Sugar and Skin Problems
You’ve probably heard that sugar causes weight gain and heart disease, but did you know that sugar and skin problems also go together?
Our skin experts at Skin Theory Aesthetics™ will take you through everything you need to know about sugar and skin problems, and what we can do to be more mindful of our sugar intake and make the world of difference to your complexion.
Many of us love to add sugar to what we eat and drink. And that’s on top of what the food industry already adds to keep us buying their products. The average American consumes almost 270 calories of added sugar each day, that's almost 17 teaspoons of sugar.
The American Heart Association recommends that women ingest only 100 calories from sugar per day, but most women eat several times the daily allowance.
While too much sugar in our diet can affect our bodies in many ways—from cavities and lethargy to high blood pressure and diabetes—sugar can have a profoundly negative impact on your skin, making you more susceptible to outbreaks of acne, premature aging, inflammation and discolouration.
If you’re usually eating too much processed food with higher sugar and carbohydrate content, you could be causing more damage to your body than you think.
Sugar Causes Problems For Your Immune System And Your Skin
Thousands of years ago before the dawn of fast-food, chocolate, and cupcakes, sugar was a valuable source of food for our bodies that helped support healthy brain function, giving a feeling of reward when ingested as triggered by the neurotransmitter dopamine.
However, the way we eat has evolved since then, and now, arguably, sugar is everywhere, considering all of the fast food, sugary drinks, and processed goods that are easily attainable.
We now require a larger amount of sugar to get that reward. Whereas before we needed sugar to survive, now we are getting far, far too much in our diets, and it’s starting to have an impact on almost every area of the body, including our skin.
Too much sugar can be bad for your skin, in the same way that too much sugar can impact your insulin levels and central nervous system. The first thing you should be aware of with sugar is how it can impact your immune system.
Seventy percent of our immune cells reside in our gut. Sugar can encourage the growth of bad bacteria, leading to digestive issues such as bloating and constipation. When your digestive system cannot eliminate toxins efficiently, it will turn to other organs for help, like your skin.
Your skin is the largest organ in your body but it may struggle to deal with all the toxins that your body is trying to get rid of, which can result in redness, breakouts, and even episodes of eczema.
Below are just some of the skin-related effects that are linked to sugar and skin problems.
Sugar and Skin Problems - Inflammatory skin conditions
Sugar is an inflammatory food, so sugar causes inflammation within the body. The inflammation that happens when you eat foods with a high glycemic index can worsen certain skin conditions.
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.
This manifests itself in the form of dark patches on the neck and in areas of the body where skin creases, such as the elbows, underarms, and knees. Also, acne, dermatitis, psoriasis, and rosacea are all conditions that can be triggered by inflammation.
If you already have a medical history of chronic inflammation, you may be exacerbating it by eating a diet that is high in sugar.
In addition to redness and rashes, sugar may also cause skin conditions associated with insulin sensitivity and diabetes. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels have been found to cause dark patches that occur on various body parts.
High-sugar intake has also been linked to interfering with hormones, causing unwanted facial hair growth in women as a result of elevated testosterone levels.
Free radicals are the components that cause inflammation and disease in the body. Studies have linked high-sugar foods and high-sugar diets with creating free radicals in the body.
Antioxidants are essential fighters in the war against free radicals, and foods with natural sugars, such as fruits and vegetables, are excellent sources.
Follow a plant-based diet as much as possible, avoiding foods with added sweeteners, to boost your antioxidant levels and help your body win its fight against free radicals.
Sugar and Skin Problems - sugar Ma accelerate Aging
The aging process is different for everyone. A good part of this has to do with genetics, but what we put into our bodies can have a negative long-term effect on the way we look.
Aging skin has the most changes in the dermis, where collagen and elastin fibers reside. Collagen is a structural protein found in your hair and skin, and it helps to retain the elasticity of your skin. As you age, your production of collagen will slow down.
