Is Sugar Ruining Your Anti-Aging Skin Regimen?


More greens, less transfats. Check.
More juice, less caffeine. Check.
More superfoods, less meat and dairy. Check.
Gluten free (90% of the time, at least). Check.
Less Sugar…

Ahem. Less Sugar?

Bueller…. ?

Let’s face it, if you’re like me, you’ve made necessary lifestyle changes to address the aforementioned “healthy” edits to your dietary habits. But when it comes to sugary treats, let’s just say my willpower against cupcakes, macarons and sea salt caramels isn’t as strong as my shoe game.

But that’s why this write up is going to help me as much as (I hope) it tries to help you.

I’m going to put it into perspective.

With all of the negative press sugar has been getting for its effects on heart health and obesity rates, I think it was time to decipher its beauty ramifications — and the results aren’t pretty.


When we over indulge in sugar and carbs, sugar molecules basically rape your fat and protein molecules. Which means in skin/speak, our precious and supple supply of collagen and elastin become discolored, weak, and not so radiant. This manifests in wrinkles, overall sagginess, and things like the “bar code” lip phenomenon (Heard a skin care expert use that the other day and just about died at her creativity. Bar Code! Ha.)

This abomination of a process forms advanced glycation end products (also known as AGEs. My, my, how fitting, no?), which cause protein fibers to become stiff, malformed and pretty much, depressed and defunct.

Effects of this process at the cellular level of the skin’s structure further results in permanent collagen production loss, loss of elasticity, accelerated aging and compromised barrier function.

Are you scared yet? You should be.

However, there’s good news. You don’t have to relegate yourself to a lifetime of

There’s a few steps experts believe can help counter act this process or keep the damages at bay, even if you are

Here’s what you can do to counter act all the sugary goodness you’re gonna hate yourself for later.


Opt for complex carbohydrates, like brown rice and vegetables, which are broken down into glucose at a slower rate (and therefore don’t cause that pesky insulin spike). Low-glycemic options, like beans, nuts and whole grains, as well as fibrous foods, which delay sugar absorption, also help control blood sugar levels. Do your best to follow an anti-inflammatory diet of healthy fats (like olive oil and avocados), lean protein (like salmon), fiber (like broccoli and cauliflower) and antioxidants (like berries) if you want glowing, youthful skin.


  • Get plenty of sleep. When you don’t get enough shut-eye, your body releases the stress hormone, cortisol, which mobilizes sugar stores and causes your insulin to spike.
  • Speaking of stress, try to keep yours at a minimum. Stress can spike insulin levels just like eating sugar can. The effects of stress are particularly correlated with acne breakouts.
  • Eat frequent, balanced meals. Don’t think lowering your sugar intake means lowering your food intake per se. If your goal is to keep your blood sugar levels consistent, make sure to fuel up with low-glycemic, high protein food every three hours to avoid insulin spikes.
  • Be mindful about how you prepare your food. When cooking starches, like potatoes and foods with wheat, keep in mind that the heat involved in cooking causes a process known as gelatinization, which can lead to upping the glycemic index of a food item. The takeaway? Avoid starches fried in high heat or that are commercially processed.
  • Order counts. Eat your proteins first when sitting down for a meal, since they don’t stimulate insulin spikes and therefore keep your body from triggering the inflammatory effects caused when you ingest insulin-spiking foods.
  • Fats are your friend. Healthy fats, like Omega-3s, keep your skin looking soft, supple and radiant (read: youthful).