Each year, Americans spend billions trying to maintain youthful looking skin. Annually American’s spend approximately one billion dollars on anti-wrinkle creams alone! With all of this money being spent, it is clear that there is a great need for reaching and maintaining more vibrant, youthful, and smooth skin.
The problem with this is that most of these creams and solutions are filled with synthetic and toxic ingredients. Most commonly found commercial brands contain synthetic chemicals that act as hormone disruptors in the body, which lead to hormone imbalances and a mile-long list of potential symptoms and problems.
However, when you take care to purchase truly natural, “clean,” and high quality facial care products, free from toxic ingredients, you are helping to boost the health and appearance of your skin. These natural forms of creams boost the moisture, elasticity, and vibrancy of your skin but without any of the internal damage caused by synthetic chemicals.
But, if you’re looking to maintain or improve the state of your skin, you’re going to get the most powerful results when you combine proper, high quality facial care products with proper nutrition and lifestyle habits.
When you combine proper nutrition and lifestyle habits with your “clean” face care products, you are working to prevent or treat the internal cause of the wrinkles and aged skin. 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 will 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 is part of the aging process that we all go through. When we ingest sugar, particularly sugar from the refined and 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 that is 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. These AGE molecules can cause 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 that are cooked at high temperatures to be browned or made crisp also contain high amounts of AGE molecules. This same process happens in to the tissues of the body. The same effect that AGE molecules has on browning and hardening the cooked food has a similar effect 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.
But why are AGE molecules so bad? Essentially, these ‘rogue’ molecules disrupt the normal function of the metabolism and of proper cellular functioning. These disruptive molecules change both the shape and the function of the tissues in our body. They harden cells and lead to stiffness. In time, all of this oxidation and hardening of the proteins in the body lead not only to decreased functioning that causes disease, but also damages internally the tissues and cells of our skin, which manifests in the form of wrinkles, droopy skin, and poor coloration.
There are two proteins that are found in abundance in our skin who have the role of helping keep the skin youthful, and they are collagen and elastin. These two proteins are particularly prone to the effects of glycation; when they are fused with the sugar molecules, they become weak and less able to do their jobs. When these proteins that are 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 carbohydrate) the worse the effect. For example, eating too much sugar from a highly processed donut will produce more AGE molecules and oxidation than getting too much sugar from fruit. While too much fruit still floods the bloodstream with sugar, there is also fiber, vitamins, and minerals being provided 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!
The main take-home message if you want to have beautiful, youthful skin, is to greatly reduce your intake of sugar from all forms. Not only will doing so treat the cause of the problem, but will also have a number of other positive results to your health.
Aside from minimizing your sugar intake, there are also some key tips to naturally reducing wrinkles and maintaining healthy skin:
1. Avoid smoking (smoking is one of the highest forms of free radical, oxidative damage to the body)
2. Avoid unprotected sun exposure (and use natural sunscreens for protection)
3. Consistently stay hydrated with sufficient amounts of clean water
4. Maintain nutrition status (nutritional deficiencies don’t allow the cells to function correctly or to protect themselves from oxidative damage, leading to impaired skin)
5. Decrease stress
6. Get adequate amounts of sleep and sleep on your back, face up
7. Consume plenty essential fatty acids from whole, fresh foods
8. Consume an abundance of natural antioxidants from vegetables, healthy fats, fresh fruits, and whole grains
9. Avoid chemicals, toxins, and pollutants as much as possible, all of which cause inflammation and oxidative damage
10.Use natural face products such as moisturizing lotions to aid in keeping the skin hydrated and nourished
Product lines like Sodee Naturals are the best choice for your facial care products, as they use pure ingredients, where the additives are natural and plant based rather than the common conventional products that are full of damaging chemicals. It's important to take care of your skin on the inside and on the outside!
About The Author
Bree West is a nutritionist, personal trainer, and coach. She has two Bachelor’s Degrees, one in Exercise & Wellness from Brigham Young University and a second in Holistic Nutrition from Clayton College. Bree’s main priority is helping you reach your goals and live the life you desire by combining proper nutrition, fitness & mindset habits. To reach more people, Bree created Smart Body & Mind, a website passionately dedicated to the three areas nutrition, fitness & mindset.