Inflammaging and the detrimental effects on skin
Inflammageing is actually a real word and is the fusion of words: “inflammation and “ageing” and can be defined as low-grade and/or elevated chronic systemic inflammation which can be established to a varying degree during normal physiological ageing. The inevitable ageing process results in the release of pro-inflammatory markers within the body and are released into the bloodstream and surrounding tissue (skin). In saying this, did you know having a compromised skin barrier can result in pro-inflammatory markers to be released into the body which can influence the body’s immune system? Yes! Having an in-tact skin barrier is absolutely vital for protecting the body as it’s your 1st line of physical defence from the outside environment – protecting your inner cells/systems and organs from the negative impacts the outer world brings upon us.
The inflammageing process happens to a degree as we age due to the loss of built-in antioxidant defence systems, however, is exacerbated by genetic contributions, lack of sleep, poor nutritional diet high in poor quality fat, sugar and processed foods, high stress levels (elevated cortisol and histamine), UV radiation, pollution, cigarette smoke and alcohol consumption. As well poor quality skin care formulations that render the skin’s structural integrity susceptible to significant damage can result in the breakdown of keratin, fat, collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid.
These five vital components are very important structural building-blocks of our skin and are required to create a competent skin barrier. Without them, you just don’t have a healthy, functioning skin barrier defence that can withstand environmental stressors and aggressors and as a result, the skin’s built-in defence systems decline and fail to neutralise harmful free radicals that are produced as a side-effect.
Let us now talk about free radicals and how they contribute to the premature ageing process of the skin.
What are free radicals?
Free radicals are unstable molecules which roam around cells and steal the electrons or “electricity” away from a cell and renders it compromised. This, in turn, can result in a poorly functioning skin barrier defence due to the electricity or energy supply of a cell being decreased and resulting in cellular damage. For a simple analogy around this explanation, think of a house filled with people for a dinner party but there is no electricity to cook the meal and/or entertain the guests… it would be a pretty miserable house party and the guests wouldn’t be happy! Free radicals produced from either external and/or internal influences such as those previously mentioned are of significant harm to the skin, and overtime can result in many age-associated diseases which trigger the exacerbation of the ‘inflammageing’ process; caused by an overabundance of free radical accumulation.
Now, did you know free radicals are produced as a side-effect of normal physiological response by your body’s own metabolism to keep your cells functioning and going about their day-to-day duties? They certainly are! Now, is this considered a bad thing? Not necessarily but there is a very fine balance to this physiological process so allow me to explain with a simplified analogy…
The body’s metabolism is like an orchestra performing at the Sydney Opera House with the instrumentalists (your cells) performing in unison with one another to keep your immune system and intricate bodily process functioning accordingly. In order to perform, free radicals are naturally produced as a side-effect to create the energy the instrumentalists require to function. There is a very delicate balance when it comes to instrumentalists playing within an orchestra, and if one or more instrumentalists were to go off tune, it would have a devastating knock-on effect to the entire orchestra and the music would be compromised. I want you to think of the “out of tune” instrumentalists as “free radicals” ruining the spotlight for everyone else and generating a miserable experience for everyone who resides within the Sydney Opera House… not the ideal show to be attending, hey?
If we flip this analogy back to skin structure and function, your skin cells are definitely NOT going to be happy performing in a hostile environment when they are used to performing in a beautiful operatic orchestra. This is exactly what happens to the body when free radicals become overbearing due to a negative work/play lifestyle and the delicate homeostatic balance is thrown off causing your cells to decline and ultimately, age faster as a result of cellular inflammation.
So how does one minimise the appearance of ‘inflammageing’?
The first step in combating inflammation is to minimise and/or eliminate its triggers. It’s really important to work out the WHY before you work out the HOW because you may only be treating the symptom. Working in unison with a Naturopathic Practitioner while undergoing the care of a Practicing Corneotherapist is of upmost importance in tackling inflammation from both angles (internally and externally) to ensure the ageing process is of management so you can look and feel your absolute best!
Below are my favourite skin care products to use to combat inflammation topically:
Cleansing Milk with DMS
- Gentle, skin identical cleanser with skin mimicking components that possesses anti-inflammatory properties to help calm and soothe
- Supports repair of barrier disordered skin
- Free from conventional emulsifiers and other toxic ingredients that breakdown the skin’s membrane integrity
DMS Mask with Vitamins or DMS Vitamin Cream Mask
- Physiological composition to repair, replenish and regenerate the first three lines of skin barrier defence
- Bi-layer realigning (supports the skin’s membrane structure)
- Antioxidants for neutralizing free radicals
- Calms, soothes and hydrates the skin
- Water-free formulation and can be used on a severely compromised skin
- Contains cellular generating compounds and antioxidants
Epi nouvelle+ naturelle
- Calms, nurtures, soothes and hydrates the skin
- Reduces heat and redness
When it comes to a repair skin treatment program, topical and internal antioxidants are absolutely essential to neutralise and destroy harmful molecular free radicals that contribute to premature ageing and disease. Working in unison with a Naturopathic Practitioner as well as a Practicing Corneotherapist is essential and you really shouldn’t be thinking of one without the other. What you do topically and nutritionally will dictate to a substantial degree the end-result of how much inflammation is produced within the body and inevitably, the skin being the largest organ of the body. Our genetics dictate only a very small percentage as to how our system operates and it’s up to us to NOT pull the inflammatory triggers (if they can be avoided) and set off alarms that do not need to be fired off!
Do you feel as though you’re suffering from the detrimental side effects of ‘inflammageing’? Book in now with your nearest Practicing Corneotherapist found here on our clinic finder, who will support your skin barrier from the outside-in while working in synergy with a Naturopathic Practitioner who will support your skin from the inside-out.