We’re all guilty of a sweet indulgence every now and then. But there are times, when we’re stressed or at a party, when we load up on sodas, chocolate cake and other heavenly sweet things.
Most people associate an excessive sugar intake with expanding waistlines and an increased risk of diabetes. But did you know sugar also affects your skin? Yes, it can age the appearance of your face.
How does sugar age my skin?
Your body breaks down sugar in a process called glycation. This is when sugars (glucose or fructose) attach to proteins and fats in the body, forming harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which continue to damage the proteins around them. The protein in the skin most prone to glycation are collagen and elastin, which keep our skin firm, smooth and wrinkle-free.
Surely the effects of sugar aren’t so drastic?
We know it’s tough sacrificing something you love, but its effects are palpable. Cutting out refined sugar and artificial sweeteners completely can lead to noticeably clearer and plumper skin in three to six days.
Is switching to a sugar-free diet my only option?
You don’t have to rule out sugar completely. For a start, reduce rather than remove added sugar, by keeping track of and limiting the number of sweetened drinks you have a day.
Natural sugars found in fruits, for example, are perfectly fine. Why? Because unlike highly-sugared colas and cake, the fructose in fruits takes longer to break down thanks to fruit fibers. What this means is that fruit sugars do not bombard our cells in the same way added refined sugars in sweetened drinks and dessert do. These fruit fibers also make you feel full and satiated, so you’re less likely to binge on fruit the same way you’d binge on cake.
Can’t I just buy good skincare products and still have as much sugar as I want?
Your skin health is the result of a combination of factors. While certain skincare products can boost collagen production in your skin with an ingredient called retinol (vitamin A), a balanced diet will help you achieve a more radiant and youthful glow.