How Holiday Carbs Can Wreak Havoc On Your Skin, And How To Combat It

Salves, serums and elixirs are great, don’t get us wrong. But if you want a clear and luminous complexion, what you put in your body can be just as important as the products you put on it. It turns out that a diet high in processed foods, especially refined carbohydrates like sugary holiday drinks, salty snacks and packaged baked goods, can wreak havoc on your skin.

All those foods are known to have a high glycemic index, which means they raise your blood sugar quickly. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, studies have shown that a high glycemic diet may cause more pimples. Dr. Courtney Rubin, a dermatologist and the co-founder and chief medical officer of Fig.1, explained why: “Those foods may have a pro-inflammatory effect on the body, leading to flares in inflammatory skin conditions like acne.”

“People who consume larger quantities of refined carbohydrates tend to have higher incidence of acne,” confirmed Dr. Jaimie DeRosa, a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon. DeRosa explained that high-glycemic foods cause a rapid increase of blood glucose and release of insulin, causing the body to produce more oil in the skin. “That overproduction of what’s known as sebum can clog your pores and cause outbreaks,” she said.

What you eat and drink affects how your skin looks.

Refined carbs as a culprit for skin problems is a connection that’s still being explored. “It’s been proven and reported in scientific literature that consuming sugar, for example, triggers acne and inflammation in the skin,” said Dr. Rebecca Marcus, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Maei MD.

Then there’s the matter of your favorite tipple. “Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, and beer in particular, will dehydrate the skin, and that decreased fluid content will speed up the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines,” DeRosa said.

Research continues to find new connections between diet and skin health. “Eating these refined carbohydrates also can damage skin by increasing the production of advanced glycation end products, known as AGEs,” Marcus said. “There’s research indicating that AGEs form when glucose or fructose…

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