Dubbed sweet poison by leading dieticians, research has revealed that consuming too much sugar can lead to inflammation in the skin, which can in turn cause wrinkles and sagging.
When there is too much sugar in the body, sugar molecules link with protein molecules to produce advanced glycation end-products (AGEs). As the human body doesn’t recognise AGEs as being normal it produces antibodies to combat them, which causes inflammation in the skin.
The more sugar you eat the more AGEs are produced. This is called the gylcation process and it results in a saggy, lined complexion. If that isn’t bad enough, the process also makes the complexion more vulnerable to UV and pollution damage.
Slowing down this process is currently top of the agenda for many skincare companies.
While glycation can’t be completely stopped, improving your diet and lifestyle and using specific products and treatments can slow the process.
Following the release of Yves Saint Laurent’s Youth Liberator serum, £97 (yslbeauty.co.uk) last year, high street chains are now releasing cutting-edge anti-glycation products at a fraction of the price.
Superdrug has just launched PhytoGlyc-Age Anti-Glycation Anti-Ageing skincare.
Created by scientists in Switzerland to address the effects of glycation on the skin, the product is aimed at those over the age of 35.
The range includes an SPF15 Day Cream and Night Serum Concentrate, both £12.99, which are designed to protect cellular DNA from glycation.
The range also includes prodiza, an active ingredient from the Persian Silk Tree, which can penetrate deeply into skin and counteract the accumulation of AGE’s.
Other ingredients to look out for include glycans, grapeseed, pomegranate, ceramides and aloe vera.
Green tea has recently been proven to significantly interfere with the glycation process so if you’re using a product containing green tea (or drinking it regularly), you’re already protecting your skin.
While the glycation process happens gradually over the course of a lifetime, eating a sensible diet and making healthy lifestyle choices can affect how quickly the effects show on our skin.
First reduce your alcohol intake as beverages such as wine and beer contain high amounts of sugar. Women shouldn’t regularly drink more than two to three units a day, while men shouldn’t drink more than four units per day.
Wear sunscreen even when it’s cloudy and try to cut out all sugary foods from your diet, which can be easier said than done. Also make sure to exercise daily and take a supplement such as omega-3, which helps support collagen function.
AT THE CLINIC
Any treatment that stimulates new collagen production will also help eradicate glycation damage. Microneedling is great for improving skin texture and boosting collagen supplies and can be used on the face and body, including arms and décolletage.
A peptide solution is massaged on to the skin before a barrel-like hand roller with hundreds of very fine needles (thinner than your own hair) is rolled over the area to prick the skin.
These pin point punctures are perceived by the body as damage, which activates a wound heal response to regenerate the skin and boost collagen levels, which in turn thickens fine, ageing skin. A course of three to four weekly treatments may be required and you should see results within six weeks.