Skin

The Not-So-Sweet Effects Of Sugar On Your Skin

The Not-So-Sweet Effects Of Sugar On Your Skin
Medically reviewed by  Argie Wenceslao Written by Our Editorial Team Last updated  

Too much sugar in our diet can affect our bodies in many ways, from cavities and lethargy to high blood pressure and diabetes. But did you know that sugar can also negatively impact the appearance of our skin? A high sugar intake may play a role in the aging process, accelerating the development of wrinkles and fine lines. In addition to these effects, foods with a high glycemic (sugar) index can also cause oil production and inflammation, leading to acne breakouts. To help control the negative impact sugar has on our bodies, we need to watch what we eat and stick to a healthy diet.

FOODS THAT HAVE HIGH SUGAR THAT ARE CONSUMED OFTEN.
  • Low fat yogurt
  • Barbecue (BBQ) sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Fruit juice
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Sports drinks
  • Chocolate milk
  • Granola
  • Flavored coffees
  • Iced tea
  • Protein bars
  • Vitaminwater
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Cereal bars
  • Canned fruit

Added sugars aren’t a necessary part of your diet. Although small amounts are fine, they can cause serious harm if eaten in large amounts on a regular basis. The best way to avoid hidden sugars in your meals is to make them at home so you know exactly what’s in them. However, if you need to buy prepackaged food, make sure you check the label to identify any hidden added sugars, especially when buying foods from this list.

HOW SUGAR CONSUMPTION CONTRIBUTES TO ACNE AND AGING?

Eating too many foods with a high glycemic index can lead to inflammation in the body, which affects the skin. Excess sugar can aggravate skin conditions such as acne and eczema.

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HOW SUGAR INCREASES FINE LINES AND WRINKLES?

Specifically, higher levels of blood sugar can result in the cross-linking of collagen fibers through a process called glycation. When your blood sugar rises, a chemical process called glycation takes place. This results in the production of compounds called advanced glycation end products, fittingly known as AGEs. These "sticky" compounds act to cross-link collagen fibers. If you think of your collagen fibers as a strong net that bounces back easily, then you can imagine what happens when that net starts to get tangled up: it starts to sag, and it doesn't bounce back as well. In the skin, that translates to a loss of skin elasticity, with wrinkling and sagging skin.

HOW SUGAR INCREASE ACTIVE ACNE, HYPERPIGMENTATION AND FACIAL HAIR GROWTH

Aside from increasing the effects of aging, glycation can also exacerbate skin conditions like acne and rosacea. Plus, the more sugar you eat, the more likely it is you’ll develop insulin resistance, which can manifest as excess hair growth (hirsutism) and dark patches on the neck and in body creases. Understanding the glycemic index, the scale which determines how quickly blood sugar levels rise after ingesting particular foods (hence, the high- and low-glycemic labels), is key to making the right choices for your skin when it comes to sugar.

HOW TO REDUCE THE EFFECTS OF SUGAR ON YOUR SKIN?
  1. Increase water intake to keep hydrated.
  2. Cut back on sugar - especially high fructose corn syrup.
  3. Supplement your diet with B1 and B6.
  4. Get enough good quality sleep.
  5. Try a skin detox to give your skin a fresh start.

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