Is Sugar Ageing Your Skin?

Well, 'yes' is the short but not-so-sweet answer. Sugar lurks in almost everything - a silent spectre, seducing us with its deliciousness only to punish our weakness (such is life). We all know it's bad for our waistlines (a moment on the lips...), but what most of us fail to appreciate, is the toll sugar takes on our skin.

The white stuff, quite literally, causes skin to AGE through a process known (rather intimidatingly) as glycation - which describes what happens when sugar molecules in the bloodstream attach themselves to protein molecules, resulting in 'advanced glycation end-products' (or AGEs *shudder*). Protein fibres, like precious collagen and elastin - which act as skin's scaffolding and in turn, maintain it's youthful strength and firmness - become compromised almost as soon as any sugar is ingested (whether it comes from a slice of Willy Wonka's finest, or a seemingly innocent apple). It therefore makes logical sense, that the more sugar you eat the more AGEs you develop, and with collagen compromised your skin quickly begins to betray your sweet tooth.

The AGEing process is a domino-effect, with damaged proteins threatening adjacent strands, and so on and so forth until the collagen breaks down and you skin starts to sag. Nobody wants a 'saggy face' but if you're not mindful of the sugar you're consuming, you're on a one-way-ticket to Sagville... Grade III collagen is 'the best' - being the most stable and hard-wearing, but AGEs reduce this 'King of Collagens' to a measly grade I, which is infinitely more brittle and susceptible to breakage. So, as the scaffolding collapses your whole face heads south and wrinkles which used to 'bounce back', stake a permanent claim to your visage. If you're not sugar savvy, these effects invariably begin to manifest themselves during the mid-to-late thirties, but you needn't heave a huge sigh of resignation and maul the nearest cupcake in a fit of abject misery...

Apart from simply cutting down your sugar intake - something which everyone can benefit from, not just physically but emotionally (sugar wreaks havoc with hormones and energy levels) - there are ingredients which can be used topically, to stimulate skin's fibroplasts and synthesise new collagen. Yipee! Retinol - a Vitamin A derivative - is renowned for its anti-ageing prowess, but is notoriously irritating when applied in meaningful doses. This is because Retinol (sometimes found as Retinoid or Retinoic Acid), effectively 'annoys' skin cells into reacting - a bit like when your baby brother taunts you 'til you punch him in the face (or so I've heard). Retinol spurs old, world-weary fibroplasts into activity; which increases collagen creation but can also lead to dryness, redness and inflammation - so you would look younger, if people could see past the scales... Verso's {Super Facial Serum} (and the entirety of the {Verso} range) feature the brands revolutionary Retinol-8 Complex - a unique approach to the ingredient, which facilitates increased potency in a reduced dosage (it's 8 times as effective as typical Retinol), so you get all the anti-ageing benefit without the aftermath.

Glycolic Acid (a member of the AHA family), is also a brave warrior in the battle against sugar (and-sun-and-free radical) damage. By chemically ridding your skin of its stratum corneum - the uppermost layer of dead cells that helps to protect against the elements - your skin is compelled to work hard to replace it, triggering an accelerated cycle of repair and renewal that improves skin's overall density. By optimising cell turnover, new and healthy cells effectively oust the damaged ones - so the ravages wrought by a lifetime of coca-cola consumption are all but eradicated (sort of)! {Alpha-H} (dedicated to battling acne and ageing), have a 'wardrobe' of Glycolic options, to address the specific requirements of your complexion; their {Age Delay Intensive Anti-Wrinkle Night Treatment Cream} (which features both Vitamin A and Glycolic Acid) is the ultimate weapon in the war against sugar damage - working in collaboration with your skin's own nighttime renewal processes, for maximum results with minimal effort.