Sugar Talk: What It Can Do To Your Skin

This popular ingredient may be everybody's favorite but it may be the surprising culprit to your skin concerns. Checkout how sugar can affect your skin and discover ways to keep your skin in tip-top shape.
what sugar does to the skin

Acne. It affects up to 50 million Americans annually, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association. (1) This commonly begins at puberty and can be multi-factorial. Hormonal changes, oily and salty diet, genetics, and poor hygiene can all play a role. 

Because acne can be caused by a number of things, we are often clueless as to why we are breaking out in the first place. It's even more mind-boggling if you are keen on your skincare routine! 

If you have ruled everything out, and you swear you are not overdoing things (like slugging- yes! it's a thing now but it's bad for acne-prone skin!!!), you may want to hyper focus on your sugar intake.

Yes, that's right. Check your sugar consumption.

The Feel-Good Ingredient

Let us talk about this simple ingredient that you may have overlooked. What comes to your mind when you think about sugar? Some would say it makes them happy and associate it with a rewarding feeling (think of satisfying a sweet tooth craving).

Some get stressed because a moment of indulgence will add an extra inch or two to their waistline or hips. Some get hyperactive due to sugar rush. But what most people don’t realize is that this simple ingredient can lead to a number of skin problems.

And, that's not just acne. 

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Skin Concerns Related to High Sugar Intake

Aside from pimples or acne, consuming sugar can also lead to a number of skin issues like oily skin, blackheads, whiteheads, uneven skin tone, wrinkles, dryness, broken blood vessels and skin dullness.

This is due to glycation or the process wherein sugar binds to proteins in our body that eventually causes tissue damage. (2)

Sugar has been pinpointed to cause premature aging as well!

How to Prevent Sugar Damage to the Skin

Cutting back on sugar will greatly improve your skin condition. Try to eat more healthy and wisely. Choose healthy grains over fast-food. 

Munch on fruits and vegetables rather than donuts, pizzas, and fries. Try switching to natural sweets to get your sugar-kick. Or, try honey as a sweetener (-still in moderation!) instead.

You may also use a natural sweetener, like Stevia, on your desserts. 

There are also studies that suggest that herbal products can prove beneficial in stopping and reversing glycation damage to the body. A flavonoid called quercetin, is mainly found in red wine, green tea, berries, and apples. 

Quercetin has anti-glycation properties that might help stop tissue damage, reduce swelling, kill cancer cells, and control blood glucose levels. Get quercetin supplements if you can. 

Getting ample exercise will help tons too! It stimulates endorphins and serotonin production for a better mood and happier disposition. Exercise also regulates your body's ability to use sugar or glucose so it will also curb the negative effects of glycation. 

Have plenty of rest. Having a good night’s rest makes a difference in your skin.

To address your specific skin concern, you may want to revamp your skincare routine.

  • Use facial wash fit for your skin type. If you have oily skin, use a foam cleanser. If you have dry skin, use a cream-based cleanser. Look for cleansers with salicylic acid to address acne or pimple problems.
  • Use clay masks to reduce oiliness. These are proven effective in absorbing excess oil and helps draw out skin impurities.
  • Invest in LED light therapy devices. BlueMD is a superb tool in combatting acne and continuous use will help curb oiliness. RejuvaliteMD is also a great tool in preventing inflammation, aids in collagen production, and helps combat early signs of aging.

Hopefully, we have shed a new light on your skincare problems. We know it is difficult to remove sugar from your diet but at least now, you can make a conscious effort to avoid it if you can.

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Bickers DR, Lim HW, Margolis D, Weinstock MA, Goodman C, Faulkner E Et Al. The Burden Of Skin Diseases: 2004 A Joint Project Of The American Academy Of Dermatology Association And The Society For Investigative Dermatology. Journal Of The American Academy Of Dermatology 2006;55:490–500. (n.d.). SKIN CONDITIONS BY THE NUMBERS. American Academy of Dermatology Association.

Kim, C. S., Park, S., & Kim, J. (2017). The role of glycation in the pathogenesis of aging and its prevention through herbal products and physical exercise. Journal of exercise nutrition & biochemistry, 21(3), 55–61.