Do you have a sweet tooth? Many of us do — and many of us experience an increase in sugar cravings after indulging in the traditional holiday season carb-laden foods and treats. It’s understandable after over a month of celebrating that you may be facing intense post-holiday sugar cravings. After all, all of those yummy carbohydrates and treats signaled our body to release serotonin, which makes us feel fabulous, even if only temporarily. It’s no wonder our brain continues to desire more.
Unfortunately, sugar can wreak havoc – from the inside – to affect our skin outside, not to mention the negative impact it can have on our overall health and wellbeing.
So, let’s take a look at the effects sugar has on our body from the inside out. So, we can see why it is crucial to get those cravings under control for the sake of our health and our skin.
Sugars Effect Inside
Inside the body, sugar triggers a cascade of negative responses – from spiking blood sugar, to inflammation, to a suppressed immune system. More severe consequences arise from regularly eating excessive amounts of sugar, like chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, microbiome disturbances, and leaky gut syndrome.
Weakened Immune System – You may already know that the average American eats about 22 teaspoons of sugar EVERY day — that is almost a ½ cup of sugar! But did you know that consuming this much sugar can suppress your white blood cells’ ability to kill germs by 40% for up to 5 hours — and suppressing our immune system’s response is not something any of us want right now!
Unstable Blood Sugar – Sugar causes your blood glucose levels to shift quickly, as your blood sugar rises and then falls sharply after you eat. These rapid shifts in blood sugar can cause symptoms that can be severe enough to interfere with daily life, including feeling sluggish, shaky, and even increasing hunger. Over time, your body may not be able to lower your blood sugar as effectively, leading to type 2 diabetes.
Inflammation – Sugar and refined carbohydrates cause inflammation in the body. Over time, this inflammation caused by poor eating habits can lead to several health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, liver disease, and cancer.
Sugars Effect Outside
It should come as no surprise that if sugar can wreak such havoc on the inside of our body that its effects will also wreak havoc externally on our skin. Many skin problems such as acne, rosacea, and eczema are exacerbated by the sugar you eat. But most importantly, consuming sugar in excess has a lasting effect by causing wrinkles and sagging skin.
Inflammation – Chronic inflammation also sets off enzymes called metalloproteinases (MMPs) in the skin. These enzymes are found in the spaces between skin cells and have a two-fold effect by breaking down collagen and elastin in the skin while also inhibiting their production, leading to the premature aging of your skin.
Glycation – The body uses glucose as a primary fuel source. Still, if glucose is consumed in excess or not used and metabolized properly, our baseline blood sugar levels increase, leading to glycation issues. Glycation occurs when glucose binds to collagen and elastin in the body, making it more rigid. This internal glycation has an external effect by leading to skin that is wrinkled and sagging.
Increased Insulin – Another problem with increased blood sugar is that it causes high insulin production, which triggers excess sebum production and androgen activity. This leads to acne breakouts.
Avoid The Effects
To avoid the negative effects of sugar, avoid refined sugar, and sweeteners that spike your blood sugar. You’ll also want to avoid (or limit) high-glycemic carbohydrates, including refined white bread, pasta, and desserts, which rapidly convert into glucose in the body.
It might be difficult for you to imagine a life without sugar. Many people have actual sugar addictions and find it hard to stop eating sugar. You do not have to stop eating sugar all the time, but instead, make healthier choices.
For example, swap white table sugar for an alternative, like plant-based stevia or monk fruit. You can also eat fresh fruits and berries to enjoy a more refreshing but still delicious sweet taste. Plus, fruits and berries are naturally hydrating, whereas sugar is dehydrating, which leads to an appearance of dull and parched skin.
Overall, blood sugar imbalances are one of the significant root causes of skin issues. To find out if this is one of your root causes, take our skin personality quiz.
The Sweet News
There is good news about sugar! It isn’t all bad when it is used on the outside of the body. Sugar causes many skin problems from the inside — but used on the outside, it is a natural and useful beauty tool! When used topically, sugar can contribute to radiant and luminous skin on the face and body.
Sugar is beneficial when used outside because it is one of the world’s oldest humectants. This means it pulls moisture from the environment and draws it into the skin. Using a sugar scrub on the skin, especially when combined with another moisturizing agent, helps naturally hydrate your skin. Another benefit of sugar, when used on the skin, is that it is a natural glycolic acid source. Glycolic acid promotes cell turnover to bring out your natural radiance and is typically used to minimize discoloration so you can reveal brighter younger-looking skin.
Sugar scrubs help soften your skin by removing dead skin cells, dirt, pollutants and helps unclog pores. Sugar scrubs are also better to use than salt scrubs. Most of the time, sugar granules are smaller and more gentle than salt granules, predominantly brown sugar. Brown sugar is softer than granulated sugar, so it is useful for sensitive skin, including on the face.
Raw sugar is usually more coarse than other sugar types, so avoid using it on the face.
If you want to try out a sugar exfoliant at home, try my easy 2-ingredient recipe that uses brown sugar and aloe vera gel. Aloe vera gel has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties and easily penetrates the skin to soothe and deliver nourishment quickly. Combine this exfoliant to make a mild and nourishing scrub that is gentle enough to use on your face.
Brown Sugar Exfoliant:
1 tablespoon organic brown sugar
½ teaspoon aloe vera gel
In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar and aloe vera gel. Apply to your body or face and gently massage for two to five minutes. Rinse with warm water and a washcloth. Use only once per week. For the face, I also recommend natural exfoliants specifically made for the face.
Join The Cleanse
Want to learn HOW to kick sugar cravings for good and achieve clean, naturally glowing skin and vibrant health? There’s an actual process — and I’d love to share it with you! Join me on January 25th for my FREE 2-week Clean Skin From Within Reboot! All you need to be successful during this Reboot is a copy of my book, which you can get FREE here, and join our Facebook group here!
Are you looking for some great tips to stop the cravings NOW? – read my article on how to stop sugar cravings.
The Spa Dr.® Approach
At The Spa Dr.® – our approach is to help shine the light on skin care information and offer guidance to nurture your skin care journey. We believe the information we provide will help support your self-care and healing, and we want you to feel safe and cared for within our community!
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I hope you enjoyed these natural beauty tips. Feel free to share them with your friends, and spread the word to promote natural beauty.
I would love to hear about your story. Which strategies have you found to curb the sugar cravings? Do you have a DIY sugar exfoliant recipe you’d love to share?