Inflammaging is a growing field that has linked chronic low grade inflammation with aging and diseases including obesity, physical inactivity cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, chronic kidney disease, osteoarthritis and Alzheimer’s disease.
Increasing evidence points to Inflammaging associated with aging skin. Inflammaging is different than the acute inflammation that comes with with redness, swelling, heat and pain. This chronic inflammation tends to release reactive oxygen species that leads to loss of tonicity, elasticity and firmness of the skin. It also leads to a decrease in the skin barrier function which amplifies the condition and leads to signs of aging. When the skin barrier is compromised this can also lead to more inflammation and a vicious circle begins.
All skin is subject to inflammaging but sensitive skin and that weakened from sun and age are at particular risk. Inflammation increases the activity of enzymes in the dermis of the skin such as elastase and collagenase causing these matrix proteins to breakdown. Both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents are important for the skin to combat the effects of inflammaging.
Most skin care products do not address inflammaging because it is not as visible as fine lines and wrinkles but not addressed inflammation will weaken the barrier function of the skin causing more wrinkles. Preventing inflammation in young skin can be a key factor in decreasing fine lines and wrinkles as we age.
What can you do decrease inflammaging in your skin?
Herbs are naturally high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds and so are important ingredients in skin care treatments. Some of the herbs used in Colorado Aromatics products to address inflammaging include calendula, mint, red clover, lavender, green tea, rosemary, chamomile, feverfew, and rose. Other ingredients we use to address irritation and inflammation are allantoin, alpha lipoic acid and beta glucan.
Excessive exfoliation can also be irritating to the skin. Although exfoliation is an important part of a skin care routine, deep exfoliants and dermabrasion should not be taken lightly. Alpha hydroxy acids such as lactic acid (milk), malic acid (apples), and pyruvic acid are milder than glycolic acid which penetrates further.
Protecting the barrier function of the skin is of utmost importance. This means keeping the skin well hydrated both by drinking water and by using a high quality lotion/cream that helps build the barrier function.