Sugar – Our Skin’s Natural Enemy

Sugar – Our Skin’s Natural Enemy

woman holding donutIf you’re like me, sugar has somehow crept its way into being one of your major food groups. While this may be a plus for your taste buds, it’s proven to be a serious negative for your skin (and your teeth, but that’s another story). For those of you who have tried to go sugar-free, you know it can be nearly impossible. Refined sugar seems to be in everything – white bread, soda, ketchup, packaged snacks, pasta, etc.

Consuming meals high in carbs and refined sugar, especially on a daily basis, causes a spike in your body’s insulin levels (blood sugar), which results in inflammation. Normally, inflammation tells your body that something isn’t right, and your immune system responds to stamp out the problem. However, if you have a diet high in sugar, the inflammation becomes chronic; your cells are constantly on high alert, resulting in negative effects on your skin’s tone and texture. 

Wrinkles, Sagging, Oh My…

When your body digests sugar, it releases glucose into your bloodstream, which attacks the two proteins your skin needs to stay tight and smooth. The digested sugar permanently attaches itself to the collagen in your skin (a process known as glycation), resulting in sagging, wrinkles, dark under eye circles, acne, and rosacea. The enzymes from the digested sugar break down and “eat” the healthy collagen and elastin in your skin, leaving you with dehydrated cells prone to wrinkles and dull complexions.

While it may seem daunting trying to cut out sugar from your diet, the benefits to your skin are worth the effort. Here are a few ways to cut your sugar levels down to a reasonable, skin-healthy level:

  1. Opt for fresh fruit when a sweet tooth hits! Fruits are high in natural sugars, which is less acidic and therefore less likely to cause inflammation than refined sugars. Fruits also have antioxidants that can give your skin a lovely glow.
  2. Eat more fiber! Anytime you eat foods high in sugar, your blood sugar will be imbalanced. Foods high in fiber, such as beans, almonds, or broccoli, will help balance out your body’s sugar levels.
  3. Drink plenty of water! Because sugar basically sucks all the water out of your cells, it is crucial to replace lost moisture to keep your skin radiant and supple.

Your skin will thank you in no time! Good luck.