Are you devoted to your skincare routine but haven’t heard of glycation yet? While there’s no reason for alarm, understanding glycation may help to understand the root cause of premature aging, and provide a holistic way of understanding the link between sugar, protein and collagen – and the appearance of our skin. Glycation is more than just a buzzword or trend. It’s the chemical process happening internally that can present externally as skin damage and common signs of aging.
Before we get into the ins and outs of the process on a cellular level, let’s talk about what glycation may look like in the mirror. Each of these may be signs of glycation:
- Loss of elasticity and suppleness (skin may appear hard and shiny)
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Sudden hormonal acne
- Sagging skin along the jawline or jowl area
- Dryness, flakiness, dehydration, and dryness
What exactly is glycation?
Glycation is a naturally occurring chemical reaction that can lead to premature aging in skin cells. And the key factor that determines the advancement of this process is sugar. When sugar molecules attach to other molecules, such as the proteins that help produce collagen and elastin in skin cells, they change the structure and key functions of those molecules. An excess of sugar or imbalance of sugar levels can lead to the production of ‘advanced glycation end products’ (also referred to as AGEs). These AGEs interfere with the body’s natural antioxidant enzymes, enabling free radicals to trigger oxidative stress, further aging skin cells.
As our bodies work to naturally repair these molecules, AGEs-modified collagen and elastin resist repair, and impair the structural integrity of our skin cells. This cycle results in our skin both acting and appearing older.
What can I do about glycation?
Not surprisingly, the most effective way to minimize the signs of and potential damage caused by glycation lies in our diets. Limiting processed foods, simple carbohydrates, sugars, and fructose – and – increasing our intake of leafy green vegetables, fish, fresh fruits (especially berries), whole grains, and green tea, as well as herbs and spices such as cinnamon, clove, garlic, oregano, and allspice can decelerate the glycation process. These foods have all been shown to serve as AGEs inhibitors when found abundantly in our diets. These AGEs inhibitors can prevent sugar molecules from attaching to the proteins used by our bodies to create collagen and elastin, while also helping to repair existing damage.
What about glycation and skincare?
In addition to dietary changes, there is an emerging category of skincare products aimed at addressing glycation topically. Do they work? Clinical studies have shown that several ingredients in skincare can reduce glycation and the formation of AGEs resulting in a restoration of healthy collagen and elastin metabolism.
One of the top ingredients studied comes from the fruit of the plant Terminala Chebula, long used in traditional Chinese medicine and in the Ayurvedic tradition (used widely as a key ingredient in the herbal remedy triphala or three fruits) for a whole host of health and wellness issues. The fruit’s broad spectrum of potent phytochemicals works to neutralize free radicals and the formation of AGEs resulting from glycation. Terminala chebula has been proven to act as both an inhibitor and breaker of glycation cross-linking, meaning when used in skin care, it can both prevent and reverse the signs of aging caused by glycation.
A recent 12-week blind clinical study confirmed the bioactivity of Terminala Chebula. It has been shown to provide broad-spectrum antioxidant protection, limit oxidative damage, minimize skin damage caused by inflammation, and reduce glycation. This reduction of glycation results in the skin’s ability to maintain elasticity and stimulate collagen production 1. And, as we know, this means a restoration of that youthful glow (and more importantly, healthy skin function) we’re always looking to achieve.
Introducing Blüh Alchemy Nocturnal Repair Active Emulsion
Upon learning about the impact glycation has on the health of your skin and the exciting new research on Terminalia Chebula, I set out to formulate an effective solution.
As you sleep, your skin shifts into repair mode, counteracting daily oxidative stress. I formulated Blüh Alchemy Nocturnal Repair Emulsion to boost this vital process and support the skin at its most receptive time. Chebula, the Ayurvedic powerhouse, works to inhibit glycation and neutralize free radicals, while preserving collagen 1 and 2. I added Banksia, Shiitake, and Manuka Honey cellular extracts to help strengthen the feeling and appearance of the skin’s barrier and improve the feeling of elasticity, while reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation and fine lines. The result is smoother feeling, firmer looking skin that is protected against the impacts of glycation and supported for optimal overnight repair.
I am so thrilled to share the results of my journey to understand glycation and skincare, as well as my newest formulation with the launch of Blüh Alchemy Nocturnal Repair Active Emulsion.
About Becky Blüh, Founder of Blüh Alchemy Skincare
Becky Blüh journeyed into the world of skin care formulation after her daughter was diagnosed with a rare and life-threatening disease. The resulting treatment left her skin very dry and sensitive to the touch. Desperate to help sooth her daughter, Becky went back to her roots, creating simple soothing balms from nourishing oils infused with the healing herbs she grew in her garden in the Berkshires. Witnessing the transformative power of plants ignited a passion and an unstoppable drive to advance her skills as a cosmetic formulator and deepen her understanding of the skin’s physiology. Becky worked closely with some of the foremost natural chemists to develop a carefully edited line of skin care products that target the signs of premature aging while protecting against environmental aggressors and oxidative stress. That need to create something simple and pure for her daughter evolved into Blüh Alchemy Advanced Bioactive Solutions, formulated with potent Australian botanicals from the most cutting-edge cellular extraction process.