8 Foods Which Are Bad For Your Skin

Skin care is not only about applying the right cream, using the suitable anti-pimple face wash or sitting in the parlor for hours to get the facial glow, it is about reflecting the beauty of your internal system.

Yes, skin has a direct relationship with the functioning of your internal organs, specifically with your liver. As we all know that our skin is one of the organs of elimination so when the toxins are not excreted out of the body through the liver they are eliminated from the skin and such a forceful elimination causes skin diseases like rashes, acne, blackheads and pimples, to name a few.

So, it is clear now that what we eat has a direct impact on how we look.

Accordingly, if our diet is full of fruits and green vegetables then the liver will be able to detoxify efficiently because these food items are rich in antioxidant vitamins which helps in the production of collagens, a protein that keeps the skin smooth. Whereas if your diet contains food rich in refined sugar then the effect will be the exact opposite because refined sugars breaks down collagen, disrupts the intestinal lining, leading to acne and it also contributes in aging.

People usually do not alter their food habits to cure their skin diseases as they have this common misconception that food are the indirect causes of external skin problems. This is not the truth because our diet plays a crucial role in determining the health of our skin and instead of relying on expensive and varied kinds of cosmetics and creams it is better to cure the damage by internal treatment. Therefore, it is important to know which food is good for your skin and which is not.

8 Foods Which Are Bad For Your Skin

So, following is the list of 8 foods that are bad for your skin and should be removed from your diet immediately if you want to have a glowing, soft and spot free skin:

  1. Fast Foods

    Well, no surprises there. Fast food is too oily and contains a large amount of Tran’s fat. These food items affect the liver directly and therefore lead to a lot of skin diseases. Most of the fast food is deeply fried in oils like canola oil, safflower oil and vegetable oils and these oils are the main reason why fast food is not good for your skin.

    The unhealthy fats contained in fried foods triggers the release of free radicals in our body, which then clogs the pores and causes acne.

    Apart from this, the oils used to prepare these fried foods are rich in omega-6 essential fatty acids and these fatty acids have good as well as bad implications on our body. The benefit of omega-6 is that it helps in the development, growth and in the functioning of the brain, but as we all know that anything in excess could be bad, and omega-6 is no exception to this.

    When it is not consumed with enough omega-3 then inflammation may occur because omega-6 is an inflammatory substance whereas omega-3 is a natural anti-inflammatory. So, when too much of omega-6 is present in our diet then diseases like redness, pain and swelling will become common.

    So, now we know that fast food is rich in omega-6 and it should therefore be avoided, but what is it that we should devour in order to nullify the effect of fast foods?

    Or in other words, which diet contains high amount of omega-3 to help us treat or prevent inflammation in our body?

    The answer is sea foods. Fish, chia seeds, algae, grass-fed meats and other sea foods are rich in omega-3 and therefore people who eat a lot of sea food have the least chances of getting pimples, acne, oily skin and redness in the skin.

    Fast foods need no replacement they should be completely avoided. Anything which is deeply fried and has a high amount of fat in it is not good for the skin so avoid such ‘street foods’ altogether.

  2. Dairy and Dairy Products

    This might come as a shock to you but milk is not a perfect drink. It is obviously required and effective for the growth and development of our body as it is rich in calcium but too much of it can be harmful for your skin. The growth hormones that are present in milk, especially in skimmed milk, stay active even after pasteurization and these hormones enter into our blood stream, affect the insulin content of our body and eventually lead to inflammation and excessive oil production. Not to forget, milk is also a pro-inflammatory food so it can easily degenerate the inflammatory skin conditions and cause rashes, redness and eczema.

    Over consumption of milk is more harmful in case of women because the hormones present in milk disrupts the hormonal balance of our body and if there is excess production of estrogen, the female growth hormone, then it is suspected that it would result in cystic acne.

    Most people are sensitive to the sugar found in dairy called lactose and 90% of such people are unaware of such sensitivity. So, when they continuously take in dairy food their body gradually fails to digest them and this weakens their gut health. This condition leads to leaky gut syndrome, where in, the body tries to excrete the substances it is not accustomed to through whichever eliminatory organ possible, so when such elimination takes place from the skin it results in cystic blemishes which could last for over a week.

    But up till now there aren’t enough data to confirm the fact that whether it is dairy which causes acne or the sugar present in it, so, to be on the safe side one must have dairy without added sugars and from such cows which haven’t been given any steroids or treated with additional hormones.

