Have you been wondering if sugar is bad for your skin? Welcome to an age-old question! It's actually one of the most common skin-related questions out there, and the answer is a little complicated. Let's dive in and take a closer look at the relationship between sugar and your skin, and then learn how you can take care of your skin when you’re experiencing a breakout.
What is sugar?
Sugar is a type of carbohydrate that is naturally found in many fruits and vegetables. It is also added to a lot of processed foods and drinks to make them taste sweeter. These days, sugar shows up almost everywhere - from bread, to ketchup, to sports drinks, so it can be hard to avoid. When you eat sugar, your body breaks it down into a form of energy called glucose, which is then used by your cells to power your body.
The effects of too much sugar
So, you’re feeling like treating yourself a little bit and decide to indulge in something sweet, but before you know it, you’ve consumed way more sugar than you meant to. Been there. While we are all fond of feasting on sweets from time to time, it's important to understand that eating too much sugar can have negative effects on your overall health.
We know that indulging in sugary treats every once in a while is more than fine, but consuming large amounts of sugar on a regular basis can lead to all sorts of problems.
Side effects of sugar
The so-called sugar ‘side effects’ that come with overdoing it on sugar are not fun. For starters, you might experience a sugar crash. This is when your body has a sudden drop in blood sugar levels, leading to feelings of fatigue and irritability.
But that's not all. Eating too much sugar can also lead to weight gain as it's high in calories, and can cause an increase in appetite due to the short spikes of energy it offers before the inevitable crash. Sugar also contributes to the development of cavities and tooth decay.
And let's not forget about the long-term effects of consuming too much sugar. It's been linked to an increased risk of chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and even certain types of cancer.
Is sugar bad for your skin?
But what about the effects of too much sugar on your skin specifically? Well, some experts believe that there is a link between high sugar intake and skin conditions.
It's thought that sugar can contribute to inflammation in the body. So, when you eat a lot of sugar, your body has to work harder to process it all. This can lead to an increase in inflammation, which can be linked to skin conditions such as the development of acne.
Not only does sugar cause inflammation in your skin, but it's also been linked to ageing. Sugar causes ageing by breaking down collagen and elastin in the skin, which -you guessed it- leads to wrinkles and sagging. (Not ideal.)
Does sugar cause pimples?
In addition to inflammation and ageing, some experts believe that sugar can also lead to an increase in oil production, which can clog pores and contribute to acne.
High-glycemic foods such as white bread, soda, salad dressings, candy, and other baked goods contain refined and processed sugars and starches that cause your insulin to spike. When your insulin levels rise, which subsequently increases the inflammation in the skin. And since inflammation is a key component in the formation of acne, you end up seeing flare-ups and an increase in breakouts.
But before you swear off sugar completely, it's important to note that the link between sugar and acne is not definitive. Some studies have found a connection, while others have not. It's possible that other factors, such as genetics and hormone levels, play a bigger role in the development of acne.
To find out more about hormonal acne, read here.
Eating too much sugar? Here’s what to do!
So, you’ve already overindulged on sweet treats, and your skin’s starting to suffer a little bit. Here are some steps to follow to revive your skin and get those breakouts under control:
1. Wash your face with the antibacterial cleanser morning and night to keep your skin free from any lingering bacteria and potential causes of congestion.
Hot tip: We suggest applying the cream at night and waiting five minutes between applying the acne cream and adding any other products on top, to allow it to absorb into the skin.
3. Next, go in with the thirst trap moisturiser - keeping the skin hydrated day and night is key to making sure we don't further encourage the overproduction of oils on our skin that sugar can cause.
5. Finally, SPF - you’re definitely going to want to apply skin shady SPF50+. Remember, the correct amount of product is 2 fingers’ lengths, so make sure you’re applying enough at a time for full coverage.
The benefits of quitting sugar on your skin
Does all this mean you should completely avoid sugar if you're trying to clear up your skin? While it's not a guarantee, cutting back on sugary foods might be worth a try if you're struggling with acne. By reducing your sugar intake, you may be able to reduce inflammation and oil production, leading to a clearer complexion.
In addition to potentially reducing acne, giving up sugar can also lead to a more radiant, youthful appearance. As we mentioned before, sugar contributes to the breakdown of collagen and elastin, two proteins that help keep your skin firm and elastic. When these proteins break down, it can lead to sagging, wrinkles, and other signs of ageing.
But don't feel like you have to completely eliminate sugar from your diet. Instead, try to limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks and opt for healthier options whenever possible. And remember, everyone's skin is different, so what works for one person may not work for another. If you're concerned about your skin, it's always a good idea to speak with a dermatologist or healthcare provider for personalised advice.
So, to sum it up: while it's still not clear if sugar directly causes acne, there's no doubt that eating too much of it can have negative effects on your skin (and overall health). If you're trying to improve your complexion, cutting back on sugary foods is definitely worth a try. And who knows, you might even see some additional benefits like a more youthful appearance!
The next time you're tempted to indulge in a sugary treat, think about the potential sugar side effects and consider opting for a healthier option instead. Your body will thank you in the long run.
Stay sweet, but not too sweet, bestie!