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Nutrition and Your Skin: Foods That Damage the Complexion

The Body Reset Diet is a low-calorie regimen which is made up mainly of drinking smoothies. This diet plan can be accomplished within two weeks. It’s designed for rapid weight loss, which is supposed to motivate you to continue dieting successfully.

unhealthy products food bad figure skin

Worst Food For Skin - (Image Credit: Shutterstock)

Overview

Following a nutritious diet is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle for many reasons. The food you consume supports your mental and physical well-being. Eating properly can assist you in staying at a suitable weight, enhancing your overall wellness. 
 
If you need to lose some weight, you may try a regimen like the body reset diet to get a good start. Due to the low number of calories you eat, you’re almost sure to drop quite a few pounds in 2 weeks, making it much easier when you continue with a less stringent diet.
 
Eating correctly also supports your skin health. Some foods can damage the skin or age it prematurely. Others have anti-aging benefits and other healthy properties to enhance your complexion.

Food and the Skin

Proper nutrition supports the immune system, including the skin. The best diet plan for a healthy complexion requires macronutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids, as well as micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. They help to keep the skin barrier healthy, improving its appearance and condition (1).

 
There are some foods that you should avoid if you’re trying to improve your complexion, as they can do great harm.

10 Foods That Can Damage Your Skin

1. Refined Carbohydrates

Sugar Cubes

Reason:
Foods that include a lot of refined carbohydrates are bad for the skin because they are high on the glycemic index, meaning they have a lot of sugar. Consuming these foods leads to a spike in glucose levels, causing your body to release insulin. A review of the research in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology cites studies indicating that this can cause acne. 

Sugar also harms aging skin. According to Clinical Dermatology, it does damage to the collagen fibers and can prevent them from being repaired. This can cause the skin to age faster, developing wrinkles and fine lines.

Replacement:
Instead of consuming refined carbohydrates, try replacing them with substitutes like cauliflower bread and rice, zucchini noodles, Portobello mushrooms, and eggplant. These are some of the best brain foods available. Vegetables are high in vitamin C and fatty acids, which are important for healthy skin. Vitamin C contains antioxidants that can help repair skin damage. 
 
Besides, if you crave sweets, you can replace sugar with organic items like apple sauce, honey, coconut juice, or stevia sweetener. These will satisfy you, and help to get rid of oily skin and acne.
 

2. Dairy

Reason:
Dairy products are very high in inflammatory properties (2). They can exacerbate conditions like eczema on the skin, and there’s some evidence that they could cause or increase levels of acne (3). 
 
Also, many people are intolerant to dairy, some without even being aware of it. Eating dairy when you are allergic can lead to inflammation all over the body, including the skin (4).

Replacement:
There are a few options if you’re trying to replace dairy, including cashew milk, almond milk, and unsweetened nut milk. These are healthy and don’t include lactose or hormones. They aren’t inflammatory and so they will have a much better impact on your skin (4). Besides, if you’re struggling to choose between butter vs. margarine, go for the margarine. The taste isn’t all that different.

3. Soy

Reason:

soy milk glass bean

Many people like to use soy as a replacement for milk, but this is not a good choice if you’re trying to take care of your skin. Soy is high in phytoestrogens, which are hormones that behave similarly to estrogen. According to GMS German Medical Science, this can cause premature skin aging by disturbing the balance of hormones in the body.
 
Also, soy is a common food allergen largely because it’s genetically processed. For this reason, it can cause inflammation in the body leading to hives, itchiness, or skin rash (5).
 
Replacement:
If you’re looking for more natural options to soy, try almond milk as a drink and beans instead of tofu. These do not contain hormones and are not highly allergenic (4). They are much healthier for your skin.
 

4. Fast Food

Reason:
Fast food is bad for your skin because it’s so high in trans fats. These are very harmful to the dermis, mainly because they induce oxidative damage, making you more susceptible to developing skin conditions according to a study published in Lipids.
 
Besides, fast food is often fried in hot oil, which has the effect of oxidizing it and creating damaging free radicals. These can harm your skin, leading to signs of early aging (4).

Replacement:
If you want to stop eating fast food but you still need to snack, look for healthy foods that are not high in trans fats and oils. The best diet plan includes snack items like fruits, nuts, smoothies, raisins, and granola bars. These foods are delicious, and they won’t age your skin.

5. Wheat

wheat grains

Reason:
Wheat could be bad for your skin because so many people are intolerant to gluten. If you have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, you can end up with some skin conditions from eating wheat. The European Journal of Dermatology cites examples such as psoriasis and dermatitis herpetiformis.
 
Also, a lot of wheat today includes some white flour. It contains glucose, which spikes your blood sugar, leading to the release of insulin. This can cause acne to develop on the skin. It’s a good idea to look for some healthy alternatives instead.

Replacement:
There are other healthier, sugar-free grains available like spelt buckwheat, Kamut, and brown rice. They will not give you a skin reaction as they are free of sugar and other inflammatory ingredients.

6. Gluten

Reason:
Many people have an allergy to gluten these days. You may not even be aware that you have such a sensitivity. Eating gluten when you’re allergic leads to inflammation in the body, which can negatively affect the skin. Gluten can be absorbed into the skin and cause an itchy, reddish rash on the surface (6).
 