    Replacing milk with anything is difficult because there is no perfect substitute to milk but you can still go for milk which is lactose free and has fewer hormones in it, like, cashew milk, almond milk and coconut milk.

  3. Gluten

    Nowadays, we often come across the word ‘Gluten-Free’ when we go to buy wheat, cereals, barley or oats, isn’t it?

    Now the reason why ‘Gluten-Free’ products are becoming popular is because gluten is not good for your skin and in case you are allergic to it then it is not at all good for your health either.

    So, for those who are sensitive to gluten their bodies react to it in the same way as to the other allergens, that is, it causes inflammation. When a body which is allergic to gluten takes in food which has the latter present in it, then the immune system gets activated and while defending the body it results in inflammation which is seen as acne, eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis on the external side of the skin.

    Secondly, gluten also results in the overproduction of a protein called Zonulin. This protein is produced by the digestive tract of our body and its main function is to control the tight junctions present between the cells in our digestive tracts. These tight junctions prevent the passage of pathogens and indigested foods through them. But when Zolutin is overproduced then the junctions break and as a result intestinal tracts become permeable and the undigested foods or substances find their way into the blood stream.

    Once unwanted substances enter the blood stream, the immune system gets activated, which in turn causes systematic inflammation leading to acne, blemishes and other skin diseases.

    Gluten can be replaced simply by buying gluten free products and if you can’t find such products then you can switch to almond flour, coconut flour, brown rice and millet as they are rich in nutrients and low in glycemic.

  4. Caffeine

    As we all know that our skin cells are made up of water and whenever the cells do not have enough water they shrivel up and how does this reflect on your skin?

    Well, through lines and wrinkles.

    Caffeine drinks like tea, cold drinks and especially coffee have the ability to dehydrate your body and this affects the elasticity and collagen of your cells leading to the formation of wrinkles and sagging of your skin. Caffeine acts as diuretic and increases the level of cortisol in our body which can cause inflammation of the skin and also result in hormonal imbalance.

    For those of you who have the habit of drinking tea or coffee and can’t do without it, you all will have to make sure that you add back the hydration by drinking at least 8 glasses of water per day. As long as you keep yourself hydrated, coffee has some benefits too because of the polyphenols present in them which could give you a younger looking skin.

    The other replacement of coffee could be bone broth which provides energy and skin supportive nutrients like collagen, glycine and gelatin. Also, you can go for herbal tea like burdock root or dandelions which are detoxifying agents or you could simply go for decaf coffee.

    Caffeine can be substituted by coffee with decaf, green tea or herbal tea. It is important to make sure that you rehydrate yourself even if you had one cup of coffee. Drinking lots of water is generally good for the skin because it helps in detoxifying our blood and also prevents our skin from shriveling. In fact, green tea is rich in antioxidants and it helps to protect the skin from sun damage, retain the moisture of the skin and improve the elasticity, thickness and roughness of the skin. But if green tea is taken with milk then its benefits will get reduced as milk affects the antioxidant feature of green tea.

  5. Processed Food or Meat

    Processed meat contain high amount of sodium in it which retains water and make your skin look swelled or puffed up. Processed food like, French fries, white bread, soda, candy and chips contains many additives and preservative (you can see that for yourself by going through their ingredients) and these contents increases your blood sugar level. Once your blood sugar level goes up, the hormones get stimulated which leads to excessive oil production, aging of the skin or clogging of pores.

    Many processed food like candies contain processed sugar which has the tendency to break down elastin and collagen causing premature aging of the skin as these proteins helps to keep the skin soft, springy and supple.

    Chips are another processed food which is harmful for the skin. It contains refined carbs which activates the DNA, damages the oxidative stress and increases the chances of inflammation.

    In fact, red meat is as it is not good for your skin because it is rich in a substance called carnitine which hardens the walls of our blood vessels, eventually leading to premature aging.

    Processed meat can be replaced by grass fed meat which is higher in omega-3 and free from antibiotics and hormones. Processed foods should be avoided and organic and original ones should be consumed. Packed foods are the major source of refined carbs.

  6. Soy

    One of the most debatable causes of skin acne is Soy. Though proper proofs have not yet been found to support this claim, but soy could be bad for your skin. Nowadays, soy is mostly genetically engineered; therefore, most of the people are allergic or sensitive to it.

