The effect of sugar on your skin
You have to have been living under a rock for the last 50 years if you’re not already aware that sugar is just not that great for your overall health.
Here is the thing though: Sugar occurs naturally in all foods that contain carbohydrates, such as fruits and vegetables, grains, and dairy. Consuming whole foods that contain natural sugar is okay. Plant foods also have high amounts of fiber, essential minerals, and antioxidants, and dairy foods contain protein and calcium.
The problems can arise when you consume too much added sugar — that is, sugar that food manufacturers add to products to increase flavour or extend shelf life.
These problems range from obesity, diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver disease and cancer, to name a few!
But how does sugar affect your skin? If these serious health issues don’t concern you, perhaps the outward appearance of how sugar can affect you will.
4 ways sugar can impact the health of your skin.
1. Sugar can make you look older.
Skin is composed of collagen and elastin, which make our skin supple and soft. Sugar causes cross-linking of collagen, resulting in stiffening and loss of elasticity of our skin. The more sugar we have, the more our skin starts to suffer. This can present as signs such as the appearance of wrinkles, sagging in neck and chin, development of dark spots and slower healing of cuts, scraps, etc.
2. Sugar can cause skin inflammation
Skin inflammation can express itself in many different forms. Dermatitis, psoriasis and rosacea are all conditions that can be triggered by inflammation. When we consume sugar, insulin is released from the pancreas to absorb the sugar and transfer it to our liver. The pancreas can only process so much sugar, so if there is too much sugar in the body, it can cause inflammation.
3. Sugar consumption can increase oil production.
Foods with a high glycemic index spike your blood sugar and activate hormones in the body that stimulate oil production in the skin. Our skin naturally produces oil called sebum to help keep the skin moisturized. However, if there is an excess amount of oil on the skin, your pores can become clogged and cause acne breakouts.
4. Sugar can increase the likelihood of acne
Sugar’s oxidative properties can provoke acne and breakouts. Sugar and foods high on the glycemic index (meaning foods that, once ingested, convert quickly into glucose and cause your body's insulin levels to elevate), lead to a burst of inflammation that goes throughout your entire body. Foods high in sugar cause spikes in your body's insulin levels that further exacerbate inflammation. Steep insulin spikes increase the production of skin oils and contribute to the clogging of follicles, which can worsen skin complexion.
How to eat less sugar
It’s never too late to start removing sugar from your diet, as it contributes to your risk for developing chronic diseases, like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, dementia, cancer and more.
The average person gets about 30-40% of sugar from drinks. Stick to water, tea or coffee. Try not to add any sweetener. If you need to add flavour your water, try adding fresh fruit, like lime or lemon. Seriously try to avoid fruit juice, sports drinks, no energy drinks or soft drink.
Learn to take a hard look at food labels and packaging on processed foods. About 80% of processed foods have sugar.
Remember, sugar is usually disguised with about 50 different names. You can look for processed sugar, raw sugar, brown sugar, maldextrose. An interesting one is concentrated fruit juice – it’s nothing but sugar. If you’re unsure about an ingredient, take a moment to Google it, if you have your phone handy.
Fruits and vegetables contain sugar in its natural form, and you shouldn’t worry about those.
Combating your sweet tooth is tough, we know! If you must have dessert, do what the Europeans do: have fruit, cheese and nuts. Or, have a little fruit with some yogurt on it for dessert. Natural foods are always best.
And last but not least, make sure to supplement and support your skin with a natural skincare range - that’s us!
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