Sugar Causes Wrinkles

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We know that sugar isn’t great for our waistline, but did you know that sugar may also cause wrinkles?

The consumption of excess sugar is associated with a process known as glycation. This is when sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products (or, appropriately, AGEs for short). The more sugar you consume, the more AGEs you develop. AGEs are responsible for the breakdown of collagen and elastin, protein fibers that help keep skin firm and elastic. They turn dry and brittle, resulting in thin, wrinkled and sagging skin.

AGEs may also increase the fragility of collagen. And the sugar that contributes to AGEs also reduces your body’s ability to produce antioxidant enzymes. Skin may sunburn more quickly and as a result, age faster.

How to turn back the clock on sugar damaged skin? Experts suggest that retinoids (retinol as in Green Cream for example) can help to build new collagen. Prevent the development of more AGEs by watching what you eat. Minimize the amount of grains (which convert to sugar) and sugar in your diet. Limit fruits – yes, they are filled with fiber, vitamins and minerals but too much fruit sugar can also contribute to skin aging. Strive to limiting sweets and sweet foods to less than 10% of your meals. The average American consumes 31 teaspoons of added sugar a day. Nutritionists recommend a limit of 6 teaspoons daily for a woman and 9 teaspoons for a man. Watch out for hidden sugars in sauces (ketchup, barbecue sauce) and processed foods – barley malt, corn syrup, dextrose, maple syrup, molasses and turbinado sugar.

Here are 3 more things you can do to battle against AGEs:

  1. Supplement with a good multivitamin to help fill in any dietary shortfalls. Vitamins B1 and B6 in particular, have been shown to inhibit the development of AGEs.
  2. Wear a broad spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen daily (shop our selection of sunscreens here) — AGEs tend to develop more frequently in sun exposed vs protected skin.
  3. Load up on antioxidants. Both in your diet and as part of your skin care regimen, antioxidants fight free radical damage and may help to keep sugar from attaching to proteins thereby reducing the development of AGEs.

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