How to Prevent Glycation of Skin + Why It Matters if You Want Youthful Skin

What is glycation? Maybe you’ve heard of it. 

Either way, this little word doesn’t get enough attention in the world of skin health – but recent studies reveal it could play a significant role in skin aging. So if your goal is to get the healthiest, most youthful skin of your life, you’ll need to understand glycation and how to protect against it.

What Is Glycation?

Simply put, glycation is a process that attacks the formation of crucial players in the health of your skin, such as collagen and elastin – your skin’s allies. 

Collagen and elastin decrease naturally as you age. But glycation attacks your skin’s allies at an elevated rate, leaving you with prematurely aging skin.

What Causes Glycation of Skin? 

Glycation can be caused by a variety of factors like tobacco use, UV exposure, and environmental (oxidative stress) factors.

But one of the most notable ways glycation of skin starts is by excess sugar in your body. 

Some people in the beauty world refer to this as “sugar sag.”

So if you’re feeding your gut microbiome tons of sugar, it’ll show in your face – and we’re not talking about acne! Gut health has been proven to affect skin health, so take care of your gut.

Sugar’s Role in Glycation of Skin 

The excess sugar molecules bind with proteins, lipids, or nucleic acids1 to form something called AGEs (advanced glycation end products). 

When these AGEs (fitting name, right?) bind to your skin’s collagen and elastin, they “choke out” their ability to keep the skin supple and firm. AGEs aren’t entirely avoidable, but the more AGEs present, the more the skin will show signs of aging.

What Does Glycation Do to Your Skin? 

Well… it isn’t good. 

In the medical world, it’s accepted that glycation causes impairment in normal cellular and tissue functions2. Scientists have proven this by studying diabetic patients, who also experience an excess of sugar since their bodies don’t produce enough insulin (or don’t respond to it).

Simply put, glycation in skin suppresses your skin’s normal functions that keep it: 

  • Strong
  • Able to retain moisture
  • Youthful

The formation of AGEs weakens your skin’s structure beneath the surface, causing fine lines and wrinkles. When the skin structure begins to collapse, it also cuts off the healing pathways in the skin that support cell turnover and regeneration.

Advanced glycation end products cause disruptive, unusual patterns in the skin and the body. AGEs can induce chronic inflammatory reactions in the body and interfere with nutrient supply to the skin – making cells more susceptible to oxidative damage3.

Can You Slow Down or Stop Glycation of Skin? 

Whether you’re learning about glycation of skin or well-versed and looking for solutions, here’s a bit of relief: glycation happens to everyone! 

It’s essential to learn about it early on because the amount of glycation increases your risk of premature aging. 

Truth: We’re taking a different approach than traditional skincare here. 

But it’d be unrealistic to say that you can completely stop glycation (because let’s be honest – we haven’t found a way to stop aging!) 

What you can do to support your skin is focus on preventative care for glycation in your skin. We’re not aiming for perfection – we’re aiming for overall skin health. 

And despite what the mainstream beauty industry wants you to believe, you can still have healthy skin as you age – and feel great about it!

We all have some level of glycation in the skin, but don’t let it get you down. There are plenty of ways to support your skin as it ages and slow the process of further glycation. 

Preventing excess AGEs from forming in the first place sets you up for optimal skin health.

How to Support Your Skin in Aging and Minimize Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs)

Healthy skin retains moisture, contains a strong moisture barrier, and a healthy microbiome. It’s maintained by a healthy lifestyle, diet, and skincare routine. When your skin is supported, you’re more likely to prevent premature aging from glycation and the resulting AGEs.

Prioritize Self Care and Healthy Choices for Your Skin Health

→ Mental Health Positive thinking does wonders for a clear, soothed complexion. 
→ Physical Health Choose practices that support skin health and prioritize exercise to sweat out the toxins!
→ Emotional Health – Practice gratitude to radiate positivity and send healing energy throughout your body.

Lessen Your Sugar Intake to Prevent Glycation

Don’t stoke the fire! Find an anti-aging diet that focuses on low sugars and see what changes you can incorporate to consume less sugar. It’s okay if you can’t follow a diet or go cold turkey – just bringing awareness to your sugar intake is highly beneficial in seeing how you can minimize it.

Because sugar is one of the main contributors to glycation in the skin and premature aging, it would go a long way for your skin health to cut your sugar intake.

And remember, sugar = carbs too, not just actual sweet sugar!

Because the body reads glucose as sugar, anything that the body converts to glucose will contribute to glycation.

