Guest blog contributed by Dr Sam Robson, GP and MD at Temple Clinic
With it being Sugar Awareness Week (20-26 January 2020), this provides the perfect opportunity to look at the impact that sugar can have on your skin and in particular its relationship with acne.
Acne starts with blocked skin follicles (pores). This prevents the easy flow of the natural skin oils onto the skin. These blocked pores become overfilled with a collection of these skin oils – providing a perfect environment and rich food supply for the acne bacteria which live on our skin. These bacteria thrive causing inflammation which in turn results in spots.
Sugar by itself does not cause acne.
But steep insulin spikes increase the production of skin oils which clogs follicles, and worsens skin complexion.
Sugar by itself does not cause acne. However, sugar and other foods with a high glycaemic index have been shown to exacerbate problem skin. Foods with a high glycaemic index (think refined carbohydrates and “fast food” – fizzy drinks, sweets, white bread, white rice and any highly processed food) are rapidly absorbed by the body causing a rise in blood glucose (sugar) which in turn causes a rise in insulin levels. Steep insulin spikes increase the production of skin oils and contribute to the clogging of follicles, which can, in turn, worsen skin complexion.
Understanding the glycaemic index scale (which ranks how quickly blood sugar levels rise after ingesting different foods) can be very helpful when it comes to making the right choices in your diet – for susceptible individuals, this can have a significant impact on your skin.
Making smart choices – choosing foods with a lower glycaemic index such as vegetables, fruit or unrefined carbohydrates (brown bread, brown rice, whole grains) can thus make a significant difference. These foods won’t cause those high spikes of insulin production in your body and so are much less likely to result in a flare-up of troublesome acne. A sugar-free diet, in conjunction with other treatments, could help you to become spot-free.