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Sugar & Your Skin

Everyone who knows me well knows that I have an addiction to sweets. I usually go for the desert before dinner is even ready. In fact every year for Lent I give up the sweets and it's so hard, especially when you have a mother who basically bakes cookies for everything. This past month I definitely went overboard and my skin is paying the price. It's dull, flaky and dehydrated.

Lifestyle plays a huge part in how your skin is looking. UV damage, environmental factors, smoking cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, prescription medications and yes what you eat all effect your skin. Next to UV damage sugar comes in at a raging second at aging your skin. Sugar causes your skin to age at an exponential rate, this is called glycation.

Glycation is the process that happens when there is too much sugar in our body. The sugar crosses path with our protein molecules. When this happens it makes new sugar proteins called advanced glycation end products, ironically called AGES. Not only do AGES effect your skin, it can also worsen many diseases. For today we will focus on the effect sugar has on your skin.

AGES are not recognized in the body and in turn, our bodies will produce antibodies which then cause inflammation. AGES will start to attack our collagen and elastin. As discussed in my previous blog: Want to Get Rid of Sun Damage??? Collagen is the scaffolding that provides structure and strength. Elastin is the protein that gives your skin its bounce back. If you can picture this, collagen is the brick and elastin is like mortar keeping everything in place.

So what happens when AGES invade the skin? Premature aging including wrinkling, loss of firmness, and sagging. Sugar can also make your skin dehydrated and look sallow. So is there a way to combat AGES? Prevention is definitely the key.

The clear way to keep glycation from effecting your skin is to avoid sweets at all costs. Let's face it there would be a lot of other benefits from avoiding sweets. Not all of us have that kind of discipline, myself included. Having a well balanced diet is a good start. I like to supplement because I know I will cave to my sweet tooth at some point. I take a good B - Complex vitamin. B6 in the form of pyridoxamine is what I like to call the anti-glycation vitamin. I also take a collagen supplement. A great one that I have found recently is Collagen Peptides by Physicians Choice, this fabulous powder also contains digestive enzymes to help with absorption. This along with a good hyaluronic acid serum. Hyaluronic acid can hold one thousand times it weight in water. It hydrates the skin and it helps to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles. It also will help to lubricate joints. I absolutely love Skin Scripts Ageless Skin Hydrating Serum, it instantly gives your skin plumpness!!! This regimen has really helped my skin in great ways!

I know that I am always a huge advocate of protecting your skin from the damage of UV rays, but as I have explained in this blog there is so much more than just sun damage that can effect your skin in negative ways. So take care of yourself and take care of your skin.

Tina Conheady is a NY state licensed esthetician with a passion for educating on skin health. She is the owner of Total Eclipse Mobile Tanning & Lashes.


This blog post is provided for informational purposes only. These are my expressed opinions based upon my education, knowledge and years of experience as a NY & OH State licensed esthetician. I consider myself to be a cosmetic skincare specialist. I have worked in the skincare, medical spa & beauty industry for six years. I am not a Doctor or a medical professional.

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