Since you were young, you were probably taught that washing your face morning and night is the best remedy for preventing pesky zits. However effective that may be, it can’t completely stop pimples from forming if you aren’t careful with what goes inside your body.

Research has been performed for years on the cause of acne, and it wasn’t until this century that people began widely believing that food can impact breakouts. A 2010 article in the scientific journal Skin Therapy Letter observed 27 different studies to determine that high-glycemic foods are a problem for the skin.

Another study in Australia showed that the typical American diet of highly processed foods resulted in more acne. When study participants switched from breads and breakfast cereals to lean meat, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, their skin improved dramatically.

There’s no question today whether your diet can impact your acne. Now, the question is how are you going to improve it? It starts with understanding what foods are bad and which are better for your body.

1. White Bread

Not all bread will make you break out, but those made from refined grains, like white breads, are likely to cause skin problems. Crackers, cereal, and desserts made with white flour along with starchy foods like white-flour pasta, potatoes, white rice, rice noodles, and other white foods can also victimize the skin.

Instead: Add more brown-colored foods to your diet. Whole wheat breads and other products made with whole wheat are healthier and less likely to cause skin problems.

2. Refined Sugars

You might notice that you break out because of chocolate, soda, or other processed foods. It’s probably not the foods themselves but the sugar. Sugar is one of the top causes of acne.

A study showed that people who frequently consumed added sugars were at a 30 percent greater risk of developing acne while those who ate pastries and cakes on a regular basis had a 20 percent greater risk of acne. The average American eats far too much sugar on a regular basis, and their skin shows it.

Instead: Not all sugars will make you break out. When you’re craving something sweet, go for the natural sugars in a healthy, all-fruit smoothie with skin-benefiting ingredients.

3. Potato Chips

As mentioned previously, potatoes are not skin-friendly. In addition to the high-carb structure of these potato chips, they include trans fats completely devoid of vitamins and nutrients. They’re also one of the most popular junk foods in the nation, so they’re a common problem for those with rampant acne.

The cause, according to science, is the rapid insulin spike that occurs when eating this high-carb food. It causes systemic inflammation in the body, resulting in pimples.

Instead: Supplement your potato chip side dish with a salad. The leafy greens are loaded with vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A and E, which are great for your skin.

4. Ice Cream

Another one of America’s favorite junk foods, ice cream is brimming with refined sugars, which we already know contribute to acne. It’s also composed of the fattiest parts of milk, and countless studies have illustrated the impacts of excess dairy on breakouts.

In addition, ice cream is often the first of many binge foods. You have a rough day, so you eat ice cream straight from the tub. That leads to half a bag of potato chips and a chocolate bar. All of the above can have negative effects on your skin.

Instead: It’s understandable to want a delectable frozen treat after a long day but consider freezing whipped yogurt or a handful of lightly sugared berries. It’s significantly less sugary than ice cream but can deliver a similar soothing effect.

5. Red Meat

Red meat in small portions can be very good for your body. It aids in boosting iron and energy levels, but it’s also loaded with acids, fats, and unhealthy oils. When consumed in large quantities, red meat can increase inflammation throughout the body, including systemic inflammation that causes acne. Beef and pork are usually the highest meat contributors to acne.

There’s also some support to indicate that the antibiotics used in non-organic meat can create inflammation in the skin as well. Eat red meat sparingly and consider going organic.

Instead: Fill up on lean meats like poultry and fish. A serving of poultry has your entire days’ worth of protein needs, and fish has omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for plumping skin and combatting acne.

A holistic approach to healthcare is vital for health on both the inside and outside of your body.