Weight Gain, Medication, and Skin Aging

by Rob
(Chicago, IL)



I have two questions:

1) I'm wondering if being overweight has an effect on aging of the skin. I am 190 lbs and 27 years old, and a non-smoker.

The weight gain was due to taking Lithium, which leads to my second question.

2) Can certain medications lead to aging prematurely?

Thanks,

Rob

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Sep 05, 2009
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Weight Gain, Medication, and Skin Aging
by: George Parigian Jr.



Hi Robert,

This is another good question.

It’s not so much that being overweight causes the skin to age, but the reason you are overweight can have an affect on the aging of your skin.

Let me explain...

Simply weighing more in and of itself does not make your skin age; rather it is the way that you gained the weight that makes the difference.

If you are eating lots of sugar or for that matter any refined carbohydrate foods that chronically elevate your blood sugar and insulin levels, it will have a negative effect on your skin in terms of accelerating the aging process.

Sugar causes protein molecules to become “glycated” (look that up), and this process of glycation causes the collagen in your skin to become cross linked (hardened) losing its suppleness and elasticity.

This is the same chemical process that causes rubber to become hard and crack. Interestingly, sugar is used in industry to make plastics harder.

You can see this accelerated aging effect in alcoholics, as their skin shows the result of their excessive drinking.

As far as medications accelerating the aging process, I would say that if a medication produces high levels of free radicals and oxidative stress, then you could say it will accelerate the aging process.

I don’t know of any medications per se that would do this, and my answer is really based on the principle that increased levels of oxidative stress increase the rate of aging.

I can’t say if the lithium based medication you were taking could have accelerated skin aging, but it seems unlikely to me given what you have told me.

What I CAN tell you is that things like OPC’s, polyphenols, hyaluronic acid, bioflavinoids, and other antioxidants will have a protective effect on your skin, and slow down skin aging.

Hope that helps!

Good Luck and Good Health,

George

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