It's so easy to skip the guacamole, avoid those chocolate truffles, and shun coffee and tea in hopes of putting an end to our pimples, breakouts, and other skin problems. But how much do we know about the relationship between food and skin? Fortunately, science has a few things to say about what effect the foods we eat has on our skin health and overall beauty. We spoke to Brigitte Zeitlin, registered dietitian at B Nutritious, about what you should and shouldn't eat to keep yourself looking young, healthy, and breakout-free.
The biggest key to skin health isn't about what you skip doing, it's about what you do. According to Zeitlin, “staying hydrated is absolutely vital to healthy, elastic skin.” Dehydration is a major factor in the formation of acne as well as the long-term aging of the skin, so substances that contribute to dehydration — like caffeine or salt — can have a damaging effect. However, it's less about the food and more about the water: As long as you drink enough water, you shouldn't feel afraid to indulge in a cup of coffee or tea now and then, “as long as it doesn't interfere with your sleep.”
One major myth in skin health is that dietary fat is the biggest contributor to breakouts and skin problems. In fact, sugar is the much greater menace. Healthy fats, such as those found in salmon, avocado, and nuts, can actually strengthen your skin. But overdosing on sugar, including refined carbohydrates like pasta, white rice, and white bread, is one of the fastest routes to a breakout. Check out this list of myths about food and skin, and learn what you really should and shouldn't eat to keep your face clear and glowing.
Myth 1: Acne is Caused By Pizza
The myth that a slice of greasy pizza leads to breakouts is entrenched in our culture. But the fact is that oily food like pizza probably won't have that much of an effect on your skin, says Zeitlin, “especially if it's already prone to an oily or combination texture” — but everything in moderation, including rich food!
Myth 2: All Fatty Foods Lead to Breakouts
Fatty foods like avocado have a controversial reputation, but, in fact, the beneficial fats in this nutritious fruit are much likelier to strengthen your skin and overall health. The same is true for the oils present in nuts.