What Is Glycation?
Glycation is a naturally occurring chemical reaction that causes sugar molecules such as glucose or fructose to bind to proteins and lipids throughout the body, including the skin. The result is the formation of advanced glycation end products, or AGEs.
When this occurs, the proteins and lipids involved in the glycation process become damaged and are therefore unable to perform their normal functions properly. When sugar molecules bind to collagen and elastin proteins in the skin, for example, those important proteins are unable to properly support the structure of the skin, leading to wrinkles and other signs of accelerated aging.
So, what triggers this reaction to occur? A number of factors can cause glycation, including high sugar consumption, increased blood-glucose levels caused by stress, and oxidative stress caused by UV exposure, air pollution, or poor lifestyle habits.
Glycation is most often associated with diabetes. This disease is defined by hyperglycemia or high blood sugar brought upon by a deficiency of insulin (a hormone that transports glucose to cells). There are other medical conditions associated with insulin resistance, like obstructive sleep apnea, fatty liver disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), Cushing’s syndrome, and lipodystrophy syndromes.
How does glycation impact the skin?
During the glycation process, glucose and fructose link to amino acids in your skin's two key proteins,
collagen and elastin. These proteins reside in the extracellular matrix, which binds cells and tissues together. Collagen maintains your skin's smoothness and elasticity while elastin allows your skin to return to its regular form after being stretched or contracted.
Glycation can affect the skin in many different ways. Some of the primary issues that it causes are:
Wrinkles and creases. When collagen and elastin proteins are damaged by the glycation process, lines, wrinkles, creases, and areas of sagging or loose skin become visible on the surface of the skin. These proteins are crucial components of a healthy, youthful-looking complexion.
Compromised barrier function. The skin’s protective barrier is made up of a bilayer of lipids. When these lipids are damaged through glycation, the barrier is unable to properly perform its two main functions: 1) to retain moisture and 2) to keep harmful allergens and irritants out. Thus, the result of poor skin barrier function is dehydration and irritation.
Inflammation. Glycation has also been shown to activate inflammatory pathways throughout the body, worsening inflammatory skin conditions like acne, eczema, and rosacea.
Can Glycation Be Reversed?
The first step toward reducing glycation and its effects on the skin is to avoid or significantly reduce exposure to those things that cause it: sugar consumption, UV radiation, chronic stress, and others. Combine this step with the proper skincare treatment products for your skin condition and unique concerns. Anti-aging ingredients such as Macrocystis Pyrifera extract (kelp), Centella Asiatica Leaf extract (gotu kola), Decarboxy Carnosine HCI (known as an anti-glycating dipeptide of the amino acids beta-alanine & histidine), and retinoids can help to reduce lines, wrinkles, and other signs of skin aging.
DMK’s “golden water” Aminodine is an age management formulation that contains natural extracts that could help revive mature, middle-aged, and sun-damaged skins. A refreshing hydrating spray that soaks into the skin helping to reactivate glucose and normalizing the free radical effect of glycation (reduces the ability of collagen fiber to regenerate leading to wrinkling, creping, and sagging of the skin). It can restore the natural balance of lipids within the skin barrier, thus restoring its function to hydrate and protect the skin.
Combining this this formula with DMK's Night Firming (antioxidant moisturizer) is a perfect age management duo. Specialized cream that is designed to help repair and fight the signs of aging. Using a multitude of active ingredients, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and super antioxidants, Nite Firming cream can penetrate deep into the skin assisting natural collagen production and restoring a more youthful-looking appearance.
Always looking for way to combat skin conditions from the inside out I also recommend EFA+ supplements. These are a powerful group of essential fatty acids 3,6,7 and 9, derived from evening primrose and sea buckthorn oils. EFA+ supplements are required for the structure of all membranes in the body. These essential nutrients can “waterproof” the skin, maintaining the barrier of the skin impermeable.
Glycation is one of the many processes that can affect the appearance of your skin. Unfortunately, past sun damage or exposure to pollutants may have already accelerated this process. But the good news is that by nourishing your skin with the right ingredients, you may be able to see a significant reduction in the common signs of aging. Team an excellent anti-aging skincare routine with healthy lifestyle choices such as avoiding unprotected sun exposure, not smoking and eating a balanced diet to help improve the overall look and feel of your skin for years to come.