You take good care of your skin by doing all the right things. You wash with a high-quality cleanser, use all natural masks and carefully apply a hydrating face cream. Are you thinking about what goes IN your body as well?
There have been old wive’s tales for ages about foods that are bad for your skin. We’ve all heard that chocolate causes breakouts and other stories. We will look at some foods that affect your skin, cause acne and reduce your glow.
Starchy and Sugary Foods
Foods high in refined carbohydrates and added sugars are also called high-glycemic foods. The glycemic index uses a scale from zero to 100 to rank food on how quickly food will raise blood sugar. The higher the number, the quicker and higher it will raise the blood sugar.
Foods that have a high glycemic rating are things like:
- White breads
- Breakfast cereals
- Snack foods like pretzels and chips
- White potatoes and french fries
- Cookies, cakes and doughnuts
- White rice
- Sweetened drinks like sodas and sports drinks
Foods high in sugars and refined carbohydrates cause your blood sugar to rise quickly. The body then produces insulin to lower the blood sugar. Blood sugar spikes like this can lead to inflammation, which can cause rashes or increase the severity of conditions such as eczema.
Research has also shown that blood sugar spikes can increase oil production in the skin, which can lead to more breakouts and an increase in blackheads.
Drinks Containing Alcohol
Most of us like to have a celebratory drink now and then, and that’s probably okay. Regular drinking, and drinking to excess, can be hard on your skin in a number of ways.
Alcoholic drinks cause your body to lose more water than you are taking in. Alcohol reduces the anti-diuretic hormone in your bloodstream, which is there to help regulate your blood pressure and hydration levels. Dry skin can appear dull and can be easily damaged.
When you drink alcoholic beverages the small blood vessels in your skin will dilate. This increases blood flow to the skin so much that it can cause redness and flushing and can cause rosacea to flare up.
Some people have trouble metabolizing alcohol, and people with this condition can experience hives and itching when they have a drink. For some people, alcohol drinking can also increase sun sensitivity, which leads to increased chances of a harmful sunburn.
For healthy skin limit alcohol intake or cut it out altogether. Drink more water to keep your skin hydrated and healthy.
Certain Vegetable Oils
We hear a lot about the good oils that contain high levels of omega-3 fats. Those are the ones we want to get more of in our diets. There are other oils which are high in omega-6 fats, and while we need some in our diet, the typical American will eat far too much of these oils.
Some of the oils highest in omega-6 fats are:
- Corn oil
- Cottonseed oil
- Soybean oil
- Sunflower oil
These high omega-6 levels in these oils have been shown to increase inflammation, which can have effects on the skin as well as other parts of the body.
These oils are often added to processed foods. Read food labels and avoid eating foods that are high in these oils.
Gluten-Containing Foods (for Some People)
Gluten is a protein found most commonly in wheat, but it does appear in other grains as well. People with celiac disease have an immune system response to eating foods with gluten in them.
Gluten-free is used on labeling foods more and more these days. For people who are able to tolerate gluten, it should not be a problem to eat it. If you find you have digestive issues after eating high-gluten foods, or if you have been diagnosed with Celiac disease, you should definitely avoid gluten.
For people with celiac disease, the immune response of the lower intestine to gluten triggers an inflammatory response that could also trigger skin issues. See your doctor for testing if you have concerns that you may be sensitive to gluten.
Salty foods are very tasty, and there are times when we crave that flavor. The obvious high-sodium foods are things like chips and french fries. Processed foods and restaurant foods tend to be very high in sodium as well.
Some foods high in sodium are:
- Smoked and processed meat
- Canned meats
- Frozen meals
- Canned beans (with salt added)
- Quick breads and pancake mix
- Olives and pickles
- Bottled vegetable juice
These high levels of sodium cause water retention as the body tries to dilute the high sodium levels in the blood. You may notice that you find you are very thirsty after eating a high-sodium meal or snack and that you retain water the next day.
The retained water can make skin appear puffy and discolored, especially in the face and under the eyes. High-sodium foods can also lead to an increase of inflammation that can aggravate skin conditions like atopic dermatitis and eczema.
Make Healthier Food Choices for Brighter Skin
In addition to your beauty routine of gentle cleansing and moisturizing with a firming eye cream, you can eat well to have more beautiful skin. Avoiding these foods listed above, and adding more fresh vegetables, whole foods and lean meats to your diet, can improve the health of your skin.