Effects of sugar on your skin (and how to reverse them)

Sugar may be sweet, but it can also take a toll on your skin, resulting in dryness, sagginess, fine lines, and wrinkles. 

In this article, we discuss the relationship between sugar and skin ageing, along with our science-backed tips for helping you avoid its harmful effects and reduce unnecessary expenses on cosmetics and medications when it comes to skin care. 

So, if you are looking for ways to maintain a supple and youthful complexion and get rid of that dry skin, read on.

How sugar affects your skin

1. Aggravation of inflammatory skin conditions

An excessive sugar intake from simple carbohydrates like bread or pasta causes an increase in blood glucose levels. This results in inflammation in your body, which is the source of skin conditions like eczema or rosacea. It also causes your body to create more sebum oil which in turn results in acne, pimples, or zits.

2. Premature ageing and glycation

Eating too much sugar causes glycation – a natural process which occurs when blood glucose levels are out of balance due to insulin insensitivity. Whilst glycation causes ageing to become more apparent (dry, dull, stiff, and saggy skins), a lot more is happening on the inside.

  • Glycation affects collagen and elastin – two major proteins required to keep your skin healthy, firm, and youthful. Sugar molecules attach to these proteins, rendering them less effective, more brittle and stiff.
  • Glycation results in the formation of detrimental molecules called AGEs (Advanced Glycation End Products) – the bad guys which cause chaos when they accumulate. They decrease your body’s natural antioxidants, making your skin more prone to damage from the sun or pollution.
  • Glycation also affects the type of collagen you have. Your skin has 3 primary types of collagen – Type I, Type II, and Type III, where Type I is the weakest one and Type III the strongest. Glycation breaks down Type III collagen into Type I, decreasing your skin’s structure, flexibility, and strength.

A glycated hemoglobin test measures the amount of glucose in your blood. The test is often called A1c, or sometimes HbA1c. It can help detect prediabetes – the presence of excessive sugar in the bloodstream which can lead to diabetes, heart disease and stroke, or diagnose diabetes itself. Managing your blood sugar levels is therefore of utmost importance. 

How to protect your skin from damages caused by sugar

Here are Avea’s top 5 recommendations for the treatment and prevention of skin ageing, aka, the best ‘’moisturisers’’ to avoid dry and dull skin.

1. Avoid hidden sugars

You’ll be dumbfounded to learn how foods like breakfast cereals, white and whole-grain breads, granola bars, pasta sauces, yoghurt, dried fruits, fruit juices, fizzy drinks, and alcohol can contain an insane amount of sugar. Food industries also hide behind exclusive labels as high fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin, or agave syrup. Stay away from them!

2. Balance your blood sugar levels

Preventing the sharp glucose spikes and crashes in your blood can help you stay away from the damages caused by sugar. The Avea Stabiliser is a revolutionary blood sugar stabilising formula, combining 3 natural ingredients to block the absorption of sugars and carbs by up to 40%, while allowing you to eat the foods you love!

3. Get enough sleep

Science has consistently shown how a lack of sleep increases our stress hormone cortisol, which is known to increase the effects of glycation by up to 20%. Besides, our sleep hormone melatonin can decrease the effects of AGEs by up to 50%. So, make sure you do sleep like a log as often as possible!

4. Increase your daily water intake

Keeping your body hydrated promotes the production of collagen and elastin, thereby mediating the ageing effects of glycation. Make sure you drink enough water and consume lots of water-rich foods such as tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, lettuce or watermelon to name a few.

5. Top off your diet with enough Vitamin C, B1, and B6

Antioxidants like Vitamin C are known to help collagen and elastin hold their structure, thereby maintaining a healthy complexion. Vitamins B1 and B6 are known as inhibitors of glycation and AGEs. Look for green leafy vegetables like cabbage, kale, spinach, or broccoli, broccoli, citrus fruits or strawberries in your daily diet.

Key Takeaway

As the largest organ of the human body, your skin is highly affected by what it is exposed to (pollution and UV rays per se), or by what you feed it. Now that you’re aware of the potential dangers of a diet high in sugar, what will you do to improve your skin health?