I just realised that there is not one article on the effects of sugar on my site, which is strange considering that quitting sugar was the first step in clearing my skin of acne.
I have always been a big fan of sweets and desserts. Baking my own cakes and making desserts became my passion, as I thought the commercially available ones tasted awful. Cake and dessert recipes were bookmarked and no time was wasted in trying them out. Among my friends and family, I am known as the person who makes the best cakes.
Who ate the most of the cakes I made at home? Well ME!! It was no coincidence that at the time my forehead had loads of tiny bumps, which would not budge. My face was also full of acne. I tried all possible treatments for them. Medical peels, tea tree oil, benzoyl peroxide, drugstore products. Nothing worked.
Here is what I looked like. And to be honest this picture is not that bad. My acne was far worse.
In May 2012, I went into a state of depression because of my acne. I was undergoing treatment at the time, at a very reputed skin clinic and the technician had just sent me home because she could not do the laser treatment that day as my acne was bad. Effectively, to me, what she was saying was that my acne was so bad, that nothing would work for me. Long story short, I decided I was never again seeing another medical professional about my acne.
I researched for days about what causes acne and what works and what doesn’t. One big eye-opener was the fact that diet has a lot to do with acne. I always knew sugar was not great for anyone, but I thought the only thing excessive sugar can cause is diabetes.
So how does sugar cause acne? The truth is sugar alone does not cause acne. If that was the case everyone who ate any form of sugar would get acne. We all know that is not true. I know people who eat massive amounts of sugar and have the clearest skin. Unfair as it seems, that is just how it is. Some people like you and me are just predisposed to acne. Again unfair, but let’s just focus on what happens when we eat sugar and what can be done about it.
So say you are predisposed to acne. Your facial skin does not shed the same as a person with clear skin. So the dead skin cells stick around on your face leading to blocked pores. The oil builds up in the pores. Now if your body is in a state of inflammation, the acne bacteria, which are present in everyone’s skin, take this oil build up, as a breeding ground thereby making the hair follicle get inflamed and a cyst to form. So we have inflamed nodules on our face.
So what causes this inflammation? Sugar!! Sugar makes the body’s insulin levels rise which leads to increased inflammation in the body. This increased inflammation is in no way good for acne. Digested sugar also permanently attaches itself to the collagen in your skin through a process known as glycation. This not only ages a person faster but makes skin conditions like acne and rosacea worse. If you keep eating more and more sugar you’ll develop insulin resistance, which can result in excess hair growth on the face in women, bald patches on the scalp and dark patches on the neck and body.
So what can we do? Simple. Give up sugar. I’ll be honest, giving up sugar was torture, but the pain and depression that I suffered when I had acne, was much much worse. This is what I looked like 4 weeks after giving up sugar.
So how do you give up sugar? Start small by cutting out obviously sweet things like cakes, biscuits, fizzy sweet drinks. Use your taste buds as a guide, if it tastes sweet you are better off not eating it. Fruits in moderation are ok, but not fruit juices. Replace sweet treats with nuts, dry fruit, cheese, savoury snacks. Even if the savoury snacks are unhealthy it’s okay to eat them when you’re trying to cut out sugar. Cutting out sugar is really really hard. Deprive yourself of everything all in one shot and you are sure to fall off the wagon.
If you drink tea and coffee with sugar, just cut down the amount. So instead of 2 teaspoons, cut down to 1 3/4, then 1 1/2, then lesser as you get used to the reduced amount. You don’t have to cut this out completely. One teaspoon of sugar in your tea is fine.
As your body detoxes from the sugar you’ll feel better. During the time you’re starting your sugar detox, plan to watch movies or go on long walks with friends. When you start craving sugar, do something you love. Each time I had a sugar craving, I watched funny serials that I liked. Another way to counteract the sugar craving was to brush my teeth. For some reason, this worked really well.
Everyone’s body is different so the time it takes to see a change might vary from 1 week to a month, but do stick to it as I can assure you the results will be great.
If you want further details on how to quit sugar, check out this article.