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  • Writer's pictureChin Ling

Sugar & Ageing Skin

Updated: Dec 7, 2022

I've known for ages that sugar is bad for you. We learnt at school that sugar gives you an energy rush. But eat loads at one time, like from a doughnut or supermarket bread and your insulin says "hey, you've had enough energy for now. I'm going to store some of this sugar away as fat for a rainy day" and away goes your energy. Keep on eating the sugar-laden foods and your insulin keeps on storing it as fat until one day it decides it's had enough, you've overworked it. But that's another topic!

However, I've always looked at the dangers of sugar from a skin point of view because that's the bit that interests me. When sugar enters the body, it falls in a cascade onto protein fibres. It showers them and sticks to them, like a swarm of locust. As the sugar bonds with the protein, it forms Advanced Glycation Ends. These make the fibres stiff and inflexible when they should be flexible. They cause inflammation and the proteins become stiff, when they should be flexible. This starts a chain of damaging effects in the body.

It doesn't stop there. There is protein within the skin! In its lower layer, the dermis is made up of mainly collagen and elastin fibres which give your skin its plumpness and elasticity. The Advanced Glycation Ends, or AGEs as they are appropriately shortened to, damage these collagen fibres. Imagine clumps of sugar particle sticking to flexible smooth collagen fibres. They become weak, stiff, less supple and they cross link. The result is wrinkles and sagging skin. You then get a double whammy because while the collagen and elastin become weak, they are then more vulnerable to damage from UV and pollution.

There is some good news because if you cut down on sugar, you slow down this damage. The sugar I'm talking about is not just the white or brown sugar you add to your drink, it's also the fast-release carbohydrates that are in white bread, commercial cereals and pastries.

There's some good news in the AGEs process.

  1. Drink green tea and apply green tea serum to your skin! Green tea interferes with the AGEs process and therefore the ageing process.

  2. Anything that stimulates production of new collagen in the skin is good.

  3. Quality LED lamps red and near-infra red (Omnilux and Dermalux).

  4. Dermal rolling is good if done properly.

  5. Taking vitamins A, C, E and copper peptide. These can be applied topically.


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