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Glycation: The Truth About Sugar

Written by Nadine Vorster on October 5th, 2015.      0 comments

Sugar and Glycation on the Skin Article by SpaBeauty NZ
“Temptation is like a knife that may either cut the meat or the throat of a man; it may be his food or his poison, his exercise or his destruction”.
John Owen

Sugar in the form of a decadent chocolate mousse cake can weaken most women’s ability to refuse and end up indulging or overindulging in that beautiful sweet taste.

Unfortunately the contents of this article will nowhere be as sweet as a decadent chocolate mousse cake. I am about to highlight the truth about this temptation impacting our skin on a dermal level causing pre-mature ageing leaving us with no sweet taste in our mouth but with unnecessary lines and wrinkles on our face.

The body produces glycated sugar in two ways - one way is through our diet. Sugar is known as a carbohydrate and is found naturally in pasta, rice, bread and the other starches you crave which will get converted naturally into sugar by the body. Sugar can also be added during our food preparation processes for instance canned foods and processed foods which can add a significant amount of sugar to our diet without us even realizing it. These sugars will supply energy in the form of calories but with no other real nutrient value hence the reason why the majority of the population is struggling with obesity and diabetes.

Secondly, the body’s normal metabolic processes would produce glycated sugar in order to supply our cells and brain with sufficient energy to function optimally.

How much sugar should we consume?

Accordingly to the World Health Organisation sugar intake guidelines proposes that sugars should be less than 10% of our total energy intake per day. It suggests that a reduction to below 5% of total energy intake per day would have additional benefits.

How much sugar is that?

Five per cent of total energy intake is equivalent to 25 grams (about six teaspoons) of sugar a day for an adult of normal Body Mass Index.

How will excess sugar affect our skin?

The process of glycation will occur if there is too much sugar in the body. Sugar molecules will randomly attach to cells and protein causing a cross-linking effect. Once this cross-linking process has occurred, the new sugar proteins molecules 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.

The melanogenesis process will release pigment in order to combat the inflammatory response however if the sugar levels do not decrease it will result in post inflammatory hyper pigmentation noticeable initially around the eye area as dark circles. Further exposure to external stressors from the environment will lead to distinctive structural changes and inadequate cell functioning effecting the skin on all levels increase pre- mature ageing.

With continuous development of AGEs it tends to gravitate toward dermal collagen and elastin causing a weakening effect on these structures resulting in deeper lines, wrinkles and loss of elasticity in the skin.

How can we as skin care experts prevent AGE’s or slow it down?

Firstly we need to educate our clients on the effects of sugar in their diet which will not only compromise their skin but also their general health.

And secondly we can recommend skin care products taking the following questions into account:

  • Does this product prevent and inactivate the formation of glycated sugar caused by both poor diet and the metabolic process?
Alpha Lipoic acid in product formulations assists with the inactivation process of glycated sugar. Due to its universal antioxidant properties, being water and fat soluble, it will promote an increase in cellular energy; improve the function of the cells and repair any damage done to the cell membrane by sugar molecules. Alpha Lipoic acid is an anti-inflammatory and protects the cell membrane against oxidative stress.
  • Does the product intercept glycation, relieve inflammation and contain antioxidants?
Antioxidants in the form of Vitamin C-L Ascorbic acid, Vitamin C Ester and Vitamin E  Ester are powerful ingredients which will reduce oxidative stress and free radicals leading to the inflammation within the skin structures.
  • Does the product assist with firming and smoothing effects of the skin on the face, as well as on other challenging areas, including the neck and décolleté?
Examples of ingredients which can assist with repair on existing collagen and elastin consist of a blend of Alpha Hydroxy Acid, Retinol and Peptides to stimulate cellular turn over and fibroblast activity in order to stimulate the production of new collagen and elastin promoting a healthier complexion with less lines and wrinkles.
  • Has it been allergy tested, scientifically formulated, and is it non-irritating?
Make sure you offer products and treatments formulated with precision & utilising hi-tech ingredients derived from biotechnology (lab synthesized) and phyto-ceutical ingredients of the highest grade as well as sustainable green ingredients. No testing on animals. These products conform to the EU cosmetics directive for safety, toxicology and risk assessment as well as GMP standards and will be able to treat skin conditions like glycation effectively when recommended by professional skin care therapists.

With some discipline, saying no to that favorite treat, and assistance for us as skin care professionals recommending the correct products to treat AGE’s in our client’s skin, together we can start to make a huge difference against the battle we are fighting against sugar.

Kiwis going sour on sugar (+vote) By Susan Strongman Jan 15, 2015 

Article written by Nadine Vorster  
Nimue National Educator at Grace Beauty Ltd.

For more information on Nimue Skin Care please contact:
Grace Beauty
Freephone: 0800 144 562
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