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Inflammaging: How Inflammation & Stress Prematurely Age Your Skin
It’s no secret that stress shows on your skin. From forehead lines to breakouts, stress has a way of showing its wear and tear on your face.
But, did you know that it can also lead to premature aging?
Internal and external stressors can set off a cycle of inflammation that accelerates the aging process.
Here is our guide to inflammaging and how to minimize its effects.
Two Types Of Inflammation:
Inflammation is a defense mechanism. It serves as the body’s natural way of protecting itself against injury and infection. However, when it occurs on a loop, it can cause damage that stresses your skin cells and accelerates the aging process.
There are two types of inflammation that affect skin health: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation is your body’s immediate response to negative stimuli. It typically has a rapid onset and lasts a few days before normalizing.
As an example, think of how your body responds to a bump on the knee. You feel immediate pain and over the next few hours may experience swelling, warmth and redness as your body sends fluid and white blood cells to the area. After several days, these symptoms minimize, and it’s like your injury never happened.
Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, doesn’t quit. Environmental stressors and unhealthy lifestyle habits are to blame for this type of inflammatory response. In such cases, negative stimuli linger and set off an unhealthy cycle of inflammation that goes largely undetected.
Take pollution as an example. When you are exposed to pollution on a daily basis, your skin doesn’t have an opportunity to fully repair and heal itself; as a result, it exists in a constant state of mild inflammation. Eminence Organics Product Development Manager Patty Connor describes how this occurs:
“Modern (often urban) living means we are often inundated by stress - whether that’s UV damage, pollution, lack of sleep or poor diet choices. Inflammation is our body’s natural defense mechanism to combat the effects of these stressors. As we age, our body becomes less efficient at ‘turning off’ the inflammatory response and the body goes into a chronic low-grade inflammatory status that damages tissue.”