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The 7 Skin Sins: Sugar

Over the past 2 weeks, we've been discussing the effects of 7 skin sins – lifestyle habits that can wreak both short- and long-term damage on your skin. So far we've touched on aging accelerators like smoking and lack of sleep, and this week we're continuing the series with sugar! As if the effect of sugar on your waistline wasn't bad enough, constant consumption of sweets or carbohydrate-heavy foods can show on your skin, too. Here's how:

Invisible Inflammation

Immediately after consuming a carb-laden meal your blood sugar spikes and causes inflammation in your organs. Your skin – the largest organ – is no exception! A carb-heavy diet can mean your body is chronically inflamed and wasting energy trying to calm it. Ongoing inflammation encourages the production of skin-aging free radicals and leaves you more susceptible to breakouts, rosacea, and wrinkles..

Kiss Your Collagen Goodbye

As if inflammation wasn't enough, sugar is also out to get your collagen – the protein responsible for keeping your skin smooth, firm, and elastic. A process called "glycation" binds digested sugar to collagen. The resulting molecule damages surrounding collagen proteins, leaving them rigid. The result: sagging skin and fine lines.

Saccharine Sunburn

The same collagen-damaging molecule created from glycation also deactivates your body's natural antioxidant enzymes, leaving you more vulnerable to sun damage – the #1 skin ager!

Aside from cutting down on refined carbohydrates like sugar and pastas altogether, you can help save your skin by switching to whole grains to avoid the blood sugar spike that causes inflammation. But for the occasional (or not-so-occasional) sweets and breads that you can't resist, there's amazing, professional skin care.

When invisible inflammation sets in, switch to sensitive skin care products that are effective, but gentle enough to calm and soothe irritated skin. Boost skin's resilience to irritation with a protecting skin serum. To combat collagen damage, use an anti-aging cream with calcium and peptides to restore tone and moisture. And, sugar or no sugar, always apply a broad spectrum sunscreen at the end of your morning skin care routine to stay protected from UV exposure. What's your biggest skin sin? Check back next week as we reveal yet another on the list!