Sugar: It’s Not So Sweet on the Skin

To put it simply, sugar ages your skin. The culprit? Glycation, a natural bodily process where sugar in the bloodstream attaches to proteins to create destructive molecules that have been dubbed “advanced glycation end products.” These molecules then wreak havoc. They increase the body’s breakdown of natural collagen and elastin, cause inflammation, and lead to other health issues that can affect a person’s appearance. Because of this process, experts are warning that consistent overindulgence can cause skin to become prematurely dull and wrinkled.

Esthetician Karen Martiz takes it one step further: “People react differently to sugar, but we are now educated enough in this topic to know that it’s somewhat of a toxin to our bodies. It affects the digestive system by causing inflammation, which is the most direct determining factor of how your skin looks and feels. Foods that are hard to digest will irritate the body, so your skin reacts immediately. It can trigger breakouts, create water retention, and cause eye puffiness. It also affects the lymph system, not allowing it to function properly, making the delivery of nutrients to the skin much slower as well as affecting the ability to remove waste. You’ll have breakouts, clogged pored, dull skin, and more breakouts.”

To save your skin from the sweet stuff, the simple and perhaps obvious answer is this: Cut back. Search the nutritional facts on food labels, and don’t forget that sugar often has aliases, such as corn syrup, malt, and fruit juice concentrate. Cut any foods or drinks with excessive amounts of sugars—especially those with processed sugars—out of your diet. In addition to watching your sweet intake, make sure to provide the skin with the vitamins and anti-oxidants that it needs. Green tea, salmon, and dark leafy greens are only a few of the foods that will provide your skin with the nutrients required to make it healthy. These will help already damaged skin to repair itself and assist in preventing future issues. Lastly, search for products containing vitamin c and retinol. These topical treatments can work wonders when it comes to restoring your natural collagen and elastin!