Written by Mita Majumdar, M.Sc. | 
Medically Reviewed by dr. simi paknikar, MD on Oct 21, 2020

Diet, Obesity and Skin Problems

Foods that translate into obesity are also bad for your skin. Obesity is a huge health problem globally, but its association with skin problems receives minimal attention.

Obesity causes number of skin diseases including –

a) Acanthosis nigricans (brown to black, thickened, velvety hyperpigmentation of the skin in the fold areas of groin, armpit and back of the neck);

b) Acrochordons (a tag of skin with a stalk occurring mainly on the neck, eyelids, upper chest, and armpits in older women);

c) Keratosis pilaris (dead skin that builds up around hair follicles and look like goose bumps);

d) Hirsutism (excessive growth of facial or body hair in women);

e) Plantar hyperkeratosis (abnormally thickened skin of the sole of the foot);

f) Cellulites;

g) Skin infections; and

h) Psoriasis.

The funny thing is eating less to reduce intake of calories doesn’t really work. It’s actually the eating patterns and some foods that play havoc with weight control plans, causing obesity and then skin problems.

Foods containing trans fats and saturated fats such as partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, margarines that are hard, crackers, candies, cookies, snack foods, fried foods, and baked goods, are not good for weight control, nor are they good for your skin.

Similarly, red meats and processed meats are also bad for skin. A Harvard School of Public Health study revealed that ‘people who ate more red and processed meat over the course of the study gained more weight — about a pound extra every four years’ but those who ate more nuts gained less weight.

Carbohydrate foods such as processed breakfast cereals, refined grains, French fries, potato chips, and sugar-sweetened beverages are also a big no-no for weight control and obesity associated skin manifestations.


  1. Human skin condition and its associations with nutrient concentrations in serum and diet - (http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/77/2/348.long)
  2. Food and Diet - (http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-causes/diet-and-weight/)
  3. Role of foods in irregular aggravation of skin lesions in children with atopic dermatitis - (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18705827/)
  4. Warning: Avoid these foods containing gluten if you have celiac - (http://www.the-gluten-free-chef.com/foods-containing-gluten.html)

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