5 Things Your Skin Can Tell You About Your Diet

Everyone has those days, the ones when you look in the mirror and just don’t love what you see. Maybe you’ve got breakouts reminiscent of high school, your chronic dryness keeps flaring up, or your under eyes are determined to tell the world you didn’t rest enough. Whatever your skin issue is, there are ways to fix it that go beyond dermatologist appointments and moisturizer applications.

In fact, revamping your skin can be easier than all that. Sometimes all you have to do to say goodbye to your skin hang-ups is make simple dietary changes. That’s why we talked to Rosemarie Ingleton, MD, NYC Dermatologist, and Medical Director of Ingleton Dermatology.


This may signify your diet is:too high in high-glycemic foods

Battling breakouts? Blame your diet. If loaves of white bread are one of your grocery list staples, it’s no wonder your skin hasn’t cleared up. The high-glycemic index of your morning bagel and midday sandwich impact levels of blood sugar and insulin, so switch to whole grains instead. According to a study on 15-25-year-old males in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, making lower-glycemic choices like that can lead to less acne.

Dark circles

This may signify your diet is:missing sufficient water intake

The key to blasting those under-eye bags isn’t just a long night’s rest. The dark circles you’re dealing with may have more to do with water retention, which means you haven’t been drinking enough H2O. Don’t forget that the state of your skin doesn’t just have to do with the food you’re swallowing, but the beverages you’re chugging as well. Be sure to drink at least the recommended 64 ounces a day and hydrate those pesky purple hues away.

This quick fix might help in more ways than one by cutting down your milk intake. Face mapping says that drinking dairy can lead to inflammation all over your body, even beneath your eyes. And since 65 percent of people have some form of lactose intolerance, this might be the case for you.


Dry skin

This may signify your diet is:too high in sodium

As if you needed another reason to cut back on your sodium intake, it could be the culprit that’s drying out your skin. When there’s too much salt in your diet, your body overcompensates for this by holding onto water, which doesn’t just lead to puffy cheeks, but cracked, dehydrated skin.

Oily skin

This may signify your diet is:too high in dairy

If your oil has gone into overdrive and you find yourself dealing with daily dampness, you might be drinking too much dairy. According to researchers from the American Academy of Nutrition, boys drinking skim milk were more likely to suffer from acne than those who weren’t. The same results were found in girls in a study by the Dermatology Online Journalfor milk in general, not just skim. Although Ingleton claims this won’t work for everyone, she advises, “Limiting dairy intake and assessing if it leads to an improvement in acne can be beneficial.”


This may signify your diet is:too high in animal protein

What’s red, rough, and itchy all over? A patch of eczema, but don’t let this skin condition linger around for long. Kick it to the curb with a couple diet hacks. First, let’s clear up a common misconception: you might have heard that cutting sugar-heavy foods is key to eczema relief, but while you should limit your intake of the sweet stuff for other reasons, a study in Acta Dermato-Venereologicafound that sugar didn’t aggravate eczema after all. So if you’re going to cut back on sugar, do it to lower your risk of diabetes and obesity, not to save your skin.

It might be a better idea to see what happens when you listen to Susan Tocker, holistic nutritionist and founder of Green Beat Life, who recommends giving vegetarianism a try. “Many find that their eczema clears up when they give up meat,” she says.