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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Sugar’s effect on skin: 2 Case Studies

Although sugar intake causes many ill-effects in different areas of the body, here I am going to explore the problem that I deal with in my profession, which is sugar’s effect on skin. During the next several months I will be posting a few case studies straight from my skin care salons. These clients all had issues with sugar consumption that were causing problems with their skin, sometimes unknowingly. I hope these stories will bring more awareness about the detrimental effects of sugar and shed some light if you suffer with problem skin.

Case study: Gretchen

Gretchen came in for her first facial. She had widespread breakout over her whole face; small red infected places that were persistent. As I examined her skin I figured it was sugar consumption but kept from saying anything until I had more information.

She had recently gone through a round of antibiotics from her dermatologist, which brought her little relief from the breakouts. I explained that she was probably contributing unknowingly to her condition and until we discovered how, antibiotics or any other therapy was only going to be a temporary solution. As long as she was feeding her problem, the problem would continue to grow.

Finally I asked about her diet. I asked her to tell me the bad stuff she ate. She said she didn’t really eat bad things, but she probably drank too much coffee. How much coffee? “About 2-4 cups a day—at least.” Do you put anything in it, I asked. “Yes, I put sugar, one packet per cup of coffee.” Bingo—we hit the jackpot. Gretchen was ingesting 2-4 teaspoons of sugar (that we know about) every day. (As I have said in previous writing on sugar, it’s interesting how we don’t think about the obvious sugar we have in our diet. 

She couldn’t believe sugar was causing the problem. She had never heard that sugar was bad for skin and certainly didn’t realize it was creating the breakouts she had been experiencing. I hear this from most people I break the news to. They just don’t have a conscious awareness of this very simple compound that is creating problems with their skin. Obviously, this is one of the main things I am trying to change. Sugar causes breakouts.

Although she had a tough time reducing her sugar intake, Gretchen did see a change for the better in her skin. At least now she is holding the reins and is at the controls of her breakouts.

Case study: Anne

Anne called me concerned with scarring on her face. She was also concerned about a hormone imbalance she was experiencing. She had deep cysts on her face that itched and hurt and stayed red for a long time. Rather than addressing the breakout as I normally would, asking about a possible link to sugar, I chose to focus on the hormone imbalance.

Another concern for Anne was severe and painful menstrual cramping, and I recommended evening primrose oil to help. She was very well-versed in homeopathy and other natural studies. She had worked with a kinesiologist and believed in muscle testing. Anne had been muscle tested for evening primrose in the past, and her doctor’s test results always came up with a “no” for using it. I asked her if she was willing to bypass the muscle testing and just try evening primrose oil for a course of treatment for at least one month, although three months would be better. This way her body would have time to show some results. The primrose might help with the painful menstruation as well as her skin problems.

I finally asked Anne about sugar, and she said some amazing things. She intentionally did not read the chapter in Timeless Skin on sugar (Chapter 13). She skipped it on purpose because she figured it would have things to say about sugar she didn’t want to hear. She proceeded to tell me her sugar intake was immense and intense. I told Anne I would be happy to help her with her sugar addiction, but first she should read that chapter. I also recommended reading Sugar Blues by William Dufty, an excellent book about sugar addiction. After that, I thought she would have some background and that she also might be ready to make the necessary changes.

Christiane Northrup, in her brilliant and essential book, The Wisdom of Menopause, talks about how sugar can cause cramping. Sugar was no doubt the key to unlocking Anne’s problem skin and possibly her problems with severe cramping during menstruation. With all the knowledge she had about how to take care of her body and what to do and what not to do, Anne still chose to ignore the most obvious culprit contributing to her problems: the Evil Sugar! Are you avoiding the obvious? Take a look and see.

I’ve written For a few more articles about how sugar intake affects skin, read: