Inflammaging or”skinflammaging” is essentially a play on words (and a marketing term!) that refers to and regroups the negative consequences of continuous, low-grade inflammation associated with aging.
In other words, there is a direct correlation between aging and inflammation, which manifests itself in some skin conditions that we’d usually like to avoid––think of hyperpigmentation, redness, eczema, psoriasis, or even breakouts.
WHAT DOES INFLAMMATION HAVE TO DO WITH AGING?
From a skincare perspective, irritated skin triggers the release of agents that can cause inflammatory damage. This can destroy the skin's structural components (like collagen and elastin), therefore contributing to the formation of wrinkles and fine lines. As we age, we are more likely to have easily irritated skin, which is why “inflammaging” is a common experience.
Also, it is only natural for our immune systems to weaken as we age. Because inflammation is a response led by our immune system as a reaction to a multitude of situations, we tend to experience more inflammation as we age.
WHAT CAUSES INFLAMMATION?
There are so many different root causes of inflammation. As aforementioned, aging doesn’t help, but many lifestyle factors also come into play.
Age-related diseases such as diabetes, inflammatory cardiovascular changes, or muscle degeneration all have consequences on the appearance of the skin. Immune system dysfunction, an allergic reaction, or an infection can cause the appearance of rashes, a common and visible form of inflammation.
However, there are many other subtle causes such as smoking, sun exposure, free radical exposure, and everyday pollution that can trigger irritation and inflame the skin. A tell-tale, initial sign is usually swelling or redness.
HOW TO REDUCE INFLAMMAGING AND DE-AGE THE SKIN INSIDE-OUT?
It is heartbreaking to keep in mind that aging is, unfortunately, inevitable. As we can’t reverse time, prevention is always the key.
Eating low-inflammatory foods such as leafy greens, fish, nuts and a wide variety of fruits and veggies will contribute to keeping inflammation at a minimum as we age. Drinking enough water, avoiding sun exposure, wearing protective sunscreen all over the body, keeping alcohol and smoking to a minimum, and keeping an active lifestyle will all contribute to aging with health.
And of course: one of the biggest causes of overall inflammation in the body is high cortisol levels, caused by stress. A healthy stress management is key to longevity and overall physical health.
The more we take care of ourselves and our bodies as we age, the less we will need to deal with inflammation, and the brighter our skin will glow…and that’s a promise!
Until next time, protect the skin you are in!
The BSE Team