Can you really have your cake and eat it? The damaging effects of sugar on your skin

Can you really have your cake and eat it? The damaging effects of sugar on your skin

23 November 2015

We’ve all heard the saying “a minute on the lips, a lifetime on the hips” – but where sugary snacks are concerned, it’s not just bad news for our waistlines. Sugar can also have a negative impact on your skin, leading to a premature loss of collagen and elasticity as well as unwanted lines and wrinkles.

Skin Care expert Dr. Nicholas Perricone said: “In a process called glycation, sugar binds to skin’s proteins and lipids, altering them to form advanced glycation end-products (or AGEs) – mutant molecules that warp your collagen and elastin, responsible for giving skin its dewiness and bounce.”

And it’s not just premature ageing that can result from consuming excessive amounts of sugar – eating carb-loaded food rich in sugar can also cause your skin to produce more oil, which can lead to Adult Acne.

That’s not to say you can’t have a few sugary treats every now and again – we’re only human after all. Bear in mind that glycation is cumulative, which means that over time the damage gets worse. The key is to know your limits. The daily recommended allowance for sugar is around 100 calories – which is easier to consume than you’d think.

There are a few simple swaps you can do now that will save your skin in the long-term. Red wine is a good substitute for white wine, rosé and cocktails, as it contains the least amount of sugar and is packed with resveratrol which helps to fight premature ageing.

Feeling peckish? Rather than reaching for a chocolate bar, make fruit and veg your go-to afternoon pick-me-up. Packed with skin boosting antioxidants, blueberries in particular are ideal for protecting your skin while improving collagen and elastin.

How much sugar do you eat every day? Have you noticed any changes to your skin over time? Let us know on Twitter.


Image Credit: Africa Studio/