Your skin is a great indicator of your overall health. Understanding how your skin works and creates (or inhibits) younger-looking skin is key to preserving this vital organ for as long as possible.
The natural process of ageing is known as ‘intrinsic ageing’. Exactly when this happens, is largely determined by our genes, but other factors (that we have far more control over) like environmental and lifestyle choices (including diet) also play a large part in helping the skin to remain youthful or age prematurely.
These are known as ‘extrinsic ageing’ factors (See my previous post for more detail on intrinsic and extrinsic ageing).
So how much can you diet and more specifically sugar in your diet really effect the ageing process? The answer is quiet a lot actually. It’s even got it’s own name - Glycation Ageing!
When you eat food, the body breaks down carbohydrates into sugars like glucose and fructose, which it converts into energy. When we consume too many sugary or high-glycemic foods however, these sugars react with proteins and fats in an abnormal way, producing harmful molecules called Advanced Glycation End-products (ironically known as AGEs).
The proteins in skin most prone to glycation are the same ones that make a youthful complexion so plump and springy - collagen and elastin. The AGEs cause the glycation to form a stiff coating around our collagen and elastin fibres, preventing them from ‘bouncing-back’. In some cases, the collagen can even snap and creating a # (criss/cross) wrinkle.
As more research is carried out on Glycation and it’s effects, some of the more advanced skincare brands are starting to introduce AGE fighters. Environ’s Revival mask, for example, uses a combination of three acids to breakdown the build up of sugar around collagen to prevent it breaking, whilst stimulating growth factors to build new collagen.
There are also supplements and natural remedies that can help slow glycation like carnosine - an amino acid that has been shown to protect against AGE buildup; and green tea, which is also a fantastic antioxidant.
Before you throw away all your biscuits, glycation is not a process that happens overnight. It can take years of excessive sugar consumption to notice the damage. If you have a sweet tooth, just bare this in mind.
In addition to cutting back on sugar, I also recommend introducing Peptides and Vitamin A into your skincare routine to stimulate the fibroblast cells which will help prevent damage and build new collagen.
I hope you have found this useful!
As ever, if you have any questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading.