I would love to write this blog and go on and on about the amazing skin benefits following mass consumption of sugar, but unfortunately there are none! I just also want to put it out there that I too am equally annoyed that its always the things we all thoroughly enjoy that end up having a negative impact upon our physical appearances and health!
We are all pretty aware that eating rubbish foods and sugary drinks is no good for our skin, and for those who don’t, I guess ignorance is bliss! However, I think it is important to see just how much of an impact a poor, high sugar content diet has upon accelerating signs of ageing and compromising our overall skin health. It is important to ensure your foundation is secure before building upon it, I use this philosophy in my clinics constantly. The whole reason I initially branched into skin rejuvenation alongside my injectable treatments was because I never agree with filling and injecting a face where the skin is suffering, as my clients will just not get the best result from their treatment. Instead I can now treat their skin and then we can consider any further treatments depending on their aesthetic goals. I am now stripping it back even further and before even discussing skin treatments I think it is important to establish lifestyle choices and their implications upon our skin. Making holistic changes ensures longer lasting effective results. Here I will just be covering the implications of sugar upon skin, see previous blog posts about other lifestyle factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and over exposure to UV radicals to learn more about protecting your skin.
Sugar and high high-glycemic foods raise insulin levels which in turn causes a great deal of stress for the skin, causing a burst of inflammation around the body. Inflammation is also not at all good for our skin as it produces enzymes which break down collagen and elastin. Collagen and elastin are essential, they give our skin structure, strength and elasticity, allow it stretch and snap back. With depleting levels of collagen and elastin the skin can experience some ageing impacts, contributing to sagging skin and/or possible premature signs of ageing. So bluntly put, sugar causes wrinkles!
Following digestion of the sugars, the glucose attaches itself to proteins such as collagen within our body. This process is called ‘glycation’, this greatly contributes to rosacea and acne flare ups and causes exacerbation of unwanted symptoms such as break outs! There is also evidence to show a direct link between milk and causing an break outs as the hormones instilled from the pregnant cow cause excess sebum production within the skin causing sending the oil glands in to over drive! For anyone who notices an exacerbation of their skin condition following excess dairy intake it is worth considering milk alternatives such as almond milk and cutting down on other dairy products. It’s spots free skin or a cheese board basically!
If you are like me and enjoy all things sugary, then here are some tips to counteract the effects of sugar stress on skin:
Sleep plenty! Drink plenty! Stress less! All of those things can prevent the stress hormone release which mobilize sugar storage and cause our insulin to spike! Stress is closely linked to acne break outs.
Eating healthy fats (Avocados for example), lean protein, fibre and antioxidants are all anti-inflammatory foods!
Complex carbohydrates (brown rice, nuts, whole grains and vegetables) delay the absorption of sugar.
Always try to eat your protein from your plate first. Protein does not stimulate an insulin spike and so it discourages the inflammatory trigger.
High sugar based diets ultimately cause inflammation, depletion of essential anti-aging skin components (collagen and elastin) and exacerbation of skin conditions, causing break outs and excess oil production. Some fortunate, blessed, science defying, wizardly lucky few seem to survive the skin stress from mass sugar consumption and do not get easily effected. However, if you find you struggle with your skin and have underlying diagnoses of a skin condition such as acne or rosacea then this is a lifestyle based decision you can consider to try to improve your skin health and should you be receiving any treatment, ensure you are getting the best results possible.