There are many different factors that affect skin health and appearance. While most people know that sun exposure can lead to a myriad of skin problems, ranging from wrinkles to skin cancer, you may be surprised to learn that there is another pervasive way your skin could be quietly accumulating damage: through sugar consumption. How does sugar affect your skin, and what can you do about it?
How Sugar Ages You
With all the information available about how sugar can make you gain weight and cause other health problems, the aging effects of sugar may just be the nudge you need to cut it out or cut down on it. Let’s take a look at some of the ways sugar can actually accelerate the aging process and make your skin look dry or broken out:
- Creates inflammation. Blood sugar spikes cause inflammation, which contributes to dull and unhealthy skin.
- Attacks collagen with glucose. Collagen is one of the essential connective proteins found in the skin that lends a youthful and beautiful appearance to the skin, making it smooth, firm, and elastic. Sugar attacks this collagen, making your skin wrinkle more quickly.
- Causes rapid changes in blood sugar. Spikes and crashes in blood sugar can make your body stressed, which can lead to acne and poor skin health.
Cutting It Out
There’s good news to go along with the bad—it is possible to help your skin become healthier by implementing simple lifestyle changes, no matter what your age. Obviously, the first step toward reversing the harmful effects of sugar on your skin is to cut the stuff out of your diet as much as you can. This can be difficult, but many people report looking and feeling better in just a few days after removing the source of the problem. Sugar is an addictive substance, and many people find that they need to “detox” from it before they start feeling better. Kick your addiction by cutting sugar out entirely for a week or more, then take it easy with both natural and hidden sugars for best results.
Hidden Sugar Sources
American food culture involves much more sugar than others, and you might be surprised as to how many hidden sugars are contained in popular foods. Often sauces, breads, and other staple foods contain added sugar to adapt to the tastes of consumers. Worse, simple carbohydrates break down into glucose, spiking your blood sugar and leading to health problems. White breads, fruit juice, jam, and other foods are common offenders. The best way to avoid these hidden sugars is to be a smart label-reader, and to eat whole foods as much as possible. Processed foods are notorious for containing way too much sugar, salt, and preservatives, so stick to whole foods for peace of mind and overall health.
Undoing the Damage
If your sweet tooth has gotten your skin into trouble, never fear. It’s not always possible to undo all the damage your skin takes, but it is possible to reverse some harmful effects and achieve more youthful, radiant skin, without surgery. If you’re interested in facial rejuvenation, here are some treatments to consider to help curb the damage caused by sugar.
From skin refresher to more in-depth rejuvenation, chemical peels are a customizable type of treatment that can help improve overall complexion issues. Chemicals are applied to the face and then neutralized in a brief treatment. Following the procedure, the skin gradually peels off to reveal a smoother, healthier complexion. These treatments can often be repeated a few times for improved results.
Botox® and Fillers
An extremely popular type of treatment that’s a snap to maintain, Botox® and dermal fillers are injectable wrinkle treatments that work for several months. Dermal fillers can also help restore lost volume in the face, a common sign of aging. Treatments take only a few minute to administer, involve very little risk, and are available at a very accessible price point.
A revolutionary application for ultrasound technology, Ultherapy® is a skin tightening system that lifts and firms the skin over time, helping it to produce collagen that replaces lost and damaged proteins. In a treatment lasting 60-90 minutes, ultrasonic energy is transmitted deep into the skin to stimulate collagen. This one-time treatment can produce improvement for up to a year or longer. Downtime is extremely minimal, and patients can return to normal activities the next day.
A more extensive option requiring a few weeks of downtime, laser resurfacing can make major improvements to the youth and beauty of the skin. Laser resurfacing can help with wrinkles, pigmentation issues, overall complexion, and more. Carbon dioxide laser treatments are often performed under local anesthesia in an office setting, and most patients find the excellent results to be worth the downtime of the procedure.
Speak to an Expert
Whether you’re looking for rejuvenation options or are interested in getting on the right track for skin health (hopefully both!) you’re going to need the help of a seasoned professional. A board certified dermatologist has the kind of specialized knowledge to help you get glowing, beautiful skin and help you on the right track toward maintaining your skin’s youth and health for a long time to come.
If you’re looking for a renowned cosmetic dermatologist in the Miami area, come meet with nationally renowned skincare expert Dr. Diane Walder and her associate, Dr. Stacy Chimento. Dr. Walder attends to a distinguished patient base, and is often consulted with for skincare advice in national publications like Glamour and Allure. If you’d like to meet with Dr. Walder and discuss your skin’s unique needs, call 305-866-2177 today to schedule your appointment.