What do gluten, dairy, soy, nuts (especially peanuts), sugar, and coffee have in common? They're the most common dietary triggers of acne, eczema, and rashes, “even in those without allergies,” says New York City dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD. Most affect our hormones, causing oil surges, puffiness and breakouts. The caffeine in coffee beans is an “alkaloid that can raise cortisol levels, leaving skin inflamed,” adds Dr. Engelman.
If you suspect a problem, see an allergist, or try an elimination diet to root out offenders: Remove all potential culprits for 8 to 12 weeks, then gradually reintroduce them one at a time. “If one of these foods makes your acne worse, it doesn't mean it has to be out of your life forever,” points out Dr. Engelman. “Just when you notice that your skin is acting up.”