Why Certain Foods Are Bad for Your Skin

Good nutrition contributes to more than your overall health. What you eat and drink can affect your skin health as well. Therefore, know which components in food may cause acne blemishes and other skin problems.

Added Sugars

Foods, such as cookies, candy, dried fruits, and granola bars that contain lots of refined sugar aren't good for your skin. Refined sugar depletes collagen and elastin — the protein fibers in skin that keep it firm and elastic. Highly refined foods with added sugar can cause high spikes in your glucose levels — a condition that may lead to skin problems.

A rise in blood sugar levels increases the chemicals the body's cells release during the inflammatory response. Elevated insulin levels cause white blood cells to attack. If you already have acne, this increase in inflammatory chemicals can make an acne breakout worse.

Watch out, too, for hidden sources of added sugar found in flavored yogurts, sports drinks, breads, crackers, and condiments. Through a process known as glycation, excess sugar in your bloodstream attaches to collagen fibers, forming harmful new molecules that cause skin damage.

Refined Carbs

Refined carbohydrates that are found in white flour and bread, pasta, most desserts, and snack foods like potato chips also trigger oxidative stress that can damage DNA and collagen. If you like to snack, you might notice more fine lines and wrinkles.

As collagen loses its resiliency, it becomes dry, stiffer, and less elastic. Unfortunately, sagging, wrinkled skin may be the result of a diet filled with sugary, starchy foods, which can speed the aging process.

Unhealthy Fats

A diet that includes a generous consumption of fast foods can bring on the blemishes. Fast carbs and processed foods with a high glycemic content are easily digested and quickly absorbed into your bloodstream, which causes insulin levels to rise. High insulin levels can cause inflammation, increasing your risk of acne.

Too much fast food in your diet can also raise your androgen levels too high. Androgens are hormones that stimulate sebum production. Although oily skin doesn't directly cause acne, when sebum mixes with dead skin cells, pores become clogged, creating an environment where bacteria can thrive.

Foods that contain trans fats drain moisture from your skin, leading to increased wrinkling. Poor skin hydration causes skin to lose elasticity and feel dry. While dry skin doesn't cause wrinkles, the dryness can draw attention to the wrinkles you have.

Growth Hormones

Despite its nutritional components, even milk can have a negative impact on your skin. The growth hormones that remain in milk after pasteurization enter the bloodstream where they can cause inflammation and increased oil production.

Whey and casein — the proteins in milk — can cause a rise in insulin. Growth hormones in these proteins can also trigger excess sebum production. Too much sebum is a cause of inflammation and acne breakouts.

Fiber Deficiency in Food

Juices and sodas are another problem for your skin, and not just because they are loaded with sugar. These beverages lack fiber, which your body needs to prevent rises and falls in your blood sugar levels.

Fiber plays a role in controlling blood sugar. Elevated blood sugar causes your body to lose fluid, and that makes your skin dry. Worse yet, without adequate fiber in your diet, your skin can age prematurely.

Although research studies over the years have suggested possible relationships between diet and skin health, no direct links have been established in all these cases. Still, as part of your skin care regimen, eating a healthy diet won't hurt.

For more information on how to have healthier and younger-looking skin, contact Associated Dermatologists for skin care advice for every age.


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