Does sugar affect your skin? Oh yes, it most certainly does!
Have you heard of sugar sag? Well, it’s a thing we really want to avoid. A diet overfull of sugars and refined carbohydrates (just another kind of sugar, really) leads to collagen damage, which in turn leads to lax skin and increased tendency to wrinkles. How does sugar affect our skin? What happens is that when your blood sugar rises, a chemical process called glycation takes place. Glycation causes the production of compounds, known as ‘advanced glycation end products’, or, AGEs. These AGEs stick to collagen fibres and act as cross-links between them.
If you think of your collagen fibres as a strong net that bounces back easily, because it’s designed to do just that, then you can imagine what happens when that net starts to get all tangled up: it starts to sag, and it doesn’t bounce back as well. In the skin, that translates to a loss of skin elasticity, with wrinkling and sagging skin.
On top of that, sugar can also affect your hormone levels and lead to breakouts. Yikes!
Now, don’t panic, glycation won’t happen just because you mugged the Easter bunny and ran off with all his eggs, and after a sugar binge there are things you can do to ‘detox’ skin and reduce the potential impact.
Here are some simple steps to help get your skin back to its lovely glowing self after a sugar binge:
Drink lots of water
Experts recommend drinking 6-8 glasses of water every day (not shot glasses, either!) for oxygen to flow freely in your body and help the kidneys and colon eliminate waste. What’s best, it helps to flush out excess sugar from your body.
Add anti-inflammatories to your diet
There are so many delicious and healthy food options that are also anti-inflammatory that there’s really no excuse for not boosting your diet with them. Tomatoes, olive oil, green leafy vegetables (such as spinach and kale), almonds and walnuts, fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines, and fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries and oranges are all great for combatting an over-indulgence in refined sugar.
Clean out clogged pores and exfoliate your skin
Keeping on top of clearing the dead skin cells from your face also helps boost collagen production, boosting skin strength and glow. Use a daily wash, such as SkinGoal’s Prep Wash, to keep skin clean and clear and encourage more rapid skin cell turnover.
Boost your B vitamins
Vitamins B1 and B6, found in foods from pulses to bananas to oily fish and liver, have been proven to slow sugar’s negative effects on collagen. Try to get as much of these essential vitamins through your diet as possible, but there are of course Vitamin B tablets you can take to supplement your diet too. It’s not lazy – it’s forward planning for the next sugar binge!
Also great for combatting the effects of sugar on your skin are, you guessed it, regular exercise and reducing stress, but how you do that part I shall leave to you!
To sum up – sugar isn’t great for those of us who appreciate a glowing complexion, but if you do happen to throw restraint to the wind on occasion, there’s lots you can do to rebalance your skin.