Beauty, Glycation and Oxidative Stress

Beauty, aging, premature aging, what are we actually looking at? Damage. But this damage didn't happen over night - damage is accumulative, and it is a result of the inability for our skin to repair. Repair is inhabited by inflammation, and a process called Oxidative Stress. 

The term Oxidative Stress isn't a new phrase, but as we discover more about the relationship between our health and beauty, a major component to how we age comes down to this process and the cellular activity related. 

Oxidative Stress, and thinking about the health of cells, helps us to understand the difference between aging and premature aging. Skin that is tiredlacking elasticity, or glow - when we know our skin should be healthier than it is. 

Understanding the relationship between Oxidative Stress, cells and aging allows us to view the body and the aging process differently so we can actively change our lifestyle, diet, or habits to minimise oxidative stress and age with better health. 

Oxidative stress plays a central role in initiating and driving events that cause skin aging at the cellular level. 

Professor Ray Hayek of the University of Sydney, believes there are three contributors to overall health; PhysicalEmotional, and chemical. All three are intrinsic to the overall health of our body, our metabolic function, and the condition in which we age.

When we look at the physical component of our environment, one of the primary causes of Oxidative Stress is free radicals; pollution, toxins, and UV damage.

Emotionally, emotional stress - spikes in cortisol, or hormonal fluctuations, manifest and are expressed both internally and externally. Arguments, negative thoughts and long-term stress all change the way our cells behave. 

Chemically, studies show one of the most detrimental causes of oxidative stress is a spike in blood sugar, and to put it simply, an unhealthy diet. When we view aging, we must view the body as a whole; the chemical composition of our body affects all aspects of health from head to toe - including our biggest organ, our skin. 

Oxidative stress occurs when the body can no longer cope, it is a state of cellular exhaustion that we may or may not be aware of.

In relation to our skin and the appearance of our skin as we age, we're going to focus on one of the main chemical drivers of oxidative stress, Glycation. While external factors such as sun exposure can accelerate extrinsic skin ageing - what we see on the surface, scientific evidence points to another culprit that is driving the damage below the surface: the glucose driven aging process. 

Glucose is a vital cellular fuel, however chronic high glucose has long been known to affect how the body ages by a process called glycation. Glycation is accelerated by a high sugar diet. When sugar comes in contact with collagen (the protein that plays a major role in skin elasticity and volume) glycation occurs. This process triggers the formation of tissue-destroying proteins and/or lipids known as advanced glycation end products (AGES). 

Oxidative stress and the formation of AGES in the skin aging process causes inflammation, can cause premature cell death, collagen malformation, and slows the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). The result is damage, the inability to repair, premature aging, loss of skin vitality and impaired skin health

Keywords: Advanced glycation end products, oxidative stress, Glycation, diabetic skin conditions,