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First of all, what actually is this? Inflammaging or inflamm-aging is a beauty buzzword to describe the combination of two of our least favorite things, inflammation and aging. Inflammaging is the perfect storm of inflammatory factors converging, leading to accelerated signs of aging and generally an unhappy, uncomfortable complexion.
This very specific form of complexion chaos can start to kick-off during times when you might be stressed, eating badly, or feeling the effects of cold weather. You might start to notice your complexion becoming more red, rough, irritated, or even more acne-prone, and these signs mean you’re experiencing an excess of inflammation - your body’s immune response to external aggressors. When your body is in a state of inflammation, this then can hit fast-forward on signs of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles as the internal inflammatory response reduces collagen production and cell turnover and renewal, manifesting as issues on the skin’s surface. The trick to tackling inflammaging is not only in the management of it once it’s triggered, but also if you’re more prone to this reaction, being mindful to maintain a calming and soothing daily ritual to keep it consistently at bay.
What Causes Inflammaging?
“Chronic inflammation is when the skin barrier is damaged, leaving it vulnerable to infection from microorganisms, pollution, toxins, UVA/UVB rays, increased cortisol levels and more,” explains Dr. Dendy Engleman, Board Certified Dermatologist. “Basically, your skin is working harder to defend against stressors. Over time, inflammation leads to sensitivity, irritation, redness, rosacea, acne, and rapid aging - fine lines, wrinkles, uneven texture.”
There are a few familiar factors that can trip that inflammatory response, namely stress - raised cortisol levels are no fun for the skin, consistent lack of sleep, pollution, UV exposure, and poor diet. As we get older our systems slow down, making it harder for us to maintain balance, then add to that any or all of the above factors, and our skin can go into overdrive.
“This is a real issue that affects many people,” adds Dr. Nina Desai. “What we put into our body, the products we use, as well as our lifestyle are all factors that can make this chronic inflammation worse.”
How Can We Calm Inflammaging?
As with all things skin-related, what’s going on inside is as important as what’s happening on the outside on the surface. If chronic roughness, redness, sensitivities, or more serious issues such as rosacea and acne are starting to be an issue for you, a place to start is making improvements and adjustments in your diet in collaboration with your skincare. Ensuring you’re eating a diet that’s rich in antioxidants and good fats, and lower in sugars, bad fats, and processed foods, can help to manage that inflammatory response. Adding a well-sourced Omega 3 supplement to your daily routine is a great way to support your system as it reduces inflammation and improves the skin barrier function, helping to seal in moisture and shield against irritants.
And, With Our Skincare?
Upgrade your skincare to really meet inflammaging head-on with targeted treatments. “Enter CBD,” advises Dr. Dendy. “There’s lots of confusion about this ingredient so let me clarify. First, this ingredient still needs further testing, but what we know so far is that CBD helps with inflammation. As an adaptogen, it interacts with cannabinoid receptors within our skin layers to decrease the effects of hormones, cortisol, kinase and other compounds released during times of stress. Therefore, topical application of full spectrum CBD can powerfully reduce inflammation.”
Step forward our Anti-Stress CBD Drops. Powered by a calming mix of CBD and adaptogens, this skin-zen serum settles redness, soothes sensitivities, repairing and restoring your complexion chill. These de-stressing drops are so comforting, in our clinical trials, 90% of participants said their skin was calmer after just one week of use, making it a key tool in your anti-inflammaging kit for both spot-treating inflammation moments as they start to arise, or better still, using it daily to prevent inflammation from ever rearing its head.
Next up in the tool kit are amplified antioxidants. Just as vital in your skincare as they are in your diet, antioxidants provide skin-shielding protection against pollution, blue light, and any other environmental stressors. C-Shield Anti-Pollution Drops are a must for this, loaded with 15% vitamin C, they defend skin against those external inflammatory elements, while also boosting brightness.
And, you may have heard us say this on repeat, but don’t forget the SPF - every day, even in winter, and even indoors. Sun damage not only triggers inflammation, it’s also super aging for a myriad of reasons, so there’s every reason to get in good SPF habits for life, not just the beach. “The sun is the most damaging and aging factor for all skin. UV damage is the number one cause of premature aging. Having a good sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection is vital.” If the heavy texture of traditional SPF is a turn off for you, go for a lightweight tinted moisturizer with SPF in it like Moisturizing Tint SPF 30+.
As with redness prone or irritated skin, using physical exfoliants such as scrubs or hot cloths can make inflammation or reactive skin worse. Swap these out for gentle chemical exfoliators such as vegan lactic acid in the Hydrating Gel Cleanser or a cleansing oil such as the nourishing jojoba and safflower oil mix in the Essential Cleansing Oil.
If you still have redness and inflammaging concerns; “Or you’re just unhappy with the way your skin is looking and behaving, it’s a good idea to visit your dermatologist who can help you with a treatment plan,” adds Dr. Nina.