The average American consumes 3.4 pounds of candy on Halloween, statistics show — but beyond affecting people’s weight, that amount of candy can also take a toll on the skin, experts warn.
Consumers are expected to spend $3.6 billion on Halloween candy this year, according to the National Retail Federation, with 68% of people planning to pass it out for the holiday.
For those tempted to indulge in leftover candy after trick-or-treating is over, health experts suggest considering sugar’s impact on aging skin.
“There is a lot of information available on sugar consumption and weight,” Dr. Nicole Lee, founder of Epoch Dermatology in Garden City, New York, told Fox News Digital.
“However, it can also do a number on our skin.”
Excess intake of sugar can result in inflammation of the skin, which can cause acne or eczema to flare up, the expert added.
“How many times have we seen the consequences [of] a slice of chocolate cake?” she asked.
In addition, sugar can hinder the skin’s ability to repair itself, Lee noted.
“Sugar is also linked to collagen degradation by a known phenomenon of glycation, which impairs the reparative nature of our collagen fibers,” she said.
Dr. Azza Halim, a board-certified anesthesiologist who also practices aesthetic medicine, anti-aging and regenerative medicine in Boca Raton, Florida, agreed that sugar has a distinct effect on aging skin through the glycation process.
“Glycation is the process of bonding sugar molecules to proteins, lipids and nucleic acids,” Halim said in a statement to Fox News Digital.
“This creates advanced glycation end products, which can damage collagen and elastin fibers in the skin.”
When glucose and fructose (types of sugar) link amino acids in the skin’s collagen and elastin, that creates the advanced glycation end products, or “AGEs,” according to a previous study published in the journal Clinical Dermatology.
That process can lead to stress and inflammation of the skin. It also prevents the collagen fibers from being repaired — which can affect the skin’s appearance, health experts told Fox News Digital.
Maintaining a “youthful complexion” relies in part on collagen’s ability to be flexible and repairable, which is affected by this glycation process.
Besides its effect on the skin, sugar consumption can also have a negative effect on a person’s overall health.
Excessive sugar intake can lead to issues such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity and other health problems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s website.
It is important to recognize added sugars in order to limit daily intake, says the CDC.
These risks don’t mean you have to avoid candy intake completely — “it is about moderation and minimizing excess,” Lee told Fox News Digital.
It is important to recognize added sugars in order to limit daily intake, according to the CDC.
On its website, the health agency noted that added sugars are “sugars and syrups that are added to foods or beverages when they are processed or prepared. Naturally occurring sugars, such as those in fruit or milk, are not added sugars.”
Read product labels to help identify added sugars, nutrition experts recommend.
“Examples of added sugars include brown sugar, cane juice, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit nectars, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, maple syrup, molasses, raw sugar and sucrose,” the CDC states on its website.
The CDC offers the following recommendations, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025:
- Americans 2 years and older should limit their intake of added sugars to less than 10% of their total daily calories. For example, in a 2,000-calorie diet, no more than 200 calories should come from added sugars (about 12 teaspoons).
- Children younger than 2 years old should not be fed foods and beverages with added sugars at all.
As the American Academy of Dermatology noted on its website, research studies suggest that aging can be accelerated by a diet containing a high amount of sugar or other refined carbohydrates.
Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet may help prevent damage that leads to premature skin aging, the organization stated.