Everyone knows that diet affects the health of every individual’s skin. It’s also a well-known fact that the only time diet restrictions don’t matter is on Thanksgiving! Tomorrow is the big day and there’s nothing worse than looking at a full banquet and realizing that there’s nothing on the table you can eat because your sensitive skin might react to the food. Even for those who don’t have ultra sensitive skin, certain foods in overabundance can cause breakouts or deepen and increase the visibility of fine lines. This Thanksgiving, we’re giving you a guide to the most abused holiday foods and deciding whether they should be indulged or avoided. Please note that any of these foods in moderation are fine, just like all of them can be detrimental to overall health if eaten in abundance. Make sure to indulge in your holiday favorites, but enjoying everything in moderation is the key to a healthy holiday for your skin.

Indulge

Herb-covered turkey

Herbs like rosemary and thyme not only make your food delicious – they also make your skin healthier! They have been shown to be high in antioxidants which are useful in eliminating free radicals from the body. Free radicals are attributed to premature aging of the skin, so eating foods that help eliminate them can keep your skin clear and youthful. Turkey is also high in selenium which has been shown to preserve skin’s elasticity. These qualities make a nice herb-rubbed turkey one of the Thanksgiving staples you can gobble gobble on all day!

Squash

All types of squash from acorn to butternut to zucchini (yep, that’s a squash too) are great for your skin and body as a whole. High levels of vitamin C in the vegetable wage an all out war on free radicals in the body and leave skin looking more hydrated. Additionally, fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation are squashed when you eat enough of this low-cal side dish.

turkey

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie is one of the least-damaging desserts you’ll see on a Thanksgiving table. Sure, if you eat a whole pie it’s not a great idea, mostly for the stomachache that you’d get afterwards. However, the beta carotene in the pumpkin puree used in pumpkin pie is extremely beneficial to skin. All that beta carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body, and vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant. Just stop after one (read: two or three) pieces so you don’t overload yourself with sugar which can be very harmful to skin.

turkey

Avoid

Milk

Many studies have purported that dairy is bad for skin. These studies are both right and wrong. Most of them mention that dairy can cause acne if consumed in overabundance by most people. However, studies typically don’t make mention of whether it’s something specifically about the dairy itself or if the problems only occur after it’s broken down into sugars by our bodies. Regardless of why it happens, too much dairy (yes, that includes cheese) can be detrimental to skin’s health.

Dinner Rolls

Similar issues arise from dinner rolls that you’d see with dairy. Processed white breads like dinner rolls tend to be loaded with extra sugars which the human body breaks down into an abundance of simple sugars. This sugar spike can then affect hormone levels in the body which can lead to acne and other skin issues. Try swapping your side for a whole grain or whole rye bread which will have less of a toll on your skin’s health.

Alcohol

We all know it’s true, but we have to be reminded on the holidays: alcohol and healthy skin don’t mix. Alcohol dehydrates skin which increases the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles. Quick Thanksgiving tip: if you overdo it this holiday season and drink a little too much, take the milk we told you not to drink, soak a paper towel in it, and lay it across your face. The proteins in it will help with puffy eyes and redness in the face. It won’t help with a hangover, however, so drink responsibly.

By choosing the right foods and eating a balanced diet, you give your skin the best chance to remain radiant this holiday season.