The good, the bad and ugly about inflammation and skin aging
As we continue to learn more about the aging process, research has linked aging to inflammation. Inflammation is a complex biological function and while it is part of the body’s healing process, in chronic situations it can be destructive.
Inflammation of the skin can be mild and experienced as puffiness or can progress into more sever conditions like rashes, eczema, rosacea or psoriasis.
Research has also shown a direct link between inflammation and acne. When your skin is inflamed, antioxidant levels are exhausted. This allows free radicals to cause oxidative damage to the oil production in your pores which creates a lower oxygen environment. Acne causing bacteria thrives in low oxygen environments and quickly multiply and cause breakouts.
Many factors can cause inflammation such as stress, sun exposure, environmental pollution, allergies or certain types of food or drinks.
While we know that inflammation impacts the aging process, it’s also important to know that there are good and bad types of inflammation.
As inflammation is part of the skin regeneration process, it can be beneficial in controlled short term duration. Treatments such as peals, laser treatments or microdermabrasion scrubs trigger this type of acute response which stimulates the skin rejuvenation process and can make the skin appear younger.
Long term inflammation actually inhibits the body’s ability to repair itself and can cause serious tissue destruction. This type of chronic exposure break down cells overtime, reduces collagen production and causes the visual signs of aging.
Be aware of what you are exposing your body and skin to and cut down on as many factors that could be causing free radical damage as possible.
Tips to help reduce inflammation include:
- Exercise has been shown to help reduce inflammation
- Reduce environmental stressors
- Take on a low inflammatory diet that is rich in antioxadants
- Cut out excess sugar and alcohol from your diet
- Be aware of what you are exposing your skin to
- Don’t smoke
- Get lots of sleep
- Use skin care products that calm the skin and are rich in antioxidants
Topically, it is recommended to look for products with anti-inflammatory elements such as Aloe Vera or green tea extract which is a powerful antioxidant and can protect your skin against environmental aggressors.
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