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How Sugar Affects Your Skin

Written by Kerry Benjamin

How Sugar Affects Your Skin

Remember the days when everyone swore that eating a lot of pizza, chocolate, and other fatty junk foods would cause acne and other skin issues? Turns out, it isn’t the fat in those foods that’s the culprit behind everything from breakouts to eczema to premature aging: it’s sugar. With more and more research showing that diets high in sugar cause everything from diabetes to heart disease, it’s no wonder that the effects of sugar on skin are so significant. So what exactly does a candy-laden diet do to your complexion? Keep reading to learn just how much sugar affects your skin.


When you eat something super sugary like a big piece of cake or simple carbs like white bread, your body immediately produces a surge of insulin to help stabilize your blood sugar levels. When insulin increases, so does inflammation. This inflammation can exacerbate existing inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis, acne, rosacea, and eczema. If you find your skin experiencing a reaction, roll over the area with our Inflammation Fighting Ice Roller to instantly cool and further soothe the skin.


A sugary diet creates the perfect environment for acne to thrive. First off, sugar increases inflammation throughout your body, making blemishes extra red and painful. A diet high insugar also suppresses your body’s white blood cells—the soldiers responsible for fighting off infection. This leaves you vulnerable to acne-causing bacteria lurking on your skin. The increase in inflammation also causes your body to produce stress hormones, like cortisol, which boost your skin’s oil production, giving bacteria the greasy environment they need to grow and populate. Combat breakouts by using a gentle peel like our TCA Multi-Acid Face Peel once a week. Our peel contains a blend of five acids to kill acne-causing bacteria, control oil production, and to lift hyperpigmentation left over from acne scarring.


When you flood your body with sugar, it attaches to collagen protein in a process called glycation. During glycation, a new type of substance is created: advanced glycation end products or AGEs. AGEs are incredibly destructive to your body’s proteins; they break down elastin and degrade collagen. The most prevalent types of collagen in your skin are types I, II,and III. Type III is the longest lasting and strongest. AGEs degrade type III collagen into type I, causing wrinkling and loss of skin firmness.

A serum high in growth factors like our EGF Activating Serum can help counteract the effects of collagen loss by boosting cell turnover and speeding up the skin’s healing process. Pair the serum with a micro-roller like our Microneedling Face Refining Tool 2.0 to help plump up skin, stimulate collagen production and help the serum penetrate deeper into the skin.


If you suffer from allergies or eczema, you’ve probably realized on your own that sugar causes flare-ups. Because sugar stimulates inflammation and suppresses white blood cells, your body is less able to fight off even mild allergens. If you suffer from food intolerances and sensitivities, be extra careful with your sugar intake, which can make your allergies worse. For help on how to deal with an allergic skin reaction, read here.


So what should you be eating? Doctors and dermatologists alike recommend staying away from processed sugars and simple carbs. Most experts agree that fruits and whole grains are fine; although they have a high sugar content, they also contain nutritious antioxidants and fiber that are essential to a healthy diet. Try to be kind to yourself: we all have slip-ups. If you do give into temptation, try taking a B-vitamin supplement to mitigate the effects of sugar--vitamin B1 and B6 inhibit the protein-destroying effects of AGEs

About the Author


Kerry Benjamin, a licensed aesthetician, has over 12 years of experience. Kerry is the driving force behind StackedSkincare. As the company's CEO, Kerry has dedicated her career to revolutionizing skincare. Her innovative approach combines peels, serums, and specialized tools toeffectively address a wide range of skin concerns. CA LE license number Z98459.