5 Foods to Avoid If You Want Clearer Skin

When it comes to blemishes, what you put into your body can be even more important than what you put on your body!  Earlier this year I discovered this myself -- and I have literally done a #facepalm about it.  (along with #SMH, #FML and other assorted "I'm an idiot" type hashtags!)  See, I'm in my mid-30's.  Okay, late 30's.  Oh god, I'm almost 40, and I still suffer with blemishes.  

I was also diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) a few years ago, so... HORMONE ISSUES.  Doctors just blamed my acne on my hormones and offered to put me on antibiotics.  Antibiotics and I just don't mix well, so I've struggled to keep my face clear for the last 25 years.  

ANYWAY, back to my discovery...  Earlier this year I decided to jump on the wagon and try a paleo diet for a month.  I was shocked when after a couple of weeks, my face was magically clearing up!  My chin hadn't been this clear in years!  As I've continued to modify my diet I've come to realize that, for me -- Dairy is a dirty, dirty word. 

Here are 5 foods that might be causing your breakouts:


There are conflicting reports on the correlation between dairy and acne.  Here's an excerpt from WebMD:  "Although studies have shown associations between dairy and acne, they don’t show cause and effect, and they don’t prove that dairy causes acne. Anecdotes from people who've quit dairy also don't mean that the same will be true for you.  Dairy is an important source of calcium, which your bones (and the rest of your body) need. So if you cut back, do so with care."  

I included dairy in the list, because I KNOW it causes my acne.  Dropping it from my diet has worked so well for my skin -- and I've even stopped crying when I see pizza commercials on TV!  I have replaced milk with Almond Milk which is high in calcium, so I can still get my calcium, make iced mochas, and occasionally eat cereal.  I'd highly recommend keeping a food diary to help you figure out your trigger foods!

Refined Carbs & Sugars

Refined carbohydrates and sugars can cause large spikes in your blood sugar, throwing your insulin out of whack.  When your insulin is out of whack, your testosterone can spike, causing more blemishes and breakouts.  Eating whole grains and avoiding refined sugars can keep your blood sugars more even and keep those blemishes at bay.  I found out when researching my PCOS that a slice of white bread can spike your blood sugar faster than a teaspoon of granulated sugar.  Crazy!  The good news is that you can find a LOT more whole grain food options in normal grocery chains these days.


The claim that caffeine causes acne and breakouts may have more bark than bite. Some experts say it doesn’t directly cause acne, but may aggravate existing conditions.  The worst part about caffeine is that most caffeinated drinks (pop, soda, energy drinks) include a ton of those Refined Carbs and Sugars we just talked about.  Your favorite coffee drink from Starbucks could be chock full of caffeine, refined sugars AND dairy - creating the perfect storm for blemishes if these are your trigger foods.  There's also conflicting evidence about chocolate -- but most experts agree it can aggravate existing blemishes -- especially when combined with refined sugars.  Dark chocolate can be a great alternative.  I keep some Dove Dark Chocolate squares in my freezer -- one of those can curb my chocolate cravings, and the dark chocolate is much lower in dairy and refined sugars than a milk chocolate variety!


Noticing more break-outs after the party this last weekend?  Alcohol is a diuretic.  Without proper hydration your skin can't remove toxins properly and is more prone to clogged pores and blemishes.  Regular alcohol consumption can also weaken your immune system, making it easier for nasty acne-causing bacteria to build up.  

Fried Foods

Fats are not bad for you, and there isn't much of a link to the oils used to fry foods and acne.  Of course, saturated fats are just BAD, but not all oils are created equal and there are some good fats out there.  But regardless of the oils used, we're not typically talking about deep-fried cauliflower and carrots -- we're mostly talking deep-fried carbs.  Oh the delicious carbs!  Smothered in melted cheese and... ohhh... I better just stop talking about it now before I drool on my keyboard.  Much like caffeine, the grease might be getting a bad rap from the carbs and refined sugars we're typically deep frying.


So what's the deal?!

Am I really asking you to give up on all of life's little pleasures?  Am I asking you to never again indulge in  pizza, cheesy bread, coffee, chocolate, beer, sugar or grease?!  Definitely not!  I'm saying "All things in moderation".  

If you are like me, and struggle with blemishes wayyyy past your teens, try keeping a food diary.  If you can identify some of your worst acne triggers, you can start to experiment with eliminating some of those items from your diet.  

You might find that you need to eliminate some of these foods completely (like I did with dairy), or, you might find that you just need to lower your intake a bit to really make a huge difference in your skin!

Other tips:  

Be sure to drink lots of water to help flush toxins from your skin and keep your skin nice and hydrated!


Face Mapping might help you determine what foods are your triggers  -- Here's a great article to get you started!  

Here's wishing you happy, healthy skin!
Moody Sister Jess