Researchers have gathered data to pinpoint a process called glycation that may play a role in skin related wear and aging.
When artificial and processed sugar enters our bloodstream, it will sometimes attach to collagen and elastin proteins in the skin and starts to break them down, making your skin more prone to premature aging. When this happens, the skin loses its elasticity and wrinkles begin to form.
The other protein susceptible to glycation is elastin. Elastin is responsible for your skin’s ability to bounce back. When elastin gets damaged, it becomes loose and leads to the appearance of sagging.
All this sugar floating about in your bloodstream can dehydrate you! If you have too much sugar in your blood, your kidneys will eventually go into overdrive trying to get rid of the excess, causing you to urinate far more frequently.
When this happens, you end up losing fluid and dehydration is the result–never a good situation for your skin, which can become dry and brittle. Sugar also draws the water from your body’s cells, leading to dry, puffy skin and those terrible under-eye circles that we all hate.
If it's aging skin you're worried about, in addition to drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated, avoiding excess sugar is definitely in your best interest.
Sugar and Skin Problems - Oily Skin
Many people think that a high-fat diet is responsible for oily, acne prone skin. But the truth is, foods with a high glycemic index spike your blood sugar and activate hormones in the body that stimulate oil production in the skin.
Our skin naturally produces oil called sebum to help keep the skin moisturized. However, an increase in blood sugar causes insulin to rise, which triggers excess sebum production in the skin and androgen activity.
If there is an excess amount of oil on the skin, your pores can become clogged and cause acne breakouts. Sugar increases inflammation throughout your body, making blemishes extra red and painful.
To protect yourself and maintain balanced blood sugar levels, eat meals that contain plenty of fiber, protein, and healthy fats. Eating healthy fats, such as avocados and nuts, are actually anti-inflammatory and can protect your skin from damage.
Being Smarter About Your Sugar Intake
Being mindful of your sugar intake doesn’t mean that you eliminate it from your diet completely. There’s a way you can still consume healthy sugar and keep your skin happy.
To help control the negative impact sugar has on our bodies, we need to watch what we eat and stick to a healthy diet.
The good news is you don't have to completely eliminate sugar completely to get your skin looking great, you just need to pay attention to where it's coming from.
There is a difference between added sugars and the sugars that are naturally found in foods, such as fruits and vegetables. It's the processed sugars and simple carbohydrates you want to avoid. Natural forms of sugar are always better than their artificial counterparts.
Added sugars are processed sugars, meaning the sugar has been stripped of all of its nutritional qualities. Soda, candy, baked goods, and many other foods are loaded with processed sugar.
Instead, try substituting natural sugars for foods that contain processed sugars. Such natural sugar foods include fruits, berries, and sweet potatoes, s examples. This way, your body is still getting its glucose, but it’s getting it from organic sugars that still contain vital nutrients for the body.
It's best to choose sugar from naturally occurring sources, such as fruits, since the accompanying fiber and water content helps slow digestion and absorption of the sugar, which prevents those hormone-related blood sugar spikes
While it's difficult to estimate the exact amount of processed sugar that's acceptable for people with skin conditions and inflammation, you can follow the guidelines set forth by the American Heart Association.
For women, that means no more than 100 calories per day, and men should cap their sugar intake at 150 calories per day. Drink plenty of water to help keep yourself hydrated and consider limiting how much sugar you put in your tea/coffee.
Cut down the stress in your life as much as possible. Stress increases the production of cortisol in the body and also causes an increase in inflammation.
Take Care of Your Skin - Call Us For A Consultation
At the end of the day, being smart about your diet and minimizing the intake of sugar will work wonders in giving you the clear, youthful skin you want.
If you have questions about sugar and skin problems and are looking to refresh the look of your skin and face, Skin Theory is the top aesthetic med spa practice in Corona specializing in skin rejuvenation and preventative maintenance.
Give us a call at 951-735-5570 to set up your consultation.
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