Sugar is not good for your skin. And it’s not just sugar, but also high-glycemic foods which quickly convert to sugar. This, in turn, raises insulin levels and puts unnatural demands on your body to deal with the food you just ate.
Simple carbohydrates, like refined sugar, white bread, alcohol and soda, cause insulin levels to spike, which leads to what Dr. Nicolas Perricone describes as “a burst of inflammation throughout the body.” Tip: Inflammation is not good for your body or your skin. It produces enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, resulting in sagging skin and wrinkles.
Digested sugar permanently attaches to the collagen in your skin through a process known as glycation. Aside from increasing the effects of aging, glycation can also exacerbate skin conditions like acne and rosacea. Plus, the more sugar you eat, the more likely it is you’ll develop insulin resistance, which can manifest as excess hair growth (hirsutism) and dark patches on the neck and in body creases.
Understanding the glycemic index, the scale which determines how quickly blood sugar levels rise after ingesting particular foods (hence, the high- and low-glycemic labels), is key to making the right choices for your skin when it comes to sugar.
Aptly named, AGEs are know as Advanced glycation end products which are non-enzymatic modifications of proteins or lipids after exposure to sugars. AGEs amplify premature skin aging and cell death.
AGEs form in hyperglycemic conditions and/or the natural process of aging. Numerous publications have demonstrated acceleration of the aging process by AGEs. Exogenous AGEs in dietary foods also trigger organ dysfunction and tissue aging. Various herbal supplements and regular physical exercise have beneficial effects on glycemic control and oxidative stress with a consequent reduction of AGE accumulation during aging.
Naturally occurring phytochemicals and products are relatively safe for human consumption as compared to synthetic compounds, and are relatively inexpensive and available in orally ingestible forms, and topical products. The search for an inhibitor of AGE formation has identified several natural products that prevent the glycation process.
A number of medical herbs, dietary plants, and phytocompounds inhibit protein glycation both in vitro and in vivo. These natural products with high antioxidant capacity may be promising agents for the prevention of glycation and AGE formation. Their anti-AGE activity may be one mechanism of their beneficial actions on human health.
If you are concerned about slowing down AGEs, Skinplicity carries topical and internal supplements which may improve your skin, when used in concert with a low-glycemic (sugar) diet.