Just as there are foods that help take care of the skin and prevent its aging, there are others that can be harmful.

One of the varieties of white bread that can be found in bakeries.

Advertising is full of great promises, creams, serums and potions that, like liquid time machines, promise to restore the skin to its freshness of 10 or 20 years ago. It seems incredible that the largest organ in our body is often the most forgotten in personal care. These are not massages, gadgets, vibrating brushes, or gadgets with added nomenclatures that infuse the invention with the ‘powers’ of the latest technology. Taking care of the skin, the shield against external agents and the sun’s radiation, begins from within, with food.

Like other organs such as the heart or liver, the skin needs specific nutrients to help it maintain itself, stay elastic and regenerate tissues. The bad thing is that just as there are foods to help take care of it and prevent its aging, there are others that can be harmful. “Food is very important. For example, a high consumption of sugars and refined flours, they can generate alterations in the organism that are reflected in the skin, causing acne ”, explained to EL ESPAÑOL Victoria Díaz, a dietician-nutritionist specialized in healthy lifestyle habits.

Red meat

Recently, the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, wanted to position himself before the debate opened by the Minister of Consumption, Alberto Garzón, when he recommended reducing the consumption of meat. His words were: “For me, where they put a steak on the spot, that’s unbeatable.”

Without going into details about the impact that factory farming has on the environment, from a nutritional point of view and the effects that the habitual consumption of red meat can have, reducing intake is key for both the skin and the body.

Proteins of animal origin, having a different digestive process from those of animal origin, are retained for a longer time. Then the residues begin to be released through the pores of the skin, causing the appearance of acne and pimples. In addition, studies such as the one presented last year by researchers from the Faculty of Pharmacy of the Complutense University of Madrid, link the consumption of meat with degenerative diseases.

In addition, its content of saturated fatty acids and cholesterol, together with the lipid oxidation that takes place during its production, storage, digestion and metabolization, can cause alterations in the body, such as the contribution to body oxidation, if red meat is consumed on a regular basis. This is reflected in the skin, causing cellular dehydration that leads to dull skin and lack of elasticity.


To drink alcohol decreases oxygenation of the skin and it makes it lose elasticity by affecting the production of collagen. In the long term, it produces premature aging by directly affecting the assimilation of Vitamin A. This substance also produces an inflammatory reaction that results in larger pores, the appearance of telangiectasias and even facial rosacea.

Dairy products

In many cases, dairy can be the direct culprit in acne breakouts. They are high in fat, but your skim or lactose-free option isn’t much better, since lactose, even hydrolyzed into galactose or glucose (in lactose-free milks), makes milk a high-glycemic food. In addition, the bacteria contained in yogurts can alter the intestinal microbiota, although this is normally positive, in some people it can cause autoimmune dermatological diseases such as dermatitis or psoriasis.


“There are people who, without being intolerant to gluten, suffer from a certain sensitivity to this protein without becoming celiac. Symptoms can be reflected on the skin instead of on the digestive level, with no diarrhea or bloating, but there are outbreaks of dermatitis herpetiformis, a chronic rash, characterized by blisters and bumps on the skin, as well as great itching, ”says Díaz .

Non-whole carbohydrates

By having a high glycemic index, non-complex or non-whole carbohydrates, such as white bread or pasta, promote skin inflammation, breaking down the collagen of the skin together with elastin, favoring the breakdown of skin elasticity. Something that also happens with fried and battered foods, in addition to those high in fat trans, which destabilize blood glucose and promote the generation of sebum. Which translates back into breakouts and acne. In addition, a diet based on the intake of foods rich in these types of fats, which are unsaturated fatty acids, formed during the industrial process of converting liquid oil into solid fat; increases the risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death in adults.

Whims are accepted

“If you have a balanced diet in general, consuming a processed food full of sugar, such as white chocolate, or eating an unhealthy food occasionally, it does not affect the skin. The reason is because if more than 80% of the diet is healthy and balanced, the impact of this food is minimal ”, says the nutritionist.

A food does not determine your health, neither for good nor for bad. Like Díaz proposes the example of indulging yourself from time to time, eating a healthy food a day, when the rest of the diet is based on processed and sugary products, will not bring any obvious benefit. So the key is to eat a diet in which the highest percentage of the food consumed is healthy.