Inflammation and the skin
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Inflammation is a conflict to the skin’s health, in that it is a foundational factor to skin disorders and concerns such as acne, rosacea, accelerated aging, and even hyperpigmentation. Thus we speak of anti-inflammatory benefits to the skin, as a preventative strategy to anti-aging and promoting overall skin health.
When inflammation occurs in the skin, it sets off what is referred to as the “inflammation cascade”, which is a domino effect of destructive processes. Within that cascade, includes generating free radicals, the release of enzymes that degrade lipids and proteins, suppressed skin immune function, permeability of the capillaries and promoted growth of cancer cells. Inflammation occurs more often than when the skin is set off by topical irritation. For example, sun, pollutants, psychological stress and natural aging processes generate free radicals that introduce inflammation in daily life. The term “inflammaging” is often referred to in skin management, which is an accelerated aging process due to inflammation.
So how does our skin deal with these common threats? Inflammation is met with immune responses to counter negative effects, but chronic inflammation breaks down immunity or the ability for a reparative response. Such a scenario leads to cell death, accelerated aging, and skin diseases, clearly something to be avoided.
The focus for avoiding the progression of inflammatory processes is improving the skin barrier function, protecting from environmental stressors (primarily UV radiation), and calming the responses to skin aggravation (such as topical cooling or anti-inflammatory ingredients). Specific products of value in this effort are foremost, sunscreen, antioxidant vitamin c serums, and barrier-assisting moisturizers.
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