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The Foods Making Your Oily Skin Worse

If your skin is oilier than your fried chicken cheat meal, these foods may be the culprit.

Shiny skin—the kind that isn't the product of your sparkly highlighter from Sephora—can not only look unappealing, but can also cause painful and unphotogenic pimples that can instantly ruin your selfie and rain on your confidence. If you're sick and tired of lugging around blotting sheets, spending big bucks on foundation powders, and washing your face religiously with no results, you may want to reconsider another everyday staple: your diet.

Avoiding certain trigger foods, like the ones below, can help transform your face from greasy to perfectly glowy in no time. And instead of munching on these acne-causing offenders, switch 'em out for some of these foods that will improve your skin. While you're at it, try out these 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time.


soda bottles

Fun fact: Soda's umbrella term "soft drinks" got its name from pop manufacturers who wanted to differentiate their beverages from "hard drinks" that contain alcohol. But did you know that cracking open a Coke isn't any better than pounding down a shot when it comes to your skin? Sugar-packed sodas are inflammatory, and the American Academy of Dermatology sheds light on a possible relationship between high-glycemic foods and acne—which, in addition to adding inches to your waistline, should deter you from sipping on that can of Coke.

Low-Fat Dairy Milk


Skip the setting powder and ditch the dairy. Since most dairy milks are chock full of growth hormones, they can mess with your body's natural hormones (such as insulin), resulting in that unwanted oil-slicked look. In fact, a study by the American Academy of Dermatology discovered that boys who drink skim milk suffered from acne, while another study found that women who drank two or more glasses of skim milk were 44% more likely to have acne compared to other women in the study.

Refined Carbs

White bread

Ordering brown rice instead of white and swapping Wonder Bread for a loaf of Ezekiel bread at home can work wonders for your skin.

"Foods such as bagels, oatmeal, pretzels, pasta, and cereal, have been proven to accelerate the skin's aging process and wreak havoc on the skin, causing acne and rosacea," says weight loss expert Tasneem Bhatia, MD, AKA Dr. Taz. "Even the self-proclaimed 'healthy' cereals with whole grains, which are lower in glycemic index, can be stocked full of wrinkle-inducing glucose." And science supports this: In a 10-week study of people with mild to moderate acne, Korean researchers discovered that the participants who ate a low-glycemic diet had less severe acne than those on a high-glycemic diet.

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bacon strips with eggs tomatoes and arugula

If you really are what you eat, as the cliché goes, then why would anyone really want to be bacon? Especially when you find out that reducing your consumption of this saturated fat-filled breakfast meat is a good way to clear up your skin.

"Many find that their acne, rosacea or eczema clears up when they give up meat," Susan Tucker, holistic nutritionist and founder of Green Beat Life, explains. In fact, replacing red meats with lean omega-3-rich proteins can help reduce acne's severity. In a study published by Lipids in Health and Disease, researchers found that participants who suffered from moderate to severe acne drastically improved their condition by supplementing their diets with omega-3-filled fish oil. Watch your T-zone mattify by sneaking this healthy fat into your diet with these best omega-3-rich foods.

Soy Products

glass of soy milk on table

Since soy contains estrogen-mimicking isoflavones, it can throw off your body's hormones, which often (and unfortunately) results in jawline breakouts that even the heaviest foundation can't conceal. Many mayos, commercially baked goods, potato chips, and even veggie burgers are blended with inflammatory soybean oil, so make sure to double check the ingredient list for this sneaky skin-wrecker.

April Benshosan, MS
April is a born-and-raised Brooklynite who has a passion for all things health, wellness, and tastebud-related. Read more about April
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