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Sugar and Your Aging Skin


High dietary sugar intake causes so much damage to the body.  It can suppress the immune system, disturb vitamin and mineral balance, contribute to weight gain, and cause systemic inflammation. Chronic or systemic inflammation in the body leads to, or contributes to, the development of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. But high sugar intake can also contribute to aging skin. 


Cross-linking and glycation are processes that occur in the skin that contribute to aging skin. They're caused by diet and lifestyle, with sugar intake being the biggest culprit. Cross-linking occurs when one collagen fiber links to another collagen fiber, which makes the fibers stiff and very hard. Glycation is a type of cross-linking that occurs when sugar molecules attach to a collagen fiber or elastin. At this point, the functions of collagen and elastin become impaired, and abnormal structures called advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) are created. AGEs then bind to the collagen and elastin, creating stiff, impaired and non-functioning fibers, causing dull, sagging and wrinkled skin. Also, as I stated above, excessive sugar consumption is a cause of chronic inflammation, which can exacerbate other skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, and psoriasis.


Other factors that can negatively affect your skin include environmental toxins, smoking, and sun exposure. Genetics also plays an important role in how well your skin ages, but you don't have control over genetics. You do, however, have control over the amount of sugar in your diet. If you reduce your consumption of sugar, you’ll improve your complexion and the overall health of your skin.


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