Can Sugar Cause Acne Or Is That A Myth?

There are many factors you need to take into account when deciding what the cause of acne could be, overload on sebum production, the effect of hormones, acne causing bacteria and some more, but can sugar cause acne as well? Whether diet is one of the many factors or not, is still debatable.

Everyone likes sugar, it is addictive and we know it is bad when consumed in a great amount at once. Is acne one of the many bad things related to sugar? Let’s go through a few things about sugar shall we?

My Experience With Sugar

I have been suffering from acne since I was 18, when I turned 22, that’s when it got really bad. I wished I had taken better care of my skin, but like many things in life, we only start regretting when the problem becomes a little too hard or serious.

When I started going to the dermatologist, I could see some improvement, but very minor.

Til this day I still go to the dermatologist occasionally, and I still have trouble sometimes with outbreaks, but definitely not as much or as bad as it used to be.

I wouldn’t say it is all thanks to the antibiotics and the compound ointment prescribed by the dermatologist, they did help, no jokes about that, but my acne started breaking out again once I stopped using them.

Personally, I tried a lot of treatments, from professional advice to online shopping and research. I think one of the things that  helped me clear up my skin the most naturally, is my diet. Just by changing my diet by a slight amount, and I could already notice a great difference on my skin.

Sugar was my everything, I would consume simple sugar every day, and not even in small amounts. One day my dermatologist started talking to me about the things I could try, and told me to try tracking my own diet. That’s how I came to realize that sugar was doing me more harm than I expected.

I had no choice but to find a way to suppress my cravings. Eliminating simple sugar from my diet may not have cured my acne, but it was the one causing my acne to become worse for sure.

The Things Sugar Can Do

There are more and more studies suggesting that sugar is the root of all evil, meaning it is the cause of diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease. We are taught to think that fat is bad for us, and whenever we consume tons of junk food soaked in oil, we are ought to experience breakouts the next day.

Fat in junk food is bad, but sugar is worse and most likely the reason you are breaking out. Sugar is simple carbohydrate, and it causes a spike in insulin level in our body. When our insulin levels spike, our body will get inflamed. The glands in our body will start to produce more oil and this can further aggravate acne formation.

There are sugar suppressing mint to help you with your sweet tooth, to lessen the cravings. Too much sugar can also make your body more resistant to insulin, thus making sugar a culprit for aging as well.

Simple Carbohydrates

Raw sugar in its refined form is considered as simple carbohydrate, just as white bread, juice concentrate, sugary cookies, baked snacks and cereals.

Inside your body, simple carbohydrate will break down into glucose very quickly, allowing your body to have energy as fast possible.

When the sugar is digested, it can permanently attach itself onto your collagen, this is called glycation.

The process of glycation will eventually cause skin problems such as wrinkles and loss of elasticity on the skin, this results in your face looking older.

We can easily get lost when consuming simple sugar, most of the time you don’t consciously think about the consequences when you are enjoying your ice cream or double rich chocolate cake.

Complex Carbohydrates

If you still want to consume sugar, go for complex carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are important for our body, it is a source of energy, but knowing what kind of carbohydrates to consume is very important.

First of all, both simple and complex carbohydrates are a source of energy, the difference being at the rate they are digested. Simple carbs digest very quick and they are low in fibers, while complex carbs is the opposite, slow digesting and high in fiber.

And in addition to that, complex carbs are also more nutritious compared to simple carbs, vegetables for examples are packed with vitamins. Try switching from white bread to whole grain bread, in the morning eat oatmeal instead of chocolate cereals.

Less Sugar Equals Brighter Skin

Now that we got that out of the way, sugar may not cause acne directly, but it amplifies the already acne prone skin for sure, to make it even worse. From my personal experience, sugar is definitely one of the evil doers when it comes to my acne. I notice a great difference when I consume sugar throughout the week and when I am not.

It is fine if you consume refined sugar from time to time, an occasional thing, but try to opt for complex carbs as much and as often as you can. The changes you will see from a sugar-free diet is mind-blowing, and it is highly noticeable on your skin.

