Ah, yes; Autumn is here. Dolman tops, scarves and leggings are once again seen on the streets of Chicago, the scent of burning wood reminds us of simpler times, and Uggs slowly make their way from the backs of closets to front doors. Along with these exciting Autumn perks comes the most fabulous time of year; Halloween. Young adult women use this day as an excuse to prance around in risqué costumes and men seize the opportunity to comment on their character choices. “Oh, you’re a cat? Yeah, my cat wears bootie shorts and thigh highs, too!” However, he most notorious part of Halloween has nothing to do with cleavage or brisk weather. Rather, the show-stopping, must-have, most important accessory for Halloween is none other than CANDY. Both children and adults will peddle for miniature candy bars, candy corn, fruity chews, peanut butter cups, caramel apples, sugar-free assortments, milk chocolate and the occasional roll of inedible pennies from a sweet, old lady. But, before you steal your little brother’s bag of candy or persuade your daughter to hand over the Milky Way if she ever wants to watch Sponge Bob again, keep in mind that calories are not the only baggage that comes along with a sweet tooth.
Dermatologist Dr. Perricone explains what sugars can do to the skin:
“As these sugars and starches are eaten, they cause a burst of inflammation throughout the body. The sugar molecule can also permanently attach to protein, such as the collagen present in our skin and other parts of the body. This process is known as Glycation.
At the point of attachment, there is a small mechanism creating inflammation, which then becomes a source of inflammation in its own right. This inflammation produces enzymes that break down collagen, resulting in wrinkled, sagging skin. In addition to inflammation, Glycation also causes cross-linking in our collagen, making it stiff and inflexible where it was once soft and supple. But it is not just the skin we have to worry about. These “sugar-bonds” can occur throughout the body as we age. The sugar molecule attaches itself to our collagen as well as our arteries, veins, bones, ligaments, even our brains, resulting in the breakdown of organ systems and the deterioration of the body. Glycation creates “free radical” factories known as Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs), which also increase cellular inflammation.”
White sugar, artificial sweeteners, soda pop and foods packed with carbs (donuts, pastas and potatoes) can reak havoc on the skin. If you desire clear skin, fresh fruits and vegetables should be the only source of your natural sugar intake; especially because they also have the added perks of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. For more information on the relation between clear skin and inflammatory foods, read Perricone’s book. And for goodness sake, lay off the sweets!