If you wake up with a pimple, it’s easy to blame last night’s pizza. You may even reach for a collagen smoothie in the hopes of clearing it up. But not all widespread beliefs about the diet-skin link are true, dermatologists say. Here are seven myths you can stop believing now.
Myth: Coffee is good for your skin
Coffee is not dangerous in and of itself; however, it’s a diuretic, which can lead to dehydration and dry, thirsty skin, dermatologist Dr. Rhonda Klein, partner at Modern Dermatology in Westport, Connecticut, told INSIDER. Keep enjoying your morning brew, Klein said, just in moderation.
Myth: Collagen powders will improve skin
From pills and potions to drinks and topical treatments, we can’t seem to get enough collagen right now. And while it may have other benefits, ingesting it won’t directly affect your skin, Klein said. “It will be digested by the gastrointestinal system and not make it to the skin,” she said.
Read more: Collagen supplements may not be as effective as you think, but there are other ways to incorporate this important protein into your diet
Myth: Chocolate makes your skin break out
In truth, chocolate’s effect on your skin “depends on the source, ingredients, and type of chocolate,” said board-certified dermatologist Dr. Melanie Palm, owner of the Art of Skin in Solana Beach, California.
Dark chocolate, for one, can have a positive impact on your skin and general health. “Dark chocolate with more than 70% cacao is an excellent source of antioxidants, which has a protective role for the skin and other organs,” Palm explained.
The myth that chocolate makes your skin break out likely comes from some confections’ dairy content, Palm said. “For a minority of acne patients, dairy may actually worsen acne breakouts,” she said.
Myth: Greasy food causes breakouts
Eating greasy foods doesn’t necessarily cause breakouts, Palm said. However, working around grease could clog up your pores and lead to acne. Additionally, greasy foods may have ingredients used in frying that promote inflammation, which is not good for the skin or other organ systems, Palm said.
Myth: Avocado is a fool-proof face mask ingredient
Although avocados, citrus fruits, and even different nuts are frequently suggested as key ingredients in at-home DIY masks or exfoliants, Palm said that advice doesn’t apply to everyone.
“Individuals with latex allergies can cross-react with avocado masks, as well as anything containing chestnuts, bananas, passion fruit, celery, potato, tomato, kiwi, or peach,” she explained. People who’ve had poison ivy reactions, meanwhile, will cross-react with mangoes, cashews, and pistachios due to a toxic protein substance called urushiol. For both of these scenarios, reactions become worse over time, Palm said.
“At the very least, topical application will cause a pesky rash, and at the worst, blisters, or systemic symptoms such as shortness of breath, airway swelling, and anaphylaxis,” she said.
Myth: Kale, turmeric, vitamin C, vitamin E, cumin, and other natural-based products can improve skin appearance
Sure, products with these ingredients and nutrients can be great to include in your diet for better health. However, Dr. Richard Torbeck, a board-certified dermatologist with Advanced Dermatology PC, said the scientific literature lacks studies showing that they are absorbed in the skin enough to exert an effect.
“It is even trickier to say that they will exact skin changes with topical applications due to their inability to penetrate the top layers of the skin,” he explained. Additionally, Torbeck pointed out that some products may have unwanted side effects, like yellow-tinted skin from cumin.
Myth: You’re wasting money buying organic produce
While eating conventional produce is far healthier than not eating any, there’s evidence that certain fruits and vegetables, like those in the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list, are best bought from the organic section of the grocery store. That’s because organic produce not only has fewer herbicide residues, but it actually seems to be more nutritious than conventionally grown produce.
Why? It might be because organic produce isn’t sprayed with herbicides like conventional produce and must create its own natural protectants, said Dr. Anthony Youn, a plastic surgeon and author of “The Age Fix.” Those benefits can extend to your skin since having more antioxidants in your food means less oxidation and more youthful skin.