugar also raises the blood sugar, which creates a spike in insulin, your blood sugar hormone, which leads to breakouts. If you find your skin looking lifeless or see that it has breakouts, then be sure to cut back on the sweets you’re eating. I can’t even have fruits too high in sugar. Though they are healthy, fruits can be acidic and high in sugar if you’re sensitive to high sugar foods. The worst offenders in the sugar department include all refined sugars, white sugar, brown sugar, processed foods that have sugar, condiments with sugar, syrups, and high fructose corn syrup. You also need to avoid added sugars like agave, dried fruit, molasses, honey, evaporated cane syrup, cane juice and brown rice syrup if you're especially sensitive to breakouts or wrinkles. Though some of these do have some health properties, they are still just as acidic and high in calories as white sugar.
Just like sugars cause a rise in blood sugar, so do refined grains. If you eat refined breads and flours, then you’ll need to lay off the breads and starches for awhile, unless you choose sprouted grain breads like Ezekial bread, or 100% whole grain bread. I actually prefer eating starchy vegetables like pumpkin, squash, and sweet potatoes entirely instead of breads at all, since these veggies are rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, potassium and water, which actually enhance your skin tone. These veggies also lower your glycemic index more so than breads.
All processed foods usually contain added salt, which dries the skin out. Salt sucks the water out of your cells, which can create dryness, which can lead to breakouts. Be sure to choose fresh foods whenever possible, and if you buy processed foods like canned veggies, buy no-salt-added varieties and check the sugar content. Energy bars can also be high in salt, along with sugar, so be sure to choose one with no salt like Larabars, or eat bars with less than 250 mg sodium and only eat one a day.
Most dairy foods, with the exception of no sugar added yogurt, tend to cause breakouts for people. Dairy is highly acidic and rich in natural hormones. Depending on how these hormones react in your body with your own hormones, you could experience an imbalance of hormones, which leads to breakouts. Some people don’t even tolerate yogurt. I have found yogurt to be the only dairy food that doesn’t give me breakouts, along with grass-fed whey protein. If you eat dairy and have acne, try eliminating dairy for one week. If your breakouts get better, the dairy could be the culprit, but if not, it could be something else you are eating. Opt for dairy-free options while you’re experimenting, with options like almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, or soy milk. All of these nondairy options have yogurt versions out as well.
Processed fats like those found in dips, dressings, energy bars, cookies, candies, chips, roasted nut butters, and some canned foods are unhealthy sources of processed fat. Fat is not a bad thing, but when it is heated, the benefits of healthy fats from plant oils changes to make them unstable. Trans fats such as hydrogenated oils are also horrendous for your skin, not to mention your body, and they are often found in processed foods. Highly heated fats create inflammation dramatically, which can clog pores and lead to breakouts. The exception is coconut oil, which has a high smokepoint and can tolerate high temps well. Overall, stick with raw fats from raw nuts, avocados, raw nut butters, cold-pressed oils, and keep oils to a minimum to reduce overall reactions. I know many of you probably love peanut butter, so if you buy it, please know you can't buy it raw, so opt for natural peanut butter with no salt or sugar added, or opt for PB2, a popular peanut powder with hardly any fat or sugar.
Though alcohol isn’t technically a food, I’ve included it because it is a huge problem for the skin. Alcohol severely dries out your face, which can lead to breakouts, wrinkles, dull-looking skin and more. Alcohol is extremely dehydrating and also acidic. Many fancy alcoholic beverages are also high in sugar which, as you know, is a problem itself. Avoid alcohol or opt for red wine once a week for better skin.
This one should be obvious, but fast food is full of ingredients that ruin your skin. These include trans fats, saturated fats, hormone laced meats, food dyes, chemicals, MSG, tons of salt, sugar, food stabilizers, and more. Just look at the ingredients of your favorite fast food meal on the chain’s website. Most are almost your entire daily allotment's worth of calories, salt, sugar, or all of the above. Many also contain more than 50 ingredients for just one item! Though there may be a few healthy options out there, most fast foods will clog your pores, dehydrate your skin, and lead to acne and wrinkles. Don’t buy fast food and expect to have flawless skin. If it hasn’t caught up with you yet, trust me, it will!
Did you know that shellfish (oh yeah, beloved crab, lobster and even shrimp!) are high in iodine? While that is really good for your body, if you have a ton of it in your diet, it can lead to a lot of breakouts and in turn, a lot of acne. Watch out! Only have these foods a couple times a month at most.
Foods that are completely natural and are whole and a diet that is packed with fresh fruits and veggies is important when you are trying to keep up with your skin -- however, if you dip into fried foods a lot throughout the week and then, in turn, get a lot of acne and pimples, there is a reason! Fried foods are typically cooked in harmful fats and oils, not the good kind and you are ingesting that!
If you've had a lot of problems with your skin lately and you are seeing a lot of bumps and acne -- and have switched from sugar over to sweeteners, that could be one of the reasons! Because sweeteners are artificial, there are a lot of different chemicals that are used and truthfully, they can ruin your skin!
While taking supplements is super important for your body, if you are suddenly having problems with your skin -- after taking supplements, it could be because the supplements that you are taking are low quality or they are just not a right fit for your body. You've got to do a lot of research before you start to take supplements!
Red meat is so important in your diet, however, if you eat way too much of it, especially if it is packed with fat, it is going to cause breakouts all over! Just watch your red meat intake and watch how much you consume throughout the week and your skin will clear up in no time at all!
While dark chocolate has tons of different health benefits, eating milk chocolate is something that can really ruin your skin and really cause all kinds of breakouts on it. If you are looking to satisfy your sweetness craving, dig into something dark chocolate or even brew some dark chocolate cocoa!
I know eating healthy may not seem easy or fun if you’re new to the lifestyle, but it can truly change your skin, your body and your life. I was so self conscious as a teen because of my skin, and I looked years older than I do now, and that was 10 years ago! Once I started eating healthy, my skin started to glow. Fish, orange-colored veggies, all green veggies, and healthy fats like avocados, flax, chia seeds, hemp seeds, coconut, and even cocoa powder, can increase the health of your skin. Eat these foods in place of the 13 on this list and you’ll have great skin in no time! Have you ever had a negative skin reaction to a food you’ve eaten?
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