How holiday carbs can wreak havoc on your skin, and how to fight them

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

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

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

What you eat and drink affects how your skin looks.

Refined carbohydrates as a culprit for skin problems is a connection that is still being explored. “It has been shown and reported in the scientific literature that consuming sugar, for example, triggers acne and skin inflammation,” She said Dr. Rebecca Markboard certified dermatologist and founder of Maei MD.

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

Research continues to find new connections between diet and skin health. “Eat these refined carbohydrates it can also damage the skin by increasing the production of advanced glycation end products, known as AGEs,” Marcus said. Research indicating that AGEs are formed when glucose or fructose prevents collagen and elastin from repairing easily. This process is accelerated when blood sugar is elevated, which is what happens when you eat highly processed foods.

Here’s how to adjust your diet for clearer skin.

What you feed your body shows up in your skin, so the more you can focus on nourishment and hydration, the better off you’ll be. “Dermatologists recommend eating a healthy, balanced diet, keeping not only your skin in mind but your overall health,” said Dr. Ramone F. Williams, Mohs surgeon, dermatologist, cosmetic surgeon, and faculty member at Harvard Medical School. “If you notice breakouts after eating certain foods, keep a food diary and discuss the findings with your dermatologist.”

As always, moderation is key. “Sometimes people believe that removing carbohydrates completely will improve their skin,” said dermatologist Dr. Nicole Negbenebor. “This may be the case for some patients, but there are other conditions that can worsen with a lack of carbohydrates, such as a condition called ketogenic diet-induced prurigo pigmentosa, or ketone rash, which can develop when patients initially start cutting back. eliminate carbohydrates from their diet. Most people need a healthy balance of carbohydrates, minimally processed fruits and vegetables to see the best condition of their skin.

“Having a well-balanced diet does wonders for your skin,” said Jennifer Weiss, assistant physician at Marmur Medical. “Staying hydrated by sipping water throughout the day will hydrate you from the inside out and make your skin plumper and healthier. Leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, are rich in vitamins C, E, and A, which fight free radical damage to balance our skin’s microbiome. Low-GI foods like fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats help skin glow, reduce inflammation, and help prevent acne.

So you’ve already partaken of the holiday treats. What are you doing now?

If you have a big event coming up and your skin has already started to break out, there are a few things you can do. First, see if your dermatologist can squeeze you (before you start squeezing those pimples yourself). “They may be able to inject acne with a drug that can reduce it quickly,” said dermatologist Dr. Brendan Camp. “A quick and easy cortisone injection into an acne cyst can quickly reduce inflammation and help the blemish shrink within 24 to 48 hours,” Weiss added.

No time for an office visit? Obviously it’s a good idea to switch to a low-carb, high-antioxidant, anti-inflammatory diet well before a big social event, DeRosa said, but if that’s not an option, he suggested an option soon. term as an oxygenating facial.

Check your medicine cabinet to see if you have emergency supplies on hand. “You can also try using an acne stick or patch, which helps draw moisture out of the pimple to make it smaller,” Camp said. “Or using an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream on the affected area can help reduce inflammation and reduce redness and swelling.”

“Some short-term things you can do before a big event may include getting more sleep, increasing your water intake, exercising, and using a hyaluronic acid product,” Negbenebor said.. A mask can provide a temporary look of fullness or increased hydration for a few hours.

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