If you didn’t already know, inflammation
can take a serious toll on your health, with negative impacts ranging from a weakened immune system to the development of chronic disorders. And that damage can also affect the health of your skin. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Anna H. Chacon, MD FAAD
explains to PureWow that since it can raise the body’s cortisol levels, chronic low-grade inflammation (which is called inflammaging) can accelerate the skin’s natural aging process. Oof. While inflammaging can be influenced by several factors (more on that later!), the good news is that it is preventable—if proper health, diet, stress levels and skin hygiene are properly maintained. To stop the side effects of inflammaging from getting out of control, we quizzed Dr. Chacon and other dermatologists on the root of its many causes, in addition to any details they could share on effective treatments.
WHAT INFLUENCES INFLAMMAGING?
When it comes to this skin issue, it’s so important to ensure you are eating a balanced diet and staying on top of chronic diseases, especially those that run in your family. “Overeating, for example, plays a big role in this chronic inflammation of the gut by producing inflammatory products into the system that affects other organs,” explains Dr. Zoe Gazola, DNP, a board-certified and doctorate prepared nurse practitioner
. “Chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, nicotine and alcohol consumption also speed up the aging process.” However, it’s not all internal factors; certain environmental agents and pollutants that can also contribute to inflammaging, according to Dr. Chacon. “There are several stimuli that keep inflammaging going, and do not let it cease, such as certain nutrients, microbes, and pathogens,” she explains.
HOW DOES INFLAMMAGING DAMAGE YOUR SKIN?
Since this issue can accelerate the natural aging process, Dr. Gazola suggests that inflammaging can negatively impact your skin in several ways. That includes skin deterioration over time due to cell loss, water deprivation and thinning of the skin. And once your skin has become thinner, it naturally becomes more susceptible to additional forms of damage, including those caused by injury or exposure to the sun’s rays. “Photoaged skin is the primary cause of pigmentation issues and wrinkles,” Dr. Gazola adds, noting that these factors have have a negative impact on plumpness and integrity. "Inflammaging also affects the way your skin heals, and can delay that process, causing further skin and inflammatory issues to arise.”
GOT IT. SO, HOW DO YOU TREAT INFLAMMAGING?
Treating inflammaging is as simple as being the most virtuous version of yourself, more or less. “Prevent things before they happen by taking good care of yourself,” Dr. Chacon says. “Avoid intake of things that are just plain bad for you, such as alcohol, cigarettes and fatty foods. Make it a point to walk 10,000 steps per day, and to do a bit of light cardio, if you can. Most importantly, try to minimize your stress in a natural and healthy way.” At the same time, there are other measures that can shield you from the harmful side effects of inflammaging. These include the use of physical sunscreens with an SPF of 30 or higher, and skin care products containing powerful antioxidant ingredients. Per Dr. Gazola: “Using physical SPF 30 or above on a daily basis creates a protective barrier on top of the skin that filters out the UV rays that cause damage to the skin. Antioxidant skincare is also important, as it decreases environmental pollution in the skin by using products with vitamins A,C and E.”
PRODUCTS TO SHOP
To keep your skin shielded from the side effects of inflammaging, here are five products that will minimize redness, and keep your skin protected from photodamage.
1. THE ROUTE THE SUNNY EYES: DAYTIME EYE LIFTING MULTITASKER
Packed with effective skincare heroes, such as vitamin C, green tea, and hyaluronic acid, this multitasking eye cream softens the appearance of crow’s feet (plus signs of eye fatigue) with each use. SHOP THE SUNNY EYES