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The Surprising Reason Behind Aged Skin

Today in America we spend ridiculous amounts of money annually trying to maintain youthful looking skin. In one year, we spend approximately one billion dollars on anti-wrinkle creams alone! With all of this money being spent, it’s clear there’s a great desire to reach and maintain more vibrant, youthful, and less wrinkled skin. But what if instead of treating wrinkled skin with botox_man_skin_shot_face_gloves_piccreams and other topical or injected substances (which typically contain synthetic chemicals that act as hormone disruptors in the body), you treated the internal cause of the wrinkles? Wouldn’t it make more sense to prevent the problem in the first place rather than merely trying to keep it from getting worse? Below we look at one of the main internal reasons for wrinkles and aged skin and how to take the steps to maintain a youthful appearance naturally!

There is a fancy term for a process involving sugar that goes on in the body, and it’s called glycation. Glycation happens naturally in the body as it’s part of the aging process we all go through. When we ingest sugar, particularly too much sugar and from the processed forms, a chemical reaction happens inside the body where the sugar molecules attach themselves to protein molecules (or fat molecules) without an enzyme involved to moderate. When this happens, the molecule formed is essentially a “rogue” molecule known as an advanced glycation endproduct, or AGE, which is quite the appropriate acronym! When this process, which is normally driven by an enzyme, happens without the enzyme present, normal metabolic functioning is disrupted and the sugar, instead of being used for energy, combines with protein or fat molecules and produces an AGE that has a number of health risks and undesirable effects, including wrinkles and droopy skin.

When we eat too much sugar and glycation occurs, we are basically caramelizing, or browning and hardening, the body’s tissues. Foods cooked at high temperatures to be browned or made crisp also contain high amounts of AGE molecules. This same process happens to the tissues of the body. The same effect AGE molecules have on cooked food they have on our skin, just at a slower rate. Basically, consuming AGEs is associated with higher oxidative damage to the cells. This oxidative damage is directly linked with wrinkles and aged skin.

woman_face_eyes_wrinkles_laugh_lines_picBut why are AGE molecules so bad? Essentially, these rogue molecules disrupt the normal function of the metabolism and proper cellular functioning. They change both the shape and the function of the tissues in our body, and harden cells and lead to stiffness. In time, all of this oxidation and hardening of the proteins in the body leads not only to decreased functioning that causes disease, but also internal damage to the tissues and cells of our skin which manifests in the form of wrinkles, droopy skin, and poor coloration.

Collagen and elastin are two proteins in abundance in our skin with the role of helping keep the skin youthful. These two proteins are particularly prone to the effects of glycation: when fused with the sugar molecules, they become weak and less able to do their jobs. When the proteins responsible for keeping our skin looking firm, plump, and vibrant aren’t able to function well, the result is going to be aged, wrinkled skin.

While too much sugar in any form can and does lead to AGE molecules, the more processed the sugar (or processed carbohydrates), the worse the effect. For example, eating too much sugar from a highly processed donut will produce more AGE molecules and oxidation than too much sugar from a homemade fruit smoothie. While the latter still floods the bloodstream with too much sugar in a single sitting, it also provides fiber, vitamins, and minerals to help lessen the impact on the bloodstream. Processed sugars, on the other hand, not only spike the blood sugar more strongly, but the processed ingredients also lead to more oxidative damage.

It is important to know that consuming too much sugar or foods that are high in AGE molecules (chips, crackers, grilled foods, or other foods cooked at high temperatures) lead to a number of health problems that are significantly more important than wrinkles, such as heart disease, kidney problems, loss of vision, and arthritis, to name a few. Taking care to avoid AGE molecules as much as possible will help prevent a lot more than wrinkles!

woman_young_smooth_skin_ocean_beach_hat_sun_picThe main take-home message: if you want to have beautiful, youthful skin, greatly reduce your intake of sugar of all forms. Doing so will not only treat the cause of the problem, but will also have a number of other positive results to your health. Furthermore, it is a much cheaper option than spending great deals of money on dermatologists, creams, serums, injections, or other methods of keeping your face looking young!

Aside from minimizing your sugar intake, there are also some key tips to naturally reducing wrinkles and maintaining healthy skin:

  • Avoid smoking - smoking is one of the highest forms of free radical, oxidative damage to the body
  • Avoid unprotected sun exposure - and use natural sunscreens for protection
  • Consistently stay hydrated with sufficient amounts of clean water
  • Maintain nutrition status - nutritional deficiencies don’t allow the cells to function correctly or to protect themselves from oxidative damage, leading to impaired skin
  • Decrease stress
  • Get adequate amounts of sleep, and sleep on your back, face up
  • Consume plenty of essential fatty acids from whole, fresh foods
  • Consume an abundance of healthy fats, fresh fruits, whole grains, and natural antioxidants from vegetables
  • Avoid chemicals, toxins, and pollutants as much as possible - all cause inflammation and oxidative damage
  • Use natural face products such as moisturizing lotions to aid in keeping the skin hydrated and nourished

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