8 Foods You Had No Idea Are Actually Ruining Your Skin

 Now, I don’t know how you all feel about food, but personally, I love it. (I know!! I’m full of surprising, controversial statements–I also love sleeping at night, as well as the oxygen that I breathe in order to keep me alive.) Sometimes, though, I suspect that food doesn’t love me as much as I love it–namely, when I eat something that is objectively delicious and seemingly innocent enough–like, say, frozen yogurt or popcorn chips–and wake up the next day with an angry, inflamed crop of pimples all over my face. You know why this is is? It pains me to say it, but it’s true–as it turns out, there are some foods that are absolutely terrible for your skin.

It’s quite rude, actually–I expect everything I eat to both sustain me for a prolonged number of hours and make me look gorgeous so that I may live out my cute, drama-free life with nary a hitch. But, alas, sometimes that which you love the most also brings you the most disappointment. Like these foods, which, if you are anything like me, also happen to be  your very favorite type of sustenance. Womp-womp. If you’re ready for the truth, check out these foods that are actually just ruining your skin:


Ever eaten some ice cream and woken up the next day with a crop of pimples on your face? It's not just bad luck--your body can only handle a certain amount of dairy, so if you eat too much, it actually gets excreted through your skin. This results in pimples. So, if you find that you've got a lot of cystic breakouts (the hard, painful kind of acne that usually shows up on your chin and jawline), you might want to reevaluate your dairy intake.

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You know how you have to pee a lot after you drink coffee or caffeinated tea? This is because caffeine is a diuretic, meaning that it promotes overall fluid losses, which, in turn, can dehydrate you. This is not too good for your skin! Dehydration negatively impacts your collagen, elasticity, and make it harder for your pores to get cleared out. Can't give up coffee? No big--just make sure you're drinking lots of water throughout to day to make up for any excess fluid lost from caffeine.

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Chips of any variety--potato, tortilla, whatever--are objectively delicious. Unfortunately, they're also not-so- great for your skin, since they're refined carbohydrates with a high sodium content, which is a direct trigger for inflammation and collagen damage.

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Artificial Sugar

There's probably nothing worse for your skin, acne-wise, than artificial sugar. Sorry. Sugar pumps up the two things you probably want least on your face--redness and inflammation--since it's composed of simple carbohydrates that break down your collagen and elastin. To deal with this, just try to limit your hidden sugar intake--if you want a cookie, don't hold back, but make sure that things you eat every day and don't really consider sweets, like bread, cereal, or granola bars, have a tone of added sugar.

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Artificial Sweeteners

For good measure, make sure you aren't just dumping a Splenda instead of a sugar into things as a healthy substitute--it's actually not all that healthy. Chemicals like this can also increase inflammation like sugar, plus, your body tends to store artificial sugars in your body for a long time, making the irritation they cause go on for a while.

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Anything Processed Or Packaged 

Packaged foods--like frozen pizza, burritos, pre-prepared microwave meals--are high in sodium and low in living enzymes, nutrients, and water content. Since your skin needs lots of hydration to properly function, this means that any pre-packaged food will be significantly worse for your skin than anything whole, causing anything from breakouts to dry patches.

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Mystery Meat

Now, I understand that it is highly improbable that many of you wake up every day with a passion in your heart and fire in your loins for mystery meat. But mystery meat is in a lot of meat-based foods you'd buy anyway (think conventional, industrial meats, anything you'd buy at a fast food restaurant), and it's definitely not something you want to eat too much of--these animals are given steroids, hormones, and antibiotics, which, when you eat them, end up in your system. This can contribute to inflammation and acne.

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Not to get all "gluten is the devil's food" on you, but if you're breaking out and not sure why, you could have a gluten sensitivity or intolerance. Obviously, not all gluten is bad for you, but if you've got an intolerance, a big sign of it is--you guessed it--inflammation (aka acne) in your skin. To see if this is the cause of your acne, you can get tested for a gluten allergy or try out an elimination diet (going without gluten for about six weeks) to see if that helps.

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You can reach the author, Sara Hendricks, on Twitter and Instagram.

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