What Processed Meats Can Do to Your Skin

Plate of lunch meats What Processed Meats Can Do to Your Skin

Your skin’s health can be determined by a number of environmental factors, and those include what you eat. You might be surprised to learn that processed meats are linked to a few different skin conditions. Read on to find out more.

What Processed Meat Can Do to Your Skin


Many foods are believed to be a trigger for acne, and processed meats are one of the main offenders. High fat foods like the many processed meats used in fast food or found at the grocery stores are linked with an increase in acne. While oily foods are not to blame for acne (that’s a common misconception), high fat content in foods can lead to more acne. Many studies conducted have found that people who eat fast food regularly (things like hamburgers and sausages) are more likely to develop acne. While most people see acne go away as they age, a poor diet with a lot of processed meat can help acne stick around. Processed meats also contain a lot of hormones, which factory farms use to produce larger animals and higher yields of meat. These hormones that are found in meats like chicken and beef may contribute to acne. As hormonal surges are one of the main causes of acne, scientists believe this connection may explain why people who eat processed meats are more prone to acne.

Aging Skin

Many processed meats, like bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and other salty meats contain high levels of nitrates. Nitrates are fine in moderation, but they’re found in their highest concentrations in processed meats. Meats that contain nitrates are also often high in sodium, and both of these substances can contribute to wrinkles and aging skin. Sodium, as you may know, can absorb moisture from your body and dehydrate you. This dehydration can take place at every level. If you combine processed meats with other dehydrating liquids and foods commonly found in fast food diets, the resulting dehydration can slowly sap moisture from your skin. Without proper hydration, your skin gives way to wrinkles a lot more easily than if it were properly moisturized. Nitrates can also do damage to the skin, keeping it from properly maintaining and repairing itself. While processed meats in moderation are not harmful, don’t make them a regular part of your diet to keep your skin from aging prematurely.

Allergic Reactions

For some, the nitrates in processed meats and other food products can cause an allergic reaction. This allergy is not incredibly common, but your skin can be sensitive to thousands of different allergens and irritants. People with a nitrate allergy or intolerance may develop hives after eating processed meats that contain nitrates or nitrites. Hives are raised, splotchy, and often red patches of skin that develop within minutes of exposure to an allergen. While hives are rarely a cause for concern, severe allergic reactions may start with hives and develop into anaphylaxis. If you experience hives and shortness of breath from eating processed meats, get help as soon as possible.

Processed meats can negatively impact your skin in a few different ways. If your skin is suffering because of your diet, get advice and treatment you can trust by calling Northeast Dermatology Associates today.

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