Understanding The Root of Aging and Problem Skin
Chronic inflammation often happens unnoticed, slowly and silently deteriorating skin and contributing to the aging process. “After the sun, inflammation is the skin enemy number one,” says David J. Leffell, professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine. Technically, inflammation is a necessary self-defense mechanism –the immune system’s response to infection, irritation, or injury. The problem is that sometimes, thanks to genetic and environmental factors, inflammation becomes chronic. While there are obvious states of inflammation, like a pimple or a rash, we may not even be aware that our bodies are on “red alert.”
How is inflammation characterized? Inflammation is characterized by an increase in local blood flow, migration and activation of the immune cells in the affected area, release of large amounts of free radicals, destruction of normal tissue, and the deposit of scar tissue. Ideally, inflammation should clear out infection and then subside to allow normal tissue to be rebuilt. If infection remains, inflammation may become chronic and linger for weeks or even years. Sometimes, chronic inflammation may persist even without significant infection – either because the inflammation response has become too sensitive or because the immune system begins to perceive some of the body’s own tissues as foreign.
What are the causes of inflammation? The main causes of inflammation are:
- 1) Stress
- 2) Tissue Acidity
- 3) Poor Diet
- 4) Lack of Sleep
- 5) Sun Exposure
- 6) Chemicals in Cosmetics & Skin Care products
- 7) Prescription Medications
- 8) Drugs
- 9) Alcohol
- 10) Cigarettes
How does it contribute to the aging process? As we age, we tend to develop autoimmune conditions as well as other forms of chronic inflammation. The majority of older people have some degree of low-grade inflammation and/or mild autoimmune disorders. Chronic inflammation contributes to the aging process because it floods tissues with free radicals and promotes the destruction of normal cells. While chronic inflammation contributes to the aging of many tissues, it is particularly prominent in the aging of the cardiovascular and nervous system – the two systems most vital to our survival. Inflammation is now recognized as one of the key risk factors for heart disease and stroke-an even bigger risk factor than high cholesterol. Inflammation is also viewed as a contributor to common age-related neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
How can I reduce inflammation?
- Eliminate sugar and grains from the diet –especially wheat. These are instant inflammation triggers and delicious alternatives are available…
- Improve your dental hygiene. Low-grade gum infections are extremely common and have a major negative impact on heart disease and possibly other conditions.
- Exercise. Evidence indicates that regular exercise improves low-grade chronic inflammation.
- Weight loss. Obesity appears to increase the overall level of inflammation in the body, while bringing your weight back to the optimum.
- Quit smoking! Smoking floods your systems with free radicals and irritants, promoting inflammation and a plethora of additional health problems.
- Adopt an anti-inflammatory diet. Diet has an impact on the overall level of inflammation in your body. A number of dietary adjustments can help minimize inflammation, including the following: reducing or eliminating saturated and trans fat; increasing the intake of omega-3 fat (fish, fish oil, flaxseed oil); increasing consumption of varied multicolored fresh fruits and vegetables.
What to avoid:
- -Wheat/Refined Grains
- -Artificial sweeteners (corn syrup, sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar, cane juice, dextrose, sucrose, sucralose, aspartame, stevia products with added GMO, corn sources such as maltodextrin)
- -Fried Foods
- -Fast food
- -Energy Drinks
Chronic Inflammation affects many people, often without initial realization. However, there are several ways to prevent and treat inflammation once it is diagnosed, so your skin is as radiant and beautiful as it is meant to be!