With festive treats lining the shelves, it is easy to indulge at this time of the year. But, as you tuck in, are you wondering about the effect it has on your skin. Does sugar age your face is a commonly asked question – and we’ve got all of the answers you need.
Does Sugar Age Your Face?
The simple answer is yes. While ageing is a natural and unpreventable, excess sugar consumption can speed up the process. While we all know the dangers of sun exposure and smoking, the sticky truth is that sugar causes something called glycation to our skin. The bottom line is, the more sugar we eat, the more our skin suffers. But don’t let it put you off your favourite treat – everything should be eaten in moderation.
Why Does Sugar Age Your Face?
Glucose spikes within the body trigger the glycation process. During the glycation process, sugar molecules attach themselves to collagen and elastin fibres. This forms damaging by-products. These are known as Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs). The process damages the proteins, making them unable to fulfil their function within the body. Collagen and elastin fibres (with attached sugar molecules) are unable to support the structure and elasticity of the skin. This leads to sagging, loose skin and wrinkles.
Blood sugar spikes also trigger the overwhelmed mitochondria within the body to produce free radicals. This causes irreparable mutation and damage to DNA cells. Spikes also lead to inflammation. This is the underlying cause of many diseases – particularly skin-related diseases like eczema and acne. It can also cause other non-skin related diseases. So – sugar does age your face, but what can you do?
Prevention is Key
By controlling sugar spikes, you can ease glycation and its negative effects. This protects collagen and elastin fibres keeping the skin firmer and healthier for longer.
- Be more aware of sugar sources. Unexpected products may contain high amounts. Eating a lot of fruit can increase glycation due to the high fructose levels. Be aware of the fruit/fruit juice you are consuming. High-sugar fruits include bananas, grapes and mangoes.
- There are hidden sugars in processed food – think sauces, cereals, and condiments. Always read the labels.
- Eat protein rich foods at meal times to avoid “grazing”. Protein keeps you fuller for longer and reduces blood sugar levels. The higher the blood sugar levels, the quicker we age.
- Reduce stress levels. High cortisol levels can impact collagen.
- Get enough sleep – aim for between 7-9 hours every night.