All About Sugar, Ageing, and Glycation.

Our bodies need fuel to function and power us through the day. Although sugar is a tasty way to get your energy, too much of it can lead to glycation. This chemical process is essentially a ‘sugarification’ of cells that causes inflammation, less elastic skin, acne, and ageing. Because it’s an internal process that happens beneath the skin, even the healthiest skin can become upset or irritated by glycation. Discover the science behind glycation and how to keep sugar from affecting your skin health.

What is glycation?

First off, let’s take a look at what glycation really is and how it works in the body. In layman’s terms, glycation happens when sugar attaches itself to free amino groups (proteins, lipids, or DNA). Over time, this can cause functions to slow down and reduce how well systems work in the body. Protein and collagen are responsible for keeping skin youthful and plump, so when sugar binds to them it keeps them from doing their work. Glycation affects the proper functioning of blood vessels, tendons, and skin—which can be worsened or sped up if you’re already experiencing hyperglycemia or stress.

How glycation ages your skin

Although glycation can be hard on the whole body, it’s especially tough on the skin. That’s because it directly affects the bodily functions which naturally fight the signs of ageing. With reduced collagen and protein function, skin’s elasticity decreases, wrinkles form faster, and breakouts happen more often. Glycation also reduces your body’s ability to fight free radicals that stress and oxidize the skin. Consuming a lot of refined sugars, which is a common cause of glycation, can also lead to high levels of insulin and testosterone, thereby causing acne.

Ways to combat glycation

This natural process happens to everyone at some point, but it’s best to limit it as much as possible. Extreme glycation can be slowed and managed with these following steps.

Get your beauty rest

Losing a goodnight’s sleep can take its toll on the body and the skin. Not only are we more fatigued and lacking energy, but our skin will also be missing the time to refresh and replenish its systems. Sleep-deprivation can impact the body’s insulin sensitivity, as well as its glucose intolerance. For the skin, this isn’t good news as it makes glycation even more likely. So, make sure you are catching your z’s (at least 6-8 hours a night!)

Reduce your stress levels

Of course, everyone can benefit from finding their zen and eliminating stress from their lives. This is twice as important for anyone looking to achieve healthier their skin and avoid glycation because, after all, stress ages us. Let’s not forget that stress and anxiety are the most common symptoms for most diseases and disorders. In the body, stress increases free radicals, oxidizes cells, and amps up cortisol production which upsets collage production. To minimize stress, try practising self-care, meditating, or doing anything else that helps you relax.

Monitor your food consumption

When we think of sugar, we immediately focus on sweets, baked goods, and soft drinks. However, we should remember that there’s sugar in “healthy” foods like fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, too. Once these foods are digested, they turn into glucose and too much of this natural sugar can cause glycation. While it’s impossible to completely eliminate sugar from our lives, significantly reducing it can positively impact our skin and combat glycation. Following a low glycemic diet, avoiding sugary foods, snacking less, and choosing protein-rich foods are all great anti-glycation adjustments.

Stay active

Physical exercise is wonderful for the mind, body, and soul. Not to mention, studies have shown that it can help improve glycemic control as athletes are shown to experience less glycation. Regular activity can speed up the metabolism, control stress, and burn sugar which means it works contrary to glycation. With less sugar floating around the body or accumulating in tissues, glycation becomes more difficult. In the end, the exercise you choose to do is up to you, but what matters most is that you keep active.

The Takeaway

Ageing gracefully doesn’t have to cost a fortune. With these simple tips, you’ll be able to naturally maintain your lovely skin and fight glycation easily. For more natural beauty resources, be sure to check out WapoBeauty’s Soapmaking eBook. Anyone searching for guided learning should visit WapoBeauty’s Complete Facial Skincare Online Course for Beginners and discover how to make professional, safe, and stable natural beauty products. Join the ranks of students who found this class valuable and rewarding




Ashuni Pérez is an American writer based in Valencia, Spain. She has a passion for natural beauty and the environment. Ashuni loves to cycle and drink smoothies in the sun. Follow her on Instagram at @ashuuuuni

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