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Things Everyone Should Know About the Effects of Sugar on Skin

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Anti-Glycation: the Next Level in the Battle Against Aging  

Most people today know antioxidants to be an effective method of fighting age, but few are aware of the biological process to blame for most skin damage - and what can directly addresses the problem. Enter skin-care expert Ron Cummings.

"The word that has been on the minds of dermatologists and other skin-care researchers for many years is glycation, which is what happens on the cellular level to age our skin," says Cummings, founder and CEO of AminoGenesis Skin Care. 

Glycation refers to the damage done to proteins caused by sugar molecules. The process has long been a focus of study in people with diabetes, because it can result in severe complications, such as blindness and nerve damage. People with uncontrolled diabetes have excess blood sugar, so they experience a higher rate of systemic glycation, Cummings explained.

"Antioxidants fight inflammation caused by free radicals, largely created from environmental factors such as excessive sunlight or cigarette smoke. Glycation, though, damages from the inside out."

Using antioxidants and topical moisturizers are a good start to keeping the effects of aging at bay, but they only go so far, Cummings said. Even more important is reversing the damage to skin caused by glycation, which became possible only recently. Lucky for us, Cummings shared two points anyone interested in skin care should know when it comes to glycation:

• Glycation is the skin's No.1 aging factor. "Sugar molecules in our body bombard our cells like a ferocious hail storm, bonding with fats and proteins. The proteins then become misshapen and excrete exotoxins that disrupt cellular metabolism," the expert said. "Collagen, which makes skin look smooth and plump, is a protein that's particularly vulnerable to glycation. The damage manifests as wrinkles, lines, and discoloration. Rather than attacking a cell from the outside, like a free radical, glycation occurs from within." 

• Anti-glycation topical solutions have been clinically shown to be effective. "Old lotions, from your favorite moisturizer, to Grandma's secret facial solution, to the new DIY recipe you found online, all act as a barrier to moisture evaporation," Cummings reassured us. "But their effect is temporary, and they don't prevent or reverse damage."

New anti-glycation formulas, however, directly address aging by releasing the sugar molecule's bond with protein, allowing the cell to return to its natural shape and state, so get ready to anticipate a new wave of anti-aging skin care. "Just as antioxidants have revolutionized anti-aging efforts around the world, anti-glycation will be understood to be exponentially more effective," Cummings says.

Look out for a follow-up article on these new anti-aging products Cummings mentioned soon!

What antiaging methods do you currently incorporate into your skin care regimen? Let us know with a note below!

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