I’ve got some bad news for you…that ingredient that you love that makes life that much sweeter might be wreaking havoc on your skin. Yes, sugar is one of the top contributors to acne and premature aging. And it’s not just pure sugar; all simple carbs like white bread, soda, and candy cause insulin levels to spike, leading to an eruption of inflammation throughout the body. And this is bad news for your skin.
Inflammation produces enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, resulting in sagging skin and wrinkles. Digested sugar permanently attaches to the collagen in your skin through a process known as glycation. Glycation can also exacerbate acne. When blood sugar levels rise, insulin levels also increase to help shuttle the blood sugars out of the bloodstream and into your cells. Insulin makes androgen hormones more active and increases insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). This contributes to acne development by making skin cells grow more quickly and by boosting sebum production
Lastly, the more sugar you eat, the more likely it is you’ll develop insulin resistance, which can manifest as excess hair growth (hirsutism) and dark patches on the neck and in body creases.
An easy tip for healthier skin: eliminate sugar as much as possible! I've talked about being a label detective before with your skincare products - well, you’ll have to be a label detective for your food too! Sugar is a sneaky additive in MANY pre-packaged foods you’d never expect.
And if you want to take it up a notch, avoid all refined, processed carbs as much as you can too. Dreaming of pasta? Try a sweet potato. Chips? Reach for some plain or salted nuts. Thirsting for a soda? Go for a sparkling water instead.
This process involves a lot of intentionality with your meals, and may require you to do more home-cooking as well. But your skin (and whole body) will love you for it!