Eating These Foods Could Be the Root of Your Skin Problems

Amanda Montell
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Gather & Feast

Identifying the source of your breakouts can be one of the most infuriating processes on the planet. Trust me, I've been there. You try everything: Switching up your skincare products, getting prescription medication from the derm, sleeping on a silk pillowcase, meditating, praying, crying. Interestingly, though, when it comes to nailing down acne causes, our diet is often the last place we look (when it should be the first).

"Your diet and food have a direct impact on your skin," explains naturopathic doctor Gabrielle Francis. "If you are eating foods that are toxic, and the burden is too great for your liver and gut to eliminate them, then they will start to come out of the skin. A poor diet will cause inflammation, rashes, acne, dryness, wrinkles, and early ageing."

But what exactly does "a poor diet" mean, when it comes to your skin? We all eat such a wide variety of foods (some seemingly healthy, others not so much) that recognising which of them is the acne culprit can be a whole project in and of itself. "When it comes to acne, nothing is off the table, as every person's body responds differently," says celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau. That said, there are certain foods that trigger breakouts, inflammation, and other skin issues far more commonly than the rest. Keep scrolling to discover the foods that might be messing with your skin, according to experts.

Potential Breakout Foods:

Potential Diet Tweaks:

If you suspect your breakouts might be diet-related, Rouleau recommends trying one of three techniques. The first: "Do an elimination diet such as The Whole30," she says. "This is where you completely remove certain food groups—potential 'trigger foods'—from your diet for 30 days. After 30 days, you slowly reintroduce them back into your diet to determine what may be the culprit."

You can also try making "partial eliminations." Let's say you get cystic breakouts along your chin and jaw. In that case, you might remove dairy from your diet for several weeks. "If you don't develop any new cysts in a three week time period, then this might be the solution to your problem," Rouleau says.

The third option is to keep a daily lifestyle diary to help you determine all possible causes of your breakouts, diet and otherwise. "At the end of a month, being able to see the entire 30-day period at a glance will allow you to look for any possible patterns," Rouleau says. "Generally, food-related blemishes occur 12 to 36 hours after eating the potential culprit. So when you do get new breakouts, assuming nothing else has changed in your lifestyle or with your skincare products, you can look back and see what you were eating."

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