Glycation is as awful it sounds…. Yes, glycation is a real word, and one you should think about before you pop another goody at Aunt Berthas! What you ate at Thanksgiving, all that nibbling between TCN*, and that New Year’s buffet will affect the look and feel of your skin as well as your waistline. Glycation is the technical term for the bonding of a protein or lipid molecule with a sugar molecule. What is can mean for your face is a dull and saggy appearance. Sugar interacts with other cells and in the process destroys collagen, the protein that literally holds your skin together and keeps it supple. Collagen levels are known to decrease as we age, but ingesting refined sugar notably accelerates the skin’s decaying process.
We actually can’t avoid sugar all together, and that’s probably a good thing for our overall nutrition. Most fruits contain fructose and dairy products have lactose. When sugar is ingested via whole foods, such as an apple or a slice of cheese, it takes longer to digest and there are many stages to the process. However, eating refined sugar and foods made with high fructose corn syrup break down easily and can be especially harmful to your skin. Indeed high fructose corn syrup, which is made by changing the sugar in cornstarch to fructose, is known to be the worst for your skin. Yet because high fructose corn syrup is cheaper than sugar and helps extend the life of many processed foods, it can show up in foods you don’t even think of as “sugary” like baked beans or cereal.
If as you read this, you are snacking on a gooey mint chip Christmas cookie (your mom only makes once a year) don’t despair! There are a number of easy ways to reverse glycation’s ravaging effects on your skin. Firstly, curb you sugar intake. The average American consumers 31 teaspoons of refined sugar per day! So, any reduction in your sugar intake will help. Secondly, eat more fresh fruit and veggies. A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables actually helps increase your own collagen production. Staying out of the sun and wearing high SPF sunscreen will also help your skin preserve collagen.
There are also a number of quick and easy treatments that are proven to help boost your collagen production into overdrive. Like Ultherapy, Laser Treatments, the Injections of fillers, and the use of our favorite skin care product with active growth factors – the TNS Essential Serum. According to Dr. Janowski, even Botox® can help you keep the collagen you’ve already got! When your forehead and frown areas are relaxed, you are less likely to damage your face’s natural collagen. This holiday season, for your face’s sake, lighten up on the sugar, and bite into a crisp collagen sustaining apple instead!
*Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year
*Results may vary from patient to patient