4 Everyday Things That Will Ruin Your Skin

Everybody knows that drinking lots of water, getting plenty of rest and maintaining a regular skin cleansing and moisturizing routine is essential to healthy skin. But what common, everyday things can derail even the healthiest skin? Here are four skin baddies you should avoid whenever possible.

1. Processed Foods

According to Betty Kocsis, an esthetician and program technician in the esthetician program at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ont., “processed and fast foods are the enemy. They are totally depleted of nutrients, and some are genetically modified and loaded with sodium, sugars and unhealthy fats.” Mulholland agrees: “Diets that are high in processed foods and simple carbs can negatively affect the skin in many ways, including causing inflammation and having a negative impact on cell building.”

2. Caffeine

Kocsis suggests avoiding excessive amounts of coffee and caffeinated teas, which are diuretics and can dehydrate skin. (Health Canada recommends no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine per day, about the amount found in three eight-ounce [240 mL] cups of brewed coffee. For women of child-bearing age, Health Canada recommends no more than about two cups of coffee.

3. Sugar

Avoid it specifically if you have diabetes or insulin resistance (which occurs when the body’s system for handling spikes in blood glucose gets worn out from overwork, setting the stage for diabetes). Mulholland says the sweet stuff poses a threat to skin’s “immunity and cell turnover” in people with these conditions because they don’t metabolize sugar well.

4. Alcohol

Dr. Stephen Mulholland, a plastic surgeon in Toronto, says excessive alcohol consumption-more than one or two drinks a day-puts strain on the liver, and that can result in dilated pores, dilated and broken capillaries, as well as the overgrowth of sweat and oil glands. Unfortunately, this occurs most often in the face (particularly the nose), though other areas of the skin are vulnerable, too. But he still believes in the health benefits of red wine, and says one glass a day will not harm the skin-unless you suffer from rosacea. A survey by the National Rosacea Society in the U.S. found that 76 percent of sufferers cited red wine as a trigger for flare-ups.