I know it, you know it, and everyone else knows it. Sugar is just bad for our health.
There is way too much scientific research and studies that have been done to prove this.
But even besides that, many of us still rely on quick, processed foods to replace our meals and give us energy throughout our busy days.
Not to mention how many of us indulge in an afternoon snack when we feel like we need that extra boost of energy to help us push through.
If you thought this is bad, I’m about to hit you with the science behind how sugar affect the skin.
When you have sugar molecules in your system, they practically nuke the cells in our bodies and particularly have a “sweet tooth” for attacking fats and proteins.
This process is known as glycation.
But we will get to that shortly as I would love to blast you with how negatively high amounts of sugar affect our overall health first. Experts believe that sugar consumption is a major cause of obesity and a dangerous chronic disease known as diabetes.
Besides that, foods high in added sugar quickly spike blood sugar and insulin levels, which often leads to increased energy.
Think that’s good? Think again.
Products that are loaded with sugar for us to indulge in often lack protein, fiber or fat and this brief energy boost may quickly be followed by a sharp drop in blood sugar.
And how do constant blood swings affect us? It can lead to major fluctuations in energy levels.
As an even scarier consequence to this, researchers believe that blood sugar and energy swings may be the reasons for sugar’s detrimental impact on mental health and this has been associated with an increased risk of developing depression.
Another thing that I am legit starting to freak out about since I’ve been carelessly enjoying my black coffee with three sugars for quite some time now is my dental health.
Eating too much sugar can cause cavities as bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and releases acid byproducts which lead to tooth demineralization.
Gosh, I might have to make that dreadful visit to the dentist sooner than I thought. It’s scary, alright? We all know it is.
So from teeth decoy through depression and diabetes, we can all agree that the effects of sugar on our health can be quite devastating.
But how does sugar affect our largest organ, the skin?
The ffects sugar has on our skin are not so pretty, to say the least. It is time to get back to the original topic and discuss the three effects of sugar on the skin as well as how to control them. These are:
- Accelerated skin agin
- Even more acne breakouts
- It causes (more) inflammation
Sugar Accelerates Aging
Glycation is a natural process in which the sugar molecules in your bloodstream attach to proteins only to form new, harmful molecules called Advanced Glycation End-products (ironically, AGEs for short).
Through a series of complex biological pathways that occur in the body, these harmful molecules cause protein fibers to become stiff and malformed.
Unfortunately for our youthful and plump-looking skin, the proteins that are most prone to be negatively affected by the glycation process are the ones that are in charge to keep it looking that way – collagen and elastin.
When renegade sugars bind with these proteins it tends to make them become discolored, weak, and less supple, which results in the loss of skins elasticity and firmness essentially leading to the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, sagginess and even a loss of radiance in the complexion.
That being said, glycation is inevitably a fact of life that is happening right now, to all of us. And while it is impossible to be completely stopped, it can be slowed.
You shouldn’t rush and strive to completely eliminate all types of sugar from your diet as they are essentially fuel for the cells and energy metabolism.
Even with a good diet and normal levels of glucose, the glycation process is still something that happens gradually throughout our lives, and there is nothing any of us can do about it.
Good or bad diet and general lifestyle choices we make for ourselves can affect how quickly the effects of this process can become evident on the skin.
YES, Sugar Does Cause Acne Breakouts
The bittersweet truth about sugar is that it significantly exacerbates acne breakouts. Processed foods such as sweets rapidly raise your blood sugar and contribute to excess production of the hormone insulin.
This directly causes increased secretion of androgen secretion, the main hormone that stimulates the sebaceous glands to produce excess sebum and plays a role in acne development.
Sugar has a dehydrating effect on the skin and the sebaceous glands tend to produce excess amounts of sebum in an attempt to recover the lacking hydration.
Excess sebum can lead to clogging of the pores and allows bacteria to thrive which essentially leads to acne breakouts.
Sugar Causes (More) Skin Inflammation
Refined and added sugar such as sweeteners is highly acidic, which means it is one of the worst foods to be actively supplying your body with.
Due to the rapid spike in blood sugar levels, inflammation is something that can often be the result of excessive amounts of sugar.
Studies have shown that eczema flare-ups are most commonly linked to high sugar levels in the blood. Sugar stimulates inflammation and suppresses leucocytes which are the white blood cells that play an important role in defending the body from diseases and infection.
Also, if you are someone who suffers from food intolerances and sensitivities, being extra careful with your sugar intake is highly recommended as this can aggravate your allergies.
So, What Should You Do About It?
Hey, I am not trying to make your life difficult.
I am someone who clearly needs a change too.
Uhm… three sugars in my morning coffee, remember?
I get it, your sweet tooth strikes and it is either chocolate or torture. It’s totally fine. The problem is when this becomes a habit and your diet consists of sweets, sweets, and nothing but sweets.
So what should you do about really?
Doctors and dermatologists alike recommend staying away from processed sugars and simple carbs.
But most experts agree that fruits and whole grains are fine even as they contain sugars that are broken down into glucose at a slower rate.
On the other hand, they also contain nutritious antioxidants and are rich in fiber that is essential for a healthy diet.
Doctors also suggest that taking a vitamin B supplement can help inhibit the protein-destroying effect of sugar. Thank God for that, because we all have slip-ups, right?
Complex carbohydrates such as brown rice and low-glycemic and fibrous foods like beans, nuts, and whole grains can delay sugar absorption, thus control blood sugar levels.
If you suffer from allergies and have noticed that sugar isn’t doing you any favor opting for anti-inflammatory foods and healthy fats such as olive oil, salmon, broccoli, and berries.
When you think about it, it all comes down to avoid stressing it way too much and strive towards a positive change in your life.
Some other tricks to counteract the negative effects of sugar on your skin are opting for vitamin-infused water instead of soda, getting enough sleep to minimize the appearance of dark circles under the eyes, and preventing the body from releasing the stress hormone by getting good rest.
Speaking of the devil, stress can spike insulin levels just like that, so trying to keep yours at a minimum can really save your skin as well as overall health.
My name is Simone and I am a certified skin specialist. I created this website to teach my readers how to take great care of their skin and I also like to occasionally share my honest opinions on skincare products I’ve tried. You can learn more about me here.
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