Is sugar bad for your skin?
Sugar seems to be everywhere today, whether we know that we are consuming it or not. Not only is our dependency on the sweet stuff a verified addiction, but it is also being touted as a habit more powerful than tobacco. Some researchers have found it more addictive than cocaine! The USDA reports that Americans consume 156 pounds of sugar every year! The increase of obesity and diabetes have shown us the effects of excessive consumption on our waistline and overall health. But did you know that sugar can also make you look older?
An overload of sugar in the body can attach itself to proteins in your body and cause advanced glycation by 10 times the normal rate. This results in inflammation of the skin and causes protein fibers to malform. Even worse, the proteins most affected by this are collagen and elastin, which are responsible for firm, healthy skin. Over time, this becomes so damaging to the skin’s cellular structure that our aging process accelerates! Your skin can look dull, become saggy and stiff. These changes usually start around age 30-35, just as damage from environmental factors begin to show.
If you think you may have a sugar addiction, perhaps it is time for a change? First of all, try to eliminate the sugar that you know you consume, like deserts, candy and soda. Limit fruits, vegetables and simple carbs which are high in sugar. Then try to eat a bit cleaner, lean proteins, dark, leafy vegetables and whole grains. Read ingredient labels. Skip any bottled dressings or sauces as they are loaded with sugar and remember that the sugar cravings will subside in about 48 hours. After that, it’s about healthy choices.
Having a good skin care routine using medical grade products and treatments can also slow glycation. Look for products that contain antioxidants, hyaluronic acid, green tea and blueberry extracts to balance your skin. Monthly skin care treatments are also helpful to remove some of the damage that has already been done. Just remember, it is never too late to have healthier skin…
Dr. Larry Pollack is a board certified plastic surgeon with over 20 years of experience. Our offices are located in San Diego and La Jolla, California. To schedule a consultation today, please contact Del Mar Plastic Surgery at 858-215-6143.