If you have been reading our Timeless Beauty newsletters you know that exposure to the UVA and UVB rays of the sun is a primary cause of premature aging and the development of skin cancer. We hope you are doing your best to avoid direct exposure during peak hours, and are taking appropriate precautions whenever this is unavoidable. If you are wearing sunscreen, covering up, being diligent with your skincare & doing everything right but still getting more and more fine lines and wrinkles, your diet may be to blame.
Scientific studies point to a new culprit: glucose driven aging, otherwise known as glycation. Glycation 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 endproducts. AGEs have been implicated in many age-related diseases, including Alzheimers’s, neuropathy and strokes. Glycation causes a weakening of the collagen and elastin in our skin: the protein fibers responsible for maintaining firmness and elasticity, and depletes the skin of hyaluronic acid - one of the body’s natural fluids found in everything from connective tissue to the humors of the eyes. When collagen fibers are damaged and become brittle, our skin can no longer regenerate or bounce back the way it used to, paving the way to wrinkles, thin and loose, saggy skin. This is compounded by the dwindling levels of hyaluronic acid, which is responsible for maintaining the volume and fullness typical of young skin.
Lest you think that reducing your sugar intake alone will easily remedy this problem, you should know that AGEs are also formed whenever you grill, fry, toast and roast foods. Think about the foods you normally prepare that are browned or crunchy – things like toasted bread, granola, and coffee (the beans are roasted, right?) and you will realize just how far-reaching this problem is.
The good news is research has shown that essential oils can reduce oxidative stress, inflammation, and inhibit the glycation process. One study using essential oil of Juniperus Sabina (a species of juniper that typically grows at altitudes of 1,000-3,300 m) showed such promise that it may eventually be used not only to ward off glycation, but to prevent diabetes and cardiovascular disease as well.
Another way to thwart glycation is to apply Natural Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, pomegranate extracts, blueberries and green tea topically to the skin. These highly potent natural antioxidants pack a powerful punch and protect the skin against inflammation and oxidative stress. Making sure that the skin care products you use include these ingredients is one safe, natural way to win the war against glycation.
Applying these antioxidants topically 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 September 2015 by Sharon Gnatt Epel forLa Ishá Natural Skin Care
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