As the largest organ in the body, the skin requires extra special care. Most people tend to focus on topical or external care, applying all sorts of serums, oils, moisturizers, creams, lotions, scrubs, and more for optimal health. Although an excellent skin care routine can help improve your complexion, a healthy diet is truly at the foundation for healthy skin. On the other hand, the wrong diet can promote inflammation and lead to early signs of premature aging. This article highlights the worst foods for your skin.
How Diet Affects Your Skin
One single food will not make or break the health of your skin, but certain eating patterns can. For example, certain foods have the ability to turn on or turn off certain gene expressions. This is in regards to genetic predispositions that make people more prone to things like acne, psoriasis, or eczema. Eating a standard American diet is one such eating pattern that promotes inflammatory markers that worsen the appearance and health of the skin.
Over time, a diet that is rich in unhealthy fats, sugars, caffeine, and processed foods can also affect your gut. The gut has a direct connection to the skin via the gut-skin-axis, a bi-directional highway between gut cells and skin cells. According to research, inflammation in the gut can result in inflammatory skin responses, including swelling, redness, clogged pores, and more. Continue reading to learn about foods that negatively affect the health of your skin.
Dairy products stimulate the release of hormone insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), which activates the skin’s oil glands. This may explain why dairy worsens acne for some people. At this time, experts don’t know why dairy products don’t affect everyone’s skin. Current research concludes that certain dairy products are bigger triggers for acne than others. Cow’s milk, especially skim milk, can lead to acne breakouts, but the exact connection is still a subject of debate. Is it the hormones transferred to the milk from lactating cows or the high sugar level in skim milk? More research is still necessary.
Salty foods promote dehydration, which can deplete your skin’s moisture levels. If the skin becomes too dry, the body produces more oil to moisturize it naturally, which can aggravate acne-prone skin. Processed meats are very salty and contain lots of saturated fats. Additionally, they contain nitrites, which are associated with the development of certain cancers.
Whey protein is very common in bars, powders, and other protein supplements. It is popular amongst people who want to build muscle and shed weight because it provides the body with fuel and keeps you feeling full. Although it may help you reach your lifting goals, it contains IGF-1, which stimulates the production of androgens and insulin. The increased production of these two substances increases sebum production on the skin, resulting in acne. If you want to continue supplementing with protein, consider plant-based powders or bars to form a healthier habit.
One serving of supposedly “healthy” cereals can contain as much sugar as a candy bar. When you consume excess sugar, you increase the risk of acne and premature aging. According to research, consuming too much sugar can disrupt the collagen balance in the body. Collagen is a protein found in skin and connective tissue, contributing to the skin’s elasticity and strength. If you compromise the collagen balance, your skin may look less plump and supple.
One of the primary reasons that alcohol hinders the health of your skin is because it promotes inflammation within the body. The reason it does this is because the body interprets it as a toxin, which may trigger inflammatory responses in the skin. Additionally, many people mix alcohol with soda or juice, increasing your intake of sugar. This causes the body to produce more IGF-1, which stimulates your oil glands. Similar to processed meats, alcohol also has a dehydrating effect on the body and may even deplete the skin of antioxidant levels.
Sugar lurks in the sneakiest of places, but one of the easiest places to find it is in beverages. Sodas, juices, energy drinks, and other drinks are the primary sources of added sugars in the American diet. These sugars create inflammation that activates the skin’s oil glands, exacerbating acne and contributing to premature signs of aging. When your blood sugar levels are high, sugar molecules attach to collagen fibers in the process of glycation. When collagen hardens, it breaks easily and results in fine lines or wrinkles.