We all know we need to watch the sugar we are consuming. You may have been reading the latest studies showing that it isn’t fat, but sugar, that is wreaking such havoc on our bodies. I’ve written about the effects of sugar and ways to cut sugar from our diets. This guest post looks at other aspects of sugar’s damaging effects – this time on our skin.
Sally Mitchell began her career as a makeup artist, and after receiving a diploma in Clinical Dermatology decided to combine passions for makeup artistry and skincare becoming a licensed beauty professional. Now she shares cutting edge skin care treatments with readers at lumeskin.com.
The Undeniable Effects of Sugar on Your Skin
It’s easy to understand that processed sugars and carbohydrates are a stress to our body in the form of weight gain and tooth decay, but did you know it does a number on another major system as well? From increased acne breakouts to collagen reduction, sugar is no friend to the largest organ in our body—our skin.
Refined and whole sugars seem to be hidden in the majority of processed food on the shelves and they aren’t the only culprit to raised insulin levels. Carbohydrates like white bread, potatoes, pizza, and packaged snacks are also to blame for blood sugar spikes which add more stress to our systems. Unfortunately the damage done by sugar won’t always be able to be hidden with a good shellac of concealer either, so listen up before your lifestyle habits do a major number on that pretty face of yours.
Watch out for acne galore!
This is one early sign of sugar damage that you could probably be in denial about if you’ve got a good brand of cover-up, but who wants to wake up to a new burst of pimples in the morning after a nightly sugar binge? Along with acne comes the risk of scarring which is a bit harder to cover up, and a lot more painful to laser off. It’s no wonder our skin breaks out after an overdose of sugar! When we experience an insulin spike a wave of inflammation flashes through our body. Inflammation can rear it’s ugly head in many ways, and one of those is with a shiny red pimple right before picture day.
If you’re the victim of a sugar induced break-out, drink plenty of water to flush the sugar out of your system. Focus on a diet higher in protein and fiber, and replace sugar in your diet with natural plant based sweeteners that don’t alter your insulin levels, such as Stevia.
More wrinkles and sagging
When there is too much sugar in the body, sugar and protein molecules can “cross-link.” This process is called glycation. Since these molecules are not recognized in the body, the body’s reaction is inflammation. Inflammation produces enzymes which break down collagen and elastin and are a huge factor in the cause of premature skin sagging and overall aging.
You can counter the effects of glycation by eating foods that are high in Alpha Lipoic Acid (or ALA) like broccoli, spinach, brussels sprouts, carrots, beets and rice brain. ALA is a natural anti-inflammatory antioxidant and has also been shown to alleviate pain from diabetic neuropathy; another ailment that is a side effect of too much sugar.
Is that unwanted facial hair?
Women grow unwanted facial hair due to a hormonal imbalance, or too much testosterone. What does that have to do with sugar? Well, you may know that insulin is produced by the body to regulate glucose and blood sugar, but it does more than just that. Insulin also stimulates a woman’s ovaries to produce testosterone; which means more mustaches to wax and beard hairs to pluck.
Puffy, red and swollen in the face
As if a acne laden, hairy and saggy face wasn’t enough sugar keeps it coming with overall body inflammation, so you can thank that puffy hangover feeling in the morning to the sugary treats from the day before. It seems as if sugar attacks the body from all angles, nonetheless it’s still a hard habit to kick. Here are some tips and tricks to eliminate unhealthy sugars from your diet and healing your skin in the process.
Heal your gut and reduce cravings
Taking a supplement like glutamine can help you to reduce sugar cravings while simultaneously healing your gut. Our cells prefer glutamine as a food source to glucose (sugar) which means that your body can function more efficiently and focus more energy on healing your intestinal wall. This also means more nutrients can be absorbed, ultimately clearing out skin and other internal organ issues. If you need help finding healthy replacements for sugar, there are a ton of modern options available to you.
Stevia to the rescue
Stevia is a shrub that belongs to the Sunflower family and is known for its extremely sweet leaves. It is an all natural, has zero calories and carbohydrates and therefore also has a glycemic index of zero. Even before the 1500’s this plant has been used not only as a sweetener but also as a face mask ! Stevia facial masks have been known to soften skin and reduce the sign of wrinkles, hopefully undoing some damage that the overdose of sugar in our diets had previously done. Tha’ts a win-win!
Whole food sugar
Some people have an aversion to Stevia due to a slight bitter aftertaste—though it’s not much different than the aftertaste of a carcinogenic artificial sweetener—so another way to wean off of refined sugars and carbohydrates are to include foods that have naturally occurring sugars paired with fiber and other nutrients. Dates, or nature’s candy, are a very sweet treat and lovely paired with almond butter, or eaten frozen straight out of the freezer. Other smart options are fruits high in fiber and water content like watermelon. Grapes, berries, papaya, cantaloupe, and citrus fruits are also other healthy options. Studies have been conducted on mangoes and they have found that this miraculous fruit may also help to regulate blood sugar in diabetics. With a
plethora of healthy fruit and plant-based sugars to choose from, it should be easy to eliminate refined sugars from your diet and start seeing immediate results in your skin.
It’s easy to see that with all of the negative effects that sugar has on our body, it’s systems, and our skin, it should be a no-brainer choice to make some changes and start finding some healthier options. Stick to plant based sweeteners and fruits high in fiber and antioxidants; you should be able to kick that sugar habit to the curb in no time.
Here are some of my other posts on sugar:
Enjoy Your Day!