Everyone’s skin is different, but there’s ongoing research that supports the correlation between diet and skin concerns like acne and blackheads. Luckily, incorporating more nutrient-rich foods into your diet and eliminating the ones that clog pores are all you need to do to get clear skin.
But, there’s one pore-clogging food that dermatologists and doctors say is the absolute worst for blackheads–it’s fried food!
"Fried, sugary and high-carb foods are some of the top culprits when it comes to unwanted blackheads," Dr. Josh Axe says. These foods are on the glycemic index, which means they’re prone to clog pores due to their effect on the body.
They cause “the sugar in the blood [to go] up quickly, and that triggers a cascade of events that increases hormones and increases sebum,” according to dermatologist Dr. Linda Stein Gold.
Popular fast foods also contain high levels of sodium and can dry out the skin. "Excess salt in the body draws more fluid out of the cells to help neutralize the salt and draw it out of the body,” Beth Warren, RD, told Bustle. “As a result, your skin gets drier because of the lack of fluid.”
In some cases, dry skin can produce more oil than it needs. Dr. Axe credits excess oil production as another contributing factor to stubborn blackheads. "When skin tends to be on the oily side or overproduces oil for some reason, pores are more likely to become clogged and blackheads are more likely to form in those clogged pores," he says.
So, what should you be eating for blackheads? Experts say it's best to opt for healthy, nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables whenever possible. They also suggest introducing more whole grains and lean proteins into your diet to prevent your blood sugar from spiking.
"By improving your daily diet, you can greatly improve the quality of your skin, including the decrease or even the elimination of blackheads and other forms of acne," Dr. Axe says. His go-to foods for blackheads include:
Probiotic foods (kefir, yogurt, and cultured vegetables)
High-zinc foods (sprouted pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds)
Vitamin A foods (carrots, spinach, and beef liver)
Vitamin E foods (citrus fruits, berries, and dark leafy greens)