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Glycation & Aging Skin (Sugar-driven aging)

Glycation happens when sugar molecules bind to proteins and lipids in the skin causing premature aging. Glycation interferes with the healthy formation of collagen and elastin causing a rough callus-like texture on the skin. 

Hyaluronic acid is made by our bodies naturally but is depleted with age. A diet high in sugar speeds the process of hyaluronic acid loss also resulting in a more aged appearance. This is due to the fact that glycation depletes the skin of its natural moisture. 

Glycation accelerates the body's aging process by greatly limiting the skin's ability to produce and regenerate quality collagen. Smoking and sun exposure combined with a diet high in sugar come together as the perfect storm.

We can support our skin externally with anti-glycation serums. Vitamin C-based serums, like Visual Changes Collagen C Young Skin Complex, will help fight collagen degeneration and oxidative stress from free radicals when applied directly to the skin. Additionally, a non-C serum that I get great results with is the Rhonda Allison Age Less Serum. This serum is ideal for those with sensitive skin types.

Internally, there are some key supplements that help with oxidation and glycation and certain food types that we should avoid. NAC (N-acetylcysteine) and liposomal glutathione have been found to reverse and inhibit the early effects of glycation.

Diet has the biggest effect on glycation. Focus on consuming fresh, unprocessed foods. A diet high in vegetables and low sugar fruits such as berries is ideal. Berries are high in antioxidants and low in natural sugar. Sugar is sugar, no matter what the source. Your body doesn't know the difference. Eat like a diabetic who needs to stay away from all foods that translate to sugar in the blood. Low-carb is a good way to go. For example, if you eat a bowl of pasta with a side of bread, it will translate to higher insulin levels once digested. The same applies when you eat a candy bar or drink an alcoholic beverage. Both cause very high insulin levels. Stick to low-glycemic foods and your skin will thank you, as will the rest of your body.

Fruits that are High in Sugar










Foods to Avoid

Alcoholic beverages




Sweetened yogurt





All bread products


Fried foods

Processed foods