Sugar and your skin. (The good news and the bad)

April 17, 2014
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As another candy-riffic holiday roles around, handfuls of jelly beans and chunks of chocolate bunny might make you feel like a kid again. But the sad truth is that these super-sugary snacks will make you look much older, much faster.


According to Dr. Joe Cincotta, PhD (organic chemistry) and our product development guru, “There is a natural process that goes on within everyone’s body called glycation, where sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called AGEs (Advanced Glycation End-products).  As AGEs accumulate in your bloodstream they react with and damage other proteins in your body, including Collagen and Elastin, key proteins responsible for the skin’s firmness and elasticity that make up approximately 75 percent of the dry mass of our skin.  Young, healthy skin has optimal levels of healthy Collagen and Elastin which give it a smooth, plump appearance and keep it supple and resilient. Glycation of Collagen and Elastin in skin causes these proteins to become brittle and hard, causing sagging and wrinkles...aka:  skin ageing.”

Turns out, these bad boy AGEs also deactivate your body’s natural antioxidant enzymes, leaving your skin unarmed against damaging free radicals like UV rays, which also causes collagen to degrade.

Scientific talk about body chemistry and deleterious affects of sugar may sound all blah, blah and be easy to overlook, but many empirical studies connect the dots between the sugar you eat and the age you look.

Like UK’s Daily Mail story on sugar consumption and ageing, which cites  collaborative research between Leiden University Medical Center (Netherlands) and Unilever, UK.  In this study, blood sugar levels of 600 participants were measured, then their photos were shown to a board of independent assessors who were asked to estimate their ages.   Results confirmed that participants with higher blood sugar levels were perceived as much older than those with lower sugar levels.

So the proof is in the pudding.  And the pie. And the soda. And all kinds of foods full of simple sugars, high fructose corn syryp and simple starches which cause sugar spikes in your blood stream, resulting in premature aging of skin through glycation.

But its not all bad news.

According to Dr. Joe,  “Fortunately, our bodies have  mechanisms for getting rid old damaged glycated collagen and elastin.  So if you change your diet to cut sugar consumption and keep your sugar levels from spiking, it will eventually be reflected in healthier looking skin.

And, while ingesting refined sugar can really compromise your looks, it’s not entirely without beauty benefits.   Bevies of bloggers tout the skin-smoothing effects of homemade sugar scrubs, like these (thanks, Sassy Girls!) that look good enough to eat.

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But don’t. Stick with the colored eggs and carrots.

Turns out its protein and veggies that keep chicks looking young.