Is Your Skin Suffering from Glycation?

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I have been reading a lot about the harmful effects of glycation and how it impacts our skin. Studies on the effects of glycation have arisen through diabetes research.  Glycation is a natural process in which too much sugar in your bloodstream crosslinks with protein molecules, resulting in the formation of new harmful sugar proteins called advanced glycation end products (AGE’s). The human body does not recognize AGE’s as normal and will produce antibodies that cause inflammation in the skin.  Once formed, AGEs tend to gravitate toward dermal collagen and elastin, resulting in wrinkling, loss of elasticity, stiffness, slowing of cell turnover, loss of facial volume loss, accelerated aging and compromised barrier function.
Diet is a very important defensive mechanism against glycation.  Reduction of sugary foods including your carbohydrates (ie. breads, pasta, cereals, etc.) is a key component to fighting glycation.  Internal supplements known to fight glycation include carnosine, carnitine, pyridoxamine (derivative of B-6), thiamine (Vitamin B-1) and alpha lipoic acid. Other ingredients to look for include Paeonia albiflora extract (peony flower), Albizia julibrissin extract (Persian silk tree), niacinamide, blueberries and pomegranate.
Glycated skin must be treated carefully and products that have anti-inflammatory ingredients that will hydrate the compromised cellular structure of the dermis is important.  Ingredients such as Vitamin E, licorice root, horse chestnut, green tea and oat beta gluten are known to help inflamed skin.  Hydrating ingredients include hyaluronic acid, bilberry oil, jojoba oil, aloe vera and honey.
As glycated skin is more fragile, aggressive professional treatments should be avoided such as aggressive chemical peels, microdermabrasion treatments, hot steam and harsh scrubs.  LED light therapy is beneficial along with hydrating facials, hydrating masks and light chemical peels.
Think twice this holiday season as you consume all those wonderful deserts.  We often worry about the weight gain from the sugary foods, but also keep in mind the impacts to your skin! I am currently experimenting with a product line that has a patented ingredient designed to fight the effects of glycation.  I will keep you posted on my results!

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