7 Super Popular Foods That Can Mess With Your Skin

Sometimes it seems acne sticks around no matter what. You scrub up every morning and night, follow your dermatologist's orders to the T, and remember to keep oily fingers away from your face. And yet, that pesky acne doesn't budge. When that's the case, it's time to take a look at other factors affecting skin, such as foods that cause breakouts.

We all know there's a connection between what we eat and the health of our skin. After all, the body uses nutrition as a building block for everything, so we literally "are what we eat." To get a clear complexion, it's important to eat foods that are really good for the skin, such as berries, carrots, tomatoes. Put good in, get good out, as they say.

So of course the opposite is true, too. Eat tons of salty chips and and drink sugary sodas, and it's not surprising when skin starts to erupt with constellations of zits and blackheads. But the funny thing is, it's not always these stereotypical "unhealthy" foods that can cause pimples. In fact, there are some foods we eat every day without ever considering how they can affect our skin.

Here are some super popular foods (both healthy, and not so healthy) that can make acne worse.

1. Your #1 Favorite Dessert

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You were probably expecting the worst, and sadly it's true — chocolate can affect your skin. Of course, some studies show that dark chocolate can be good for your health. But other times, this sweet treat can wreak havoc on your skin.

That's because it messes with the body by causing inflammation, which can make acne worse. According to Natasha Burton on StyleCaster.com, a recent study conducted in the Netherlands showed that chocolate increases the production of an immune system marker called interleukin-1b. This can increase the inflammation due to acne, Burton said. Chocolate can also increase production of interleukin-10, which lowers the body’s immune defense. When that happens, it can create the perfect conditions for bacteria to infect pimples, thus making them worse.

2. The Thing That Holds Your Sandwiches (And Your Life) Together

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Again, another big "nooo!" from me. And this time it's due to everyone's second favorite thing (behind chocolate, of course) — bread. In the same way that chocolate causes inflammation in the body, so does the wheat in bread. But according to an article on Yahoo.com, it's also due to the dairy, soy, and sugar that are found in many commercially produced breads. Definitely something to keep in mind if you're fighting off some zits.

3. That Melty Delicious Pizza Topping

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You guessed it — cheese. Well, dairy in general. (I could go on with the "nooo!" thing for ages, but you get the idea.) Recent research from the American Academy of Dermatology has pointed towards a possible link between dairy consumption and breakouts. It's thought that the hormones in dairy are to blame, according to the Yahoo.com article, which spike pimple-producing hormones in the body. So if you get a pizza face after eating pizza, consider whipping out the vegan cheese, and see if it makes a difference.

4. Jelly's BFF

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Yes, peanut butter... and just peanuts in general. Turns out, they contain an androgen, which can make acne worse by increasing sebum production, Yahoo.com noted. Or, in less science-y jargon, they contain a hormone that makes skin more oily. But good news, you can still have almonds or cashews instead, as they don't have the same hormonal effects.

5. That Delicious Drive Thru Fare

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It's no surprise that fast food is on the list, but it's worth mentioning since it is oh so very popular. According to Jessica Migala on Prevention.com, fast food joints have high GI (glycemic index) and saturated fat-laden menus, and these put you at risk for blemishes. "Compared to a low-GI, high protein diet, Western diets (traditionally high GI and heavy on the fast food) were linked to more acne lesions," Migala added.

6. The Highlight Of Your Next Clam Bake

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Maybe shellfish isn't everyone's favorite thing, but if you love a good shrimp Pad Thai or tasty plate of crabs, then it's worth taking note. Especially because, if you're like me, you would have placed these healthy delicacies pretty far down on the "list of things that cause acne."

But according to Alexis Farah on EverydayHealth.com, shrimp, crab, and lobster are all high in iodine, which can lead to clogged pores and acne. "More specifically, the mineral creates irritation within your skin and if you already have clogged or congested pores, it will accelerate the formation of an inflamed pimple in those who are acne-prone," Farah added. Who knew?

7. Your Favorite Morning Beverage

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OK, so this isn't a food, but it's worth noting that coffee can (sadly) affect your skin. "It’s because coffee is highly acidic. High doses of acidic caffeine mess with your hormones, namely your stress hormones, which control your skin’s oil production," noted Devon Hopp on Byrdie.com. It may come down to feeling awake in the morning, or having acne-free skin. You decide.

And I know, it's going to be tough. Especially since this seems to be a list of all the most delicious things in the world. (Hey, I said they were popular.) But remember, I'm not saying you have to give anything up. Just keep in mind that what you can can affect your skin, and sometimes a clear complexion may mean tweaking your diet just a bit.

Images: Pexels (1); Giphy (7)