The Worst Foods for Your Skin

By: Amir Karam MD

Skin is one of the largest organs in the body. And like any other organ, it has very specific functions that require a wide range of nutrients and vitamins that come from our diet. Moreover, our skin is a reflection of our health in the same way the condition of our body and the rest of the organs reflect our health. 

So, the impact of diet on our skin is definitely real, and diet plays a large role in overall skin function. What we eat impacts our vitality and health, both important components to creating youthful and healthy-looking skin. So based on that, what are some foods that negatively impact our skin?

Foods that aren't good for your skin–what negative effects do they have?

The impact of food is more important from the perspective of giving the body everything that it needs to be able to perform in its best way, and the skin is no exception.

Foods that are heavily processed and high in sugars have been found to have a negative effect on the skin. For example, products like chocolate have been shown to trigger acne. In general, foods that are high in glycemic indexes, like bread, junk food, sugary snacks, soda, etc., are all foods that can have a negative effect on skin health. Primarily, with foods high in sugar, there's been some relationship between that and skin that is less elastic, which ultimately could lead to wrinkling and sagging or crepey skin. 

Avoid highly caffeinated products as well as alcohol. These products dehydrate the person, therefore, dehydrate the skin, leading to wrinkles, a dull skin tone, and other skin problems. Either completely avoid, or be aware that you're not consuming too high of a quantity of caffeine or alcohol because of their impact on the hydration of your skin.

You may have heard strong anecdotal relationships between dairy products and people who have acne-prone skin. The link between dairy and acne definitely suggests that people who have adult acne or cystic acne overall would be better off at least testing the avoidance of dairy and the impact on their skin.

What are some of the best foods for your skin?

Foods that are rich in vitamins, such as vitamin A and vitamin B. Vitamins found in cinnamon and derivatives are retinol and vitamin C.  Vitamin C is essential in collagen production. Vitamin E also has important antioxidant roles. Minerals like zinc and selenium also have important roles in the production of many of the components of the skin dermis, and the use of or the addition of colorful foods such as beets, carrots, red peppers, colorful foods, berries, etc. Those are all things that bring in a host of different vitamins and nutrients, which are very, very important. Omega three fatty acids, which are found in foods like salmon and certain nuts, can help with cell function, lipid production within the skin, and cell turnover. These foods help with hydration and decrease inflammation.

Water, of course, is an absolute necessity because of its impact on overall skin hydration. Drinking too much water doesn't have a direct effect but being properly hydrated has a very significant effect. Water with electrolytes is better than just straight water by itself. Water delivers a proper amount of electrolytes to bring hydration, resulting in more supple and vibrant skin. Depending on your activity level, you may need more water if you're doing a lot of activities and sweating a lot. 

Is taking care of your skin really about doing it from the inside out?

It is not all about that, but healthy skin from the inside out is a major component. Sun protection, eating healthy, and staying hydrated are all important things to do for skin health. However, by themselves, they're not going to give you great-looking skin. The use of active skincare ingredients, including retinol, which is a vitamin A derivative of vitamin C, vitamin D (niacinamide), hyaluronic acid, certain types of fatty acids, and other skin nutrients, is vital. All of these ingredients in a skincare routine are absolutely important in terms of overall skin health, including proper cleansing of the skin to alleviate poor congestion and allow active ingredients to work.

Even if you're taking vitamin C orally, it won’t have the same effect on the cellular production of collagen as it does when you take it topically. These are all the reasons why we developed the KaramMD TRIFECTA to include all of the categories of active skin care ingredients. These ingredients stimulate collagen, improve hydration, improve lipid balance (which is oil balance), decrease pore congestion, as well as decrease pigmentation through a non-hydroquinone-based botanical system. The result? The skin ultimately becomes less pigmented, more supple, firm, and vibrant.

In the long run, by using ingredients on your skin like retinol and vitamin C, as well as growth factors that are plant-derived, the production of collagen and elastin will continue to build as opposed to diminishing with time, which has a huge impact on preventing the skin from aging in the first place.

Can a change in diet reverse the signs of aging skin?

For those with aging skin, diet by itself has no impact in terms of preventing skin from aging or restoring aging skin, but it has a foundational impact in terms of giving the skin what it needs to function correctly. If you're healthy, it's going to reflect that, but active ingredients in your skin products and sun protection are the definite must-dos for people who want to defy skin aging and restore their skin.

Aside from its powerful, vital ingredients, the KaramMD TRIFECTA makes it possible to help reverse the signs of aging skin in a simple way. At the end of the day, consistency and constant use of these ingredients are absolutely necessary for the skin to defy the aging changes that it's genetically predisposed to undergo.

So, in a nutshell, if you want to prevent skin aging, you need to prevent sun exposure as much as possible. Eat a proper diet, remain hydrated, and stay on the right active, anti-aging ingredients for the long run. If you do all those things, your skin will invariably look amazing and healthy, with a youthful vibrancy and glow–you can effectively defy the genetic skin aging that we're all predisposed for. 

Double board-certified facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Amir Karam

Dr. Amir Karam is a leading, world-renowned cosmetic surgeon who is an authority in his field. His experience helping patients achieve radiant, youthful skin spans two decades. As a facial plastic surgeon who achieved defined features and a youthful facial shape, he became curious about how to help his patients achieve beautiful skin, a key component of looking young. He discovered his patients were often overwhelmed with too many skincare products and skincare trends, all requiring too many steps to realistically follow every day.

Dr. Karam spent the next five-plus years creating a simple, highly effective skincare line, the TRIFECTA. These three simple products are the solution for anyone who wants to achieve younger, more beautiful skin. His groundbreaking TRIFECTA is clinically-proven, easy to maintain every day, and perfect for all skin types.


  • KaramMD Customer Support Team

    Hi PJ.

    If there is any laxity in the skin fat transfer is not effective so it typically not the best choice for most people in their 40s and 50s.

  • KaramMD Customer Support Team

    Hi Cynthia,

    The Trifecta will certainly improve the overall appearance/firmness of your skin but no skincare will be able to “tighten” or completely correct skin that has become loose.

  • KaramMD Customer Support Team

    Hi Francesca,

    Se sei interessato al ringiovanimento del viso Vertical Restore e Vertical Prevent del Dr. Karam, visita il link sottostante per contattare uno dei nostri coordinatori dei pazienti.

  • Wendy

    Is there a special in December?

  • Francesca Rinaldo

    Dr Karam e ’ da un po’ che la seguo ho 60 anni e non accetto più il mio viso. Vorrei sapere quanto costa un lifting da Lei ma siccome sono terrorizzata dal dolore vorrei sapere se e’ possibile fare una terapia antalgica post intervento. Cordiali saluti

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