Put Ageing Skin on a Sugar-Free Diet!

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last couple of years, or are still in a post-Easter chocolate coma, you’ll be all too aware that sugar can be bad for you.

According to the World Health Organisation, the sweet poison is just as addictive as tobacco, with as many adverse health effects. Besides making you paunchy and insulin resistant, it has been touted as the number one cause of intrinsic skin ageing; the result of a process known as glycation.


Sugar’s Excess Baggage

Glycation occurs when excess sugar in the bloodstream attacks protein within the skin. It results in an action similar to onions caramelising at a high temperature.

“The collagen and elastin fibres stiffen and immobilise — causing skin to lose elasticity and resilience,” says Jenny Millar, sales and brand manager for Babor Cosmetics, Australia.

By and large, glycated protein stashed in the dermis leads to inflammation and dehydration. Aeging skin is particularly at risk, as the pesky proteins are less likely to be naturally eliminated,

Wrinkles caused by glycation are clear to see. They are cross hatched and complex, as opposed to static expression lines, which only follow a horizontal direction.


Sugar Solvents

While a low glycaemic diet is the surest way to prevent ageing, one of the latest trends in skincare is anti-glycation topical solutions. Here are some key ingredients found in sugar-fighting skincare:

  • Carnosine: Prevents sugar molecules from manifesting in connective tissue. The elastin and collagen fibres subsequently remain flexible and active for longer.

Star Product: Babor HSR Firming Cream

  • Aminoguinadine: Often referred to as “the golden water”, aids in slowing down the wrinkling process and freshening the pallid, grey skins of heavy smokers.

Star Product: DMK’s Aminodine Spritz

  • Green Tea: A powerful antioxidant working in a similar way to the natural defence mechanism of plants against the environment.

Star Product: Dr Spiller’s Sanvita Cream

  • Plankton Extract: Harnesses UV rays to activate the body’s natural repair process

Star Product: Biopelle’s DNA Repair Cream No Sugar

  • SPF: A no-brainer, notable mention to the daily essential which protects compromised skin

Star Product: DNA Renewal Sheer Defense sunscreen 

Treat with Care

Professional treatments need to be adjusted to accommodate the fragile condition of glycated skin, to prevent further inflammation or outbreaks.


  • Clients with glycated skin may be dealing with other health challenges so ask if they have any known reactions to certain products, machines or treatments
  • Incorporate peels into a series of gentler treatments rather a single more invasive one
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
  • Program machines on settings for the most sensitive skin
  • Employ lighter movements using gentle cloths
  • Linen on treatment bed should consist of hypo-allergenic, natural fibres


  • Overly aggressive products of any kind should be avoided
  • Liquid peel solutions may penetrate too deeply and quickly, causing harm to the client. When it comes to skin peels, cream or gel-based acids with a PH lower than 2.5 work best
  • Rain-check on grainy, heavy-duty scrubs
  • Steam units should not be pointed directly at the skin
  • Towels should not be steaming hot or ice-cold – lukewarm is best

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