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How Does Sugar Affect the Skin?

Posted October 2019 by Biodermis
During the holiday season many of us indulge in treats that are likely not healthy for us; the main culprit in many of these goodies is sugar. It’s well-known that too much sugar in our diet can affect our bodies in many ways, from cavities and lethargy to high blood pressure and diabetes. But did you know that sugar can also negatively impact the appearance of our skin? A high sugar intake may play a role in the aging process, accelerating the development of wrinkles and fine lines. In addition to these effects, foods with a high glycemic (sugar) index can also cause oil production and inflammation, leading to acne breakouts. To help control the negative impact sugar has on our bodies, we need to watch what we eat and stick to a healthy diet.

Continue reading to learn more about how sugar acts negatively on our skin and what we can do to be more mindful of our sugar intake.

How sugar affects the skin

Sugar causes problems for our skin

The average American consumes almost 20 teaspoons each day, which is more than twice the amount recommended by the American Heart Association. This isn’t surprising considering all of the fast food, sugary drinks, and processed goods that are easily attainable. Even foods like bread, tomato sauce, juice, and salad dressing are often loaded with sugar that is terrible for our skin. Below are just some of the skin-related effects that are linked to a diet high in sugar.

Inflammatory skin conditions

Skin inflammation can express itself in many different forms. Acne, dermatitis, psoriasis and rosacea are all conditions that can be triggered by inflammation. When we consume sugar, insulin is released from the pancreas to absorb the sugar and transfer it to our live. The pancreas can only process so much sugar, so if there is too much sugar in the body, it can cause inflammation. If you already have a medical history of chronic inflammation, you may be exacerbating it by eating a diet that is high in sugar.

Sugar may accelerate aging

The aging process is different for everyone. Some people look much older than their contemporaries while others look much younger than their actual age. A good part of this has to do with genetics, but what we put into our bodies can have a negative long-term effect on the way we look. Researchers have gathered data to pinpoint a process called glycation that may play a role in skin related wear and aging. When artificial and processed sugar enters our bloodstream, it will sometimes attach to collagen and elastin proteins in the skin and starts to break them down. When this happens, the skin loses its elasticity and wrinkles begin to form.

Oily skin

Foods with a high glycemic index spike your blood sugar and activate hormones in the body that stimulate oil production in the skin. Our skin naturally produces oil called sebum to help keep the skin moisturized. However, if there is an excess amount of oil on the skin, your pores can become clogged and cause acne breakouts.

How sugar affects the skin

Control your diet

Sugar is difficult to stay away from, especially during the holiday season. The best thing you can do to control your sugar intake is to look out for foods with a lot of added sugars. Added sugars are processed sugars, meaning the sugar has been stripped of all of its nutritional qualities. Soda, candy, baked goods, and many other foods are loaded with processed sugar. Instead, try substituting artificial sugars for foods that contain natural sugars. Such foods include fruits, berries, sweet potatoes and many others. This way, your body is still getting its glucose, but it’s getting it from organic sugars that still contain vital nutrients for the body.


Biodermis is an innovative market leader with 30 years of expertise in the medical silicone industry. Visit Biodermis.com today to explore a complete range of scar management and post-operative care solutions.
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