I know, I’m such the killjoy. But did you know that sugar, particularly refined sugars and simple carbs that rapidly turn to sugar in your body such as pasta, potatoes, and bread, can adversely affect your skin?
Inflammation is now being touted as the basis of the aging process, and rapid rises in blood sugar is one of the causes of inflammation in our bodies. This can cause premature aging in those who eat a lot of sugar.
Another way that sugar ages us is through the glycation process, when the sugar that we ingest attaches itself to collagen, making our skin stiff and inflexible which causes wrinkles. [source]
Want more proof? According to Prevention Magazine, “experts now believe that a lifetime of overeating sugar can make skin dull and wrinkled.” [source] They also cite the glycation argument. In fact, when I Googled “sugar skin health,” I came up with a plethora of articles all touting the same thing: sugar = glycation = premature aging.
Besides that, sugar can cause acne, or at least, the body’s reaction to sugar can cause acne.
Sugar also impairs your immune system. This causes an increase in insulin production. As a result of, oil production is stimulated and inflammation occurs. Because sugar weakened your body’s immune system (thus its ability to fight this inflammation), you become more susceptible to acne. It’s important to understand that while sugar itself may not be the cause of acne, the reaction it produces within your body and the chemicals produced from that reaction are major contributors to increased skin problems. [source]
Now THAT is interesting! Lately I’ve gotten lax about my sugar consumption, and as I’ve been watching my skin closely and writing down what I eat, I noticed that my sugar consumption seems to be directly correlated to my acne breakouts. I already knew that sugar can inhibit my immune system and make me feel full too easily, but not until recently did I begin tying sugar to my acne.
As disheartening as it is to realize that I need to cut back on sugar, it’s rather freeing to be able to pinpoint the problem. I know that consuming too much sugar fills my tummy with empty calories and prevents me from getting the nutrients I need. My brain knows this. But it’s so hard to combat the cultural norm that food is to be liberally enjoyed as well as a great way to assuage feelings of guilt, boredom and insufficiency. It doesn’t help that sugar is a highly addictive substance. The more you eat it, the more you want it.
I’m trying to change my attitude about food. I’m trying to teach myself to see food as a source of nourishment and sustenance rather than an indulgence. When I lapse into old habits, my skin soon reminds me that there is a cost associated with eating too much junk. This week I’m hauling myself back onto the wagon of responsible eating habits, starting with reducing my sugar consumption. And it’s none too soon; I can already feel the telltale signs of acne brewing under the surface of my skin. Won’t you join me?
Do you notice the effect of sugar on your skin’s health and vitality? How do you combat the sugar cravings?