6 SUPRISING WAYS SUGAR IS AGEING YOUR SKIN
Okay time for us to get real about sugar. Have you had some chocolate, biscuits, sweets or something else sugary today? 😳🙋 Here’s something that will make you think twice about that sugary snack. Although there are many factors that contribute to the formation of wrinkling, sagging or crepey skin, sugar is probably one of the worst offenders.
Okay, so how is cake making you look old? Sugar creates inflammation across not just your skin but also your body as well as actively damaging collagen and elastin fibres. It has such a destructive effect that celebrity dermatologist, Dr. Frederic Brandt, advised that giving up sugar could make you look younger by up to ten years.
1. Damages collagen and elastin (the stuff that keeps you looking young)
Sugar damages collagen and elastin, the springy substances that keep skin firm and elastic and make your skin look plump, youthful, and lifted. It does this through a process known as glycation where Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs) attached to collagen, making them stiff, dry and brittle, zapping them of strength and spring. Over time, this damages enough of your collagen to lead to the formation of fine lines, sagging and wrinkles.
2. Deactivates anti-ageing antioxidants
In addition to damaging your skin’s essential proteins, AGEs deactivate your body’s natural antioxidant enzymes. Without protection from antioxidants, your skin is more vulnerable to the free radical damage caused by environmental assailants like pollution, blue light and UV rays.
3. Hampers your natural collagen production
Sugar hinders the ability of proteins and amino acids to build collagen naturally. It essentially sticks to amino acid chains, hampering their ability to produce collagen to keep skin looking bouncy and youthful.
4. Changes the type of collagen you have
Your skin contains three types of collagen, Type I, II and III. Type I collagen is the weakest and Type III the strongest, giving your skin the most bounce and elasticity. Glycation degrades Type III collagen into Type I, thereby diminishing your skin’s structural strength and stability.
5. Gives you oily skin
An unusual little fact that you might not be aware of – sugar can dehydrate you! If you have too much sugar in your blood, your kidneys will eventually go into overdrive trying to get rid of the excess, causing you to urinate far more frequently. When this happens you end up losing fluid and dehydration is the result – never a good situation for your skin, which can become dry and brittle. It also affects water binding so your skin looks less perky and bouncy, and doesn’t appear as oxygenated.
All this sugar floating about in your bloodstream can also impact how old you look. A study conducted in the Netherlands measured the blood sugar levels of 600 participants between the ages of 50 and 70. It discovered that those with the higher blood sugar levels appeared older than those with lower blood sugar levels, concluding that for every 1 litre increase in blood sugar, your perceived age could rise by 5 months! (1)
6. Generates inflammation
A high sugar diet can generate chronic inflammation, which not only dulls skin but can cause a range of skin conditions (including chronic acne) along with injury to organs and increase risk of disease.
How to tell if sugar is already ageing your skin
According to the British Journal of Dermatology, the visible effects of sugar-induced glycation tend to emerge for women around age 35. Your skin, unable to counteract the damage done without sufficient collagen and elastin synthesis, begins to show wear and tear. Here are the tell-tale signs on your face that sugar is the culprit aging your skin:
Lines and wrinkles appear on your forehead (especially higher up)
Your skin appears dull and is prone to acne
Skin is beginning to thin
Skin may appear hard and shiny
Discoloration and hyperpigmentation may be visible
Deep crevices appear, particularly around the laugh line area
The skin around your jowl area is beginning to sag
I have a sweet tooth - is all sugar bad?
If you want to see a visible impact on your skin, unfortunately its an all-or-nothing type approach. Cutting back from 3 sprinkle cupcakes to 2 sprinkle cupcakes won't do much to prevent glycation, collagen destruction or inflammation. Drastically reducing your sugar intake will start to show visible results within the first 72-96 hours with better results after 28 days (when your skin cycle renews).
Not all sugar is created equal. Refined and processed sugars cause the most destruction and inflammation but you're probably wondering if fruits are also on the ban list? You'll be releived to hear that fruits are actually incredibly beneficial for your skin and are packed with beautifying antioxidants and anti-ageing phytonutrients. We'll share the best collagen-boosting fruits later in the challenge.
HOW TO PREVENT SUGAR DAMAGE
1. Reduce (or eliminate sugar)
In order to reduce any further damage from glycation, we recommend eliminating sugar from your diet (if possible). Leading dermatologists indicate that this can eradicate up to 10 years off your face over time - yes please!
Substitute sugary snacks or sweet desserts for beauty-boosting fruits (which we'll share later in the 10 day challenge) or a few squares of dark chocolate (the higher the cacoa content the better).
A number of published studies indicate the benefit of supplementing with ellagic acid to help protect collagen and elastin fibres from damage, vitamin B6 to help combat AGEs and harnessing plant-based compounds to help build collagen.
Our Vegan Collagen Superfood has been selected the UK's #1 vegan supplement and contains ellagic acid from raspberries, vitamin B6 from sunflower seeds and plant-based beauty vitamins and minerals proven to build collagen. You can check it out here (Did we mention its also 100% natural and cruelty free?)
3. Increase your water intake
Drinking water doesn’t directly impact your skin’s hydration but does help your body to carry out the key functions that support healthy skin more effectively. Water is essential to the production of collagen and elastin and keeping your body hydrated can improve its ability to counteract the aging effects of glycation. Drink plenty of water and incorporate water-rich foods like cucumber, tomatoes and watermelon into your diet to maintain hydration.
4. Consume more beauty-boosting antioxidants
Antioxidants help to neutralise and protect the body from the damaging effects of free radicals. These naturally occurring vitamins and minerals throw a wrench in glycation by preventing sugar from attaching to proteins. Your body produces antioxidants naturally, but you can also find them in everyday foods like berries, leafy greens and coffee. Later in the 10 Day Challenge, we'll reveal the best beauty-boosting foods that help collagen and elastin hold their shape and maintain their strength.
5. Get your shut-eye
One of our best beauty secrets is to get enough sleep. While you’re sleeping, your skin goes into overdrive, regenerating and repairing any damage done during the day. Studies show that lack of sleep contributes to more fine lines and wrinkles, uneven skin tone and less elasticity. But, it comes down to more than the quantity of sleep; just as important is quality. During deep sleep is when your body does the most work to counteract the aging effects of sugar and other stressors.