Your Skin, Sugar, and Keeping That Glow


(Photo: 70/365 How sweet it is by Mykl Roventine/Flickr Creative Commons)

(Photo: 70/365 How sweet it is by Mykl Roventine/Flickr Creative Commons

If you want your skin to keep looking lovely, step away from the cookie jar. And that honey you use in your tea. And, really, a plethora of other things. Sugar is bad news for that radiant glow of yours.

Sugars are capable of forming advanced glycation end-products (AGEs–it’s a punny name, I can get behind it), which are sugars that have attached to proteins or fats. These molecules make you look older faster–over time, they build up and change your skin’s composition. AGEs attach to collagen and elastin fibers–the two most important proteins in your skin–changing the color, making the proteins stiffer, and ultimately contributing to wrinkles and dull skin [1, 2].

Sugars also indirectly affect your glow. As you know, vegetables make your skin glow, but eating sugar can counter-act this in part because your skin uses the antioxidants to fight off the AGEs, sucking the color right out of you.

Sugar is by no means good for us–there is a whole laundry list of nasty side effects. And our skin’s health is important to our overall health–after all, it is our largest organ and it does keep us safe from environmental attacks. But if that doesn’t motivate you to start cutting out sugar, let your self-love (ahem, vanity) get behind this.

Dull skin is a bummer–I am pretty sure that radiant skin is something every girl hopes for. Wrinkles are also a bummer, but as a college student, I can hardly fathom that and I think that many of you are on the same page me. And that means we need to stop this before it becomes a problem. The simple solution is to start cutting out unnecessary sugar (and ultimately go as sugar-free as you can).

So, then what is sugar good for? Your skin! But, gosh, not when you eat it. Sugar is a great exfoliator, which means that (when you apply it directly to your skin rather than eat it) it can reveal that glow of yours. What a twist, right?

So, how do you take advantage of sugar’s one and only skin benefit? I typically just use brown sugar with enough olive oil to make a paste but check out Almost Exactly’s body scrub recipe or this chai inspired option which sounds really decadent.


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