It’s startling how much sugar we consume in a given day. And it all adds up to affect not only the waistline, but also your skin.
When we consume sugar, or high-glycemic foods that convert to sugar – our bodies break them down into glucose. Glucose raises insulin levels. So simple carbohydrates such as refined sugar, white bread or rice, and pop, cause insulin levels to spike. And this leads to inflammation throughout the body.
This happens because sugar that enters the bloodstream attaches to proteins, forming harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products – or AGEs. These AGEs do exactly as they spell out, they age you.
Collagen and elastin are the protein fibers that keep skin firm and elastic, aka looking healthy and young. Well, digested sugar attaches to the collagen in your skin through glycation (mentioned above). This breaks down collagen and elastin, leading to sagging skin and wrinkles.
Did you know that sugar is dehydrating? And not only is it dehydrating but it also inhibits water binding to your skin, making it look less nourished. Now with less moisture, your skin becomes dry, and in turn your body produces more oil to combat the dryness. See the cycle that is being created here?
With increased dryness and oil production, sugar consumption exacerbates acne, and can also lead to rosacea flareups. Further, high sugar intake can lead to insulin resistance, resulting in excess hair growth and dark patches on the neck and in body creases.
We know giving up sugar altogether is quite a feat to conquer. And the good news is you don’t really have to. But it is important to step back and look at how much sugar you are truly consuming on a daily basis. Then go a step further and start reducing that amount wherever you can. Be it taking your coffee black, to switching to plain yogurt, or switching from white rice to brown, little changes do add up.
Overall, great skin is a combination of many factors including a person’s genetics, skin care routines, and environmental and lifestyle factors. So in addition to cutting back sugar, try getting a little extra sleep each night, always wear sunscreen, find ways to reduce stress, and use products that are gentle and natural. Your skin will surely show its appreciation.