While we typically recommend reducing consumption of sugar (read more about how sugar and other high-glycemic foods affect acne here) to help combat acne, we also believe in #balance. There will be a time—a birthday, a holiday, a fun night out—when you have too much sugar and that’s okay! There are things you can do to mitigate the effect of sugar on your body, hormones, and therefore, your skin.
Skincare Tip: Sugar Recovery. So you had the ice cream (yum) or perhaps another sugary sweet. No need to feel guilty, we all need a #treatyourself moment every once in a while! Here are 5 things you can do to combat the blood sugar rise and drop and minimize the effect on your hormones—and your skin.
1. Exercise! The best way to bring down your blood sugar (and mitigate an insulin response) is to exercise. Your muscles will use the sugar instead of storing it. Even something as simple as a light walk after dinner can have a big impact...plus it can help with digestion.
2. Have some fat: Eat a handful of nuts or a spoon full of nut butter (loaded with fat and protein) to slow the digestion of the sugar and reduce your spike in insulin.
3. Hydrate: Drinking water or herbal teas will dilute your blood sugar and cause you to urinate a lot of it out. However, make sure not to drink too much at once as you can deplete your electrolyte levels and be especially careful if you have any type of kidney problems or heart problems.
4. Get a good night sleep: Sleep deprivation decreases the release of growth hormones and increases cortisol levels. Both of these play an important role in blood sugar control.
5. Rebalance tomorrow: Eat a low-sugar, nutrient-dense diet the next day. You can start with a breakfast high in protein, moderate in fat, and low in carbs. Not only will it help stabilize your blood sugar levels but will set the next day off on a good tone. Simply trying to cut calories or skipping a meal can make you more ravenous later on more likely to reach high-glycemic foods.
6. Move on!: While it’s important to clean up your diet to help clear up your acne, we also like to follow the 80/20 rule (or 90/10). The idea is that 80-90% of the time you eat a clean, healthy, acne-friendly diet. The other 10-20%, well that’s your safety net for special occasions and “slip ups”. The worst thing you can do is stress out about a treat meal (or day)...that stress may wreak more havoc on your skin than the foods themselves. Enjoy, chill out, move on :).
7. Skincare Always remember: While a good diet is certainly helpful as part of your acne treatment, the most important part of acne treatment is a good skincare routine with the consistent application of the right products for your skin. This includes effective, topical, anti-acne medications, along with the right cleanser and moisturizer. A good diet and anti-acne treatment along with other lifestyle changes can produce significant improvement in your acne.
Check out the MDacne app for full (free!) skin analysis and product recommendations for your unique skin.