    Soy is specifically harmful for women as it contains phytoestrogens which act like estrogens in the body. These phytoestrogens brings about hormonal imbalance in the body and due to excess estrogen, skin disease like acne could occur. Isoflavones present in soy are also responsible for hormonal discrepancy and the phylates present in them affects the balance and mineral absorption. Therefore, soy could be a reason behind your acne problems.

    Soy can be replaced by nut milk and soy sauce can be replaced with coconut aminos. These substitutes are free from phytoestrogens so they are less likely to cause any skin damage.

  7. Refined Carbohydrates

    Refined Carbohydrates or “Refined carbs” are nothing but processed flour and processed sugar which eventually breaks down to sugar. Refined carbs are very harmful for the skin in many ways.

    First of all, it leads to the over excretion of oil into the skin and clogging of skin pores. The hormone insulin is concerned with the regulation of body sugar and while performing this function insulin transfers sugars into the cell. Now when a person consumes refined sugar, the insulin hormones are released by the body to transport sugar into the cells. Refined sugar digests rapidly so in order to maintain the sugar level and faster transportation of sugar into the cells, large amount of insulin is released by the body. Excessive discharge of insulin leads to the production of oil or sebum which clogs all the pores causing blackheads, pimples and whiteheads.

    The next disadvantage of refined carb is that it leads to early aging of the skin. Yes, it is that dangerous. Processed sugar contains sugar molecules which are co-dependent; these molecules combine with the collagen and create a new molecule called “AGE” which is an acronym for Advanced Glycatin End products.


    The bond which is then created by them is really strong and cannot be broken by our body, so the collagen which gives our skin its soft texture is lost forever.

    Lastly, refined carbs are toxic for the body and also damage the digestive system, but the worst thing about them is that they act as food for bacteria present in our gut. So when you consume processed sugar you are not eating it only for yourself, but unintentionally, also for the bacteria present in your body. When these bacteria overgrow they lead to a condition called candida whose symptoms are skin rashes and acne.

    Processed sugar or refined sugar is not only the table sugar which we eat daily; it is also present in cane sugar, corn syrup, glucose, fructose among others. Similarly in the case of processed carbohydrate pastas, pizzas, white bread and muffins are also included. Most of the refined carbs are found in packaged food and therefore it is always best to go through the label and read the ingredients of every product before having it.

    Refined sugars can be replaced by natural and original sweeteners like maple syrup, raw honey, and apple syrup and coconut nectar. These are low in glycemic and therefore would not affect the blood sugar level much. The best alternative of this could be green leaf stevia which does not in any way interferes with the blood sugar level.

  8. Wheat

    The wheat that is produced today has a lot of chemicals in it and it is not even close to the ones, which were produced in the earlier days. The wheat which we buy today are genetically engineered and are higher in gluten and phytic acid. These two ingredients make it harder for the body to digest it and we have already learnt how dangerous indigestion could be for the skin.

    Wheat also forms advanced glycation end products and nasty dirt which increases our blood sugar level. Apart from causing early signs of aging and fine lines on the skin, wheat can also cause other types of skin diseases like oral ulcers, skin inflammation, psoriasis, painful lesions and erythema nodosum.

    Wheat can be substituted by wheat free grains like amaranth, spelt, brown rice and quinoa as these grains abound in vitamins (especially in vitamin B) and they also help to retain the moisture of the skin. Sprouted wheat is easier to digest as it contains less amount of phytic acid. Buckwheat, which is low in glycemic and has less impact on blood sugar level can also be used to replace the wheat, which we consume daily.

Food That Are Good For Your Skin

Apart from the replacements mentioned above, here’s a list of some of the food items which are good for your skin, for your diet and also for your taste buds:-

Fatty Fish. Salmon, herring and mackerel are high in omega-3 fatty acids

Walnuts. These are also rich in omega 3 and omega 6

Avocados. They contain a lot of healthy fatty acids which is good for the skin.

Sweet Potatoes. They are rich in beta-carotene which acts as a natural skin block

Sunflower Seeds. They have high amount of nutrients and linoleic acid

Broccoli. It is rich in vitamin A, zinc and vitamin C (12)

Dark Chocolate. It contains antioxidants which protects the skin from the harmful UV radiations of sun

Red or Yellow Bell Peppers and Tomatoes. They rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C

Red Wine. It contains a compound called resveratrol which is beneficial for the skin’s health

These food help to protect the skin from the harmful UV radiations of the sun, prevents skin damage, helps in fighting the signs of aging and prevents the appearance of fine lines, pimples, acne, rashes and other skin disease.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 14, 2018

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