Striving for an unblemished complexion? Bypass the skin care aisle and head to the produce section! Eating more raw veggies might reduce breakouts by as much as 30%, according to new research.

recent study from the University of Oslo compared dietary habits with incidence and severity of acne among 3,775 college students. Researchers found that women who ate more than five servings of raw vegetables daily enjoyed significantly fewer skin eruptions. “This has never been shown before,” announced study authors. Less statistically significant, though interesting: both males and females who often ate potato chips suffered 5% more breakouts, while a frequent sweet tooth translated into 4% more “bad skin days.”

Why might this be? Previous research suggests that many of the antioxidants in fruit and vegetables help reduce inflammation associated with skin problems. Fending off wrinkles rather than pimples? Produce bolsters skin health on this front too: British researchers found fewer signs of skin aging among women with the highest vitamin C intake. By contrast, sweets and meats contribute to toxins that undermine skin elasticity. More evidence that true beauty comes from within — at least within your diet!

Bonus: Exercise for a glowing complexion. Contrary to myth, workouts do not contribute to breakouts — and physical activity may even help reduce the risk of skin cancer.

 Published October 1, 2010