Has anyone else’s skin got worse during lockdown? Us too. Sitting at our WFH desks and eating left over Christmas Quality Street (yes, we’re still working through those) and dipping into our snack draw has caused our skin to flare up.

No matter how much we cleanse, exfoliate and moisturise, bad skin still keeps coming back with a vengeance. The key, it seems, is what your feeding your skin. They are what you eat, they say, and if you’re eating a load of crap, you’ll look it too. There are some main groups to avoid, but each person’s reaction to food can be very different. So use these recommendations with a bit of trial and error.


Meet public enemy number 1: chocolate. It’s the greatest sadness to see this delight on the leaderboard of worst foods, but there’s not much we can do about it. The sweet brown stuff can cause your skin to erupt but it’s largely because of the sugar. A diet high in fat and refined sugars (like those found in the family-size bar you were eating last night) increases sebum production and can trigger inflammatory responses in the body – both of which are known to cause spot breakouts.

If you’re feeling a craving coming on, reach for the dark chocolate instead of the milk or white stuff. That’s because it’s normally lower in sugar and fat, and the higher cocoa content means it’s rich in antioxidants, which are much better for the skin.

A diet high in fat and refined sugars (like those found in the family-size bar you were eating last night) can cause spot breakouts. 


Yup, you read that right. They’re taking alcohol away from us, too. It’s sad. Very sad. But I guess that’s life. Alcohol can apparently have a bad affect on any mucous membrane, whether that’s on the pancreas or your skin. This is because it dehydrates, which basically causes ageing and wrinkles. Alcohol also causes inflammation, making skin red and brings on flushes. Drink for too long and that redness becomes a permanent feature (picture your Uncle Henry and his very red whisky face).

So the best thing to do? Give it up. Move on from Dry January to Dry EveryMonthuary (catchy). By substituting wine with water, your body will generate, sooth and help preserve your youth. Need some ideas on what to drink in this new version of your life? We’ve made a handy list here. 

Processed Meats

We really should stop writing this list. It’s as if someone is standing in our kitchen chucking everything out of the cupboards. Salami? Cured bacon? Slices of ham? Gone, gone, gone. Canned meat is also in the throw pile, but we’re happy to see that one in the bin. Processed meat is anything that has been preserved by curing, salting, smoking, drying or canning. The reason we need to chuck the lot is because they normally have a very high sodium content which can lead to water retention, and essentially, a very puffy face.

There are also some studies that show that the preservatives in many processed foods include sodium nitrates, which can break down collagen and make you look old and saggy (not their exact phrasing). The best way to go seems to substitute your processed meat for a veggie or vegan option. Here’s how you can get started with a plant-based diet or board the popular vegan train. 


You know that hot cup of rich caffeinated nectar you drink first thing in the morning to function? Well, that could just be your downfall. Caffeine dehydrates and (alongside alcohol) could be what’s causing all those wrinkles to appear.

You can start by cutting your caffeine intake to two cups of coffee or tea a day and make sure you drink enough water. If you’re ready to make the full leap, replace your coffee with herbal tea, hot lemon and water, or opt for some decaff options to keep you going. It’ll help with your sleep too. 


This is controversial one. Some say it’s bad, others say it’s fine. Mainly you should go by the rule: everything in moderation. However, dairy products (milk, eggs, butter, etc) are inflammatory foods, so they can make some conditions like acne, rashes and eczema worse. Plus, you might not be aware that you’re intolerant to lactose, and eating more of it, can often make the situation worse.

There are loads of alternatives to dairy, such as oat, soy and almond milks. But be careful doing your research, as some of those can impact your skin too.


Having just spoken about the need to find alternatives to milk, soy might not be the best option for you. Soy affects hormone levels in the body, which also control the spots on your skin.

However, most of the research in this area is anecdotal so it’s best to test it out yourself and see – cut it out of your diet for a month and monitor the results.

Mainly you should go by the rule: everything in moderation.

Refined Carbohydrates And Sugars 

Meet your new nemesis: the refined carbohydrate. This basically means any processed sugar or flour. Obviously, everything in moderation is normally fine, but if you’re having too much of it, it can encourage the growth of bad bacteria in your gut. And this can impact your skin because acne is a bacterial condition. The main suspect in this category is white flour. It’s in muffins, pastries, pasta, pizza, white bread… basically, everything you love.

Refined sugar also causes your body to produce more oil. More oil, means clogged pores. Clogged pores means, well… you get the gist. Bad skin. It’s important to read food labels to see how much refined sugar you’re taking in. But be warned, it comes in many guises, such as high fructose corn syrup, table sugar, cane sugar, and glucose-fructose.

Just look at Deliciously Ella. She was once grey-skinned and drinking milkshakes. Now she glows and eats plants. Or plant-based foods. Same difference. 

Fast Food

Of course this was going to be on here. What were you thinking? Any heavily processed, synthetic ingredients are going to wreak havoc on your skin. Just look at Deliciously Ella. She was once grey-skinned and drinking milkshakes. Now she glows and eats plants. Or plant-based foods. Same difference.

Most fast food is deep-fried in refined vegetable oils and loaded with sodium. It’ll be sure to aggravate existing conditions, and either dehydrate the skin or block the pores with oils.

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