Inflammation can be highly visible such as a red rash, or invisible to the naked eye. For the purpose of this discussion, it’s the invisible inflammation that we are referring to – micro-inflammation that happens at the cellular level.
As odd as it may seem, a certain degree of inflammation is beneficial to the body. It’s nature’s way of signaling the immune system to begin the repair and rejuvenation process. But not all inflammation is beneficial – there is good inflammation and bad inflammation.
Bad inflammation is chronic (ongoing) and can lead to skin diseases and disorders like Rosacea, Psoriasis and Eczema to name a few.
Stress, smoking, sun exposure and a diet high in sugar all contribute to free-radicals that cause cell damage in the body (sugar molecules actually break down collagen and elastin in the skin). During the process of fighting against free radicals, your immune system produces histamine, leucotriens and prostaglandins, all natural chemicals that lead to inflammation of the skin and other tissues.
Aggressive skincare is another cause of bad inflammation. Controlled doses of inflammation from products and professional treatments can make you look younger. But over doing it with daily exposure to aggressive skin care and other potentially inflammatory processes keeps your immune system busy with no time to repair or heal and that can have the opposite effect.
There is a fine line between delivering the right amount of ‘injury’ to the skin to induce inflammation and stimulate cell renewal and rejuvenation
Inflammation is good for the skin when it’s delivered in short doses – say a few days at the most. The skin reacts by initiating the healing process. That means collagen and elastin levels are boosted, producing smoother, firmer skin.
Professional treatments like microdermabrasion, laser or chemical peels deliver good results. At home, mild glycolic, lactic or salicylic acid peels, microdermabrasion scrubs or hand held laser devices like PaloVia’s Skin Renewing Laser do not over-stimulate or inflame the skin. They can create the right amount of good inflammation that is beneficial to cellular turnover and the regeneration process.
Slowing Down the Aging Process Begins at the Cellular Level
Cellular inflammation seems to be increasingly part of modern life, with all its stress and environmental toxins. To help protect your cells, not only should you guard against bad inflammation, you should understand which antioxidants and enzymes can most powerfully neutralize the impact of free radicals.
First, a quick lesson on free radicals and antioxidants.
Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that are produced in the body naturally as a byproduct of oxidation and exposure to toxins in food and from the environment. They travel around the body in a constant search to bind with another electron – a process that can cause damage to DNA and other parts of human cells.
Antioxidants are the remedy to free radicals. They neutralize free radicals by scavenging them. Some antioxidants actually block inflammation. The best sources of antioxidants are vegetables, fruits, green tea, grape seed, aloe, ceramides, pomegranate, pycnogenol and wine. It is a good idea to get your antioxidants from a variety of sources. The more colorful your natural foods the better – yellow, orange, green, red, brown and blue-purple plant foods provide a variety of antioxidants, and the more brightly colored, the richer the food is in anti-oxidants.
In addition to consuming a diet rich in antioxidants, it is important to use skincare products that contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients to increase your protection against chronic inflammation. The use of topical antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients is crucial in the fight against aging. There are dozens of effective anti-inflammatory ingredients – we have selected these few powerful examples for their anti-inflammatory and anti-aging qualities:
Mushroom Beta Glucan: Research indicates that mushroom beta glucan has remarkable anti-inflammatory and skin regenerative properties which revitalizes the immune cells in the skin, regenerates collagen-producing cells, strengthens the skins ability heal itself, prevents fine lines and wrinkles, deals with adverse environmental effects and promotes anti-aging.
Green Tea and EGCG: For topical use in skin care, green tea and EGCG has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Green tea EGCG has shown exceptional protective and restorative properties against the sun’s damaging rays. EGCG may also treat and prevent keloid scars, and improve skin elasticity.
Grape Seed Proanthocyanidins: Research has shown Grape Seed Proanthocyanidins to be effective as an antioxidant, an anti-allergenic, and an anti-inflammatory. It also promotes capillary health while increasing skin elasticity and providing sun damage protection/repair. It is also effective in wound healing therapies.
Pumpkin Seed Extract: This active ingredient minimizes the inflammatory process, reduces irritation in stressed cells and stimulates the production of collagen and fibrillin (a glycoprotein, essential for the formation of elastic fibers found in connective tissue). When used at 4%, Pumpkin Seed Extract will smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and improve skin vitality and tone. It is especially recommended for anti-aging formulations.
Tumeric: This has anti-bacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It neutralizes free radicals and UV damage. It can be used to heal and prevent dry skin and treat skin irritations such as Eczema. It helps to slow down the aging process, diminish brown spots and removes redness from acne scars.
Pomegranate extract: Pomegranate extract is a super-antioxidant with astringent, anti-bacterial and inflammatory properties. It is known for its ability to fight free-radicals, stimulate collagen production, protect the skin from UV damage, reverse damaged caused by UV exposure, and aids in wound healing.
For the best results, a multi-layered approach to minimize cellular inflammation includes eating antioxidant rich foods, taking targeted nutritional supplements, using managed professional skincare treatments and applying skincare products that contain high amounts of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients.
Resource: Hylunia Skin Care