I hope this has informed you enough in any way possible about the harm refined sugar can do to your skin, so if you know you have an acne prone skin, try to stay away from sugar. I would love to hear your opinion and your experience with sugar, how it affected your life if at all.

Leave a comment below and let me know, I will be sure to get back to you as soon as possible.








  • julienne murekatete

    Thank you for sharing with us this fantastic post.Sugar can cause Acne .

    My skin was badly damaged because of sugar and I regret a lot .

    A friend of mine who lives in the USA told me to spot sugar and start using honey in place of sugar and I tried it for sure.Guess what?

    My skin is smooth now all because I stopped using sugar in my drinks.

    • Isaac

      Hi Julienne, I am glad you found a way to improve your skin!

      Honey is actually still considered as simple carbohydrate though, perhaps you can try a different alternative. If you are still looking for something sweet, perhaps try the sugar suppressing mint or somethimg similar. Best of luck to you!


  • Katya

    Hi Isaac, your article got me thinking – my skin breaks out every time I get my period and I always thought it was just hormones. But now that I think about it I crave sugar before period and I usually eat things like chocolate and cookies. I will stop eating sugary foods beforehand and see if the situation gets better!

    Otherwise, you are so right about health impacts of sugar. It is literally the worst thing for your body – and the problem with todays eating habits is that a lot of foods have added sugar in them (foods like salad dressings and cereals!). And it is causing many health problems, just like you said.

    • Isaac

      Hi Katya, that is very true, you need to be very cautious of what you put in your mouth these days. Something like a salad is meant to be low in calorie and healthier, but with all the dressings they put on it, you can forget about it.

      I hope you try and cut out sugar for a while and see how much difference it makes on your skin, hope to hear from you soon, best of luck!


  • Joe

    I am 18 and have actually been struggling with acne since I was around 16. Sadly I am one of these people who doesn’t try and change or fix things, but instead just let it run its course and it should be done soon.

    However its been 2 years and I still suffer from it, so i’m thinking it’s time to do something about it. Starting with my diet after reading this post, it has been really helpful and I will be sure to take your advice on board.

    Thanks for writing this post.

    • Isaac

      Hello Joe, I am glad you liked it. 

      Acne isn’t something that will get better, you need to maintain it, just implement everything I teach here on this site, and I am sure you will see great results within months. 

      Best of luck my friend!


  • Jasmine


    This was a very informative article. I’ve had my struggle with acne for years, and never knew sugar could be a part of the cause. Growing up, my acne tended to flare up really bad after drinking a lot of sodas. That is still the case today but just not as bad. When that happens, I always just assumed it was the caffeine from the sodas, not the sugar. What do you suggest as good replacements for sugar? I know you said complex carbohydrates are better, but to avoid sugar altogether do you have any other recommendations?

    • Isaac

      Ello Jasmine, I appreciate you taking the time to read this article. 

      I know how it feels when you have a sweet tooth, but try to consume less and less sugar, start slow, that way you will have a higher chance of getting rid of sugar once and for all.

      Yes, I am glad you asked, I mentioned a sugar suppressing mint in the article called cravecrush, perhaps you can give that a try, I have been using it for years and it helped me a great deal. I wish you the best of luck!


  • Kyle Ann Percival

    Hi Isaac! I enjoyed your post on the effects of sugar and learned a lot of things I hadn’t heard before.

    We’ve all heard that sugar is bad for us, but I had never heard about it binding to the collagen in our bodies. As a 60-plus year old women I would like to care for my skin to look as young as possible for as long as I can. And my sugar habit is fairly significant. 

    I also learned about the products which can help control sugar cravings, which I didn’t know existed. I am anxious to give them a try, have you had any personal experience with those?

    Thanks so much for providing this useful information that is completely new to me. I look forward to learning more from your site.


    • Isaac

      Hi Kyle, I am glad you loved every bit of info I have provided. Yes, those mint are a game changer at suppressing your cravings. Definitely recommend you to give it a try. Taking care of your skin is something we all need to do, best of luck!


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