The one thing (aside from the sun) you should stay away from if you want better skin

Happy skin
Happy skin

We know that the sun is detrimental to the health of our skin. Among other things it causes pre-mature ageing, hyperpigmentation and dangerous skin conditions. 

But what about sugar? That 11am biscuits with your coffee or 3pm Nosh bar. Yes, we are all vulnerable to sugary delights. Often to boost our energy or suppress our hunger when finding 'real food' is too much of an effort. 

READ MORE: Skincare brands that offer so much for so little - all under R200! 

Local dermatologist, Dr. Nomphelo Gantsho says that research has shown that almost 80% of skin ageing is caused by the sun. But both the sugar and the sun are associated with the worsening of skin conditions and accelerated signs of ageing.


Foods with a high glycemic index, such as sugar, white bread, and white rice, are rapidly absorbed, leading to higher serum glucose levels and corresponding elevated levels of insulin. Insulin and IGF-1 have been shown to augment sebum production, stimulate adrenal androgen synthesis, and increase androgen bioavailability, all of which play a role in the development of acne.  

So, no bread? 

It's all about limiting your intake. Especially refined sugars. 

Ageing skin

Rhytides, sagging of skin, and loss of elasticity are all related to changes in the collagen and elastic fibres of the skin, which are themselves impacted by your diet. Ingestion of sugar, in particular, can accelerate these signs of ageing, as it promotes cross-linking of collagen fibres. 

In this piece by Manrepeller, Harling Ross speaks about the condition of her skin after lowering her sugar intake for a while. It went from puffy in the morning to less puffy. Not only that but her dermatologist advises her that sugar, as an inflammatory, "causes the glycation of proteins, like collagen and elastin, which can result in dull, tired and lined skin". 

Dr. Nomphelo reiterates this, saying "When there’s an excess of sugar in the body, those sugar molecules can link up with protein molecules, and turn into advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which are not natural in the body. These AGEs often attach to collagen and elastin, causing wrinkles, inflammation, and making any kind of skin condition – from Rosacea to acne to be worse. This process is known as glycation, and can also cause our immune systems to work overtime to get our systems back to normal.

"The long-term affects of glycation can be pretty brutal. A diet that’s high in sugar can actually cause the type of collagen in our skin to change from a type III (strong) to a type I (weak). Weaker collagen tends to make our skin look less supple. Add in the fact that AGEs can make us more susceptible to sun damage, and it becomes clear just how bad refined sugar can be for our appearance."

READ MORE: Over 8000 people are on the waiting list for this deodorant 

Save the money you usually spend on sugary treats and rather shop these fantastic sunscreens:

optiphi Solar Shield SPF 50, R424.

This is very light and fast-absorbing. Great for those who are acne-prone. 

Nuxe Sun SPF 30 Lotion, R415.

Known as 'delicious lotion' it smells divine. One of my all-time favourites. 

Skin magic, awaits. 

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