Sugar and your Skin

CIRCUIT BREAKER – NO BUBBLE TEA, BUT BETTER SKIN?

 

Why this circuit breaker may actually help you ending up with younger-looking skin and free of acne.

We all know how Singaporeans are obsessed with bubble tea. When our government announced more restrictions of essential services on April 21st, which means closure of dessert shops, chocolate shops and bubble tea outlets, we can literally hear the cries and screams of agony. The queue on that night was evident. What social distancing?!?!

With the circuit breaker extended for a further 4 weeks until June 1st, it is not all doom and gloom. In this post, we are going to enlighten all readers about how this circuit breaker not only will help to break the chain of Coronavirus transmission, but it will also leave you with younger-looking and skin!

First thing first, we will explain why we eat and crave sugar so much, before we explain how a low sugar diet can help your appearance in the long term.

Why do we crave sugar?

There are many reasons why we often crave a sweet treat after every meal.

Sugar cravings are common and can often be attributed to a bad diet, or a bad habit that has been programmed in your brain.

How bad diets cause sugar cravings:

  1. High-carbs diet à simple carbohydrates enter the bloodstream fast and raise your blood sugar level fast, subsequently raising insulin levels à resulting in a drop in the glucose level in the bloodstream à more sugar cravings
  2. Low-protein diet à protein and fats slow the release of sugar into your bloodstream. Low protein intake cause rise and fall of blood sugar at an abnormal rate à more craving of quick energy from sugar.

Other conditions that can cause sugar cravings:

  1. Sleep deprivation or poor sleep habits – abnormal regulation levels of hormone ghrelin and leptin (hormones which promote and suppress food intake) à more sugar cravings
  2. Stress – increase in cortisol level will alter your circulating level of glucose and insulin. Your body quickly uses its energy stores while in overdrive à more sugar cravings
  3. Depression or bad mood – sugar consumption increases serotonin level temporarily, serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and appetite – you feel happier temporarily. When the effects diminish, your brain craves this happy chemical again and again à more sugar cravings.

The bitter truth about sugar and your skin

It is a well-known fact that sugar is not good for your health. We know high sugar intake contribute to diabetes and heart disease as well as your increasing waistline. But what a lot of people don’t know is that consuming a lot of sugar is also bad for your skin. High sugar intake will exacerbate acne issues as well as cause premature skin-ageing.

Really???

Yes, really.

What is the connection between sugar and acne?

 

Let us start with the basics

When you look at food, try to analyze its GI or Glycemic Index.

The Glycemic Index helps you to measure how that particular carbohydrate/food affect your blood glucose level.

Basically, food with high GI will cause your blood glucose to spike and crash, and food with low GI has carbohydrates which are digested slowly and released slowly into the blood stream.

When we consume sugar or high GI foods, our body will rapidly breakdown these simple carbohydrate complexes into glucose. Our body will subsequently detect this high glucose level and “switch on” the hyperdrive mode in our insulin production.

Isn’t insulin good for our body?

Yes, after all, insulin is what converts those simple carbohydrates to glycogen (the storage form of carbohydrates in our body) and lower the sugar level in our blood. However, a spike of insulin level in the body will lead to what a lot of dermatologists describe as “a burst of inflammation throughout the body.”

An increase in inflammation in the skin, will result in more acne and breakouts, as the key component to the formation of acne is inflammation. Additionally, our sebum (oil) production in the skin is proportionately related to high insulin production.

“Do you notice your skin becomes oilier when you consume more sugar?”

 

With an increased level of sebum production and high inflammation levels, it is no surprise that our skin will end up with more acne.

No more desserts and bubble tea due to enhanced circuit breaker measures? Do not fret as it can indirectly keep acne at bay, leaving us with clearer-looking skin.

How about sugar and ageing-skin?

We all know how important collagen and elastin is in our skin. When we age, the production of collagen and elastin slows down, and hence that suppleness that we take for granted when we were young starts to diminish.

In addition to that, high sugar level in our bloodstream also can exacerbate this ageing process.

 

When there are high levels of sugar swimming freely in our bloodstream, these free-flowing sugar molecules bind with both collagen and elastin in our skin, in a process called “glycation” to form AGE (Advanced Glycation End products). These AGEs increases the breakdown of collagen fibers and cause these collagen fibers to become stiff and brittle, therefore causing premature ageing in your skin.

Another fact that we all need to be aware of is that “Sugar dehydrates your skin”.

When we have too much sugar in our blood, our kidneys will go into “overdrive” trying to get rid of all the excess sugar. This will cause us to urinate more, thus losing more fluids. If we don’t drink more water to compensate for this, we will easily become dehydrated. Often, when you begin to feel thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. This cause our skin to become dry and brittle.

Losing both collagen and elastin as well as being dehydrated is not a good strategy if you want to maintain healthy, youthful skin.

Sounds like having no access to bubble tea and sweet treats is somewhat a blessing in disguise right? Our skin will have less collagen and elastin degradation and by the end of this circuit breaker, we should all look better, or perhaps 10 years younger! 😊

Does this mean we cannot eat sugar?

For clear and healthy skin, you want to avoid the processed sugar, especially in those found in bubble tea and dessert, as well as simple carbohydrates, like rice, pasta and noodles, but you don’t need to be too militant about it.

What sugar you should avoid?

Simple carbohydrates are your skin’s worst enemy. Try to avoid foods which have high glycaemic index like white bread, ice cream, pasta, pizzas and packaged snacks, soda and bubble tea.

What kind of sugar should you eat?

Opt for complex carbohydrates, like brown rice and vegetables. Additionally, if you want healthy, clear and glowing skin, try to include healthy fats (like avocados and olive oil), antioxidants (like berries), fiber (like broccoli) and lean protein (like salmon) in your diet.

In addition to the above advice, your skin also needs some care and pampering:

  1. Get plenty of sleep
  2. Hydrate well
  3. Regularly cleanse your face
  4. Exfoliate twice weekly
  5. Don’t forget your sunscreen and moisturizer everyday
  6. Use serum with Vitamin C or retinol for its anti-ageing property
  7. Regular maintenance with your aesthetic doctor and facial therapists

Side Note

Sugar can also impact your immune system. According to a study done few years ago, 100 grams of sugar can make your white blood cells – the ones in charged of killing the bacteria and viruses – 40% less effective at killing the germs.

This is bad news especially in this Covid-19 pandemic. If your immune system cannot function adequately, you will become more susceptible to the coronavirus infection.

The circuit breaker implemented by our government is intended to curb the transmission of coronavirus through social distancing. It also has the added benefit of helping to improve your immune system and achieve better-looking skin! If we remain positive and preserve, we will emerge victoriously from this circuit breaker against coronavirus with a healthier body and beautiful skin.

#STAYSAFE #STAYHOME #SGUNITED

 


 

The opinion in this blog is based on our extensive research and our own personal experience. For more information and prices, please contact us via WhatsApp or Call us at +65 96565380. T&Cs apply.

Written by Dr Shirley Kwee
Dr Shirley Kwee

Dr Shirley Kwee is Privé’s resident doctor with over 2 years of experience in medical aesthetics. Approachable and friendly, she adopts a holistic approach towards medical enhancements and believes that confidence is beauty.


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