Soda’s Detrimental Effects On Your Skin & Acne
If you have been researching acne for a while, then you have probably read all kinds of contradicting information about its causes. Do hot showers alleviate or worsen acne? Does chlorinated water dry out your skin just enough or way too much? Is exfoliation a remedy or an enemy of acne? However. there is a consensus regarding one thing being a catalyst for acne, and that is soda. Why are soft drinks so bad for your skin? Let’s find out.
Why Is Soda Detrimental To Your Complexion?
Soda has a damaging effect on your skin not for several reasons. In fact, skin specialists suggest that soda is essentially harmful for your body1, and ages you like nothing else. Sounds an awful lot like another culprit of bad skin, doesn’t it? Indeed, the dry appearance of your skin caused by soda can be compared to the effect of smoking on your skin – they both diminish the production of healthy skin cells. Not only that, but if you are a soda-drinker, you are as prone to inflammation just as much as heavy smokers are.
Moreover, the advanced glycation end products in dark sodas quicken aging, as they affect your skin cells’ nucleic acids, lipids and proteins. Particularly, if you are already prone to skin problems, soda can intensify skin irritation for you, leading to drier skin, more bothersome eczema and longer-lasting acne, such as its cystic variety.
This should already be enough information to make you avoid drinking the bubbly goodness. Let us go over the specific reasons why soda is bad for you.
Caffeine And Its Effect On Your Body And Skin
Granted, although soda’s caffeine is linked to the deepening of facial lines, caffeine is not necessarily a direct culprit when it comes to acne. Still, some of its effects can make your skin problems worsen, and that is what we are seeking to avoid here. The biggest issue that caffeine causes for your complexion is that it reduces the time you spend resting and sleeping. Lack of sleep is detrimental for your well-being2, and for your skin, in general.
Moreover, the artificial wakefulness that comes with caffeine consumption can be directly linked to higher stress levels. Not only do we usually drink caffeine when we are already stressed (at work or school, early in the morning before doing important tasks, when we need to stay up late at night to finish up the day’s work, etc.), but we also cause additional stress to our body by ingesting these ingredients. All of this causes your cortisol levels to soar3, which – you guessed it – forces your sebaceous glands to manufacture more of your natural oils. An overabundance of oils immediately leads to pimples, even if you do not normally suffer from acne.
Secondly, caffeine causes disruptions for your digestive system. The substance dehydrates you, which could cause constipation4 and a generally higher toxin content within your system. This, too, directly results in breakouts.
Another reason is that while caffeine, itself, is not a problem, we often tend to drink caffeine products in combination with other unhealthy products, such as milk, sweeteners, sugary and doughy snacks, etc. This means that avoiding caffeinated drinks may help you cut down on other unhelpful ‘goodies’ that you tend to enjoy with them.
Sugar And Your Skin
Out of all possible substances you could be ingesting, sugar is one of the worst ones5 in regard to your complexion. For example, while sun exposure has the potential to age you from the outside, the ingredients of soda can actually age you from the inside.
Soda’s sugars are of the refined kind, which is even worse for you than regular, natural sugar. They make your blood sugar increase sharply and they trigger the production of insulin, as well as of the hormone testosterone. The result? Oil overproduction which clogs your pores, and infallibly leads to inflammation, which you experience as acne. Not only does your complexion suffer in terms of pimples6, but you are also more likely to get wrinkles prematurely. Generally, the sugar in soda makes your skin look drab and lackluster.
Refined sugars also cause you to to gain weight quickly, by way of unhealthy calories. Being overweight makes your body more inclined to breaking out into zits, too.
So, Does Soda Lead To Acne Or Not?
The truth is that soda does not directly cause you acne. However, if you already have acne-prone skin or if your particular lifestyle already makes you susceptible7 to recurring breakouts, then it is possible that drinking soda will only worsen the situation. Of course, amounts matter, as well – having one soda per week will not irritate your skin. But if you are consuming soda with every meal, then you might want to cut down – whether you have acne or not. After all, diminishing your soda intake will not only lead to better skin, but also to better overall health.
If you are the kind of person that enjoys having a beverage on hand when going about your daily tasks, you might want to opt for more beneficial drinks like water8 or fresh juice, instead. We guarantee you that as soon as you cut down on your soda intake, you will be seeing an improvement in your complexion in no time!
- Vartanian L.R., Schwartz M.B., Brownell K.D. Effects of soft drink consumption on nutrition and health: a systematic review and meta-analysis. American Journal of Public Health. 2007;97(4):667–675.
- Kahan V., Andersen M.L., Tomimori J., Tufik S. Can poor sleep affect skin integrity?. Medical Hypotheses. 2010;75(6):535-7.
- Lovallo W.R., Farag N.H., Vincent A.S., Thomas T.L., Wilson M.F. Cortisol responses to mental stress, exercise, and meals following caffeine intake in men and women. Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior. 2006;83(3):441-7.
- Michels K.B., Willett W.C., Fuchs C. S., Giovannucci E. Coffee, tea, and caffeine consumption and incidence of colon and rectal cancer. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2005;97(4):282–292.
- Danby F.W. Nutrition and acne. Clinics in Dermatology. 2010;28(6):598-604.
- Huang X., Zhang J., Li J., Zhao S., Xiao Y., Huang Y., Jing D., Chen L., Zhang X., Su J., Kuang Y., Zhu W., Chen M., Chen X., Shen M. Daily Intake of Soft Drinks and Moderate-to-Severe Acne Vulgaris in Chinese Adolescents. The Journal of pediatrics. 2019;204:256-262.
- Wolkenstein P., Machovcová A., Szepietowski J.C., Tennstedt D., Veraldi S.5., Delarue A. Acne prevalence and associations with lifestyle: a cross-sectional online survey of adolescents/young adults in 7 European countries. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. 2018;32(2):298-306.
- Palma L., Marques L.T., Bujan J., Rodrigues L.M. Dietary water affects human skin hydration and biomechanics. Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology. 2015;8:413–421.
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