I often note that some of the key enemies of the skin and factors that accelerate the aging process include several “s-words” — smoking, sun, stress, sugar, and inadequate sleep. Today we’re going to focus on what kind of damage excessive sugar causes, and what can be done to minimize it.
Ingesting excess sugar causes a process known as glycation (glie-KAY-shun) to occur. This is where sugar molecules attach to proteins, which basically weakens them and diminishes their ability to function properly. The two key proteins that we’re concerned about are collagen and elastin–the support structure that keeps young skin firm and flexible. As we age, the strength and density of collagen and elastin diminishes. Naturally, our goals in skin care are to slow the aging process, and create a healthy environment for the skin’s cells, tissues and anti-glycation measures should always be considered when setting our anti-aging strategy.
What dietary courses of action can we take to minimize glycation and it’s harmful effects? Decreasing our sugar intake –especially the more harmful white sugar and high fructose corn syrup contained in so many processed foods–is a good place to start. I’m happy to say that I kicked the “twizzler, gummy bear, and neon gummy-worm habit” several years ago, resulting in increased energy and improved sleep.
Carbohydrates, while needed by the body as a source of energy is converted into sugar. A healthy approach to carbohydrates is eat more of the good carbs –fruits, vegetables, whole grains — and avoid or decrease the bad ones such as candy, soda, and sugary cereals. The good carbs contain less sugar which is introduced to your system more slowly. We’re always advising skin care clients that diet affects the skin –glycation is one of many reasons to improve our diets.
Skin care, at the spa and in the home can fight glycation. Regular infusions of anti-glycation agents, particularly those found in Guinot’s “Cellular Life Complex” strengthen and energize the cells and tissues, making them less vulnerable and setting the stage for more effective collagen synthesis. When we’re in our 20’s our metabolism is more active, stronger, and fights the effects of glycation more effectively. As we age, energy and regeneration slows down — making it necessary to step up our anti-aging (anti-glycation) efforts. These more potent anti-glycation ingredients can be found in Guinot skin care products, including Age Logic Celllulaire Cream, Time Logic Age Serum, Pleine Vie, and Douceur de Vie SPF 15.
In the spa, our facial treatments are designed to provide a deep infusion and higher concentrations of these anti-glycation agents. The world famous Hydradermie Facial does this by utilizing two types of electric current — galvanic and high frequency– to both ionize and oxygenate, resulting in immediate visible and lasting results. Regular facials make the skin more receptive to your home care regimen, and good home care makes our facials more effective.
In summary, glycation is only one of the many factors that can accelerate the aging process. While glycation can never be eliminated, diet and specialized skin care can minimize its negative effects. Other factors can’t be ignored, especially lifestyle habits: exposure to the sun, smoking, inadequate sleep, and the effects of stress. These can all result in oxidation which produces a chain reaction of free radicals, making the components of our skin more vulnerable and ultimately causing it to age faster. Common sense proactive measures –avoid smoking, minimize sun exposure and the use of sunblock, and regular vigorous aerobic exercise to manage stress and stimulate the metabolism — are all necessary to maximize our anti-aging efforts.
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