The Bittersweet Truth About Sugar and Your Skin


There’s nothing sweet about bad skin. Sure, our tastebuds may love it, but sugar is one of the worst culprits contributing to unhealthy skin. 

When it comes to glowing skin, cutting sugar from your diet is one of the best things you can do. And with spring around the corner, it’s the perfect time to think about radiant skin. 

This blog enumerates why sugar is so harmful to our bodies. We’ll discuss the surprising effects of sugar, such as acne, inflammation, and aging. 

We’ll also cover the hidden sources of sugar you may not know about. Read on to see how sugar could be damaging your skin.

Will Cutting Out Sugar Improve Your Skin?

When it comes to skin health and beauty, sugar has a bittersweet reputation.  It is an essential part of life that is both craved and criticized by many. 

You may have heard that reducing your sugar intake is good for your health and weight. But did you know that sugar has a direct correlation with your skin’s appearance? 

That’s right. Consuming too much sugar could be getting in the way of the glowing complexion you want. 

But, given its addictive nature, sugar may not be so easy to ditch all at once, especially if you have a sweet tooth. 

The best way to reduce your sugar intake is to first know where it comes from.


Hidden Sources of Sugar

Studies show the average American consumes close to 270 calories of sugar in its added form each day. That translates to about 17 teaspoons of sugar. 

If you’re good about avoiding sweets, you may think you’re in the clear. 

Not so fast, though. Your food or drink may not seem like a sweet treat, but that does not mean it doesn’t contain sugar. 

You may know about sugar in desserts, baked goods, smoothies, or ice cream. But other foods you eat every day have much more sugar than you realize. 

You could even be consuming sugar in foods and drinks you least expect.

Take a look at some common foods that have a surprisingly high amount of sugar in them:

  • Salad dressing
  • Granola
  • Yogurt
  • Bread
  • Dried Fruit
  • Baked beans
  • Tomato sauce
  • Beets
  • Carrots

To learn more about the best foods for your skin, visit our blog Delicious Foods for Glowing Skin and What to Avoid.


How Your Body Breaks Down Sugar

Sugar is the body’s most significant source of energy. It makes up carbohydrates which provide us with the fuel we need to function.  

But there is more than one type of sugar. And all sugar is not created equal when it comes to skincare and our bodies. 

There are two categories of sugars in foods: simple and complex. 

Simple sugars include glucose, fructose, sucrose, and lactose. They enter the bloodstream quickly because they don’t need to break down further. Your body can use or send them to storage immediately. 

The second type of sugar is complex. Complex sugars contain bonded molecules that are strung together. They are found in beans, vegetables, and whole grains.  

The breakdown of complex sugars begins with enzymes in our mouth. After being swallowed, these natural enzymes go to work. 

Acids in the stomach work with enzymes to dissolve sugar into smaller molecules. The molecules then pass through the stomach lining and enter our blood. 

Once in the bloodstream, our bodies send sugar to every muscle and cell to provide energy. As more glucose enters the bloodstream, your body produces insulin. 

Insulin then moves broken down glucose to cells and muscles throughout the body. Extra glucose is then stored and used for later use.

Sugar-Bad for-Skin

Sugar Related Skin Conditions

Is sugar that bad for your skin? The short answer is yes. 

What’s more important though is monitoring and subtracting your sugar intake to help your skin look its best.  

Here are few ways sugar maybe be changing the look and feel of your skin:


Inflammation is your body’s response to irritants. A spike in blood sugar causes an inflammatory reaction both inside your body and on your skin.

Sugar causes a variety of inflammation-linked skin conditions. Acne and sagging skin are two of the most common.

Over time, inflammation caused by poor diet may lead to several serious health problems including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

If you’ve had inflammation you may be familiar with glycation. It is a leading contributor to skin inflammation issues.

Reducing your sugar intake can help lower glycation in your skin

Glycation is when sugar molecules attach to protein or lipids in our bodies.

When this happens, stored cells aren’t as supportive to the skin’s surface. The lack of collagen and elastin means it is hard to achieve a firm and plump look.

The process of glycation speeds up with high sugar intake and can lead to early aging of the skin.



Have you ever had a candy bar and then a few days later an acne breakout? It’s true, a high intake of sugar means that your chances of getting moderate to severe acne are higher.

Sugar aggravates common skin issues like acne. When your sugar levels rise, it causes the body to release insulin.

For many people, an excess of insulin causes oil glands to increase production. The additional oil on the skin increases the risk for acne.

A recently published study used adults with mild to moderate acne as test subjects. These adults went on a low glycemic diet eliminating soda, white bread, and other baked goods for 12 weeks.

At the end of the study, participants who had stopped eating sugary foods showed improvements in their skin condition. Participants in the control group, who had continued to eat high glycemic foods, were at a higher risk of hormonal acne breakouts.

If you are looking for ways to prevent and treat acne, try these 5 habits for flawless skin.

Wrinkled and Saggy Skin

Studies show that too much sugar leads to “sugar sag.” Consuming large amounts of sugar quickens the loss of collagen and elastin. 

Collagen and elastin keep skin firm and healthy-looking. They also work to repair and replenish skin cells.


Sugar and Your Aging Skin

Reducing your sugar intake can help improve your skin’s tone, texture, and radiance.

Sugar is an aging accelerant. Yes, sadly that delicious-looking cupcake can add fine lines and wrinkles to your skin.

Monitoring your sugar intake is a great way to stop overindulging. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy something sweet every now and then. It’s just a way to keep consistency in your diet and routine to aid aid in overall health.

Start taking small, manageable steps to cut back on your sugar intake. Your entire body, including your skin, will thank you for it.

Would you like a rejuvenated and refreshed look? Trust our experienced professionals at Vibrance Medspa. We know the importance of healthy skin, and we can help you meet your skin goals.

For more questions about our professional skin services contact us today.

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