Did you know that sugar could be as addictive as cocaine?
Recent studies have shown that sugar releases pleasure chemicals in our brain that keep us going back for more. But, before you follow through and reach for that cookie jar, you're probably already thinking about how that extra treat might affect your body.1
We often associate excessive sugar eating with weight gain and damage to our teeth that upset both our doctors and our dentists. But, what about our skin?
If you are wondering is sugar good for your skin, just ask any dermatologist and they will quickly tell you that sugar is your skin's worst enemy. We typically associate sugar with acne and greasy skin, but sugar can also affect your skin in other, often more serious ways.
With the average American consuming around 17 teaspoons of sugar per day (a far cry from the recommended 6 teaspoons per day), it's no surprise that so many suffer from difficult skin conditions.2
In this article, we are going to explain exactly why is sugar bad for skin, what happens when you have too much sugar in your diet, and most importantly – what you can do to prevent serious damage and restore your youthful, radiant complexion.
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Why Do Blood Sugar Levels Affect Your Skin?
If you're wondering exactly what does sugar do to your skin, the answer lies in the way your body works to digest and process the food you eat, particularly carbohydrates.
Every carbohydrate has a glycemic index (GI), which reflects the rate at which it converts to glucose in the body. There are high glycemic foods and low glycemic foods, and the higher the glycemic index, the quicker that food turns to glucose in your bloodstream.
Healthy carbohydrates will have a GI below 55, examples of these include whole grains and legumes. Sugary foods like soda, ice cream, and white bread will have a high GI rating, meaning that they will convert very quickly to glucose and high blood sugar levels will follow.
Eating sugar causes your body to produce insulin, the hormone needed to metabolize sugar. When you eat too much sugar, an overdose of insulin floods your body and causes an array of skin health problems.
High blood sugar levels also lead to skin damage through a process called glycation. Glucose attaches to proteins in your bloodstream and produces dangerous free radicals called advanced glycation end-products (AGEs). By attaching to collagen and elastin, the proteins responsible for youthful healthy skin, sugar can cause some serious harm to your complexion.
These AGE free radicals will also accumulate in your body and cause inflammation and oxidative stress, which further impact your complexion.3
What is gelatin made from? RenewSkin Inc. investigates.
4 Effects Of Sugar On The Skin
Let's take a closer look at each effect of the sugar you eat on your complexion:
You might be all-too-familiar with this effect after an evening of binging on ice cream or sugary desserts. The next morning you are likely to look in the mirror and see a face that is puffy and inflamed, despite your best attempt to follow a good skin care routine!
When sugar enters the bloodstream, your body produces insulin to process it. Raised insulin levels cause inflammation and redness for your complexion, which can also lead to chronic skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea.4
2. Breakouts & Acne
It's typical, isn't it? Just when you thought you got away with the sugary snacks over the weekend, your face starts showing some telltale pimples and redness come Monday morning.
Unfortunately, your favorite sugary treats will lead to acne-related breakouts thanks to the insulin spike they cause in your bloodstream. A boost to your insulin levels provokes an increase in oil production in your skin, which in turn blocks pores and causes blemishes on your face, chest, and back.
This excess sebum also creates the perfect environment for acne-related bacteria to thrive on your skin. Combine that with the hit sugar takes on your immune system, and you have bacteria that your body can't work fast enough to get rid of, making your face the ideal host for acne-style breakouts! 5
More helpful reading: Does collagen help with acne?
Another unfortunate effect of sugar on your complexion is a loss of youthful radiance, with dullness and hyperpigmentation that can add years to your face.
Hyperpigmentation happens thanks to the process of glycation, in which sugar attaches to your proteins and produces free radicals, which in turn puts your body under oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress weakens your skin's defenses against external toxins, making your complexion more susceptible to pigmentation, sun damage, and age spots. Combine this with the inflammation caused by insulin and you have the perfect formula for a dull and ruddy skin tone.
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4. Premature Aging
Last but not least, sugar's final and perhaps most irritating effect on your complexion is its attack on your skin's collagen and elastin. In the process of glycation, sugars attach to your collagen and elastin proteins and weaken them to breaking point.
Collagen and elastin are the proteins responsible for youthful healthy skin. They keep your skin springy and elastic and maintain its ability to bounce back from daily wear and tear. When glycation happens and sugar attacks these proteins, they become brittle and dry.
As a result, your skin loses elasticity and becomes more prone to fine lines, wrinkles, thinning, and sagging, particularly around the eyes and mouth.
Learn more about what causes wrinkles here.
6 Ways To Prevent Skin Damage Caused By Sugar
Now that we know the bad news about sugar, here are 6 actions you can follow to minimize sugar's effects on your skin:
1. Reduce Sugar Intake
As we all know, prevention is better than cure. This is why the first and most important step in preventing skin damage caused is to cut back on the sugar you eat.
To do this, you need to be aware of the kinds of foods you might be eating that contain hidden sugars. It's not all junk food like candy and soda, you will find sugar in a wide variety of foods.
If you have already cut back on junk food, the next thing to look out for is fruit and juices. While eating fruit is better than refined sugar and processed foods, fruit still has a high glycemic index. Try to go for whole fruit (e.g. an apple or orange) and avoid juices or smoothies.
Next, watch out for hidden sugars in foods like condiments, salad dressings, and ready-made meals. These are often foods that might seem healthy, but when you check the ingredients you may find that sugars have been used to preserve the food and improve its flavor.
While you are watching your sugar intake, you will also need to avoid simple carbohydrates such as white bread and white pasta, as these are also high glycemic foods.
If this all seems a little overwhelming, just start with some simple swaps like switching white bread over to a whole grain alternative. You'll be on your way to a healthier lifestyle and better skin in no time!
