Why is Sugar Detrimental to Skin Health?

by Keri Berardinelli

Sugar, and sugar substitutes, are not healthy for the body as a whole, but in particular, sugar is one of the main culprits when it comes to the common, unwanted skin issues of today’s modern society.  So... a non-sugar diet is an excellent go-to in order to have clear, vibrant skin.

First let’s define the basic rules for a non-sugar diet:

  1. This means eliminating foods that contain processed sugar – even organic sugar, a.k.a. “organic raw cane sugar”, “turbinado sugar”, “evaporated cane juice”, is all sugar, even if it is less processed than the conventional, GMO version. 
  2. Eliminating refined grains such as wheat, rice, and other cereal grains.
  3. Eliminating processed foods, fast foods and even restaurant foods. 
  4. Eliminating sugar substitutes such as “aspartame”, “sucralose” and the like.

Next, what are the 3 most negative effects impacting the skin from eating sugar?

  1. Sugar drives inflammation by altering the gut microbiome and promoting the proliferation of yeasts that reside in the gut. This creates an imbalance of microbes and their metabolites generating a cascade of inflammation throughout the body which negatively impacts metabolic health and exacerbates many skin conditions, such as acne, eczema, and rosacea making these conditions difficult to manage. 
  2. When sugar handling becomes a problem due to metabolic dysfunction, excess sugar gets into the blood stream which can attach to proteins forming harmful molecules called “advanced glycation end products”, or AGES. These AGES can damage collagen and elastin, proteins that keep the skin firm, elastic and youthful looking. As a result, the skin may appear dull, less supple with more wrinkles and sagging skin.
  3. Sugar dehydrates the skin by drawing moisture away from cells. Dehydrated skin can also appear dull, dry, and aged, but also, dehydrated skin doesn't function optimally and can exacerbate many skin conditions. 

The problem is sugar is present in foods that you wouldn’t consider having sugar, so it’s become a big part of our modern diet. In conclusion, sugar accelerates aging and contributes to various skin problems, so it’s best to avoid.