Your Skin on Sugar
It's no surprise that overdoing it on the chocolate cake can make you pack on the pounds, but did you know it can also give you wrinkles? Through a process known as glycation, sugar destroys your skin. Here's what you can do about it
And I know I'm not alone. Almost all of my female friends would opt for decadent baked goods over a steak dinner. (For whatever reason, men seem to be more impervious to the allure of sugar.) Admit it: Can you resist having a red velvet cupcake for your coworker's birthday? I certainly can't.
However, we all know that something so good can't be good for us, and it turns out the perils of sugar are even worse than we thought.
"Sugar and starchy (high glycemic) foods are extremely damaging to the skin and, in fact, all organs," warns New York City dermatologist Nicholas Perricone, MD. Through a process known as glycation, sugar molecules bind to proteins in the skin to create advanced glycosylation end products -- appropriately called AGEs for short. These AGEs are free-radicals (similar to the free-radicals caused by sun exposure), and they lead to inflammation that breaks down collagen and elastin. The result? Wrinkles.
"The glycation process causes skin to lose elasticity and wrinkle more easily, decreasing overall resilience," explains New York City and Miami dermatologist Fredric Brandt, MD. So if your diet is high in sugar, every other bad habit -- smoking, tanning, etc. -- becomes even worse.
Skip ahead to see what you can do to stop glycation now.
The good news is there are changes you can make -- to both your skin care and your diet -- that will help. Scientists have discovered skin care ingredients that help stop glycation by preventing the glucose-collagen bonds from forming. And they've found other ingredients that can help eliminate the AGE free radicals that are already present in the skin.
And of course, there's diet. A few strategic changes in what you eat -- the most obvious being cutting back on sugar -- and how you prepare your food can make a significant difference.
Knowing about the changes is one thing, having the willpower to make them is another. If you could use some help in that department, read on. Odds are good that when you hear this info, you'll be motivated to turn down that wrinkle-causing cupcake after all.
SEE NEXT PAGE: Diet Tweaks to Make Now