Foods to Eat for Clear Skin & Foods to Avoid

No matter your skin issue, there’s a food-based solution.

By Brittany Loggins
woman making smoothie

June 29, 2020 — 3:30 p.m. EST

If you’ve struggled with acne, rosacea, or even fine lines and wrinkles, you may have already noticed that food can play a large role in the overall health of your skin. Whether you’ve noticed that you’re more prone to breakouts after eating certain foods, or if you’ve been battling hormonal breakouts, there are foods you might want to consider cutting out of your diet.

Luckily, there are also foods to eat for clear skin. To find out more about what kinds of foods can cause (and heal!) breakouts and other skin conditions, DoctorOz.com spoke with Dr. Macrene Alexiades, who is the founder of a NYC-based clinic and Macrene Actives skincare line.

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Foods that cause rosacea breakouts or flushing:

Foods are a big factor behind rosacea, or flushing and blushing that can lead to rosacea breakouts. “Rosacea-triggering foods contain precursors to histamine and can cause you to flush and blush, ultimately leading to rosacea breakouts,” says Alexiades.

If you’re wondering what histamine is, it’s a chemical that’s stored within our body and found in certain foods that can cause — you guessed it — skin flushing. According to Alexiades, examples of foods that contain more histamine are bananas, avocados, and eggplant so you’ll want to avoid them altogether or eat them infrequently in small doses.

Foods that cause cystic acne:

It’s important to note that cystic acne can be triggered by different types of foods for different people. Because of this, it can be hard to nail down exactly which foods are at the root of your problem. If you want more targeted help and recommendations you should make an appointment with a dermatologist.

That said, Alexiades named a few things that are typical causes. “High carb foods and dairy can exacerbate cystic acne,” says Alexiades. “Also, some people are [specifically] sensitive to chocolate, cheese, or red wine.”

Alexiades also recommends avoiding processed foods, sugar, and excessive amounts of alcohol whenever you can. If you’re struggling with immediately eliminating all of these, she recommends keeping a food journal and eliminating one of the foods on this list for weeks at a time in order to determine if it’s the cause.

What to eat instead:

It’s no secret that fruits and vegetables are good for your skin, but they can really help your skin’s overall appearance, both in terms of color and texture. Alexiades even notes an especially nice benefit to eating carrots, or foods that contain beta carotene like sweet potatoes, winter squash, cantaloupe, and even kale and spinach. “Beta carotene is what I call ‘over-the-counter accutane’ as it mimics the effects of accutane without the toxicity,” says Alexiades. In other words, it’s super skin-clearing and can lead to fewer breakouts and blemishes.

For other skin-clearing solutions, Alexiades encourages people to “look for omega oils from flaxseed or fish to build the skin barrier, which keeps the skin plush and clear.” Alexiades also mentions vitamin B as being helpful for keeping skin blemish-free — which you can purchase over the counter.

If anti-aging is your concern — Alexiades has a few suggestions. “Resveratrol is a master anti-aging compound found in red grapes — this is an excellent fruit to eat when in season,” says Alexiades. If you’re not a huge red grape fan, try popping them in the freezer — it makes them taste almost like candy! There are other options as well: “Teas have excellent antioxidants, especially green tea and can be drunk year-round,” says Alexiades. “Now that it is summer, watermelon [may help] repair skin and fight the effects of sun damage to boost anti-aging benefits.”

Related: 

Is Your Face Mask Causing Breakouts? Try These 5 Things to Stop It

5 Natural Ingredients to Minimize the Appearance of Scars

10 Easy Ways to Treat Oily Hair & Skin

Article written by Brittany Loggins