We have all heard sugar and your skin don’t mix… but why?
In recent years there has been much talk about the big bad Sugar word, and where it lurks, often even hidden in so called ‘health foods’ in our diets. In its natural form, as we find in whole fruits and veggies, sugar can be nutritious, however, the processed forms and in the increasingly high levels we consume, sugar can have significant effects on our health, our skin included.
We know that diets high in sugars increase our risk of; obesity, diabetes and heart disease, to name a few, so what about our skin? Our skin is the body’s largest organ, of course it is going to feel the effects of a sugar laden diet, and acne and wrinkles are some of the signs you may expect to see! Not so sweet hey?!
Acne is a common condition that typically occurs in adolescence, however can span into adulthood. The cause of acne is complex and multi-factorial with diet playing a significant role in the cause and management of the condition. Pimples are caused by inflammation of our pores when they become blocked by sebum and cellular debris. The amount of sebum we produce, the consistency of that sebum, the rate at which our cells naturally exfoliate and the degree to which we are susceptible to inflammation are all controlled by our hormones. We often feel like we cannot control our hormones, but in actual fact, there are many things that can influence them, and guess what…sugar is one of them! Acne is not just a teenage hormonal issue, it can be the external influences of things like stress and diet that heavily impact on our internal balance and this often sends our hormones into disarray, hence why pimples start popping up in our 20s, 30s, 40s! So, put that doughnut down and reach for a good cleanser! Foods high in yeast are often high in sugar and it is often this combination which creates acne caused by Candida; in fact sugar feeds the yeast which contributes to the problem.
Now, if potential breakouts is not enough reason to step away from the sweets, then premature ageing surely is! High concentrations of sugar in the body, lead to a chemical reaction called glycation, where sugar molecules react with proteins and fats producing harmful advanced glycation end products or AGEs. AGEs affect our collagen and elastin fibres, the proteins that give our skin its plumpness and strength. When these fibres are broken down, we get fine lines and wrinkles, but that’s not all, AGEs also contribute to age spots, dull skin, uneven skin tone and inflammation.
Here’s another fun fact, when coupled with UV exposure, the damaging influence of AGE’s is intensified, accelerating the rate at which your skin ages, losing its elasticity and ability to repair itself