As with your waistline, sugar is not so sweet when it comes to your skin. It may, in fact, leave a bitter taste to learn that sugar is actually aging your skin, in a process called glycation. The more scientists learn about this process, the more innovation there is in the anti-aging battle against skin-aging glycation. You'll want to stay ahead of the trend, as I have, by knowing which anti-aging serums best defeat glycation. But first, what is it?
What Is Glycation?
Glycation is the process of sugar molecules in your body interacting with fats and proteins. This interaction leads to advanced glycation end products (or, most appropriately, AGEs) which accumulate in collagen as we age. AGEs affect proteins in your body and the extracellular matrix (ECM), also known as "your skin," including collagen turnover and elasticity. It also increases skin inflammation.
Glycosylation of collagen is the "sugar and aging effect" that will make your skin less elastic and as crumpled as a deflated balloon.
What Causes Glycation?
Needless to say, eating too much sugar isn't going to do any good for any part of your body. That said, a key glycation trigger is high heat cooking. You’ll be glad the BBQ season is behind us, because grilling produces a particularly toxic chemical reaction between the fat and protein in meat, which combine with sugars to create AGES. The reaction happens in other foods, too, but not as acutely in those with less fat and protein.
Apart from kicking the grilling habit, what’s a person to do? Look out for beauty products with anti-glycation agents, such as carnosine, noni fruit and, also, cranberry, which gives us a very good reason to be thankful Thanksgiving comes post-grilling season.
Recent research suggests carnosine can limit cross-linking to protect cells from AGEs and rejuvenate aging skin tissue. Carnosine extends the ability of cells to reproduce to just over 60 times, making it a real anti-ager. Here's where you can find carnosine:
- Carnosine is a favorite ingredient in Osmotics’ skincare and can be found in, amongst many others, its Age Defense Barrier Repair Body Silk ($83 in the shop), one of the few body lotions to be formulated with powerful anti-agers.
- La Vie Céleste Éclairage Restorative Serum ($98.50 in the shop) has carnosine with a slew of skin-brightening ingredients.
- The power peptides known as Matrixyl 3000 give carnosine a boost in Arcona Peptide Hydrating Complex($75 in the shop).
- If you are in the market for a retinol serum with carnosine, check out Prana Reverse A ($48 in the shop).
- Skin Nutrition Night Cream ($75) has carnosine and tons of plant and fruit extracts.
- Your Best Face Balance ($45 in the shop) features carnosine in a simple formula designed to improve skin tone and fight breakouts.
Noni (Morinda Citrifolia) is a member of the coffee family and native to Malaysia. It is also high in compounds called iridoids that are not only antioxidant, but can lower a person’s AGE levels. Find noni in:
- Stemulation Relance Body Lotion ($98 in the shop) with growth factors and skin brightening lactic acids as well as noni.
- Sweetsation Q*Lumiere Organic Day Creme ($29) has noni and is teaming with other good things such as with cucumber, melon and CoQ10.
Cranberries are also an amazing source of AGE-zapping iridoids, plus more phenols and radical scavenging abilities than most other fruits. Where to find cranberry:
- Michael Todd True Organics Knu Anti Aging Face Lift Cream ($69 in the shop) has Matrixyl 3000, copper peptides, epidermal growth factor and cranberry.
- Arcona Cranberry Toner ($32) multitasks as a cleanser and makeup remover as well as a toner.
- Lather Cranberry Sugar Rub($19 in the shop) with cinnamon and kukui oils.