Sugar Shock!

Sugar Shock!

That sweet tooth can show up in unlikely places…like around your eyes

By Cora Ciaramello
L.E., C.P.E., LMT Aesthetician

Oh, that sweet tooth !  When the craving hits, it’s all but impossible to resist a sugary treat.

But as we know, that bite of a tasty donut has a way of biting us back in negative ways. Weight gain, increased cholesterol levels, liver damage, and resistance to insulin are just a few of the ways sugars like high-fructose corn syrup, cane sugar or juice, maltose and dextrose – added sugars with no purpose other than to increase flavors – can wreak havoc on our internal systems.

These sugars can also inflict damage to our external body as well, by aging our skin. Yes, we are talking about wrinkles – additional creases and furrows created by overindulgence of unnatural sugars. Ouch!

The AGEs in Aging

When we eat, food changes into glucose, which travels in the bloodstream and produces energy used by the body. However, glucose can also attach itself to proteins in a process called glycation, a progression that changes the structure of cells, the way they behave, and their reaction.

Consuming too much sugar or too many high-glycemic foods can produce advanced glycation endproducts, or AGEs. When glycation alters the cells of small blood vessels, we can notice the skin damage sugar can create; especially around the eyes.  

The more AGEs we have in our bodies, the more we age. According to a recent scientific study, AGEs “modify skin collagen by reducing skin elasticity, and one result is wrinkle formation.”


Other effects of AGE formation include age spots, hyperpigmentation, skin hardening, dull skin, uneven skin tone, collagen degradation, inflammation, and tumors.

Reducing AGEs

The good news is that we can help reduce production of AGEs… and “age gracefully.” Following are some tips to help keep skin looking as radiant as possible, even as we mature in years.

  • Fuel your body with low-glycemic foods like nuts and seeds and low-glycemic fruits like berries plums, peaches and cantaloupe instead of sugary foods, to help control blood sugar levels. Other low-glycemic options include lean meats, yogurt, eggs, tofu, most vegetables, and healthy grains like barley, quinoa and rolled oats. Be aware that added sugars are not the only villains. Foods like white bread, white rice, white potatoes, and the like can break down quickly in the body and spike sugar levels.

  • Cook meats low and slow (especially during the barbeque season!). AGEs can be created in meats even before they are eaten, so avoid the “blackened meat” look. Consider eating foods that are not so “well done.”

  • “Nurse” that alcoholic drink a little longer. Researchers have found that alcohol enhances glycation stress.

  • Mmmmm…chocolate! In addition to fruits and vegetables, foods like dark chocolate and tea have powerful antioxidants that can help protect cells from glycation. So, if your sweet tooth is screaming for attention, have a piece of dark chocolate instead of a donut or some cookies.

  • It should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: protect your skin always. It has been proven that UV exposure increases formation of AGEs – not just on our faces, but on all exposed skin. It also needs to be reiterated that excessive weight does absolutely no good for our bodies, including increasing the formation AGEs.  

Of course, your skin needs attention and care on the outside too. Home care with the correct products for your particular skin type is essential for healthy looking skin. Regular care by a professional and skilled aesthetician will also help you keep your glow on.

And we offer it all at Changes Skin & Aesthetics: the purest products for your home care regimen as well as treatments to help keep visible signs of aging at bay.

During a skin care consultation at Changes, we can determine your individual needs and recommend the types of professional care that will enhance your skin and keep you looking as young as you feel.

Please check out our website, for information about our services and specials. Do call us for a consultation.

And then enjoy that cup of tea with a piece of dark chocolate. You’ll be doing your skin a big favor!

Changes Spa & Aesthetics
420 Boulevard Suite 107
Mountain Lakes, New Jersey
(973) 588-3668