Insights: Sugar & Skin!


It won’t come as any surprise to you that sugar has a negative effect on your skin. It’s not a revelation and I’m not telling you something you don’t already know. We’ve heard all the (real) hype about it. It’s a fact. Whether we choose to ignore it or not, it’s still a fact.

However, knowing it and actually seeing the results are two very different things. Which is why I am enlightening you. I recently saw the hard evidence myself. And it was a bit of a coincidence that I discovered it. Obviously I know that sugar is not good for you in many ways. It has a profound effect on the body and puts it into overdrive, having to over-perform to compensate for the damage caused. It always annoyed me when I read that one of the best things you could do for your skin is to cut out sugar because a) I love chocolate and b) although I don’t believe it is a myth, I didn’t want it to be true because of a).

After a couple of months of living life too well, I don’t necessarily mean partying, just eating and drinking what I wanted when I wanted, I decided to have a little detox. Not any sort of detox programme or true detox diet. A detox my way. I wanted to shed a few pounds, nothing too excessive and I generally wanted to achieve a healthier lifestyle and feel good.

My main focus was cutting out sugar, not cutting it down but cutting it out. And when I say sugar, I mean added sugar, not natural sugar food in fruit. By most peoples standards I don’t eat much sugar, I don’t touch sugary drinks, ever (it’s water all the way - unless its champagne which was most definitely out on this detox), cakes (unless it involves chocolate), sweets, breakfast cereals, shop bought sauces or ready meals. As I hinted before, chocolate is my only vice. I’ll have a croissant now and again in a coffee shop but not regularly. So, as you can see, for me to cut sugar out of my diet, it involved ditching the champagne (or any alcohol) and chocolate predominantly. I generally don’t beat myself up for eating chocolate or having a few alcoholic beverages a couple (or three) times a week. However, following my detox, it was clear to say that even a small amount of added sugar per day will have a negative effect on your skin.

My detox involved smoothies for breakfast, soup or salad for lunch (with no bread) and roasted vegetables for dinner. Any dressing or sauces I ate were home made. I didn’t snack in between and I managed to stay clear of my two vices (chocolate and champagne) for about three weeks. Now the reason I can tell you in no uncertain terms that sugar has a detrimental effect on the skin is because I never saw my skin looking so good in a very long time. I’m only talking from my own personal experience.

I have dehydrated skin which suffers from a little sensitivity and the odd breakout if I overindulge. So in the cold weather (which is when I did this detox) my skin is always red, sensitive and generally angry. I don’t have any serious issues but I wouldn’t go out without makeup as there is usually something going on that needs covering up.

Coming up to two weeks into my detox, I noticed that my skin was looking really good, it came as a surprise as I wasn’t necessarily detoxing just for my skin. I expected to see a little more hydration in my skin but I was generally amazed at the positive effect of not eating sugar was having on my skin. It was free of those under skin bumps you get, blemishes, redness or any irritation. It was totally even toned and yes I did go out without foundation on occasion because I didn’t have anything to conceal (apart from under eyes and around the nose, the usual culprits).

In the past, if I have overindulged on drink or food, my skin will suffer more than usual but it settles back to ‘normal’ after a few days of not overindulging. But this was something else. My skin was more hydrated and plump. So it’s not just about drinking more water to keep your body’s hydration levels up there, it is also about cutting out the foods that strip your body of hydration and attack collagen.

Forget buying fancy creams and serums to tackle your skin issues. Just cut out sugar. If only it was that simple. Following my detox, yes I did start to eat chocolate again and drink champagne so my flawless skin was less flawless. So, I’m not here to preach to you. I know it’s not easy. But if you have willpower and trouble with your skin, cut out sugar totally for a few weeks and see what happens. It works!