Introducing "Dear Bobbi," our monthly advice column, in which makeup mogul Bobbi Brown will be answering your beauty and wellness questions. Have something you want to ask Bobbi? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I just went off birth control after nearly ten years on The Pill. At first, everything seemed pretty normal, and then, a couple months in, my skin started breaking out like crazy. In addition to investing in skin care, is there anything else I should be doing? Will adjusting my diet help? If so, what foods have the biggest impact on the condition of my skin?
Dear Seeking Clarity,
The right foods can increase your energy levels, help prevent diseases, keep your body feeling healthy and, yes, they can also make your skin look better. The wrong foods can do just the opposite. Let’s take a look at the foods that might be exacerbating your acne.
1. Processed foods: Most processed foods have a ton of preservatives, dyes, emulsifiers and chemicals. All of these can disrupt our hormone system and fatty acid metabolism. Fatty acids are important for balancing skin and giving it luster or glow. When you eat processed foods, your body gets overloaded trying to detoxify all those chemicals. As a result, you don’t look as good, feel as good, sleep as well or have good digestion. Plus, processed foods don’t have the same amounts of vitamins and minerals as whole foods. When you fill up on these fake foods, you’re losing out on the opportunity to get energy from the nourishment that truly fuels you from the inside.
2. Salt: The effects of too much salt can be seen almost immediately. Eat a dinner that’s heavy in sodium and you’ll wake up looking puffy and swollen, especially around the eyes. And it doesn’t just affect your face: Excess salt can increase water retention elsewhere in the body, too. Fast food, processed food and salty snacks are obvious culprits, but also watch out for canned soup, salad dressing and bread, all of which contain high amounts of salt.
3. Soda: Soda is pumped with chemicals and incredibly high amounts of sugar and/or chemical sugar substitutes—both of which cause insulin spikes. When you drink sugar, you’re filling up on empty calories with zero nutritional value. To stay hydrated and help eliminate toxins, you should rely on water as your primary source of hydration. By doing this, you may also notice clearer skin.
4. Sugar: Whether it’s white sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, most types of sugar can wreak havoc on your body. It’s incredibly addictive and causes your blood sugar to rise, which causes a host of problems, from energy crashes to hormonal imbalances. It also damages collagen and elastin, which causes skin to age more rapidly. The best thing to do? Reduce the amount of sugar you consume. If you do need some sweetness, opt for coconut sugar; it has a lower glycemic index and is easier for your body to process.
5. White Flour: White flour, which is found in most bread and baked goods, also causes blood sugar to spike. If you’re trying to eat healthier or more alkaline, note that white flour is very acidic. Try using oat or almond flour as alternatives.
6. Alcohol: Listen, I love to enjoy a cocktail (or two). It’s totally possible to do that and still stay healthy. Just make sure to drink in moderation and try to stay away from cocktails that are packed with extra sugar.
On that note, we’re all going to indulge sometimes, but it’s less about deprivation or dieting and more about making conscious choices to eat better whenever we can. In doing so, I promise you’ll look (and feel) better, too.