Acne and premature aging is an ongoing struggle for so many people. We are told the acne will go away after we are teenagers, but that is often not the case, and anyone suffering from adult acne knows this all too well. When it comes to aging, we’re told it will happen later in life, but what if it’s happening right now? What can we do about it when our acne overstays its welcome?  What can we do to slow down the signs of aging? One thing to do is to evaluate what we are eating because not all skin treatments are topical, and often times you can create healing from the inside out. You may be unaware that you are filling your body with certain foods that are triggers for skin issues, so we want to share some insight on foods that might be worth taking a second look at in your diet. Not all of them are unhealthy, so the key is to figure out what food is the trigger food for your skin, and then eliminate it.

1. Soda

Soda is one of those drinks people can’t seem to give up. It can be an addiction, just like having an addiction to coffee. If you want to wean yourself off of it, start drinking one less soda per day. Each week, reduce it by one more and replace those drinks with carbonated water.

Soda has so much refined sugar it’s actually terrifying. Beyond the sugar content, what a lot of people forget about is the caffeine. If you are struggling with skin problems, caffeine dehydrates the skin and therefore emphasizes fine lines and wrinkles. Eliminating soda from your diet is definitely an investment in the youthfulness of your skin.

2. Packaged Meals

Extremely processed foods are well known to be something everyone should avoid. They’re okay as a treat or a convenient lunch or dinner every so often, but when it comes to packaged meals, it’s likely not worth it.

Highly processed foods such as packaged microwavable meals have high levels of additives that your body interprets as toxins. The liver kicks in to help process these toxins, but when you eat them too much, the liver can malfunction. When this happens, the body starts secreting the toxins through your skin to get rid of them as fast as possible. This process can result in acne.

3. Granola Bars

Granola bars are the easiest snack for a road trip, and I’m not saying you have to eliminate them completely. Just be aware that there are piles of additives, syrups, sugars, and grains in these snack bars.

If this is a snack you always reach for when you’re hungry, you may want to redirect your cravings to something more wholesome like a fruit or veggie. Your body will recognize these additives as toxins and may not process them very well, resulting in secretion through the skin, thus causing acne.



4. Alcohol

I hate to rain on your parade for happy hour, but if you want to eliminate acne and slow down aging, try eliminating alcohol. You can make amazing virgin drinks that you can enjoy while your friends drink so you don’t feel left out!

Alcohol can mess with your hormone levels which can cause imbalances that can result in acne, and speed up the signs of aging. The same goes for alcohol weakening the immune system. If your body is weaker, fighting off those pesky acne causing bacterias will become more difficult. Since alcohol dehydrates the body, it will also immediately impact your skin’s signs of aging. Everything in moderation!

5. Fast Food

Fast food is an obvious “food group” you should avoid at all costs. At the very least, do some research on each fast food restaurant and figure out who has the highest quality food and stick to that one. Often this may be opting for a grilled meat option, rather than fried.

Fast food is extremely greasy and they’re not exactly using the healthy forms of oil fats to cook their food.  High quantities of oils in food can cause inflammation which can inflame the skin, causing acne and aging. When your body is trying to rid itself of all those toxins, pimples may form in an effort to heal the skin from all the unhealthy oils being secreted.

6. Energy Drinks

Is there anything natural in energy drinks? It doesn’t matter which way you spin it, energy drinks are more of a health risk than a benefit to your body. Try skipping these toxic drinks and sipping on some Kombucha instead.

As with coffee and candy, energy drinks are loaded with sugar and additives which can overload your liver if consumed too much. This causes the body to eliminate the toxins through the skin, causing acne and aging. Combine that with the caffeine, which can dry out your skin, and you’re drinking an acne-causing aging drink. Doesn’t sound so energizing anymore, does it?

7. Ice Cream

Ice cream is a wonderful treat to enjoy on a hot summer day. If you are set on enjoying a frosty, sweet treat, try out making your own homemade almond milk ice cream. Sweetening your dessert with maple syrup instead of cane sugar is a good option.

High levels of dairy intake can result in something called an Insulin Growth Factor (IGF) which is present in dairy. It helps baby calves grow but can stimulate the growth of skin cells around the pores. The immune system then rejects this process and forms pimples to eliminate it.

8. Margarine

Margarine is very similar to ice cream. If you are looking for ways to end your fight with acne, try eliminating dairy and see what happens. It doesn’t work for everyone, but if you have some level of intolerance to it, it may be the answer you’re looking for.

Most kinds of margarine contain dairy products which have the IGF, as mentioned above. This can cause issues in the human body, and combined with all the additives your body recognizes as toxins, it could be a cocktail of bad ingredients for your skin.

9. Soy

Soy has long been considered a great alternative for those with nut allergies. Unfortunately, it is slowly becoming more and more difficult to eat it without regrets.

Soy can increase the estrogen levels in your body which can contribute to increasing the amount of acne on your skin. If you are consuming soy products, make sure to keep to a minimum so you aren’t exacerbating your acne issues.

10. Meat with Growth Hormones

Buying local, free-range, grain-fed meat is always the way to go when it comes to meat. In North America, meat is such a central part of our meals, making it vital that we aren’t consuming over processed, factory farmed meat.

