The tautness and elasticity of our skin is mostly due to the proteins collagen and elastin. If you were to examine these proteins under a very powerful microscope, the structure resembles a slinky. When we smile or move, our skin moves in concordance — the “slinky” pulls apart allowing our skin to “stretch.” And when the movement is done, it then retracts to its original “slinky” position.
Processed sugars trigger the release of inflammatory messengers called cytokines. These in turn break down collagen and elastin, and result in sagging skin and wrinkles. In addition to damaging collagen, a high-sugar diet also affects what type of collagen you have — another factor in how resistant skin is to wrinkling. And, too, inflammation can provoke acne breakout.
Researchers have also found that sugar attaches to proteins in our body to form harmful new molecules called Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs for short). AGEs deactivate our body’s natural antioxidant enzymes, leaving us more vulnerable to sun damage — the main cause of skin aging and skin cancer.