Noticing more wrinkles, fine lines or sagging skin? It may be time to put down that ritual morning latte. While aging is a natural bodily process, sugar intake can make the signs of aging more visible. Once consumed, sugar undergoes a process in the body known as glycation, or the binding of sugar with other substances in the skin. Glycation causes inflammation that brings damage to the skin’s building blocks: collagen and elastin. Accumulation of damage to these building blocks can give the skin a sallow and even discolored look. This process also generates free radicals that make the skin more susceptible to other types of damage, such as sun exposure and cigarette smoke.
If your skin is prone to acne or rosacea, flare-ups of these conditions can increase in frequency and severity with the consumption of sugar due to the inflammatory response that occurs in the skin. High levels of sugar also trigger the release of hormones that increase the production of oil that can feed the bacteria responsible for acne.
Keeping track of sugar intake is hard when you consider that sugar exists in most of the food and drinks that we consume. When we hear things like ‘the amount of sugar in an Arizona Green Tea is equal to about 20 Hershey’s Kisses,’ we begin to question our perception of just how much sugar we intake on a daily basis. While the idea of completely cutting out sugar is a task much easier said than done, there are ways to get started. Seeking out alternatives to the white stuff, such as date sugar or coconut sugar, provides the sweetness with more nutritional benefits. A variety of beauty products in the form of serums, make up, and sunscreens contain ingredients that work to fight glycation and encourage the production of collagen and elastin.
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