Our skin reflects what is happening internally throughout the body. Signs of irritation or inflammation on the skin is a sign that our body is reacting to something. Certain elements in your diet may cause inflammation in your gut, causing a number of skin issues including acne, premature aging, or rashes such as eczema or psoriasis. Consider the following culprits.

1. Sugar

When you consume carbohydrates (sugar), your body breaks down the carbohydrates into glucose, which raises your insulin levels. Consuming simple-carbohydrates (i.e. white bread, pasta, soda), causes insulin to spike, which then creates inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation creates enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, resulting in sagging skin and wrinkles. It can also intensify skin conditions like acne and rosacea.

2. Gluten

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. It can be found in many types of food, as well as a number of foods you wouldn’t expect, such as salad dressing, soups, soy sauce, ketchup, and ice cream. In gluten-sensitive individuals, gluten too creates inflammation that starts in the gut, which then spreads to other parts of the body. When your body is exposed to inflammatory triggers such as gluten, you can begin to experience issues with your skin. Skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, acne, and certain rashes are the result of inflammation.

3. Dairy

In recent studies, there has been a clear association between dairy consumption and acne. A combination of the hormones, carbohydrate content of milk, and the milk protein casein, makes milk difficult to digest. Dairy products also contain hormones that trigger increased sebum production and insulin spikes, resulting in inflammation, and ultimately acne.

4. Soy

Soy contains phytoestrogens, which mimics the body’s natural estrogen hormones. Phytoestrogens can decrease the amount of estrogen the body produces, and subsequently boost androgen production. Disrupting the delicate balance of estrogen and androgen in the female body can lead to hormonal-type breakouts.

5. Alcohol

Drinking alcohol causes dehydration and inflammation. The harmful effects of drinking alcohol can be seen through issues in the skin. This includes overall flushing and increased facial redness, which are both exacerbated in patient’s with rosacea. Alcohol also dehydrates the skin, making the skin appear less plump and fresh in the morning. Alcohol also contains sugar, which again, leads to systemic inflammation.

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