Halloween is right around the corner, and if you're anything like us, you've already passed the candy section at the store and tossed a couple of bags into your cart. How do you resist such sweet temptations this time of the year? The answer is you can't, candy, sugar, and sweet foods alike are everywhere, and it can be tempting. Is too much of a good thing a bad thing? The truth is that when it comes to our sugar intake, excessive sugar or foods with a high glycemic index can affect our skin. Consuming too much sugar can increase inflammation in our bodies and aggravate skin conditions like eczema, rosacea, psoriasis and acne. Does this mean we have to completely cut out sugar from our diets if we want clear, beautiful skin? Not exactly. We'll dive into exactly how to find a sweet balance.
How Does Sugar Affect the Skin?
The average American consumes approximately 17 teaspoons of sugar a day; if you're reading this number thinking there is no way, think again! Many foods contain hidden sugars labeled as sweeteners chances are you don't know they are hiding in some of your favorite foods. So what exactly does sugar do to our skin? It starts with inflammation; Sugar is an inflammatory food and wreaks havoc on your skin when consumed in excess amounts; it can also flair up any skin conditions you could already be experiencing like acne, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea, to name a few. When you eat sugar (processed and refined), it can create insulin levels to rise, which will generate the inflammation you see on your skin. So is it wrong to eat any sugar? Short answer, no. With Halloween around the corner, consuming a few sweets pieces will be okay without affecting your skin. The key is to continue eating a balanced diet; only when we eat these foods in excess do we see the negative impacts of too much sugar.
Sugar Can Lead to Signs of Aging
Not only does sugar cause inflammation spikes in our skin it can also damage the aging process of our skin. When excess sugar is consumed, a natural process begins in our body called glycation, in which excess glucose produces harmful free radicals while damaging essential proteins. Your collagen and elastin that you work so hard to boost are the first to be affected by this process; they are the most vulnerable to breaking down during glycation. Sugar can also break down your natural antioxidants, making you more susceptible to sun damage, pollution, and effects from blue light. If you start to notice hyperpigmentation in the skin, changes in deep lines and wrinkles, or sagging skin, it may be time to reduce sugar and take the following steps to recover your skin.
Slowing Down the Aging Process
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
- Replace desserts with healthy sugars, like fruits and nuts.
- Increase vitamins C and E to help boost collagen.
- Recover skin with plenty of sleep.
- Check food labels for added sugars.
Going forward, it will be essential to make healthy choices if we want to continue having glowing skin. When holidays arise and we are tempted by excess sugars making healthy choices will be rewarded through our skin. Keep in mind it is okay to occasionally enjoy your favorite sweet snack; making sure it doesn't become a key part of your diet is important. Shop for products with ingredients such as Benzoyl Peroxide, Salicylic Acid, AHA's, and Tea Tree Oil when experiencing excess breakouts and oil. In addition, when shopping for products to help with signs of aging, look for collagen-boosting ingredients like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Hyaluronic.