Back in December, I attempted to test a theory. I was going to go off of sugar for one week and see if there is a relationship between sugar intake and breakouts. I admitted one week wouldn’t be long enough, but wanted to break up the ‘test’ in small parts thinking it would be easier to stick with. I even started a blog post about it. Needless to say I don’t remember Wednesday of that week. I completely forgot I started the post and conveniently put the idea of sugar and acne out of mind. The idea of eliminating sugar from my diet seemed impossible. I told myself the multivitamins and supplements I’m taking will do the trick. I just need to give it more time.
As a kid, I was insanely addicted to sugar. The only thing that saved me from having serious weight issues as a kid and young adult was my mother’s ability to eat half of a fifty cent candy bar and let the rest sit in the fridge for days on end. If she didn’t buy it, I couldn’t eat it. Chances are the sugary things she did buy at the grocery store in the afternoon would not have survived by sundown.
I started to get control of my sugar issues in my late twenties / early thirties. Thinking back, it was a slow process. I started by eating healthier forms of sugar for my fix and tweaked my diet over time. My moments of ‘sugar insanity’ appeared all too often.
Fast forward three months and the multivitamins, zinc and fish oil supplements have not ‘cured’ me. That is what every acne sufferer wants right? …A nice, relatively simple, cure. Everyone’s body is different so the supplements may just be the answer for some people. If you’re one, God bless. Unfortunately, I’m not. Don’t get me wrong, the supplements did and do help. It slows down my outbreaks (except around my menstrual / hormonal spikes) and it also helps heal them faster, but it does not prevent it. This was most important for me because the zit remnants (hyper-pigmentation) last months at a time and is a constant reminder.
First thing every morning (and nearly 100 times throughout the day) I inspect my face for new arrivals and departures. Recently, I reached my breaking point. I was overwhelmed with anger, frustration and sadness. The breakouts just would not stop. What is causing it? I delved back into some serious Google-ing and found my problem…
It’s sugar. SUGAR! Could it be? The one thing that has comforted me when I’m sad; helped me celebrate; got me through boredom; gave me energy for my workouts and kept fat on my belly has caused my acne. SON OF A…..
What is the connection between acne and sugar? Simply put, an intake of refined sugar causes a rapid rise in blood sugar. In order to get rid of the excess sugar from your blood, the body releases a rush of various hormones (one of them being insulin) to move the sugar to the cells in your body. Most of the sugar goes to the cells of the liver and muscle. The liver does amazing things for the body, including filtering unwanted and harmful substances from the body. Once the cells in the liver are filled with sugar, the rest is transformed into fat (mine has an express route to my gut). Some peoples’ livers aren’t strong enough to handle all of the sugar and lower insulin levels. If so, the body responds to the surge of sugar and fat by sending it to the next level of defense to excrete it through the skin. The sebum glands then become overactive. The excess oil is trapped in the pores of the skin where common bacteria feeds on it – forming acne.
In all my other acne research, I must have read something about the relationship between sugar and acne, but obviously I wasn’t ready to accept it. Removing refined sugar from my diet is a massive decision for me, much harder than leaving meat behind. Once I reached my breaking point, the decision was crystal clear and fairly easy. Sugar causes acne and acne causes misery. Simple.
Maybe the prolonged effect of my diet change will strengthen my liver after a lifetime of abuse. The liver does regenerate itself. Hopefully, my body will be able to process sugar without giving me a zit(s).
I will wait one month to judge if this change is truly effective and report back. Hopefully I will have good news.