More helpful reading: good sugar vs. bad sugar
2. Hydrate Inside & Out
Drinking enough water (12 cups per day) is essential to maintaining youthful skin, and it will help you counteract the effects of sugar damage like inflammation and breakouts.
You could double the benefits and cut your sugar intake if you can swap your soda for a glass of water too. If you struggle to get your daily water intake, try adding some fresh lemon, mint, or cucumber to make each glass of H20 more interesting.
You should also incorporate some good quality moisturizers into your skin care routine. Look for humectants like hyaluronic acid or glycerin which attract and retain water in your skin.
Keep Your Skin Hydrated With A Hyaluronic Acid Supplement
A supplement like Taut Hydrate will hydrate your skin from the inside out and make your skin more resilient against damage caused by sugar and other toxins. Hyaluronic acid is a moisture magnet that can attract and retain 1000 times its weight in water, and it can support your collagen and elastin in keeping your skin supple and flexible.
In supplement format, it will work to fill, hydrate, and plump up your skin from deep within, where serums and fillers cannot penetrate. Better yet, it works for your face and your entire body!
Our unique formula contains 99% pure, plant-based hyaluronic acid and grape seed extract, combining super hydrating properties with a powerful antioxidant that can help protect your skin against free radical damage.
3. Use Antioxidants
The very best way to avoid free radical damage is to include antioxidants in your diet and your skin care routine.
Antioxidants work to neutralize free radicals (like AGEs) in the body and prevent them from doing harm. Studies have shown that antioxidants are effective in reducing oxidative stress, which is essential to maintaining skin health.6
Powerful antioxidants include vitamin C, vitamin E, and L-Glutathione. These can be obtained through our diets with an abundance of antioxidant-rich foods including colorful fruit and vegetables, seeds, legumes, and fatty fish.
In your skin care routine, look for a serum or supplement that can effectively get these nutrients to your dermis.
Boost Your Antioxidant Intake With Taut Bright
Taut Bright is our most powerful free-radical-busting supplement that contains 7 antioxidants and active ingredients that work to protect against cellular damage caused by sugar, toxins, and the sun.
Its powerful combination of antioxidants including vitamin C, olive leaf extract, L-cysteine, and L-glutathione (known as "the mother of all antioxidants") works to minimize hyperpigmentation and reduce the signs of aging for a lighter, brighter complexion.
Find more helpful reading & 21 great skin care tips here.
4. Eat A Healthy Diet
Eating a well-balanced diet is essential to a bright and youthful complexion, and we're not only talking about reducing your sugar intake. A diet that obtains the right balance of protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats will help nourish your body and keep your skin fighting fit. Learn more about a collagen diet from RenewSkin Inc.
As we have already mentioned, this includes swapping simple carbohydrates for low glycemic whole-grain alternatives, which will increase your fiber intake and help reduce the inflammation caused by sugar.
Healthy fats like olive oil and fatty fish contain omega-3s that promote radiant skin and reduce inflammation and hyperpigmentation. Lean proteins such as white fish, skinless white meat, tofu, legumes, and greek yogurt can also help keep those nasty AGEs (free radicals) at bay.
More helpful reading on foods that are good for your skin.
5. Get Your Beauty Sleep
Your skin needs a good night's sleep as much as your body and your brain do. When you wake up in the morning after a bad sleep, your skin will look as tired as you feel.
But what does this have to do with sugar?
When you don't get enough sleep, your brain releases the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn activates your sugar stores and raises insulin levels. Cortisol production and a general lack of energy will also lead you to crave more sugary and processed foods.
According to the Sleep Foundation, your body also becomes more sensitive to insulin after poor sleep, which can raise your blood sugar further and cause all kinds of issues for your skin.7
To combat this, aim to get 8 hours of beauty sleep every night. The best news for your complexion is that melatonin (the sleep hormone) can reduce glycation damage and free radical production by up to 50%.8
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6. Replenish Your Collagen and Elastin
To fight the signs of premature aging caused by sugar and the process of glycation, you can replenish your skin's essential protein supplies with collagen supplements.
Collagen supplements are drinks, pills, or soluble powders containing hydrolyzed collagen peptides, which can enter your bloodstream and increase your natural collagen production. Supplements are a great way to replenish collagen supplies that have been damaged by glycation.
When buying a collagen supplement it's important to check the source of the collagen (marine is generally better for skin than bovine), and the potency (which should be at least 10,000mg).
Taut's liquid collagen advanced formula contains a potent 13,000mg of marine collagen peptides, designed to rejuvenate your complexion and visibly reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin.
Our delicious orange-flavored drink is sweetened with natural plant sugar (Stevia leaf), and it contains no additives or preservatives. One drink per day can provide powerful anti-aging effects on your face and body in as little as three weeks!
More helpful reading:
Fight The Signs Of Aging With Taut
If your skin is feeling low from the effects of sugar such as acne, inflammation, or premature aging, you're probably wondering if there is anything else you can do to reduce the damage.
This is where our transformation programs can help. Our transformation programs are perfect for first-time Taut users who desire faster, more visible, and lasting results, offering effective skin rejuvenation in just 24 days.
If you are suffering the effects of sugar, we recommend you follow our Ms. Magnifique program, which includes a 24-day supply of Taut Premium Collagen Drink, Taut Bright, and Taut Collagen Mask.
Our Taut Collagen Mask is a soothing and refreshing sheet mask infused with collagen, hyaluronic acid, botanical squalene, and vitamin C. Ms. Magnifique combines this luxurious mask with our premium liquid collagen supplement and the antioxidant-boosting Taut Bright to fight the signs of aging on your face and body, working to tone sagging skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
With Ms. Magnifique, we can refresh your complexion and help you feel more confident in your skin.
Want to explore your options? Try our skincare quiz to find the perfect products for you!