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Sugar. It could be making you look old before your time.

I've been recently inspired. Sugar. Everyone always hears about the harmful effects of sugar, but it just tastes so good and it is hard to cut back! The American diet contains so much sugar, alot of it hidden, and the holiday season is especially known for its delicious sweets! So this week's blog is going to be on glycation, and its effect on the skin.

Sugar has tons and tons of negative effects on our body in general, but i'm just going to be concentrating on our skin. Quick science lesson to get you up to speed...Sugar can be digested in many forms, including the consumption of carbohydrates and can even be formed via meal preparation. If there is too much sugar in the body, protein molecules can cross-link with sugar molecules. Once this cross-linking process has occurred, the new sugar proteins are called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). The human body does not recognize AGEs as normal, and will produce antibodies that cause inflammation in the skin. Once formed, AGEs tend to gravitate toward dermal collagen and elastin. As people age, proteins in the body can become damaged through the introduction of AGEs—one of the key factors in aging of the skin. The more sugar you eat, whether processed or natural, the more AGEs are produced. When the body is overwhelmed with AGEs, collagen becomes compromised. Effects of the glycation process at the cellular level of the skin’s structure may result in wrinkling, loss of elasticity, stiffness, accelerated aging and compromised barrier function. Other conditions that appear when microcirculation is damaged and cell turnover slows is a loss of volume in the face due to redistribution of fat. Although the development of lines and wrinkles is normal as clients age, it is difficult to see clients in their 20s resemble a person in their 40s, which is more frequently being witnessed in treatment rooms because today's diet has strayed so far from our ancenstors. Common symptoms of skin with glycation issues include premature aging, such as wrinkling and sagging; weakened elastin and collagen; and a reduced ability for skin to quickly rehabilitate.

There are a number of ways you can treat and prevent glycation, the first and most important is to cut back on your sugar intake and fill your diet with protein, vegetables, healthy fats, and sprouted grains. Next a number of supplements are available as well, talk to your physician or homeopath. Finally skin care products and professional treatments, it is up to your Aesthetician to be able to decide what regimen works best for you and your skin. For your knowledge here are a few good ingredients and treatments you should keep an eye out for: The followoing are known glycation-fighters, Paeonia albiflora extract (peony flower), Albizia julibrissin extract (Persian silk tree), niacinamide, blueberries and pomegranate. Tocopherol, Salix alba (white willow), glycyrrhetinic acid (licorice root), Aesculus hippocastanum (horse chestnut), Olea europaea (olive), green tea and oat beta glucan help with inflammation of the skin. These are great for hydration, hyaluronic acid, bilberry oil, jojoba oil, aloe vera and honey. Although everyone should be using an SPF, those with glycated skin MUST wear an SPF daily. Daily use of an SPF product is essential to protecting the compromised skin of someone dealing with glycation issues, because the AGEs present make the skin more photosensitive. Heavy, grainy scrubs should also be avoided, because they may tear thinning skin and this could lead to milia formation (a keratin-filled cyst that can appear just under the epidermis). Professional LED treatments, and Environ's DF Machine tend to both be wonderful treatments to help get your skin healthy again, but remember reduce your sugar or you'll just be chasing your tail.

So enjoy your holidays just keep your skin health in mind when you reach for that extra cookie. : ) Happy Holidays!

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