In some people, gluten causes the body to produce too much of a gut protein called zonulin. This overproduction can cause an inflammatory response in the body, which can lead to skin rashes and other issues (7).

Replacement:
Gluten sensitivity has become such a big problem that there are numerous options available today to replace it with. Some bakeries sell gluten-free bread and desserts. Many of these items are just as delicious as what you’re used to and much easier on your skin.

7. Alcohol

Strong spirits set hard alcoholic drinks

Reason:
One of the biggest issues with alcohol and the skin is that it dehydrates you, aging the skin and making wrinkles and lines more noticeable in the short run. Skin that gets dried out like this regularly can lead to more permanent damage. If you already suffer from dry skin, the problem is even worse (8).
 
Also, alcohol can lead the blood vessels close to the skin’s surface to dilate, which causes your skin to flush. Over time, the damage can become more permanent as the capillaries in your skin begin to break (8).

Replacement:
It’s difficult to find a substitute for alcohol if you’re a person who likes drinking. However, if you want to improve your skin and follow a generally healthy lifestyle, try to enjoy a selection of sweet fruit juices as a substitute.

8. Processed Meats

Reason:
Eating high amounts of sodium is very unhealthy for the body. It can put you at risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke (9). It also harms the skin, leading to dehydration which can cause inflammation and dry skin. Processed meats are very high in sodium, unfortunately, so they can be very damaging to the skin.
 
The majority of meats contain sodium nitrates, which are known to generate oxidative stress. This can lead to health problems, and it can also be harmful to the skin. According to the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, it can damage collagen and elastin, leading to early skin aging.

Replacement:
If you’re looking for an alternative, try grass-fed organic meats. These are much lower in sodium, so they won’t dry you out. They should also be free of hormones. Since these meats are very high in omega-3 fatty acids, they are also some of the best brain foods available (4).
 

9. Spicy Food

spicy-chicken-curry

Reason:
Spicy foods can be damaging to the skin because they contain acidic lycopene. These can irritate the skin, cause fluctuations in your PH levels, and lead to acne. There’s still a limited amount of research confirming this connection, but there does seem to be some truth to it (10).
 
Besides, the extra heat generated from the spicy foods could lead to inflammation in the body, which could create or exacerbate existing skin conditions (4).

Replacement:
If you love spicy food and you’re looking for something to replace it with, we suggest experimenting with a variety of different spices to try to generate some other tastes that you enjoy. You can try coriander, oregano, thyme, and any number of others to add flavor without the added inflammation or acidic levels.
 

10. Caffeine

Reason:
If you’re an avid coffee drinker, you may not be happy to hear that caffeine can lead to some level of dehydration. This is only true, however, if you drink too much. It can dry out your skin and make it dull-looking and lifeless. A moderate intake of coffee does not have a dehydrating effect (11).
 
A study published in Psychosomatic Medicine discovered that caffeine can raise cortisol levels in the body, which causes an imbalance in hormones. This can also cause inflammation, which could create or exacerbate existing skin conditions.

Replacement:
Trying to kick caffeine isn’t an easy process. However, there are many delicious hot drinks you can replace it with which do not raise cortisol levels nor dehydrate you. There are numerous different herbal teas and there’s also decaffeinated coffee, which tastes very similar to the real thing.

People Also Ask

Q: 1. Is dairy bad for your skin?

A: Dairy foods are not very good for the skin, because they are high in inflammatory properties which can exacerbate skin problems. Limit the number of dairy foods in your diet and try things like almond and coconut milk instead. If the choice is butter vs margarine, choose margarine. 

Q: 2. What should I eat to clear my skin?

A: If you’re trying to get rid of oily skin and acne, you should avoid dairy and anything with refined sugar. Include plenty of omega-3 fatty acids in your daily diet, such as fish, beans, almonds, walnuts, grass-fed beef, spinach, and kale. 

Q: 3. Which fruits are good for the skin?

A: Fruits that are high in Vitamin C are rich in antioxidants and very healthy for the skin. Vitamin C is included in many anti-aging products. Try berries, papaya, guava, oranges, kiwi, sweet potatoes, and strawberries. 

Q: 4. What should I drink to stop pimples?

A: You can try almond milk, which is high in omega 3s. Other beverages that may help with pimples include matcha tea, kefir, spearmint tea, and warm water.

Q: 5. What foods cause skin inflammation?

A: There are a few foods that can cause skin inflammation, such as dairy, soy, wheat, processed meats, and spicy foods.

Conclusion

What you are indeed is what you eat, and it’s also true that what you eat is reflected in the quality of your skin. If you want to improve your complexion, stay away from processed foods, refined sugars, wheat, spicy foods, alcohol, dairy, caffeine, soy, processed meats, and fast food. 
 
Fill your diet with healthy nutrition such as omega-3 fatty acids, citrus fruits, grass-fed meat, nuts, brown rice, and herbal teas for quality skin and overall good health. You’re already on your way to a glowing complexion and a sense of overall well-being.

Author

Melissa Feldman

Health and Wellness Writer

Melissa Feldman lives in Toronto, Canada and works as an independent research writer. She spent almost 20 year...

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