Most health experts advise us to limit the amount of sugar we eat on a daily basis because of its affect on our waistlines, but there’s another very important reason to watch out intake: Sugar can negatively affect our skin.
When we ingest too much refined sugar (the kind of sugar in sweets, soda, and many pre-packaged foods), we cause an insulin spike in our bodies. That spike of insulin can cause inflammation, which in turn can create joint pain, chronic stomach issues, and problem skin.
The Glycation Effect
When there’s an excess of sugar in the body, those sugar molecules can link up with protein molecules, and turn into advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which are not natural in the body. These AGEs often attach to collagen and elastin, causing wrinkles, inflammation, and making any kind of skin condition –from Rosacea to acne — worse. This process is known as glycation, and can also cause our immune systems to work overtime to get our systems back to normal.
The long-term affects of glycation can be pretty brutal. A diet that’s high in sugar can actually cause the type of collagen in our skin to change from a type III (strong) to a type I (weak). Weaker collagen tends to make our skin look less supple. Add in the fact that AGEs can make us more susceptible to sun damage, and it becomes clear just how bad refined sugar can be for our appearance.
How To Make Your Skin Glow, Naturally
If you’ve recently made a pledge to better your skin naturally (woo hoo!), there are a few ways to do it.
Besides staying away from white sugar, do your best to stay away from high-fructose corn syrup. This chemically produced sugar is believed to produce an overabundance of AGEs, and is primarily used in sodas and pre-packaged foods.
Make sure you apply sunscreen if you’re going to be outdoors for long periods of time. A little bit of sun exposure is actually good for you, but if you’re planning on being outside in direct sunlight for more than 30 minutes, consider using a high-quality sunscreen.
Consider adding more B1 and B6 vitamins to your diet, as studies have shown these vitamins help inhibit AGEs. Brewers yeast is one of the best sources of B1 (followed by wheat germ, brown rice and oatmeal), and B6 can be found in dark leafy greens, oranges, cantaloupe and papayas.
Yes, your drugstore or expensive department store may try to sell you on the idea that all you need is a cream or serum to reverse skin damage, but in reality the best way to save your skin is the same way many of us damage it in the first place: Through what we put into our bodies.
Making your health a priority isn’t just about losing weight, it’s about turning your entire being into someone who radiates!