Sometimes you just can’t resist the temptation. Chocolate candies, cookies, cake, donuts — they all taste so good! Unfortunately, enjoying these foods can have an impact on more than just our waist lines… Eating too many sugary desserts can wreak havoc on our skin.
For many of us, our skin responds negatively when we consume too much sugar. This can result in pesky breakouts. But what’s causing these breakouts? And why is sugar bad for your skin? Keep reading to find out.
Why Sugar is Bad For Your Skin
So, what exactly happens inside your body when you consume sugar? When you have a sugary treat, your body breaks down the carbohydrates into glucose. This process increases insulin levels. When your insulin levels shoot up, it can lead to inflammation throughout your entire body.
Chronic Inflammation produces enzymes, which can lead to the breakdown of collagen and elastin. Both collagen and elastin are important proteins to our skin and keeping that healthy, youthful appearance. They keep your skin looking plump and lifted. A lack of healthy collagen and elastin can lead to saggy skin and the development of wrinkles. Relatedly, excess sugar can attach to collagen and elastin and cause them to denature and become non-functional, a process called glycation. Too much sugar increases inflammation and glycation, and both of these factors exacerbate aging.
Besides aging concerns, excess sugar can worsen conditions such as acne and rosacea. Insulin spikes increase oil production and also releases more androgen hormones. This can lead to clogged pores and increased breakouts. Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory condition of the skin and can flare up with increased inflammation in the body. Excess sugar consumption is not helpful for either acne or rosacea clients.
Too much sugar can also weaken the body’s immune system. And when your immune system isn’t functioning at its best, fighting off opportunistic bacteria becomes a major issue both internally and externally. When you’re not healthy, it shows in your skin, the largest organ of the body.
What You Should & Shouldn’t Eat
It’s the simple carbohydrates that you really want to cut back on if you’re trying to clear up your skin, reduce redness, and fight aging. They break down into glucose, which is what triggers the insulin spikes within your body. Simple carbohydrates are foods like sugar, ice cream, sodas, many pre-packaged snacks, fruit juice, white bread, and even pizza.
Even though you might be guilty of indulging in some of these treats, it doesn’t mean you need to cut them out entirely. You just need to scale back on your consumption of these things because they have a high glycemic level (meaning they’re likely to trigger inflammation).
On the flip side, you’ll want to focus on eating more complex carbohydrates which have a lower glycemic index. Those complex carbs get broken down into glucose at a much slower rate than simple carbs would. That means you can enjoy foods like green vegetables, starchy vegetables, oatmeal, beans, and lentils.
Avoiding the Effects of Sugar
As noted above, you don’t have to give up these foods forever. Eating them every once in a while isn’t going to be the end of the world. You’re more likely to notice the negative effects when you’re eating them consistently. You just have to be smarter about your food choices and focus on eating well-balanced meals. You can keep your blood sugar at a steady level by filling your body with low-glycemic foods, as well as protein. And then, keep the sugary foods for the occasional “cheat meal” or special occasion.