Pro tip: If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’ll find it will subside some over time as you gradually reduce your sugar intake – you’ll have fewer sugar cravings as your gut heals. Even still, there are plenty of naturally occurring sugars like honey and maple syrup which our bodies can process far easier than synthetic sweeteners or heavily processed sugars. So you don’t have to completely give up sugar for healthy skin. 

Fuel Your Body With Hydration and Foods for Skin Health

Feed your body the nutrients it needs for optimal skin health. We love sipping on warm bone broth to encourage gut health + skin health. Plus, you get almost 10g of protein in a serving, so it keeps you full in between meals and boosts your energy!

Try adding skin superfoods into your routine. Nature has provided us with nutrients in fresh, whole foods packed with vitamins and minerals to support your skin and whole-body health. No matter your preference, there are plenty of options when it comes to foods for skin health – so dig in.

And lastly, we can’t go without saying: hydration always has been and always will be one of the best ways to give your skin the boost it needs. Support your skin in aging by moisturizing from the inside out!

Lessen Your Toxic Load to Open Pathways for Regeneration and Healing

We will preach this ‘til the cows come home – lessening your toxic load has endless possibilities for the improvements you’ll see in your life. Don’t wait – get started today. 

We’re constantly exposed to chemicals in today’s society – even at home

So when you swap for clean skincare, organic produce, and non-toxic cleaning products at home, you’re already making huge strides toward detoxing your body, skin, and life. 

Don’t Be Afraid of Animal-Based Skincare Products

As much as we love (and utilize) the healing powers of plants, we have also seen how animal-based ingredients can be a strong biomatch for our bodies. 

Going back to our ancestral roots, animal fats like tallows are a tried and true resource that we believe can be stewarded well. All the tallow in our products is sourced from farms across the United States that raise their cows outside on the grass. 

Practice Fasting to Promote Cellular Healing From the Inside Out

We know that whole-body health is required to achieve your dream skin. 

A healthy body means healthy skin. Fasting can activate a self-healing process in your body called autophagy. And yes, this can lead to your skin’s healing, too! 

Our bodies are pretty incredible if you ask us.

Wear Sunscreen to Assist Your Skin in Aging, but Not Obsessively

Vitamin D is so essential for our bodies – but most of us are short on it. We’re certainly not advising you to stay outside all day and let your skin burn, but wearing sunscreen 24/7 isn’t good for us either. Like most things in life, there’s a balance. 

Here’s a trick we’ve found – soak up morning light when the rays aren’t too strong. It will stimulate other powerful systems in your body, support your skin in aging gracefully, and start your day on a bright note (literally).

And be sure to nourish your skin after sun exposure too.

Products We Love for Preventing Glycation in Skin

Of course, you know we won’t leave you hanging without a list of our favorite holistic skincare tools to combat premature aging. We’ve got you covered.

Skin Plumping Line

Our specially-formulated line provides your skin with superior hydration and antioxidants while delivering moisture retention.

Our skin-plumping products contain astaxanthin – a powerful antioxidant derived from algae to protect from free radical damage before and after sun exposure. We also include unique ingredients like cold-pressed pomegranate seed to directly target strong collagen production and elasticity. 

We go the extra mile by including bioflavonoids to maximize antioxidant benefits, helping to reverse free radical damage and diminish dark spots.

Facial Dry Brush

This super easy routine will only take 2 minutes. A facial dry brush stimulates the lymphatic system and provides gentle skin exfoliation without harsh chemicals, encouraging cell turnover and firmer skin. 

Facial Gua Sha Tool

A facial gua sha tool stimulates the lymphatic system and moves fluids and toxins out of the face, releasing build-up and opening the natural healing pathways within the bloodstream and the face.

Regular facial gua sha provides an even complexion and increases oxygen flow to the skin. It also builds muscles that support your skin’s aging, minimizing fine lines and wrinkles.

Rose Quartz Facial Roller

A rose quartz facial roller enhances product absorption, improves elasticity, tightens + tones a tired complexion, and smoothes signs of aging. The stimulation also minimizes puffiness to provide a natural plumping effect.

The Best Way to Protect Against Glycation Is by Prioritizing Your Skin Health

By now, you know, glycation of skin is just part of life. But by taking small actions now, you can set yourself up for healthy, firm skin as you continue to age gracefully. 

Pick up a few holistic facial tools or try out a product from our best-selling plumping line

Take the time now to nourish your body holistically by caring for your skin and soul – it’ll show in the results.


  1. Sugar Sag: Glycation and the Role of Diet In Aging Skin
  2. Glycation - An Overview
  3. Glycation Accelerates Whole-Body Aging

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How to Prevent Glycation of Skin + Why It Matters if You Want Youthful Skin | Primally Pure Skincare

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