These 17 Foods Are Wrecking Your Skin—Here's What an Expert Says to Eat Instead

Updated 11/26/18
Healthy Food
@lucywilliams02

Taking care of your skin is about more than lathering on the correct combination of cleansers, moisturizers, toners, and serums. While that's not to say these topical treatments aren't important (we love a good face mask as much as anybody else), healthy, clear skin actually starts with what you put inside your body—not just what you put on your face.

"Poor nutrition is as bad for your skin as it is for the rest of your body," says New York City–based dermatologist Gary Goldenberg, MD. The biggest offenders to look out for are foods high in sugar, dairy products, and foods with antibiotics. Sugary foods and dairy products tend to produce inflammation in the body, which can make skin conditions worse, Goldenberg explains. Additionally, foods containing antibiotics can kill normal gut flora, which also produces inflammation.

That's why—along with your favorite skincare products—it's important to think about the foods you put into your body in order to take care of your skin. Curious what foods to stock up on and which to avoid for glowing, healthy skin? Ahead, Goldenberg names 17 of the worst foods for skin and what foods you should fill up on instead.

WORST FOODS

Refined Sugar

Bread
A Couple Cooks

"Sugar, especially refined sugar, is pro-inflammatory," Goldenberg explains. A diet high in sugar can worsen many common skin conditions like acne, rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis and has also been associated with higher rates of skin cancer and signs of aging skin, he points out. Steer clear of foods like white bread, soda, candy, fruit juices, sugary cereals, and snack bars to avoid the insulin spike that stimulates inflammation.

Dairy

Ice Cream
Half Baked Harvest

Dairy and non-organic meat and poultry can change the hormonal balance in your body because they may contain hormones and antibiotics. "I advise all my patients with acne and rosacea to avoid milk, cheese, ice cream, and non-organic meats unless they are hormone- and antibiotic-free," Goldenberg tells MyDomaine. He also points out that antibiotics in foods have been associated with reducing gut bacteria, which is anti-inflammatory and reduces oxidative stress—all things that are vital for skin health and anti-aging.

Foods Grown With Pesticides

Apples
Minimalist Baker

Foods containing high levels of pesticides have been associated with skin cancer and advanced signs of aging. That's why Goldenberg suggests avoiding foods that are a part of the dirty dozen and likely to contain pesticides. This includes apples, berries, grapes, celery, spinach, peaches, and nectarines. However, there's no need to cut healthy fruits and vegetables from your diet. Simply go for organic produce instead.

BEST FOODS

Fish

Salmon
The Modern Proper

Fish like salmon, mackerel, and herring all make Goldenberg's list of foods to eat in order to achieve healthy skin. "They are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for maintaining skin health and are great for reducing inflammation, keeping skin supple and moisturized," the dermatologist says.

Organic Fruits and Vegetables

Vegetables
Half Baked Harvest

Organic fruits and vegetables are part of a healthy diet that benefits both your body and your skin. Goldenberg advises filling up on avocados, sweet potatoes, peppers, broccoli, and tomatoes. "These contain high doses of vitamins and, let’s face it, you feel great when you eat healthy foods like this," he says.

Dark Chocolate

Half Baked Harvest

Lastly, Goldenberg tells MyDomaine that he's a big fan of dark chocolate thanks to its high content of antioxidants, which can lead to healthy skin. Indulge in a taste of the bitter dessert when you need a small treat.

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