3 min read

Does Sugar Damage Your Skin And Cause Wrinkles?

21 Sep


When I talk to patients about maintaining good skin I tell them about the S's. Sugar, Salt, Smoking, Sleep.  

Avoiding the bad S’s like Sugar and enjoying the good S’s like Sleep is essential for optimal skin health.    Even the politicians in Canberra recognise the damage caused by sugar and are proposing what all politicians love, to introduce a ‘sugar’ tax. With the proposal for a 20 percent tax, the outcome is going to be anything but sweet.

Switching from politics to plastic surgery, let’s have a quick look at how sugar affects your skin?

Sugar causes permanent collagen damage by glycation

When you consume simple carbohydrates such as bread, sugar, sweetened drinks, cakes, pastries, doughnuts and similar foods although yummy and toothsome affect the level of the hormone Insulin in your body which spikes and digests the sugar. This sugar then attaches to the collagen by a process called glycation.

Collagen as we all know along with elastin is a key element that keeps your skin plump, youthful and wrinkle free.  A diet rich in sugar induces a ‘pro inflammatory’ state in your body which produces enzymes that attack and break down the collagen and elastin in your skin.  None of which is good news for your skin.   

High Glycaemic Index foods are bad for your skin

As well as sugar, simple carbohydrates with a high glycaemic index are best avoided. Complex carbohydrates and foods with a low glycaemic index are preferred. The High and low glycaemic index refers to how quickly the blood sugar will rise following ingestion of certain foods.   

Excess sugars worsen acne and  increase breakouts

If sugars ageing the skin and causing wrinkle formation wasn't bad enough, they also tend to worsen acne, rosacea, skin breakouts and increase the risk of insulin resistance.

The American Heart Association recommends that the daily intake of added sugar in children aged 2 – 18  should be no more than 6 teaspoons or 25 mgs of sugar. That amount of sugar is equal to 100 calories. Added sugar includes table sugar, high fructose corn syrup and honey and are typically used as an additive in processed food and soft drinks.   A 330 ml can of Coke has 35 grams of sugar.  

The Australian Bureau of Statistics tells us that "just over half of all Australians over exceeded the WHO recommendation to limit energy from free sugars to less than 10% of dietary energy".

The Good News

The good news is by keeping to the recommended dietary standards and getting enough sleep in combination with a good skin care routine you can achieve optimal skin health.  I encourage you to read my other blogs on skin health for tips and tricks in achieving this.

More Questions?

If you have any questions related to plastic and cosmetic surgery and live in Sydney, I invite you to attend one of my free Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery information evenings. I have one coming up soon. Click on the button below to learn more and register for a seat. This is perfect for people who are not yet ready to commit to a one on one consultation but have some questions they’d like answered by a certified plastic surgeon. Come along and ask me questions directly in a friendly, small group setting.


Plastic Surgeon Sydney Dr Naveen Somia information evening



Topics: Anti-Ageing
Dr Naveen Somia MBBS, PhD, FRACS

Written by Dr Naveen Somia MBBS, PhD, FRACS

Dr. Naveen Somia is a Sydney Plastic Surgeon who listens to his patients, understands their problems and works alongside them to help achieve their aesthetic goals by applying his skills and years of experience in Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery. A published author on Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery, Naveen’s blog is aimed at helping you make the right choices and stay safe in your quest to look your personal best.