15 Foods That Are Ruining Your Skin

Keeping skin supple gets increasingly harder with age. Make sure your diet isn’t making things worse! A nutritionist shares 15 foods to avoid in order to get a better complexion.

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Whether they’re made at a gourmet bakery or fast food pit stop, doughnuts are a double dose of bad news for your skin. Grease and sugar is one-stop shopping for skin woes.


Soda pop and other high-sugar beverages can damage the formation of collagen, the connective tissue that help keeps skin firm — another reason to stick to calorie-free bevies like water, seltzer and unsweetened tea.

Fried Foods

Fried foods can lead to bad skin, but forget the old wives’ tale about getting zits from rubbing greasy fingers on your face (though that probably won’t help). Eating too many high-fat foods can have a negative effect internally on circulation. This can promote that skin puffiness that no one appreciates when looking in the mirror.


The diuretic effect of alcohol can wreak havoc on your skin, sucking out the moisture and contributing to a sunken and washed-out look. Booze doesn’t need to be completely off-limits, but be sure to imbibe in moderation. And don’t forget to counteract the effects of alcohol when you do tip a few back by taking in extra fluids.

White Rice

Like white bread, white rice is another food ranking high on the glycemic index. While it's not totally unhealthy, consider enjoying this food along with a higher-protein food like chicken, beans or peanut butter on a rice cake to delay digestion time.


It’s no secret that candy is no good for your waistline, but all those processed sugars can also damage your skin by promoting inflammation.

Salty Snacks

Chips and high-sodium dips can quickly jack up your salt intake for the day. This kind of salt consumption leads to water retention that you can feel all over, including your skin.


Coffee opens the door for several potential skin problems. Caffeine can dehydrate skin, magnifying the appearance of fine lines. Taking your coffee with an abundance of cream and sugar certainly won't help. Finally, if too much caffeine is interrupting sleep, the effects will show up on skin. While coffee does contain antioxidants, there is such a thing as too much, putting hard-core java drinkers at risk.

Movie Theater Popcorn

A large-sized popcorn at the movies contains over 1,000 calories ... and that’s before you drench it with globs of fake butter. This hefty dose of unhealthy calories and sodium will stick with your skin long passed show time. Skip this snack when catching a flick.

Processed Meats

Eating lots of high-fat and high-sodium processed meats like salami and hot dogs won’t do your complexion any favors. Look for brands that use less preservatives, enjoy in moderation and drink extra water if you do eat them.

White Bread

Some research suggests that foods with a high glycemic index (GI) can be bad news for your skin. Eating high GI foods like white bread causes a drastic spike in blood sugar and insulin that has been linked to acne.


Often considered a hidden source of added sugar and sodium, heavy pours of condiments like soy sauce, ketchup and barbecue sauce can add up to a whole lot of skin distress. Be sure to keep your portions in moderation.

Sweetened Teas

While tea contains many superfood elements, sugar-laden tea beverages can contain upwards of 10 teaspoons of added sugar per serving. Collagen is a substance that helps keep skin tight and radiant. Too many high-sugar and pro-inflammatory foods can damage collage production, leaving your skin more saggy and flat. Instead, choose foods that promote collagen such as berries and brightly colored vegetables.


Foods high in omega-6 rich oils (like soybean, corn and safflower) found in mayo and some salad dressings can stimulate inflammatory processes, making skin less than stellar. Many of these plant-based oils are good for you in moderation. For best results eat omega-6 fats in combination with inflammation fighting omega-3s from foods like salmon and tuna.

Energy Drinks

Another double-punch to your face, this time from caffeine and sugar. These fizzy drinks promise energy, but really only hop you up on sugar, caffeine and other stimulants. Don’t believe the hype.