When it comes to claims that a high sugar diet can wreak havoc on your skin, it seems that most of us are holding onto hope that this time, science got it all wrong. For all the trendy dietary restrictions convincing us of our dedication to health and wellness, we tend to forget that a vegan, gluten-free potato chip is still, really, just a deep fried, sugar-packed snack.
Although negative health effects of sugar have long been studied, almost daily warnings about a laundry list of ingredients and chemicals distract our attention away from the most basic principles of a good diet. Sugar, in all its forms, is a nuisance to our bodies, brains and even our skin. Sugar’s impact on our skin is the result of the inflammation it creates within our bodies and the byproduct of its digestion, glucose, which binds to collagen and alters its behavior.
In the short term, inflammation communicates that something in the body has gone awry, triggering an immune response. Chronic elevation of blood sugar levels leads to prolonged action of immune system cells which, in turn, affect skin cell function- particularly the cells that produce even tone and texture.
Glycation, or the process by which glucose is released into your blood, is responsible for sugar’s negative impact on the strongest, most durable type of collagen our bodies produce, Collagen III. High glucose levels cause dry skin, leading to more prominent creasing and increased wrinkling. Some studies even show that high blood sugar levels reduce antioxidant levels, leaving skin more susceptible to sun damage and other environmental free radicals.
To plump skin, hide wrinkles and prevent deep creases from forming further, experts recommend several remedies. First, hydrate and stay away from liquid sugars like lemonade and sweetened ice teas. Second, Botox injections will prevent the muscle contractions that create creases in the skin. Last, skin treatments like Microneedling will stimulate the production of lost collagen.