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How does sugar affect your skin?

By Cover Media via Reuters Connect

How does sugar affect your skin?
Excess of the sweet stuff can contribute to issues like dryness and premature ageing.

Before you go tucking into piles of pudding or adding extra sugar to each coffee, it may be worth reconsidering.

Nina Prisk of Update Aesthetics says it’s important to understand the impact lots of sugar can have on the skin.

These are just some of the issues she says can result from excess consumption.

Premature ageing

Increased sugar intake affects the collagen and elastin that makes up our skin.

“Collagen and elastin are the proteins that give skin its structure and firmness, explains Prisk. “As sugar intake increases, molecules attach to the collagen and form free radicals. These free radicals can cause oxidative damage which has a negative impact on the health of the skin. It can cause premature ageing of the skin, leading skin to look wrinkled and saggy.”


Eating high levels of sugar from simple carbohydrates causes blood sugar levels to rise.

“This increases inflammation in the body which can directly impact skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis,” the anti-ageing expert notes.


Excess sugar intake can make you more prone to developing insulin resistance.

“This stimulates the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum which can result in clogged pores and acne breakouts,” she continues.


Too much sugar in the blood can cause the kidneys to go into overdrive to try and get rid of it, which can result in dehydration and dryness.

“Some people notice their skin feels itchy and flaky as a result or for others it can look dull, lacklustre and more wrinkled,” says Prisk.

What to do

So, you’ve overdone the chocolate? Address the signs of excess sugar on the face by focusing on hydration.

“When your skin is dehydrated, its moisture barrier is disrupted and it can’t properly protect itself from external threats. This can leave it more prone to bacteria penetrating the skin and causing itching, redness and irritation.

“In order to ensure skin is properly hydrated it’s advisable to address hydration from inside and out,” Prisk suggests.

“Ensure you’re drinking enough water so that the body is properly hydrated from the inside. Also, applying products containing a humectant like hyaluronic acid can be effective, as these help the skin to hold water, as can a moisturiser that contains ceramides. It’s also vital to get enough sleep.


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