Sugar is the latest bad guy in the fight for glowing skin

Photo by Anthea Simms

We all know that indulging our sweet tooth can wreak havoc on our waistline. But now, skin-care scientists have found another surprising side effect: sugar can speed up signs of aging, too. The process is known as glycation, and it’s capable of damaging the very structure of your skin, allowing premature wrinkles and sagging to set in.

Glycation is thought to be irreversible since it forms byproducts the body can’t get rid of. But if you lower the rate of glycation, the theory goes, you can slow the onslaught of wrinkles.

La Roche Posay’s latest antiaging line, Derm Aox, $45–$50, aims to slow the process with carnosine, which attracts sugar molecules like a magnet before they can glom on to collagen—blocking glycation, while Dermalogica’s Age Smart range and the new Chanel Precision Ultra Correction Line Repair are both formulated to fight glycation.

But even with the most advanced skin care, it’s wise to steer clear of excess refined sugar (and its sneaky synonyms, sucrose and fructose) in our diet. All is not lost this Valentine’s Day, though. Red wine and dark chocolate both boast antioxidants, thanks to the resveratrol in grape skin and the flavonoids in cocoa. Just limit consumption to one six-ounce glass of wine and about one ounce of pure dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cocoa) per day.

“The Bitter Truth” has been edited for; the complete story appears in the February 2010 issue of FLARE.