Yes, it’s an unfortunate truth; certain foods can make your skin look less than amazing - even downright old, dull and wrinkly. (And all this time I thought my skin was good-to-go if I was slathered in buckets of sunscreen.) If you’re concerned about wrinkles creeping up on you, particularly around the eyes, forehead and mouth, you may want to try making some diet-related changes.

The following foods may be partially to blame for premature aging of your skin. If any of these foods regularly make into your diet, you may want to try eliminating or reducing them…before running to the nearest doctor for Botox.

1. Sugar

As much as I love this delectably sweet food, I don’t love how it zaps my energy, increases my weight, and messes with my blood sugar levels. As if that wasn’t reason enough to cut the sweet stuff out for good, the advanced glycation end products, or AGEs, that are left over from sugar consumption can damage collagen and elastin, the two proteins that keep your skin looking smooth and firm. Damage to these important proteins can result in wrinkled, saggy skin.

2. Margarine

Did you know the chemical makeup of margarine is only one molecule different than plastic? Yet, for the longest time, we were told that margarine was a healthier alternative to natural butter. But this was before we learned of the inflammatory effects of the polyunsaturated fats found in margarine. In 2001, the Journal of The American College of Nutrition published a study that found that people who regularly eat margarine had more wrinkles than those who opted for butter.

3. BBQ-ed or Processed Meats

Meat lovers, don’t panic just yet; while it’s true that eating meat may cause wrinkles, according to the most recent studies, this only rings true if the meat is processed or charred. Lean meat is generally considered a healthy source of protein and nutrients, but when it is processed with nitrates and other preservatives, or when it is BBQ-ed or burnt heavily, it produces inflammatory “hydrocarbons” that can damage skin and lead to wrinkles.

4. Alcohol

It's no secret that excessive consumption of alcohol can wreak havoc on your liver, stomach and pancreas, but what you may not know is that alcohol is equally as damaging to your skin. Drinking alcoholic beverages regularly can dehydrate your skin, causes inflammation, and actually speed up the aging process. How? Excessive alcohol consumption deprives your body of crucial nutrients needed to keep your skin healthy, firm and wrinkle-free.
Once wrinkles appear around your eyes, forehead and mouth, it’s difficult to get rid of them (without spending a fortune or being stuck with a needle repeatedly.) With that said, wrinkle prevention is truly the key. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by eating whole foods, exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep, and managing stress levels will help ensure your skin stays smooth, supple and youthful for years to come.