Halloween is upon us. This means shorter days, crisper weather, fall colors and lots and lots of candy. That orange plastic pumpkin is now taunting you with an overflowing variety of sweet goodness in every flavor. The justification is that Halloween candy is usually bite-size, so what’s the harm in having one or two or three…or four or five? A little indulgence here and there isn’t going to end the world. But before you start diving into that Halloween candy, let’s take a closer look at what sugar does to your skin, because the truth is, the lasting effects of excessive sugar consumption are a bit scary.
Our skin is a reflection of what is happening inside our bodies. If your body is at war with the food you are ingesting, it’s going to show on your face in the form of wrinkles, breakouts or rosacea. When you eat refined sugars, whether it’s in the shape of a cupcake, candy bar, white bread or soda, your body breaks down the sugar in these simple carbohydrates and turns it into glucose. Glucose is the sugar in your blood, and is an important energy source for your body. However, refined sugars cause a spike in your insulin levels, which leads to inflammation, and inflammation breaks down the collagen in your skin.
We all know that collagen is what gives your skin elasticity and strength. When that collagen is broken down, you’ll develop wrinkles and be left with dull, sagging looking skin. This process is called glycation. Glycation is when the sugar in your bloodstream attach to proteins and form AGEs. The more sugar you eat, the more AGEs you develop, which causes an acceleration in the aging process, exacerbates rosacea and causes breakouts.
Not all sugar is bad though. Fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains all contain sugar as well. However, these are made of simple, natural sugars that are accompanied by vitamins, proteins and fiber that will slow down the absorption of the sugar and moderates your glucose level. But as mentioned before, a little indulgence here or there isn’t going to cause lasting damaging effects. As with anything, it’s all about moderation. So don’t feel too guilty when you grab a bite-sized piece of your favorite Halloween candy—but perhaps only one or two.