If you’re after great looking skin – it’s time to ditch the sugar!

With the increased interest in anti-ageing, eating foods which benefit the skin and keep us looking healthy, is now pretty high up on people’s lists.

Most of us are aware and subscribe to the notion that ‘we are what we eat’ – this is especially true when it comes to the consumption of sugar and the condition of our skin.

Here, we’ll take a quick look at the effect sugar can have on the skin.

Sugar and Ageing

A common question we hear here in the clinic is - ‘will what I eat help reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles?’ - put simply, the answer is – YES!

Scientists are advocates of this view as recent research undertaken at the Leiden University Medical Centre in conjunction with Unilever in the UK supports this way of thinking.


The research team examined the blood sugar levels of 600 people aged between 50-70 years. Their results showed that those indentified with higher levels of blood sugar levels looked older than those with lower sugar levels.

For every 1mm/litre increase in blood sugar, the estimated age of that person rose by five months.

Glycation is the chemical process which links sugar and premature ageing.

Glycation occurs when blood sugar levels are high and the sugar molecules circulate in the blood and bind to other components to create protein-sugar complexes. These are referred to as ‘advanced glycation end-products’ or AGEs.

These can trigger an inflammatory response, causing tissue damage and premature ageing. It’s believed that the speed and rate at which glycation occurs is linked to the amount of sugar intake a person has.

Too much sugar can leave the skin looking dull, pallid, wrinkled and lacking in elasticity.

Sugar and spots

Sugare and spots

Someone who hasa diet high in sugar is more likely to suffer from regular acne breakouts.

Celebrities such as Kendal Jenner who has publicly struggled with acne in the past, cited a change in their diets as a key contributing factor to tackling their skin issues. No doubted prompted by their dermatologists to kick the sugar to the kerb.

The Glycemic Index is a measure of sugar content in a food. Studies have recently shown that patients who consume food which score high on the Glycemic Index- tend to be those suffering with moderate to severe acne.

Interestingly, we find that patients are far more aware of the effects of dairy on their acne breakouts but aren’t as well informed when it comes to the issue of sugar which is just as detrimental.

High sugar intake can lead to a chain of inflammatory reactions within the body, which will appear and manifest itself on the skin as ‘acne pustules’.

It’s widely believed that excessive sugar consumption can trigger high levels of Insulin – this in turn can lead to an increased production of oil and proliferation of skin cells, causing blocked pores, leading to spots.

Breakouts, for many, can leave acne scars which can be difficult and time consuming to treat.

Eat your way to good skincare!

An easy way to watch the amount of sugar you consume is to avoid white foods.

Rice, pasta, potatoes and white bread all contain high level of simple sugars and have very little nourishing properties.

White _Foods

The trick on knowing what to eat is to focus on colours!

Naturally colourful products have much more micro and macro elements that will have a positive influence on your body, not to mention the fact that they are loaded with powerful antioxidants in their purest form. 

Eating foods that contain high levels of anti-oxidants such as apples, broccoli, avocado and fish are great for maintaining and promoting good skin health.

Fruits and vegetables rich in water such as cucumbers and lettuce, support cell hydration to encourage and enhance skin plumpness.

Don’t hesitate the next time you see watermelon on offer!


Our body also needs good fats. You should have fresh fish 3 times a week if you can. Fish is a source of Omega – 3 Fatty Acids which is essential for cell membranes functions.

Look after yourself!

We have a whole raft of effective treatments to reverse the signs of ageing  such as line and wrinkle smoothing and dermal fillers, however the biggest focus should be on preventative actions and measures.

A step in the right direction is to ensure that you have a healthy and balanced diet which involves reducing your sugar intake.

Taking this holistic approach will work on a number of levels not just on the condition of your skin!

By Simone Golumb and GosiaLiszewska, Transform Aestheticians