While we hear a lot about sugar's impact on the waistline, we hear little about the impact of sugar on the skin. Turns out, sugar has much more of an effect on the body than just making us gain weight. It can also make you gain years, making you look older than you would otherwise, among other effects.
How Sugar Affects the Skin
Besides making our blood sugar rise and our bodies release fat-grabbing insulin, sugar also causes inflammation as it prevents our digestive systems from working properly and sends proteins into the bloodstream before they are properly broken down. Our bodies see these large proteins as invaders which provokes an inflammation response.
When our bodies experience inflammation, enzymes are produced that break down our skin's collagen and elastin, which make skin sag and wrinkle. Digested sugar attaches itself to the collagen, a process called glycation. The end result: skin (and you) looks older.
In addition to aging effects, glycation can also make acne, rosacea, and hives worse. If you eventually develop insulin resistance, it may result in dark patches of skin on the neck and in body creases.
Sugar Doesn't Just Mean Sweets
Lots of foods have added sugar, even if they aren't noticeably sweet. When reading labels, you will notice significant amounts of added sugar in products like marinades, salad dressings, barbecue sauce, catsup, and tomato sauces, among others. Yogurt, ice cream, and coffee creamer are other common foods with added sugars.
Some foods don't contain added sugar, but their starches are processed by the body in the same way as sugar. They actually convert to sugar during the digestion process, and can cause the same harmful effects as sugar. White flour, white rice, and fried potatoes (including potato chips) are some of these non-sugar foods, known as simple carbohydrates.
What Sugars Can You Eat?
Sugar found in whole fruits and sweet vegetables like sweet potatoes is healthier for the body and is processed differently than refined sugar due to the higher fiber content. Honey and maple sugar are other natural sweeteners that can be used in moderation. The body processes them differently from refined sugars, but they can cause inflammation and other skin problems if used in excess.
The current recommendation in the United States is that women get no more than 24 grams of added sugar per day, and men no more than 36 grams. Considering that a 12-ounce soda or a regular size candy bar can have 45 grams or more of sugar, it requires effort and determination to observe these guidelines.
Helping Skin Recover from Sugar Damage
Bringing your sugar consumption down to recommended levels is the only way to prevent further damage from occurring, but once you have done that, you can help skin recover in other ways. Making sure skin is hydrated and getting nourished with vitamins can help you look your best as damage recedes and heals.
Biconi's Radiant Skin Facial Cleanser provides natural cleansing with virgin coconut oil, noni, and other plant extracts which will give your skin the hydration and vitamins it needs. Acne will be reduced and healed as well by this natural cleanser that is free of animal products. Shop Biconi face products today to help your skin look its best.