bad for your skin

9 foods that are bad for your skin

You probably don’t want to hear this, but there are foods you’re probably eating that aren’t good for your beauty regimen. Some foods are just really bad for your skin, and many of them are common in the standard American diet. If you want a clear complexion and radiant skin, stop eating these 9 foods and replace them with healthier options!

Conventional dairy products

We all love those sugary, creamy Starbucks drinks, or the extra cheese on our pizza. You might love a bowl of ice cream for dessert, or fruity flavored yogurts for breakfast. But unfortunately, all these foods are bad for your skin in more ways than one.

First of all, conventional dairy products are a major cause of internal inflammation, which makes existing skin issues like pimples, eczema, and other rashes even worse. Secondly, antibiotics and growth hormones lurk in dairy products. These hormones might very well mess with your own hormones — something you definitely want to avoid. And antibiotics, in whatever form you’re getting them, are no good for your gut health. The health of your gut is directly linked to skin health: if your digestive system and elimination system can’t effectively process and filter out toxins, you’re likely to see them manifest as skin issues.

Try to keep your dairy intake to a minimum, and replace milk with alternatives such as unsweetened coconut milk, almond milk, or other nut milks.

Refined carbohydrates

Foods that contain processed flours and sugars fall under the refined carbs umbrella. That means most breads, cakes, pies, cookies — just about every baked good under the sun — are going to clog your pores and increase oily skin. They’re also likely to ruin the healthy bacteria in your gut.

How can a food do that? Refined carbs are fodder for bad gut bacteria. Plus, they have very little nutritional value. They even age your skin — not a good combo! And don’t forget pastas and pizza crusts made from refined flours. These foods are bad for your skin, too.

Replace refined sugar with with alternatives such as stevia, maple syrup, and raw honey. For pizza crusts and baked goods, experiment with flours such as buckwheat, chickpea, almond, or coconut flour.

Fast foods

All processed foods are bad for your skin. They’re typically made with refined vegetable oils high in omega-6 fatty acids, which aggravate skin issues and promote inflammation.

Most of us are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids and but have too many omega-6s, which leads to more health issues than just skin problems. Keep fast food to a minimum — such as when you’re on a road trip in the middle of nowhere!

Get in the habit of eating more whole foods, cooking more, and packing lunches, so that you know exactly what’s in your food. If you dine out, try a farm-to-table restaurant. Keep raw nuts, seeds, fresh fruits, and other healthy snacks on hand so you’re less tempted to grab some cookies from the vending machine or hit the drive-thru on the way home.


Many people are allergic to gluten, which is definitely one of the foods that are bad for your skin. Even if you aren’t allergic, gluten can contribute to inflammation and intestinal permeability. This means undigested food leaks into the bloodstream, causing an immune response that results in skin outbreaks. Wheat contains gluten, as do most other whole grains unless specifically deemed gluten-free.

Try replacing gluten-laded grains with alternatives such as brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, coconut flour, and almond flour.

Modern-day wheat

Yes, wheat falls under the gluten category, but it deserves its own explanation because many people think of wheat as being a health food. But modern-day wheat is different. It’s genetically engineered, typically loaded with pesticides, and different than what our ancestors ate. It has higher levels of gluten and something called phytic acid, both which make it difficult to digest. Anything bad for digestion is also bad for your skin, as the two are intricately linked.

Processed meats

Most of us love lunch meat-laden sandwiches, bacon, pepperoni on our pizzas, salami, and other processed meats. Sadly, these are all foods that are bad for your skin. They dehydrate your skin with their sodium content, causing redness and puffiness. What’s more, processed meats that contain nitrates cause the skin to prematurely age, because nitrates break down elastin and collagen, as a 2009 study suggests.

Replace processed meats with grass-fed meats that are organic and free of hormones and antibiotics. These are actually good for skin, as grass-fed meats contain anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.


Caffeine makes it on our list of foods that are bad for your skin because it causes cortisol levels to rise. Cortisol is the stress hormone. And when we’re extra-stressed out, we break out. Excessive cortisol can also cause a disruption in other hormones, which throws everything off — causing skin outbreaks and inflammation.

If you must have your morning cup of coffee, keep it to 1-2 cups per day. Try replacing your afternoon coffee with herbal tea, water with lemon, or kombucha.


None of us wants to hear that our nightly glass of red wine is bad for the skin, but it is. Alcohol sucks up the collagen in our skin, which makes us age prematurely. It dehydrates the skin, and even causes circles around the eyes — no fun! Plus, it spikes blood sugar due to its high sugar content. All that said, drinking in moderation is okay. Just know what it’s doing to your skin and drink lots of water to rehydrate (and to avoid feeling hungover in the morning).

Certain nuts

Walnuts, Brazil nuts, pine nuts, and pecans are high in omega-6 fatty acids, which can cause skin breakouts. These are the nuts you’ll want to eat in moderation. Other nuts and seeds are high in omega-3 acids and are good for the skin. Keep cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds stocked in your pantry.

To keep your skin glowing and full of life, do your best to replace these foods that are bad for your skin with healthier substitutes. Want to learn how to eat for optimal health, increase your metabolism, and lose weight? Contact us today for a free consultation!

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