Soda has been slammed by health professionals over the last several years for the various health risks it poses, from destroying tooth enamel to contributing to the obesity epidemic in the United States. It’s no surprise, then, that these sugary beverages can also wreak havoc on our skin.
Sugars are the main component in soft drinks that effect the health of skin and are believed to accelerate the aging process of cells in the body.
A study by the University of California-San Francisco revealed that drinking one 20-ounce soda every day “was associated with 4.6 years of additional biological aging,” according to the University Herald. Additionally, they discovered that people who reported drinking more soda had shorter telomeres, or the protective cap on chromosomes in DNA, in their white blood cells.
The aging of cells can not only lead to various types of disease, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes, but the signs of old age can also show up on our faces in the form of fine lines and wrinkles much sooner than we’d expect. High levels of sugar consumption speed up a process called glycation that causes us to age.
Glycation is a chemical reaction caused when a sugar attaches to a protein, and it occurs naturally in our bodies as we age; however, the process can can be accelerated by the overconsumption of sugars, causing a person to age prematurely.
Dark sodas, in particular, contain high levels of advanced glycation end products, or AGEs, that can reduce skin elasticity and lower the production of collagen in the body. As skin loses its elasticity, it can start to sag and form wrinkles and fine lines. As if the sugar in soda wasn’t bad enough, the high levels of caffeine also dry out skin, leaving it flaky and itchy.
Luckily, the bad effects that soda can have on the skin can be stopped and even reversed. Although it can be a hard habit to break, removing soda from one’s diet is the first step.
“Nutrition plays a significant role in skin health and pre-mature aging,” says Linda Wang, founder of Karuna Sheet Masks. “To fight the signs of skin aging—including fine lines and wrinkles—you need to step up your anti-aging skin care routine. Using products with anti-aging ingredients like aloe vera, has been shown to improve facial elasticity and increase collagen production in as little as three months. And more elasticity means fewer wrinkles.”
Our skin is exposed to a number of environmental factors every day that can leave it rough and chapped, so why add to the damage by drinking sugary soft drinks? By cutting out soda from our diets, we can improve our overall health while keeping our skin looking young, smooth and healthy.