It’s the time of year that makes every sweet tooth’s mouth water, from peppermint cheesecake to triple pumpkin lattes. What’s the harm in reaching for holiday treats? When it comes to your skin—plenty. Overindulge week after week, and all that extra sugar might not only pose health challenges for your body on the inside—it could show up on your face in the form of early wrinkles.

As Anne Alexander explains in The Sugar Smart Diet  (Rodale Press, Inc, 2014), it starts with the natural process called glycation, wherein sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins in your body to form new molecules called advanced glycation end products, also known as AGEs. Eating sugar causes AGEs to accumulate and damage nearby proteins—especially the protein fibers collagen and elastin, which keep skin firm and elastic. Once damaged, these fibers lose their natural resiliency and become dry and brittle, which leads to more wrinkles and sagging.

Alexander also warns to keep an eye on ingredient lists for refined sugars (high fructose corn syrup, glucose, sucrose, maltose and sugar in its many forms) lurking in unexpected places—like savory or processed foods, condiments, frozen entrees and pasta sauce.

In addition to deepening smile lines and crow’s feet, AGEs also disable your body’s natural antioxidant enzymes, which leaves skin even more vulnerable to the sun’s hazardous UV rays.

So skip the sweets craze this season and, instead, treat your skin to the anti-aging benefits of theREDEFINE Regimen and ACUTE CARE™ Skincare for Expression Lines, proven to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles after 10 uses over 4 weeks. By keeping those excess sugars out of your diet in the New Year, you can enjoy the best beauty gift of all: smoother, younger-looking skin.

Comment below and tell us which holiday treat you’re willing to give up in the name of great skin.