We are all well-versed in the dangers of sun exposure and the way it can prematurely age our skin. But as one of the worst offenders for ageing your face and body, how often do we discuss the effects of sugar?
Excess sugar in our bodies can cause the irreversible ageing of our skin through a process called glycation. Glycation takes place when the sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins and produces harmful free radicals called Advanced Glycation End Products (commonly shortened, appropriately, to AGEs). The more AGEs you accumulate the more they damage the proteins in your body.
The sweet danger of sugar on our skin
Collagen and Elastin which are the building blocks for skin firmness and elasticity, are the most at risk of being damaged by AGEs, as they cause the collagen fibres to become stiff. Consequently, skin becomes dry and skin strength is reduced, which can threaten the youthful, plump and dewy look of your skin. A diet high in sugar can also affect the type of collagen in your skin, this causes the skin to lose stability and structural strength, increasing visible lines and wrinkles.
Signs that sugar is ageing your skin
The visible signs of glycation on the skin tend to start emerging around the age of 35, once the accumulation of oxidative stress, hormonal damage and AGE builds up. During this time, wear and tear will begin to start showing on the skin leading to; the surface of the skin looking hard or shiny; deep crosshatch lines appearing along the upper lip and under the eyes; discolouration and hyperpigmentation marks on the skin.
Natural antioxidants and enzymes are at risk
Unfortunately, AGEs are also responsible for deactivating your body’s natural antioxidant enzymes, which makes your skin more vulnerable to free radical damage from environmental factors, such as pollution, UV rays and blue light. This triggers oxidative stress on your skin, contributing even more to premature ageing. All fruits and vegetables, as well as things like dark chocolate and tea, have powerful antioxidants that help to protect cells from glycation. Foods such as blueberries, pomegranate and white tea are super antioxidants. Advising your client to get a regular supply in their diet will help save their skin from the effects of AGEs.
How to prevent sugar damage on the skin
Not all sugars are the same
It’s important to be especially aware of the types of sugars in your diet. Be wary of high GI foods and processed sugars. Studies have shown that highly processed foods such as white sugar, and corn syrup (often used in processed foods and soft drinks) increase the rate of glycation by 10 times, compared with glucose. Be mindful of hidden sugars including synthetic ones, a diet coke is no better for you in fact, it’s probably worse than a full fat coke when it comes to your skin.
Hydration is key
It’s vital that you drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated. Good hydration not only helps to counteract the ageing effects of glycation on your skin, but it also supports our natural detoxification processes.
Vitamins are vital
Studies have shown that vitamins B1 and B6 help to inhibit the formation of AGEs. Ensure you incorporate plenty of nuts and wholegrains rich in vitamin B1 into your diet. Fruit and vegetables such as bananas, oranges and peas are also excellent sources of vitamin B1. Foods such as oats and poultry like chicken or turkey are also excellent sources of B6.
Vitamin C and E will help aid in collagen and elastin production too. Foods such as citrus fruit, strawberries and tomatoes are good sources of Vitamin C and avocados, red peppers and nuts and seeds are great sources of Vitamin E.
It might also be worth applying your vitamins topically. A Vitamin C serum in the morning will help to brighten and help to restore free radical damage whilst Vitamin A serum in the evening will help to boost cell turnover. Peptides are also an essential, these amino acids are key in supporting collagen production.
Eat your collagen
Eating collagen-rich foods or foods that boost collagen production may also help to beat ageing skin. We are huge fans of collagen boosting foods such as bone broth. Egg whites have large amounts of proline, one of the amino acids necessary for collagen production. You might also try adding an extra clove of garlic to your food – garlic is high in sulphur, which is a trace mineral that helps to synthesize and prevent the breakdown of collagen.
Get enough sleep!
Sleep is essential as it allows the skin the time for regeneration. This is the time when our skin repairs from damage done during the day. Studies show that a lack of good quality sleep can increase fine lines, wrinkles, uneven skin tone and contributes to less elasticity in the skin.
Properly planned nutrition can be vital in the battle against skin ageing. The Pure Package can be a real saving grace with tailor made packages to suit your skin goals. Book your complementary consultation with one of our nutritionists to discuss your goals today.