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Monday, December 7, 2015

I’m sensitive to sugar—are you?

I have not only written a lot of articles about sugar and skin health, but I’ve also mentioned how sensitive I am to sugar and how it has affected my skin since I was in my 20s. The following is just one example of how sensitive I am to sugar.

One holiday season I was given some delectable chocolate-covered almonds. Dark chocolate, to boot—my favorite. I didn’t want to eat them because I knew I would break out. But I didn’t want to throw the gift away, so I put them in the freezer, hoping I would forget about them. Of course, the best layed plans; there I was and there they were—just waiting for me to come eat them whenever I chose to. And I did.

If you’ve read some of my previous writing about skin and sugar, you know I’ve said that to the best of my ability I don’t eat sugary foods two days in a row. But I had a deadline and was working long hours at home, and by the end of the day I just wanted a little taste of sweet—so I reached for these freezer goodies. I ate only three candied almonds each night, for three nights. By the third night I had breakout that was obvious and also a few places inside my mouth that were sensitive—just waiting to become canker sores.

I’m telling you about this in the hope of illustrating how sensitive to sugar some people can be. And if you are one of those people and you eat the equivalent of what I ate or more, then the skin problems that you are currently experiencing are very likely the product of your sugar addiction. I make no bones about it—sugar can wreak havoc with your skin.

Eating three of anything isn’t very much, but for me and my body’s sensitivity to sugar, it was enough to cause skin problems. I mention this because I have had countless clients come in saying they don’t eat that much sugar. And I’m here to say it simply doesn’t take that much—for some people.

I’m no angel. I have my moments and can be seen going down the grocery store frozen food aisle with a pint of Häagen-Dazs ice cream in my cart (Yes, I eat ice cream!) or my latest favorite: Milk Duds. But that is an exception, not the rule for me. And through years of experiencing how sugar affects my body, I know what will most likely happen when I eat that glorious ice cream. For me, eating sweets is a decision based on awareness. And that awareness has come through trial and error and eventually solid data accumulated through my own life experiences.

I will say, now that I am menopausal, sugar doesn’t make my skin break out as much as it did even just 5 years ago, but it does (still) affect my blood sugar. This fact continues to keep me watchful of how much sugar I am ingesting.

By the way, immediately after eating a sugary food, I march into my bathroom and brush my teeth. I’m sure my dentist would be proud of me! We all know from being kids that sugar causes tooth decay, which is a fact that doesn’t change when you are an adult. Once I have thoroughly brushed my teeth, I proceed to drink water. Water will help dilute the concentrated sugars, hopefully helping my body to process these toxins more easily.

Even though I may have a little breakout from eating the ice cream or other sweet delight, I want to live a well-rounded life and abstaining from everything all of the time is definitely not how I want to live. I don’t eat sugar very often, but when I do, I try to do healthy things to offset the negative effects of my activities.

You’re right on about sugar. I’m not much of a sweet eater, but if I do indulge in something sugary, I notice the pimples in a day or two. Thank you for your help!

For a few more articles about sugar and your skin, see:
HOT TIP: You don’t need sugar—you are sweet enough!