Diet & Food

The 15 Worst Foods for Your Skin and Nails During the Winter Season

You may change up the foods you eat when winter hits because certain things just aren’t as appetizing when the temperatures drop. (Who wants to drink a summer-y iced tea when it’s snowing outside?) But what you may not know is some of the foods you reach for during the winter season have a negative effect on your body, primarily your skin and nails.

Want to fuel your body with the right things when the temperatures plummet? Here are 15 foods you should avoid for the sake of your skin and nails this winter. (Read carefully. The food on page 11 may surprise you.)

1. Canned food

Man at the grocery store |

You know the drill — you stock up throughout the year on canned soups and vegetables so they’re easily accessible come wintertime. While you may enjoy the ease of having these foods on hand, they’re actually ruining your skin. This is because the high salt content in canned soups makes your skin a breeding ground for acne. “Excessive salt consumption not only causes acne breakouts but also leads to water retention, puffy eyes, and increased blood pressure,” Knoji Consumer Knowledge adds. “Therefore, too much salt is not at all good for health.”

Next: Does it really do a body good?

2. Milk

Milk | Dash_med/iStock/Getty Images

You may think a warm glass of milk is the perfect cure for the winter blues. But you should sip cautiously. Too much dairy can cause cystic breakouts, particularly on along your jawline and down your neck. “Your skin acts as an excretory system to get rid of things that your body is not in agreement with,” celebrity esthetician Renee Rouleau tells StyleCaster. “So when you get too much dairy (and since dairy is naturally harder to digest) it comes out in the form of cystic blemishes in the lower area of the face.”

Next: Not so “happy” hour …

3. Alcohol

Shots of alcohol | Bogdanhoda/Getty images

“The state of your nails is widely regarded as a sign of your general health,” the Daily Mail summarizes. However, your nails are one of the last parts of the body to receive the vitamins and nutrients they need. “Consequently, brittle, pale, and peeling nails are often the first sign that your body contains too much alcohol.” Booze also dilates your capillaries, making your skin more prone to redness and dry patches. The best solution is to drink more water.

Next: Stocking stuffers that stress out your skin …

4. Sweets

Bowl of sweets |

When it comes to your skin, refined sugar is one of the biggest enemies. And yes — that includes all the candies and seasonal baked goods you like to shovel in your face over the holidays. Notice white spots popping up in your nail beds? “This could mean that you are consuming high amounts of sugar,” StethNews tells us. This could also be an indicator that your sugar consumption could lead to more serious health problems.

Next: Time to cut down on your cups of joe?

5. Caffeine

Coffee |

Yes, we know — hot coffee on a cold winters day really hits the spot. But for your skin’s sake, make sure you aren’t guzzling down too much of it. “Caffeinated drinks cause dehydration and will deplete your skin of its vital nutrients,” tanning salon owner Christina Kauffman tells StyleCaster. “When skin is dehydrated and dry, it’s natural elasticity and collagen is affected, causing it to become more prone to sagging and wrinkles.”

Next: Serious salad power …

6. A lack of live foods

A green salad | peredniankina/iStock/Getty Images

This can be a tricky one for the winter time because fresh produce is neither as abundant nor as appetizing when it’s cold outside. However, sticking to processed foods all season long depletes your body. “A diet without live foods — foods like salads, including those containing magnesium which is a natural detoxifier, etc. — can cause a lack of luster in the skin and hair,” StyleCaster says. Your best bet is to find healthy winter veggie dishes so you don’t miss out on giving your body what it needs.

Next: No surprise this guilty food made our list …

7. Bacon

Bacon | Villagemoon/iStock/Getty Images

When it comes to keeping your skin and nails happy, a diet full of protein is the way to go. However, not all proteins are created equal. And fatty meats like bacon can have the opposite effect. “According to some medical researchers, the high levels of sulfates, nitrates, and sodium found in bacon causes inflammation that can damage skin over time,” Spry Living summaries. In short: Your favorite guilty pleasure breakfast food is giving you acne and wrinkles.

Next: Time to rethink your sushi order …

8. Swordfish and mackerel

Fish tacos | jenifoto/Getty Images

As we said before, protein helps your skin and nails look good. That includes seafood — well, some seafood anyways. Dermatologist Jessica Wu, M.D. tells the Huffington Post that seafood containing high levels of mercury can lead to hair loss and brittle nails. Some of the main culprits are swordfish, mackerel, and certain kinds of canned tuna. So if the cold weather has you curled up at home ordering sushi takeout on a regular basis, think twice about what you order.

Next: And while we’re talking about seafood …

9. Shellfish

Seafood | Lisovskaya/Getty Images

Come from a household that likes to serve crab for Christmas dinner? Or live for chowing down at the seafood buffet when you escape the cold weather? Consider this. Esthetician Crystal Wellman tells StyleCaster “shrimp, crab, and lobster are high in iodine, which can lead to clogged pores and acne.” Livestrong adds that eating too much shellfish can give your skin a “red splotchy” appearance.

Next: Your skin’s — and your scale’s — worst enemy?

10. White bread

Bread |

To be fair, it isn’t just white bread. High glycemic foods in general — white pasta, cake, frozen pizzas — are one of your skin’s worst enemies. “Foods that are considered high glycemic can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar,” Shape tells us. And, as we discussed earlier, sugar can wreak havoc on your skin. Plus, cutting down on these foods can also help you manage your weight, and who doesn’t want that?

Next: This next food may surprise you …

11. Egg whites only

Eggs |

We’ve heard of many people going the strict “egg whites only” route. However, skipping out on those little yellow orbs all the time could be costing your nails. “Biotin is at the top of the list for nail health – with egg yolks being the richest source,” Lily Soutter Nutrition tells us. “This B vitamin is readily absorbed into the core of the nail, allowing it to help thicken the nail and stimulate growth.”

Next: Another skin-wrecking snack …

12. Peanuts

Peanuts | AFP/Getty Images

Peanut brittle may be one of your favorite winter snacks. Heck, any old jar of peanuts may satisfy your snack craving. But beware — your skin isn’t a fan of this legume. “Peanuts are rich in oils, which should be avoided by persons with oily skin as it can lead to breakouts,” Gina Mari of Gina Mari Skincare tells StyleCaster. Consider reaching for another nut in its place, preferably one that’s unsalted.

Next: Go easy with this next one …

13. Citric acid

Lemon | 5second/iStock/Getty Images

Citrus may be one of the only ways you get fruits into your diet during the winter months. Heck, it may be how you get any fruits into your diet at all! Just be aware of the effect citric acid can have on your skin. While this natural acid is fairly weak, too much of it can irritate sensitive skin and cause a rash. (It can also erode tooth enamel.) If you think this fruit component is the culprit of your skin problems you should consult your doctor before you have a serious reaction.

Next: No surprise this hurts your skin and nails …

14. Too few vitamins

High-vitamin foods | samael334/Getty Images

Are your nails soft and weak? A lack of vitamin A could be to blame. “To counter vitamin deficiency, it is imperative to include foods like broccoli, papaya, almonds, peanut butter, hazelnut, orange, lemon, potato, banana, chicken, strawberries, kiwi etc. in abundance in your diet,” StyleCraze says. Just don’t go too overboard with the vitamin A — that can cause your hair to fall out, the Huffington Post says.

Next: Last, but certainly not least …

15. Too little zinc and iron

Foods with zinc | bit245/Getty Images

If you’ve learned anything so far, it should be that you’ll have to stock up on protein and produce this winter to keep your skin and nails healthy. One of the main reasons for this is because you need to keep your zinc and iron levels in check. “Both zinc and iron — found together naturally in red meats and some seafood — are essential to keratin formation … so skimping on these can cause hair and nail problems,” WU tells the Huffington Post.

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