“You are what you eat” takes on a whole new meaning when we learn about glycation. Glycation is an internal reaction in which a sugar molecule latches onto collagen and elastin proteins. This reaction is more prevalent as we get into our 30s and can cause premature aging, skin laxity, and wrinkles. It is a direct result of our diet and how we prepare our meals.
So, what does glycation look like when it affects our skin? Long story short, it ages us. Glycation manifests in the skin as wrinkles, dullness, and loss of firmness & elasticity. These can be very noticeable, as pictured below with cross-linked wrinkles, or can happen over time as the skin starts to sag due to collagen and elastin depletion. DMK has a great article on the Effects of Sugar in which this picture is showcased.
How does this happen? According to Healthline, “Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) are harmful compounds that are formed when protein or fat combine with sugar in the bloodstream. This process is called glycation. AGEs can also form in foods. Foods that have been exposed to high temperatures, such as during grilling, frying, or toasting, tend to be very high in these compounds. In fact, diet is the biggest contributor to AGEs. Fortunately, your body has mechanisms to eliminate these harmful compounds, including those involving antioxidant and enzymatic activity.
Yet, when you consume too many AGEs — or too many forms spontaneously — your body can’t keep up with eliminating them. Thus, they accumulate. While low levels are generally nothing to worry about, high levels have been shown to cause oxidative stress and inflammation.
High levels have been linked to the development of many diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, kidney failure, and Alzheimer’s, as well as premature aging. Furthermore, people who have high blood sugar levels, such as those with diabetes, are at a higher risk of producing too many AGEs, which can then build up in the body. Therefore, many health professionals are calling for AGE levels to become a marker of overall health.”
So, how do we fight glycation? The easiest way is to eat a balanced diet, avoid unhealthy amounts of sugar or processed foods, and opt for steamed foods over burning or charring them. Now, don’t go cutting all sugar out of your diet or skipping your favorite burnt tips at your local BBQ joint. All I am saying is to keep your health in mind.
When I first started eating with my skin health (and overall body health) in mind, I turned to an amazing nutritionist online, Abby Sharp. She has a Youtube, blog, and cookbooks that are packed with information on maintaining a healthy relationship with food. She has informative blogs on everything food, including this article on Sugar, and Intuitive Eating which helped me so much. I highly recommend checking her out.
As always, I have skincare recommendations that will work from the surface to repair and prevent glycation in the skin, but this only works when you keep your diet and mindset in balance too. Skincare is skin deep, and our skin cells get all of their nutrients to function optimally by what our body feeds them. If you are eating Mcdonald’s, your skin is going to give you McDonald’s results. (And I don’t mean that flawless bun meme that is floating around, we wish!)
Skincare Routine for Glycation:
For the first 30-90 days of your new diet and mindset change, this skin care routine will work with your body to repair the damage done by glycation. After getting into the habit of healthy eating, your AGE levels will lower, and you can move on to more targeted treatments based on your results, and your goals for age management in the future.
Lipid Replacing Cleansing Gel: Use AM & PM to gently cleanse the skin of environmental debris, remove makeup, and leave your skin clean and ready for product application.
Counter A.G.E. Serum: Use AM & PM, this serum is specifically formulated to counteract the damaging results of unchecked glycation in the skin. Hyaluronic acid recruits moisture to the skin, while phytochemicals provide superior antioxidant and detoxification properties.
Glyco-Guard: Use AM & PM, this innovative cream contains an extract of Sweet Osmanthus (Fragrant Olive) which has a very strong antioxidant potency that detoxifies from dangerous oxidants and glycating agents, yielding a variety of skin-protecting and anti-aging benefits.
Light Day Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 37: AM, protect and maintain your skin by preventing sun damage.
Looking for age management tips? Look no further than your own mindset. Stress plays a major role in our health, and the health of your skin, managing it can be a key component to achieving your goals. According to an article in Skin Deep Magazine, the impact of stress on the skin is largely mediated by cortisol. Cortisol can lead to the degeneration of collagen and elastin. All of the signs of aging can be partially attributed to an abundance of this hormone, and lowering cortisol levels by reducing psychological stress is one of the most important age management techniques to use in your ritual.
Booking a consultation, either in person or virtually, is a great way to get the information you need about your skin type and condition to make the best choice of skincare products that will work with your skin for lasting results. Start your journey with me today!