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Sugar, glucose and wrinkles

Sugar and wrinkles

Cosmetic experts agree that the general condition of our skin depends, to a large extent, on our diet. So do carbohydrates have an impact on skin quality? What role does sugar play in the appearance of wrinkles?

When proteins bind with glucose

Glycation is a natural reaction produced between glucose and proteins. Reactions between glucose, from the carbohydrates in our diet, and proteins from our body’s connective tissues (muscle tissue, blood vessels, skin proteins, etc.) create glycoproteins that cannot be destroyed or freed from the cell in which they accumulate.

Glycation: the origin of wrinkles?

Let’s take the example of skin tissue: profound changes take place in the dermis, where glucose binds to collagen fibres and elastin, and glycation modifies the properties of these proteins, making them more resistant to proteolysis, preventing their renewal. The subcutaneous substance that supports the dermis loses its elasticity and tone as a result. Glycation therefore appears to be a factor in the ageing of skin tissue.

Don't confuse sugar (sucrose) with glucose

sugar or sucrose is composed of glucose and fructose; sucrose is present in fruit and vegetables or extracted from sugar cane and sugar beet.

glucose present in the blood (glycaemia) comes from sugar present in the food we eat (about 25%) but also, and above all, from other carbohydrates (at least 75%), that is, other sugars (lactose, fructose, etc.), dextrins and starch.


the glycation of proteins results from a reaction between the glucose and proteins, with glucose generated from the digestion of all carbohydrates and not exclusively from sucrose.

As a result, saying that sugar causes wrinkles is to use the shortcut “sugar (sucrose) consumption = glycation = wrinkles”, which is incorrect.