ACHIEVERS SPOTLIGHT

The ageing culprit … sugar

ARTISTRY

Michelle D’Allaird on how sugar intake relates to the potential of wrinkles.

There’s so much talk about the inner-outer beauty connection as well as the physiological ageing process, that it can get very confusing. One of the hottest new focuses in the skin care industry is an ageing process called glycation.

Glycation is the 'sugaring' of cells. It happens within virtually every type of body cell, including within the skin. The body utilises sugar for cellular energy. But excess amounts of sugar are detrimental to both the body and the skin. In the skin, sugar molecules bind to proteins, such as collagen and elastin, and form substances known as Advanced Glycation End (AGE) products. The AGEs cause the cross-linking of collagen fibres (making them inflexible, causing fine lines and wrinkles), trigger inflammation, create enzymes that degrade the function and behaviour of proteins, and drain the body of its natural antioxidant repair system.

Even worse, when these AGEs are influenced by environmental factors such as UV exposure, smoking, pollution, poor eating and stress, they become even more destructive.

Minimising the adverse effects of glycation

So what can you do about it? A whole lot of things! Let’s begin with the simplest of things, eating habits and lifestyle choices. You have all heard the saying “you are what you eat”… and this is absolutely true. To minimise glycation, you need to minimise the intake of excess added sugars. This means sugar that you add to foods as well as sugars that are added in processing. Check the labels carefully. You certainly can’t cut out all sugar, but you can make a dramatic reduction by not adding sugar and by avoiding “sugary” foods.

Become conscious of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are broken down into sugars in the body, then used for energy if needed … if not, they remain in the body. Carbohydrates such as pasta, rice, bread and potatoes are the most quickly broken down; therefore they are also the first to be stored. Minimise these from your diet and focus more on the intake of high-fibre foods, brown rice and whole grains. Fish, fruits and vegetables have the added benefit of providing the body with massive amounts of antioxidant protection.

Healthy lifestyle choices minimise free radical damage and boost the body’s own immune defence. Quality sleep, exercise and stress release are absolutely essential. Cigarette smoking, alcohol, high-stress levels, poor sleep habits and a lack of exercise are all factors that support the detrimental glycation process and the production of damaging AGEs.

Finally, remember the use of premium skin care products. And above all, the use of sunscreen protects you from UV reactions that trigger glycation. The secret to beautiful skin is understanding the many factors that influence it and the magnitude of choices that you can make to have it!

We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our site. Cookies are files stored in your browser and are used by most websites to help personalise your web experience.

By continuing to use our website without changing the settings, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I understand