Real talk, ladies: We all know that acne is not just for the prepubescent. Hormonal changes during and after pregnancy, stress, environment, and a host of other factors play into the unfortunate problem — especially what you eat. A burger here or a doughnut there won’t sentence you to a month of boils, but a regular diet filled with the wrong stuff can leave you coating on the cover-up and potentially damaging your skin’s appearance for good.
Greatist recently inspired us with some scientific explanations of what we should and should not eat (citations and all!). Here’s a guide to what you should and shouldn’t eat:
Eat: Vitamin A. Scarf some spinach and crave those carrots because these Vitamin A-packed veggies prevents the overproduction of skin cells, which means there are fewer dead ones to clog your pores. Not a veggie fan? Try pumpkin, cantaloupe, or sweet potato (c’mon, it’s too sweet to taste like a veg!).
Avoid: High Glycemic Index foods like doughnuts, white bread, or pretzels. These foods tend to spike our body’s insulin levels and increase the body’s inflammatory reactions, which of course can lead to acne flare-ups. Check out the Glycemic Index for yourself to identify “low-GI” foods with values under 55 and “high-GI” foods with values over 70.
Eat: Vitamin B5 to reduce the amount of oil your skin produces and decrease the size of your pores. If you’ve had acne before, you know that over time your T-zone — forehead, nose, and chin — starts to look pocked with large holes. Try adding a Vitamin B5 supplement to your diet and watch as those pores with eventually begin to shrink.
Eat: Selenium. Yep, we know it sounds like a planet, but Selenium is a tiny nutrient that works very hard for your complexion to preserve your skin’s elasticity and even repair inflammatory damage done to the skin. Try adding some quinoa or brown rice or garnishing your meal with aromatic veggies like onion and garlic to see what Selenium can really do.
Avoid: Greasy foods that can clog your pores as soon as they touch your lips. You know how difficult it is to wash oil off your hands. Well, imagine that same coating on the skin of your face. It seeps into your pores, dragging all the dirt and dead skin cells in with it to clog your pores better than anything else. Instead of just vowing to keep your hands and face clean after your date with a Big Mac, just avoid grease and oil altogether.
Read the rest of the list at Greatist.