Is Eating Sugar Bad for Your Skin?

We all know that eating fatty junk foods like burgers, pizza, bacon, and chocolate is unhealthy for us and almost always leads to skin issues like acne and breakouts. Most people assume that this is because of the fat content in these foods, but recent research shows that it’s actually the sugar that causes these conditions.

Further research shows that excessive sugar consumption can also increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes, among other maladies, so it makes sense that it would wreak havoc on one’s skin as well.

To learn more about what a diet high in sugar can do to your skin, read on as we explore the leading-edge research on the topic.  If you have Eczema like myself make sure to check out my article on common foods to look out for in your diet.

How Can Sugar Affect Your Skin?

First things first. Whenever you eat high-glycemic foods (fancy talk for foods that quickly turn into sugar as soon as they hit the bloodstream), the body transforms the carbs in these foods into glucose. This will increase your insulin levels, causing inflammation throughout the body. This is especially prevalent with simple carbohydrates like soda, white bread, refined sugar and desserts, etc.

Inflammation leads to enzyme production that actually works against elastin and collagen production. This is what causes wrinkles, sagging skin and other signs of early aging. A process of glycation happens where the digested sugar attaches itself permanently into your skin’s collagen, thus aging your skin can cause rosacea, acne and other skin conditions.

Eating excessive amounts of sugar can also increase your chances of becoming insulin resistant. The main symptoms of this condition include dark patch development and hair grown in body creases and on the neck. Needless to say, it’s not a pretty picture.

It’s also important to have an understanding of how the glycemic index works. This is basically a scale that’s used to determine the rate at which blood sugar levels increase in reaction to the consumption of certain foods. That’s why you’ll find that most foods have a label depicting whether they’re high or low in the glycemic index to help people make healthier food choices.

Other Possible Effects of Sugar on Your Skin

Apart from its ability to deplete collagen stores and production, sugar has other health complications to consider.

Experts reports that foods that are high in sugar can lead to advanced glycation, which in turn causes the following:

  • Acanthosis Nigrican: This condition manifests as darkened skin with a velvety texture on your underarms, elbow and fingertip folds as well as on the back of your neck.
  • Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum: This refers to a waxy plaque that appears on the anterior shins and is usually yellowish-brown in color.
  • Scleredema Adultorum: This manifests hardened and thick skin particularly on the back of your neck as well as on the chest, back, and upper shoulders.


We get it; sugary foods are tasty. But, the effects they have on your skin will make you forget all about how scrumptious they were. While it’s virtually impossible to avoid sugar and carbohydrates, try your best to stick to healthier sources of sugar and limit your overall consumption of it. Your skin will thank you!

I grew up with a mild to severe case of Eczema. I'm all about skin care tips, good eating, skin cream reviews, and healthy & positive living!