If you have been doing your best to avoid direct sun exposure during peak hours, are diligently applying sunscreen, covering up every inch of exposed skin and still managing to find new fine lines and wrinkles every time you check the mirror, your diet may be to blame.
Scientists have discovered a new culprit and call it “Glucose-Driven Aging”. Also known as glycation, it is the natural process by which a protein or a fat molecule bonds with a sugar, resulting in the formation of harmful molecules called AGEs – Advanced Glycation End Products. AGEs have been implicated in many age-related diseases, including Alzheimers', neuropathy and strokes.
Glycation causes a weakening of the collagen and elastin in our skin. These protein fibers are responsible for maintaining firmness and elasticity, and when they are weakened or damaged, our skin can no longer regenerate or bounce back the way it used to, paving the way to wrinkles, and thin, loose, saggy skin. Glycation also expedites the depletion of hyaluronic acid, a natural fluid produced by our bodies that is responsible for maintaining the level of volume and fullness that is typical of young skin.
Sugar is not the only thing that triggers the formation of AGEs. Unfortunately grilling, frying, toasting, roasting and just about any process that results in crunchy or browned foods can also cause their formation.
The good news is research has shown that essential oils can reduce oxidative stress, inflammation, and in general throw a monkey-wrench into the glycation process. Making sure that the skin care products you use include these ingredients is one safe, natural way to win the war against glycation.
Additional ways to thwart glycation are to apply Natural Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, pomegranate extracts, blueberries and green tea topically to the skin. Applying these antioxidants and staying away from processed foods that contain high fructose corn syrup and other sugars can go a long way toward helping you preserve a youthful appearance and maintain healthy skin function for many years to come.
Copyright June 2016 by Sharon Gnatt Epel for La Ishá