No matter what your skin care routine looks like, your diet can still hugely impact how your skin looks. However, with confusion over what foods are good for your skin, it's difficult to know what ingredients will lead to a breakout.
To work out which foods we are wrongly being led to believe are bad for our skin, researchers at Vice Reversa have looked at the foods with the highest search volume around their impact on our complexion and then consulted nutritionist Sian Baker, to dispel these beauty myths.
Most searched-for food and drinks for bad skin
With over 3,000 searches a month it’s fair to say that we are pretty confused about what foods are bad for your skin. Coffee is the item we’re the most concerned with, receiving 690 searches a month, followed by dairy (530 searches), chicken (440), alcohol (390) and water (280).
Coffee - 690 monthly searches
Not a simple yes or no question, coffee can make your skin worse, but it depends on how you take it. If you are only sticking to one to two cups of black coffee a day you shouldn’t see any bad effects, however if you add dairy and sugar this may result in acne becoming worse.
Dairy - 530 monthly searches
The consumption of dairy has strong links to skin conditions, particularly acne. Dairy ingestion can lead to increased insulin levels, through the stimulation of insulin growth factor 1 (IGF-1) leading to acne. Milk also contains growth-stimulating hormones, including IGF-1 and dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which increase androgen levels and results in higher sebum production. Interestingly, studies have shown that fat-free and low-fat milk increased the likelihood of acne development whereas full-fat milk and cheese didn’t have the same strength of effect.
Chicken - 440 monthly searches
Is chicken bad for skin? It depends. Chicken can be a healthy source of protein, it also contains zinc and selenium which are important for optimal skin health. The effect of eating chicken on your complexion is certainly affected by the quality of the chicken, better quality products will have greater nutrient density. How you cook it will also affect things - for example, your taste buds may love fried foods but your skin hates it. Fried chicken can cause inflammation as eating highly processed foods will have an impaction on glycation (when sugar binds with proteins) and can lead to inflammation and breakouts of acne.
Alcohol - 390 monthly searches
Drinking alcohol will dehydrate your skin and deprive it of the moisture it needs to keep your complexion looking clear. Alcohol is a diuretic, and actively draws water away from the body leading to dehydration. As alcohol removes the fluid from your skin, it can also increase the appearance of wrinkles and dryness. Dehydration can also dilate your pores leading to an increase of blackheads and whiteheads.
Water - 280 monthly searches
Interestingly, water appears in the top 5 search terms here, water has the opposite effect that alcohol has on your skin, keeping it hydrated which helps maintain its elasticity and keeps it looking healthy. If you drink a lot of water you’re less likely to suffer from scars, wrinkles and soft lines.
Most searched-for food and drinks for good skin
We’re far more interested in finding out what food and drink is good for our skin, with over 6,000 searches every month! Surprisingly, some items appear on both lists (water, fish and coffee) with both searches for if it’s bad and good for our skin appearing. Water is the most searched for item in regards to what is good for us with 1,200 searches a month! This is followed by fish (910 searches), olive oil (880), lemon (640) and turmeric (570).
Water - 1210 monthly searches
With over 1,200 searches each month, plenty of us are questioning the health benefits of drinking water. Drinking water is great for keeping your skin healthy and improves its condition, as it hydrates your skin, you’ll find a reduction in itchiness, puffiness and wrinkles. Water also helps your body's detoxification processes, as well as helping you to heal quicker and slows ageing!
Fish - 910 monthly searches
People wondering if fish is bad for skin don’t need to worry, as fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring are great for keeping your skin healthy. As fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids it can help regulate the skin’s oil production, help soften tough, dry skin, and have a soothing effect on irritated skin.
Olive Oil - 880 monthly searches
Rich in vitamin E, olive oil can help improve skin's health by treating inflammation, acne and also protect against serious ailments such as psoriasis and cancer. It’s also been linked to improving moisturisation, anti-ageing effects and the relief of sun damage!
Lemon - 640 monthly searches
There are 640 searches a month questioning whether lemons are good for skin. Luckily, lemon juice contains vitamin C, an antioxidant which can help reduce skin damage and premature ageing. It also has high pH levels which can help decrease oil on the skin and reduce inflammation.
Turmeric - 570 monthly searches
Those of us who are wondering whether turmeric is good for our skin are in luck. With anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, turmeric can help heal wounds, prevent breakouts, reduce acne scarring and also bring out your natural glow.
Overall, it’s apparent from the number of monthly searches that there’s a lot of interest in seeing what foods and drinks can be good and bad for your skin. It’s important to remember though, that if you do make any changes to your diet, you need to allow time to see the impact and benefits.
To discover which food and drink are the most searched we looked at the average monthly search volume for keywords. We combined similar search terms that had the same keyword in them. (e.g ‘is coffee really bad for your skin’ and ‘is coffee bad for your skin’. All data was collected December 2021.