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What is skin glycation?

What Is Skin Glycation?

14 Jul 2023

Skin aging is a complex process. Depending on your unique skin, age-related changes can become visible at different times and in different ways. Skin type (such as oily versus dry) and skin tone (whether light or dark) can play a role, and several other factors lead to the development of fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration, dullness, loss of firmness, and other tell-tale signs of time. Regardless of skin type or tone, a process called glycation that occurs at the cellular level can also play a significant role in skin appearance over time.


Skin glycation is a natural, multi-phase physiological process that occurs when excess sugars in the body bind to essential skin proteins like collagen. Collagen plays a vital role in youthful-looking skin by acting as a scaffolding of sorts that provides the internal support necessary for smooth, plump skin.

When sugar molecules attach themselves to collagen and other skin-supporting proteins, the glycation process creates advanced glycation end-products, or A.G.E.s. A.G.E.s degrade collagen integrity, compromise its ability to self-repair, and cause these fibers to become weak and brittle. The result: visible signs of aging such as skin wrinkling and laxity.


Although glycation is a natural process that occurs within the skin, there are several ways to minimize the formation of A.G.E.s. In addition to limiting exposure to the external factors like sun and pollution, lifestyle choices can also help reduce the visible effects of skin glycation.

Smoking: Smoking is a well-established extrinsic cause of skin aging, and it has been shown to be a factor in the skin glycation process as well. In addition to the myriad chemicals that come in contact with the skin through smoking, this habit also accelerates the internal formation of A.G.E.s and increases their deposition within the skin.1

Alcohol consumption: Alcohol can be high in sugar that in turn promotes the skin glycation process. Even more, the byproducts generated when the body metabolizes alcohol have been shown to increase glycation as well.2

Diet: Another important lifestyle factor that can contribute to skin glycation is your daily diet. It has been shown that skin collagen glycation positively correlates with blood glucose levels and that a diet low in A.G.E.s may have a beneficial effect on skin glycation.3


Skin glycation may be a biological process, but advanced, scientifically backed skincare can help improve the visible impact that A.G.E.s may have on the skin. SkinCeuticals has spent more than 15 years studying the glycation process and harnesses the power of several proven ingredients to address and improve visible signs of aging associated with skin glycation.

  • Proxylane™: Sustainably sourced from beech wood, this molecule helps improve visible signs of aging such as wrinkles and laxity. Proxylane™ is also biodegradable, non-bioaccumulatable, and non-eco-toxic
  • Wild fruit flavonoids: Blueberry and pomegranate extracts help defend against skin glycation (including UV-induced glycation) and protect against free-radical damage.
  • Glycyrrhetinic acid: A natural component of licorice root extract, this ingredient helps enhance the skin’s natural radiance by countering a dull or sallow appearance linked to A.G.E. accumulation.
  • HEPES: This synthetically derived sulphonic acid activates natural enzymes within the skin’s upper layer that promote even cell turnover while maintaining the skin’s moisture levels.
  • Niacinamide: Also known as vitamin B3, this water-soluble vitamin soothes and helps support the skin’s moisture barrier.


An effective skincare regimen for all ages, skin types, and concerns includes a daily topical vitamin C antioxidant, broad-spectrum sunscreen, and the appropriate corrective products. When fighting the visible effects of skin glycation, SkinCeuticals offers two targeted, science-driven formulations to help you achieve your goals.

A.G.E. Interrupter Advanced: This rich, comforting, breakthrough corrective cream helps improve the look of fine lines, wrinkles, and other visible signs of aging impacted by glycation and collagen decline. Featuring 18% concentrated ProxylaneTM, 4.25% wild fruit flavonoid blend of blueberry and pomegranate extracts, and 0.1% glycyrrhetinic acid, this breakthrough corrective cream is clinically proven to smooth visible nasolabial folds, marionette lines, and furrows between the brows. A 12-week clinical study also showed a 14% reduction in the appearance of global fine lines, 11.5% reduction in the appearance of forehead wrinkles, and 7% reduction in the appearance of crow’s feet.4

A.G.E. Advanced Eye: The thin, delicate skin around the eyes is often the first to display visible signs of intrinsic and extrinsic aging, and this anti-wrinkle eye cream improves the appearance of dark circles, puffiness, and crow’s feet associated with skin glycation and A.G.E.s. Formulated specifically for the delicate eye area, this silky eye cream is formulated with a potent combination of Proxylane™, blueberry extract, and a complex of synergistic peptides—plus optical diffusers to diffuse light and instantly improve the radiance of the entire eye area.

Everyone’s skin is different, but SkinCeuticals offers the ideal skincare regimen for every skin type and every skin concern. To discover the routine that can help you achieve your goals, use our online Regimen Finder, visit one of our SkinCeuticals SkinLab locations, or schedule an appointment with a SkinCeuticals Skincare Professional for a one-on-one consultation.

1 Gkogkolou, P., & Böhm, M. (2012). Advanced glycation end products: key players in skin aging?. Dermato-endocrinology, 4(3), 259-270.
2 Ichihashi, M., Yagi, M., Nomoto, K., & Yonei, Y. (2011). Glycation stress and photo-aging in skin. Anti-Aging Medicine, 8(3), 23-29.
3 Gkogkolou, P., & Böhm, M. (2012). Advanced glycation end products: key players in skin aging?. Dermato-endocrinology, 4(3), 259-270.
4 Protocol: A 12-week, single-center, clinical study was conducted on 77 females with Fitzpatrick type I-IV, ages 35-75, and mild to moderate global wrinkles, fine lines, laxity, rough skin texture, uneven skin tone, and a dull complexion. A.G.E. Interrupter Advanced was used twice daily over face, neck, and chest in conjunction with a sunscreen for 12 weeks. Efficacy and tolerance evaluations were conducted at baseline, weeks 4, 8, and 12.

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