By The Book: Glycation

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Glycation: A process through which sugar overload in the body causes premature skin aging.

If you’re eating a diet rich in sugar and starchy carbohydrates, you’re accelerating your aging process. That means that sooner rather than later, this high-glycemic diet will show on your face in the form of early lines and wrinkles.

The culprit is a natural process called glycation, where sugar in the bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products, often referred to by the ironic acronym AGEs. The more sugar in your diet, the more AGEs you develop.

The skin proteins most susceptible to glycation are collagen and elastin—the same ones that keep skin firm and elastic. When bonded with excess glucose (the type of sugar that fuels glycation), these normally resilient fibers become weak and less supple, leading to wrinkles, sagginess and loss of radiance.

Because it’s impossible to eat a balanced diet and completely eliminate sugar (even whole grains, fruits and vegetables turn to glucose when digested), glycation can’t be stopped. However, it can be slowed by decreasing your sugar intake. For starters, stay away from white sugar, simple carbohydrates and high-fructose corn syrup. Instead, eat more skin-friendly foods, such as salmon, dark green and orange veggies, almonds, blueberries and blackberries.

While sugar might be a sweet treat for your mouth, it has some very sour effects on your skin. By eliminating foods filled with processed sugar and white flour, you’ll be helping your skin look its best for years to come.

Has your skin experienced sour side effects from sugar? Share details on your experience and the changes you made to help your skin recover by commenting below.

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  1. Water! I have never been a water drinker, but as I age (turning 60), I deal with dehydration, and noticed two years ago that my skin was very dull. I started using Rodan + Fields Reverse and Redefine, and saw amazing results, but also started in on my health….adding water as my beverage instead of diet colas and iced tea. I also chose a low glycemic, gluten free diet. That has been an added benefit for sure with my skin. There has been a return of natural radiance.

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