If you are eating meat with growth hormones, your body may respond to it in a similar way as it would to soy. The hormones in the meat can actually affect your own hormone levels, thus possibly increasing your acne. If you’re looking to slow down aging, stick with leaner meats like chicken or fish as red meats can have a damaging effect on the skin’s ability to produce collagen.

11. White Bread

When it comes to grains, stick with the whole ones! Whole grains are the most beneficial for your body and don’t have as many additives.

White, overprocessed bread can cause inflammation in the body which can trigger acne, but it also can mess with your hormone balance. Anything that is too quick to digest for your body is often not high in nutrients and causes more problems than benefits.

12. Skim Milk

Skim milk is the obvious choice for most health-conscious milk drinkers. The only exception you would want to make for this is if you are on a low-carb ketogenic diet, requiring a higher fat intake, or if you are struggling with acne.

Casein and whey proteins are added to skim milk to help it taste less watery, which is no problem for most. Unfortunately, if acne is a struggle for you, these types of proteins may actually be causing the acne. Some athletes also deal with the side effect of acne when they add casein or whey protein to their shakes.

13. Chips

Get rid of those additives in your life! An easy alternative to weaning yourself off potato chips is by substituting it with some corn chips with minimal additives. You can even make your own salsa to ensure you aren’t consuming any additives or sugars.

Chips contribute to wearing out your liver by getting it to overprocess too many toxins and additives. When that liver stops working, your body turns to the skin to get rid of the bad stuff as fast as possible resulting in pimples and wrinkles.

14. Seafood

Mmmm, we all love some good seafood. Unfortunately, if you struggle with acne, seafood may not be your best option. More specifically, you should be avoiding crab, shrimp, crawfish, oysters, and lobster.

Why do you have to avoid them? These types of seafood contain iodine which is the one ingredient that has been actually proven to have a connection to causing acne. You don’t have to cut these foods out of your diet permanently, rather, just limit the amount that you eat.

15. Rice Cakes

Rice cakes are often considered a low-calorie snack that is simultaneously filling. Instead of eating rice cakes, grab a handful of almonds or cashews for a satisfying snack.

Rice cakes are simple carbs that your body turns into sugars. Once they are turned into glucose, they actually will attach themselves to those anti-aging proteins like collagen, and damage them!

16. Chocolate

Chocolate in small amounts does not actually have any connection to acne, however, it’s all about portion control. If you are indulging, break off a piece of chocolate and put the rest of the chocolate away. Out of sight, out of mind!

Eating too much chocolate can contribute to increased acne on the skin as your body tries to eliminate and digest the high levels of sugar and additives. Swap out milk or white chocolate for 75% or more dark chocolate. The purer the chocolate, the better – – and the cocoa actually helps your skin!

17. Coffee

Ah yes, the drink you can’t live without. It has tons of benefits including helping you become more alert and offering antioxidant benefits. Unfortunately, though, it can cause acne and aging to get worse.

If you have anxiety, you know that coffee is a huge contributor to increased stress and anxiety. Because of its ability to magnify stress, coffee can then trigger increased acne on the skin if you are very stretched or stressed. Additionally, because of it’s high acidity, it can mess with your gut flora. This can lead to your body not getting enough nutrients, and inflammation which, in turn, can increase the redness and swelling of acne. By coffee being a natural dehydrator, it can cause the skin to react with dryness and emphasized signs of aging (like wrinkles) in no time.

18. Canned Soups

If you’re looking for a good soup to enjoy on chilly fall or winter day, make sure you aren’t picking a super high sodium option. Read the label on the can to see what the sodium content is and make sure it does not exceed 350 mg.

Eating high salt foods can result in your body being overloaded with something that you only need a little bit of. As a result, your body will try to secrete the extra sodium you’ve eaten which can cause acne, redness, and inflammation. High levels of sodium will also cause you to gain water weight, often shown with an appearance of an aging “puffy” face.

19. Candy

Eating piles of candy is never a good idea! Not only does it wreck your teeth, but it leaves you feeling pretty gross as well. If you’re looking for a healthy alternative, snacking on some fresh or dried fruit is a good way to get that sweet tooth fix.

Food that spikes your insulin levels, including sugar, can result in inflammation which will only make acne more prominent on your skin. Sugar is also been blamed for aging, which is really no surprise. Avoid candy and dig into some delicious fresh produce!

20. Nuts

Nuts are packed with health benefits including containing all those good fats like Omega-3 fatty acids as well as being high in protein. If you are acne prone, you may want to skip out on pine nuts, walnuts, brazil nuts and almonds though!

These nuts contain Omega-6 fatty acids which can cause acne-prone skin to become inflamed and break out. If you are unsure of the cause of your breakouts, try eliminating these nuts from your diet and see what happens.

Lindsay Duncan

Lindsay loves cooking fun and creative meals for friends and family. At home, you can find her trying out a new recipe found on Pinterest while trying to balance her husband's sweet tooth with her healthy eating habits. If she's not in the kitchen, you'll find Lindsay photographing people she loves and going out with friends to try the newest restaurant in her small town.

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