Sugar and the skin it’s a hotly debated topic. Does sugar negatively affect the skin, or is it just an old wife’s tale? Well, we’re here to help; read below for the bitter, or possibly sweet, truth.
We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but if you have noticed breakout on your face or your skin looking a little lacklustre, it could be from sugar. But, looking on the brighter side, it should be made clear that too much sugar is bad for your skin and not small amounts of it.
Blood glucose and insulin
Large amounts of sugar will begin to raise your blood glucose levels; in turn, this will increase your insulin production (insulin is needed to convert glucose to energy). If this happens, your body will increase its oil production in the body, which means rising sebum oil production too. It is the enhanced sebum oil production that can lead to breakouts and acne. Sebum oil is needed in small amounts to lubricate the skin. However, too much and it will clog pores which can lead to spots and redness.
According to studies, consuming large amounts of sugar will increase inflammation, which, as you probably guessed, is terrible news for your skin and other parts of your body. For example, drinking two cans of fizzy pop a day or the equivalent amount in any sugar has been found to increase the bodies inflammation.
Studies have found that consuming more than the recommended daily allowance of sugar (RDA) will negatively affect your immune system. The sugar was found to impact white blood cells, making them less effective at fighting off germs. Your immune system is also closely linked to your gut, and sugar is found to help harmful bacteria thrive in the gut and kill off the good bacteria. So if your immune system isn’t working as well as possible, it cannot fight bad bacteria and help your organs, including your skin, as efficiently, leading to breakouts.
Collagen is a building blog of your skin and hair and helps slow down the signs of ageing. However, excessive sugar can break down this collagen, leading to premature ageing; this is particularly bad if you’re older than 30. Your collagen production begins to reduce at this age and continues to decline; if you consume lots of sugar, it can further reduce the amount of collagen your skin receives.
Although not as commonly known as other facts, too much sugar can cause dehydration. Large amounts of sugar in your blood will cause your kidneys to get very busy trying to get rid of the excess. This then makes you need to visit the loo more frequently, which can lead to dehydration and skin dryness.
Do I need to stop eating sugar?
No, the facts may sound scary, and they are, but if you don’t consume large amounts of sugar, you should be absolutely fine. However, if you eat lots of sugary snacks, white bread, pasta, white rice and drinking sugary drinks regularly, it could be worth cutting down.
Drinking plenty of water instead of sugary drinks means you’ll consume less sugar and stay more hydrated. Instead of bread, pasta, and rice, try swapping in the wholemeal versions with less glucose. Snacking on nuts and seeds is particularly good for your skin and can help you avoid the biscuit tin, and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables will ensure your body gets plenty of nourishment.
So, yes, we’re sorry to say it, but sugar is bad for your skin. The good news is if you eat a healthy diet and stay hydrated, the odd bit of sugar here and there shouldn’t hurt. Like most things in life, it’s about moderation.