You’ve heard it time and time again: healthy food choices equal healthy skin. Maybe not in those exact words, but in some form or another.
Diet definitely affects how your skin looks. We’re not saying one candy bar is enough to cause of flareup of several breakouts, but eating a diet filled with fat and sugar can lead to problematic skin. Perhaps not today or tomorrow, or even the day after that. But it will show – eventually. Sometimes, for some people, it can show up a lot faster.
In this article, we’re going to show you how different foods affect your skin and whether giving them up will provide a noticeable change in your complexion. But we’re not just going to focus on the bad. We’re also going to show you how filling your body with nutrients can make for a clear and glowing complexion.
Think: Candy, Cookies & Soda
You’ve probably heard before that sugar is your skin’s enemy? Well, there’s a lot of truth in that.
The refined sugar found in most cookies, cakes, candy, and sodas cause insulin levels to spike, triggering a wave of inflammation throughout the body, which causes a breakdown in collagen and elastin. The two fibers that keep your skin looking young and vibrant. What’s more, sugar connects itself to proteins in the body and generates a dangerous by-product known as “advanced glycation end product” which leads to breakouts, dullness, and sagging skin.
Experts also say there’s a link between sugar and acne. Allegedly, those heightened insulin levels that occur during a candy binge can increase sebum production. According to a recent study, those who eat a low-glycemic diet experienced fewer breakouts.
But exactly how long does it take for sugar to show on the skin? Not long, apparently.
“If you need dessert every night as a wind-down to your day, be warned, you'll see it in about six to eight hours,” says Dana James, a functional medicine practitioner from Food Coach NYC. “Regular consumption of sugar breaks down collagen and elastin, leading to crows feet and fine lines.”
Think: Berries, Leafy Greens, and Citrus Fruits
Soothe your sugar cravings by gorging on healthy sweet treats instead, like blueberries and grapefruit.
These fruits are packed with antioxidants and nutrients to calm and heal your skin, while protecting it from free radical damage.
Blueberries in particular are an excellent source of antioxidants. In addition to protecting and strengthening your skin, they can also help with blood circulation in the body, giving your skin a nice, healthy glow.
Try Truly’s Blueberry Kush Bundle for your daily topical dose of this power-packed berry.
Think: Ice-cream, Cream Cheese, Yogurt
Did you know that dairy promotes increased androgen levels in the blood, which leads to excess oil production and breakouts?
“Dairy products can make your skin break out because they change how testosterone and estrogen are regulated in the body,” says James. “This will show up the next day. The only time my skin breaks out is after I eat yogurt! There isn’t much you can do, except to wait it out and keep your diet very dairy-light.”
So if you’ve noticed a flareup of breakouts not long after snacking on cheese or gulping back that chocolate milkshake, dairy could be the culprit.
The good news is, you don’t need to cut it out altogether. Provided that you eat it in moderation, your skin should stay clear. Alternatively, reach for alternatives such as almond milk or coconut milk. This way, you can make your own dairy-free breakfast cereals and hot chocolates without worrying about an upcoming acne flareup.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Think: Flaxseed Oil, Salmon, Chia Seeds
Essential fatty acids found in a variety of nuts, seeds, and fish “assist with lubricating the skin to minimize dryness and plump up tissues. They help to strengthen your skin as they provide strength to cell walls,” says Stephanie Gray, owner of Integrative Health and Hormone Clinic in Hiawatha, Iowa.
Studies show that omega-3s can also reduce inflammation, protect against UV damage, and prevent signs of aging.
You can also strengthen your skin by investing in Truly’s Vegan Collagen Bundle for powerful anti-aging effects.
Think: French Fries, Pizza, Donuts
Too much fatty protein results in dull skin and dark under-eye circles. It also increases oil production, causing more breakouts.
“Deep fried foods and the intake of excess oil and fat in fast foods creates excess oil production within the skin. This shows up in the form of acne, blackheads, blocked pores and breakouts,” explains Tahira Kochhar, Delhi-based therapeutic nutritionist.
They also release free radicals that cause cellular damage, leading to premature aging.
Opt instead for healthy fats like coconut oil and olive oil, which are great for your skin health and heart health.
Think: Bread & Pasta
More people suffer from gluten sensitives than you think. And the majority of times, the first signs of this condition show up on your face.
“If you have an undetected gluten sensitivity, it can make your face puffy due to its inflammatory response. It will show up within two hours,” says James. “The remedy is to drink a green juice made with cucumber and parsley, as both act as a diuretic and help clear the inflammatory debris from the body.”
Book an appointment with your doctor if you think you have a gluten sensitivity or intolerance. They’ll be able to provide the best nutritional options so you can enjoy clearer skin – and fewer uncomfortable symptoms that go beyond problematic skin.
As you can see, your diet plays a huge role in how your skin looks. If you’re dealing with dullness, breakouts, or premature lines, you may want to take a hard look at your daily diet. Replace all that refined sugar with natural sugars from fruit. Swap all those French fries for healthy nuts and seeds. Once you start filling your diet with nutrients, antioxidants, and healthy fats, you’ll soon see your skin looking brighter, clearer, and younger.