The 5 Worst Foods to Eat for Your Skin


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You could have a very detailed skincare regimen with all the best and buzziest products, but chances are your skin won't be at its best if you don't make some healthy eating choices at the same time. Skincare isn't just about what you put on your face but also what you put in your body. While there is still more research needed on the effects of food on the skin, some studies and experts believe some foods are associated with good skin and others might worsen skin conditions or promote aging.

"Overall good habits show when it comes to glowing skin and healthy-looking hair," says integrative dietitian nutritionist Robin Foroutan, MS, RDN, HHC, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "For example, getting enough sleep and proper hydration really reflect in the look of your skin, and so does proper detoxification. Those dark under-eye circles? That could be a sign of food sensitivities, allergies, or your body's need for detox support. Still have sleep lines on your face hours after you wake up? You could be dehydrated! So drink that water—for a million different reasons—and drink it throughout the day. Stressed out? That can also affect your skin. So stress relief is key to healthy, radiant skin."

Take a look at which foods you might want to avoid and which ones you might want to add to your diet below. But remember, maintaining a healthy, balanced diet is always the best way to go for both your skin and whole-body (and mental!) health. If you're thinking about updating your diet for better skin, talk to your doctor first before making any big changes.

What to Avoid


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1. Candy


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Sugary foods (like candy, but also other sweets) might lead to skin aging. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, "reducing sugar intake may protect elastin and collagen molecules in the skin. Research has shown that a diet high in sugar can damage these molecules, leading to wrinkles and sagging skin."

2. White Bread


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Foods like white bread, white rice, and potatoes are high on the glycemic index, which might spell problems for your skin—in particular, acne. According to the Cleveland Clinic, some research shows that these foods can cause breakouts due to insulin level spikes. Additionally, the Clinic states, "An insulin spike inevitably leads to an insulin crash—leaving your skin and the rest of you looking and feeling drained."

3. Milk


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Some studies have found that milk has been linked to acne, but there is still more research that needs to be done to fully confirm it. Some experts believe that the hormones in milk cause inflammation, which in turn clogs your pores.

4. Burgers


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The Cleveland Clinic says saturated fats—like fatty beef, cheese, and butter—may cause acne. That's because the foods are associated with high concentrations of insulin growth factor, which, according to the Clinic, "stimulates the production of the sex hormones that increase acne production."

5. Chips


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Salt-laden foods can dehydrate you, causing your skin to dry out, which causes a host of problems like tired, dull skin and dark under-eye circles.

What to Eat


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1. Strawberries

2. Eggs

3. Bone Broth

4. Pumpkin Seeds

5. Avocados

6. Carrots

7. Beans

8. Spinach


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Leafy greens, like spinach, are another regular on best-of-food lists. These veggies have omega-3s, vitamins C and E, and antioxidants, which are all beneficial to skin health.

9. Tomatoes

Next up: 8 Foods Cardiologists Want You to Eat—and 5 You Should Avoid

This article was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.


This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in the place of advice of your physician or other medical professionals. You should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first with any health-related questions.

Managing Editor

Sarah is lifestyle writer and editor with over 10 years of experience covering health and wellness, interior design, food, beauty, and tech. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she attended New York University and lived in New York for 12 years before returning to L.A. in 2019.

In addition to her work on THE/THIRTY and Who What Wear, she held editor roles at Apartment Therapy, Real Simple, House Beautiful, Elle Decor, and The Bump (sister site of The Knot).

She has a passion for health and wellness, but she especially loves writing about mental health. Her self-care routine consists of five things: a good workout, “me” time on the regular, an intriguing book/podcast/playlist to unwind after a long day, naps, and decorating her home.