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Glycation and the Skin

By: Kris Campbell
Posted: October 31, 2013, from the November 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Products. Products that are overly aggressive need to be avoided. The fragility and thinning caused by AGEs present in the skin need to considered. Cell turnover slows in heavily glycated skin; because of this, other options to induce that turnover need to be considered. Liquid peel solutions may penetrate too deeply and quickly, causing harm to the client. Cream- or gel-based acids with a pH no lower than a 2.5 are better choices. When using a pH at this level, it may be necessary to incorporate a series of treatments rather than a single deep peel. Enzymes can also produce results and, if done in a series by themselves or in conjunction with a peel, more negative reactions can be avoided. Heavy, grainy scrubs should also be avoided, because they may tear thinning skin. Hydration facials, along with the aforementioned professional treatments, are also necessary.

Equipment. Traditional equipment in the treatment room may also need to be reconsidered. Inflammation can occur due to the overabundance of AGEs. Steam units should not be pointed directly at the skin. Microdermabrasion machines need to be programmed at the most gentle setting possible, and the tips should be specifically designed for sensitive skin. LED is also helpful.

Technique and materials. Facial massage movements and linens need to be altered when dealing with fragile skin. Lighter movements—those that avoid tugging on skin—should be the goal. Towels should not be steaming hot or ice cold—lukewarm temperature is best. Towels that do not have a heavy nap, such as a microfiber towels, are recommended, and clients should continue the use of gentle linens at home. Consider retailing these in your boutique area.

Increase understanding

Understanding the basics of how AGEs are formed and the skin conditions that occur will help professionals make better choices in the course of treatments and home care for clients. Educating clients in terms of a simple definition, rather than the full scientific chemical reaction that occurs, will leave them with a better sense of what is happening to their skin, how to slow down the process, as well as how to address their resulting skin conditions.