Sugar and Wrinkles – What’s the Connection?

Woman eating sugar cubes from a spoonSlimmer waistlines have done wonders in curbing the desires for sugar for many ladies. But if the lure of slimmer waistlines hasn’t managed to sway you, the joy of better looking skin definitely will. According to experts, those who have too much sugar in their diets suffer from dull and wrinkled skin. What makes sugar so dangerous to the skin is a process known as glycation. Glycation makes the sugar in your bloodstream attach itself to the proteins and form new substances known as AGEs. Therefore, the more sugar one eats, the more AGEs they develop.

According to Fredric Brandt, a dermatologist in New York City, the accumulation of AGEs damages proteins lying adjacent to them like dominos. And the ones that are the most vulnerable to this damage are collagen and elastin, two proteins that are essential to skin care because they help in keeping the skin firm and elastic. Once these two proteins have been damaged, they become brittle and dry, thereby leading to sagging and wrinkles. In fact, a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology stated that anyone with a sweet tooth can expect to age quite rapidly after the age of 35.

Furthermore, a diet that contains too much of sugar also affects the type of collagen that a person has. Dr. Brandt states that this is another factor that determines how resistant the skin is to wrinkling. Some of the most commonly found collagen proteins are Type I, II and III, with all three proteins being extremely stable. However, the excessive sugar turns Type III proteins into a type I protein, something that is not as strong as it should be.

As a result, the skin begins to look less supple than before. What makes it worse is that AGEs deactivate the natural antioxidant enzymes in the body, thereby leaving it susceptible to damage from the sun, the main reason behind skin aging. If you’re still not convinced of the ill effects of sugar, all you need to do is have a conversation with someone who is diabetic. All such people suffer from high blood sugar that usually goes undetected for years. And they mostly show early signs of skin aging as well.

The good news? It’s never too late. The best way to build up on your diminished collagen levels is to use retinol based products. This helps you to minimize the damage that is caused to your skin by sugar and ensure that your skin remains supple and also allows you to prevent more AGEs from forming. Here are some of the best ways of ensuring that your skin remains young, supple and healthy.

Wear a broad spectrum sunscreen that offers SPF 30 protection every single day.

Make sure that you never ditch your sunscreen lotions, irrespective of whether its raining, its cloudy, its wintertime or its the peak summers. Irrespective of the climatic conditions, the harmful UV rays always manage to reach your body. Therefore, you should ensure that you keep your skin protected accordingly.

Add 1mg of Vitamin B1 and Vitamin B6 to your diets on a daily basis

According to Dr. David J. Goldberg, a dermatologist based in New York City, Vitamin B1 and Vitamin B6 act as extremely potent AGE inhibitors. He states that even though B1 and B6 are easily found in food, it always helps to  add them as multivitamins.

Use products that protect your skin from sugar

There are a number of compounds such as alistin and aminoguanidine that are known to inhibit AGEs. Experts believe that Alistin acts as a decoy and gets damaged before the AGEs can end up damaging your proteins. Similarly, Aminoguanidine attach themselves to the molecules which begin the glycation process and stops them from binding t elastin and collagen.

Reduce your sweet intake

The best way to prevent damage from sugar is to regulate your sugar intake to acceptable levels. Even though it is impossible to eliminate sugar from your diets, you can always regulate its intake to a level that is acceptable to your body. It always helps to ensure that the sugar is not more than 10% of the total number of calories you consume. Don’t forget to watch out for sugar in your prepared foods as well. Some food items can contain hefty amounts of sugar under alien names such as dextrose, maple syrup, turbinado, fruit juice concentrate, barley malt, maltose, etc. Furthermore, a single 12 ounce of Coca-Cola has enough sugar to match the total amount of sugar that an average woman should be consuming in a single day (about 160 calorie/ 10 teaspoons of added sugar). You should also avoid corn syrups with high fructose levels. These sweeteners simply change the sugar found in cornstarch into fructose, another form of sugar. Moreover, they  are also known to produce more AGEs than other types of sugar. However, since the product enhances the shelf life of foods and is cheaper to produce, it is commonly used in flavored drinks, soda, packaged foods and snacks. Always make sure that you check the ingredient list before purchasing any product. It can do wonders in terms of protecting your skin.

Take care of antioxidants

Antioxidants are extremely important compounds as they form the first line of defense against the free radicals. They also prevent sugar molecules to attach themselves to your proteins. Therefore, you need to ensure that you eat antioxidant rich food items such as cranberries, fruits, red bell peppers, green tea and walnuts. You can also supplement your food intake with topical applications of antioxidants. There are a number of skin care products that contain Vitamins C and E and green tea extracts. Dr.  Goldberg believes that the best way to ensure that these antioxidants reach the dermal layers of your skin, i.e., the layer where all your elastin and collagen proteins are located, is by way of topical application of antioxidants.


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