The Sour Side of Sugar
It is common knowledge that premature ageing and wrinkles are caused by factors like the sun, lack of sleep and pollution. Now scientists are telling us that the food we eat, and how we prepare it, can also accelerate the ageing process.
We all love the taste of sugar, and barbequed or roasted meat and vegies. However, these popular foods can lead to a process called glycation, a recognised cause for premature ageing.
AGEs, or Advanced Glycation End Products, are a newly discovered threat to youthful looking skin. So what are they and how can we fight them?
What are AGEs?
AGEs are products that are internally generated by chemical reaction chains that occur due to an improper bonding between sugars and proteins. These reactions lead to damaged and inflexible tissue, especially within your skin. It is one of the primary causes of cellular ageing and subsequent ill health.
Collagen, which keeps your skin firm, resilient and healthy, is made of vulnerable protein molecules. AGEs bond tenaciously with collagen and elastin. Since collagen is one of the most widespread proteins in your body, it’s an easy target. Once AGEs have started on their destructive warpath, collagen and elastin begin to harden and skin becomes brittle and dry.
As a result, there is an increase in production of brittle, cross-linked collagen fibres. Skin becomes stiff and natural elasticity is lost. This leads to skin becoming more vulnerable to wrinkling, sagging and damage from ultraviolet rays.
How Do AGEs Occur?
AGEs occur both internally and externally. They are present within your body through the normal course of metabolism and ageing.
If you eat a diet high in sugar, it can increase the rate of glycation in your body, thus speeding up the ageing process. In addition to sugar, you can consume AGEs directly. Cooking sugars with proteins or fat typically leads to AGE formation. When proteins are cooked with sugars in the absence of water, AGEs are formed. Water prevents these sugars from binding to the protein molecules.
This means baking, grilling and roasting can trigger production of damaging AGEs, while steaming and boiling helps prevent their formation.
A good example is the crispy brown skin on our Sunday roast. AGEs have the same effect on our skin, making it dry and brittle. Not quite so appetising now, is it?
How Do AGEs Affect Your Skin?
Skin-firming collagen is made of vulnerable protein molecules. Collagen breaks down during glycation and inflammation occurs. As a result, your skin becomes stiff and natural elasticity is lost.
Sun exposure increases the incidence of AGEs in your body and higher levels of AGEs lead to an increased sugar content in the bloodstream, which contributes to further ageing. Quite a vicious cycle!
Identifying AGE damage:
- Damaged elastin tends to become brittle and dry, causing a cross-hatched wrinkling effect on your skin, predominantly around the eyes and mouth.
- Once AGEs are generated, they begin a process that prevents many systems from behaving normally by literally causing tissue to cross-link and become hardened.
- People with high levels of AGEs tend to have coarse skin since collagen hardens when in contact with AGEs.
- AGEs are brown in colour and can also be seen through your epidermis. The brown AGEs give your skin a yellowish dullness. This is partly why the skin of older people tends to have a more yellow tone than the skin of younger people.
- Once AGEs are present within your dermis, your skin’s ability to utilise antioxidants and fight free radical damage is severely hindered.
This effect of skin ageing starts in your mid-30s and rapidly increases thereafter.
Your dermis cells die when they come in contact with AGEs, so they no longer have the ability to produce collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid, all of which are needed to keep your skin looking young and fresh. Dermis cells with crossed-hatched wrinkling are ‘dead’. Until now, not even the most expensive skincare products have had any success in improving that area of skin.
Your body can handle AGEs, although very slowly. The half-life of AGEs is about double that of the average cell life, which means damage can persist for quite some time, especially in long-lived cells, like nerve and brain cells, eye and collagen proteins, and DNA.
What Can be Done for Visible Signs of AGE Damage?
If your skin is rich in dermis cells, an abundant amount of dermis components are produced, creating youthful skin with elasticity.
Skincare companies are developing products to prevent AGEs on the skin, but only one company has been able to produce a cream with a patented natural ingredient that not only removes AGEs, but also repairs the damage to dermis cells.
In a time when anti-ageing was not the norm, POLA Cosmetics created the innovative Bio-Active Theory, which takes a closer look at the dermis cells to make them and their surroundings more healthy.
POLA has developed BA The Cream to include a patented natural ingredient derived from Mugwort that has been proven to be the only product in the world that can effectively remove AGEs from your skin. This then allows your skin to benefit from ingredients that will again rebuild collagen and elastin fibres in the dermis and create a more youthful looking appearance.
Once the AGE is removed from your skin, only damaged collagen remains. There are no active dermis cells. So POLA has developed another original ingredient to counteract this. Touyaku Extract helps dermis cells in surrounding areas extend to rapidly repair the area where the AGEs were. This means products that firm, soften and moisturise your skin will start to take effect in the AGE-damaged areas.
Once AGEs are removed, your skin becomes firmer, wrinkles less prominent and your complexion becomes brighter.
BA The Cream is a world first in anti-glycation skincare, targeting all the signs of skin ageing: depletion of collagen and elastin resulting in lack of firmness, yellowing and sallow complexion, free radical damage, and poor blood circulation leading to weakened capillaries and pigmentation or age spots.
If you’re serious about repairing the adverse signs of ageing, this is a cream you cannot afford to live without. Clinical testing shows a visible plumping of the skin and depletion in the appearance of yellowing and sallowness after just one month of use.