Whether you’re 15 or 50, the mystery that is your skin doesn’t get any easier to solve. And if you’re an athlete? Even worse. Was that recent breakout a result of your sweaty post-workout face not getting washed quickly enough? Or was that chocolate protein bar to blame?
A few undeniable rules (work out without make-up on, keep face wipes in your gym bag and wash your face right after a workout, etc.) can help prevent skin conditions, but if that’s not enough, it might be time to take a closer look at your nutrition.
Dairy(Milk, Yogurt, Cheese) 1 of 8
Dairy is not great for your body and therefore, not great for your skin, either.
The protein in regular cow's milk is called casein, a much larger molecule than regular human milk, which means it's harder for your body to break down. According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, about 75 percent of babies lose the enzyme lactase after breast-feeding, which means the majority of people can't properly break down the lactose contained in milk.
In addition, milk has a plethora of hormones that can cause extra sebum production and clogged pores, throwing off your body's natural hormone balance and reeking havoc on your skin.
Sugar(Chocolate, Ice Cream, Candy, Processed Sugars) 2 of 8
Sure, sugar is a huge problem for your waistline, but eating excessive sugar will ultimately show on your face, too.
Sugar causes the body's insulin levels to spike and, in large quantities, can even cause glycation, a type of inflammation that is bad for your skin. Sugar also attaches itself to the collagen that usually makes your skin beautiful, and instead causes sagginess and premature wrinkles.
Finally, glycation can also worsen pre-existing skin conditions such as acne and rosacea.
Refined Carbohydrates(Bagels, Chips, White Bread) 3 of 8
If you're into the science behind food, then you know that carbohydrates turn into sugar, which in turn feeds the bacteria that's causing your acne.
Reducing the amount of refined carbs you eat every day can be an easy way to reduce your sebum production and keep oily skin at bay. Most foods high on the glycemic index should be a hard pass if you're battling for more beautiful skin.
Processed Foods4 of 8
Processed foods (yuck!) are a no-no for so many reasons, but especially if you're trying to improve the condition of your skin.
The preservatives and additives will make your blood sugar levels unnaturally spike, leading to increased oil production, clogged pores and aging skin.
Shellfish5 of 8
Though shellfish isn't inherently bad for you or your body, going overboard and eating endless shrimp at Joe's Crab Shack is not in your skin's best interest.
Shellfish—but not regular fish—is extra high in iodine, which, in large quantities over time, can cause more acne. It's not something that will impact your skin immediately, but if you suffer from skin issues, it's best to limit your shellfish intake.
Fast Food6 of 8
Though fast food is in general one of the worst things you can put into your body, it's even more detrimental if you struggle with bad skin.
Just like most foods on this list, fast food will raise your blood sugar level and cause your sebaceous glands to produce more oil. The fat, sugar and salt will all make an impact on your face and not only cause more oil, but also make your skin more inflamed and puffy.
Pizza(Sorry) 7 of 8
If you want your face to resemble an actual pizza, then pizza is the food for you! But if you want clearer, healthier skin, read on.
Pizza ticks off all the boxes for ingredients that will cause your skin to freak out. The gluten in the bread will increase inflammation, the hormones in the cheese will increase your body's sebum production and the grease? Well, it speaks for itself. So next time you see someone dabbing grease off their pizza, don't mock them—join them.