Who doesn’t like the sweet taste of sugar? For most of us consuming refined sugar every day can soon develop into a sugar habit close to that of a drug-user. Research tells us that the consistent over consumption of sugar can ruin your health and unfortunately that deliciously sweet taste on your tongue isn’t necessarily sweet on your skin, either. In fact, refined sugar has the ability to cause actual damage to your skin making you look older than you are!
According to Dr. Carl Thornfeldt, a dermatologist with over 30 years of skin research experience, sugar has two major effects on skin—it activates inflammation and binds to the collagen to make the skin stiff. Dr. Thornfeldt also says that any processed sugar is too much, and can eventually cause long-term damage because of chronic inflammation. And since sugar can weaken your immune, it is unable to efficiently fight off bacteria which clogs pores and creates pimples.
If all the above is not enough to rid your pantry of refined sugar, sugar is also considered a dehydrating agent meaning it will increase oil production. And it also affects water binding causing your skin to look less firm.
“Giving up sugar could make you look younger by ten years.”
Dr. Frederic Brandt
Advanced Glycation End (AGE)
Glycation occurs when sugar metabolizes in your system. It’s a process where the sugar attaches to proteins, forming new molecules called advanced glycation end (AGE) products. These glycation end products actually destroy proteins like collagen and elastin which makes your skin become thinner, discolored and even saggy.
Your dermis, the layer of skin that supports the epidermis (our outer layer of skin) is made up of the proteins collagen and elastin, both of which keep your skin looking plump, firm and youthful. The dermis also regularly manufactures new skin cells that replace the old skin cells. Because of glycation, glycated collagen doesn’t regenerate effectively, slowing down new skin cell growth, making your skin wrinkle. To make things even worse, AGEs make your complexion more vulnerable to skin attackers such as UV light and cigarette smoke.
Though you can’t completely stop glycation, because even good carbs like brown rice and whole grains get converted into sugar, you can avoid white refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup and other simple carbs like white flour. All of these increase glycation 10 times more than the good carbs.
Refined Sugar Can Cause the Following
- Immune Function Issues
- Premature Aging
- Blood Sugar Imbalance
- Free Radicals
- Redness & Rashes
- Dark Patches
- Digestion Issues
So what can you do other than avoid those scrumptious brownies and soda? Green tea. Whether you drink it or use a green tea-infused moisturizer, it helps disrupt the glycation process and stimulates collagen production. Olive Oil fights cancer-causing free radicals and can also tighten skin by stimulating the natural production of collagen and elastin. Internally, replacing that daily fizzy soda with iced or hot green tea, daily adding some foods high in Vitamin A and making your own salad dressings with olive oil can help to avoid the havoc sugar can wreak on your skin.
Of course, great skin is made up of a combination of factors which includes your genetics, skin care routine, and environmental and lifestyle factors. Also included would be things like stress levels, sleep habits and now – too much refined sugar. Removing excess sugar found in junk food, deserts, sugary drinks and bread can go a long way in helping your skin to look young and fresh. And the best news is that once you remove sugar you will begin to notice skin improvement in a matter of days!
Research & References
Danby, FW. Nutrition and Aging Skin: Sugar and Glycation. Clin Dermatol. 2010 Jul-Aug;28(4):409-11. doi: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2010.03.018.