Inflammation and your skin.

Inflammation can start from within your body or from external, environmental factors. Stress, lack of sleep, unhealthy diet, pollution and sun exposure can all lead to skin inflammation.

How does inflammation from the inside affect beauty on the outside?

The skin is an active organ that is affected by stress hormones when under assault. The “stress hormone” cortisol elevates during stress, and in the short term is actually a good thing as it helps your body handle stress. But if you have chronic, constant stress, cortisol will cause inflammation.

Diet plays a role in causing inflammation as well. The foods that are the worst offenders are ones you probably should remove from your diet anyway like saturated fats, fried foods, sugar and refined carbohydrates. Your digestive health plays a big role as well – when the beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract are thrown out of balance from stress, poor diet or certain medications like antibiotics, it can lead to inflammation internally. This shows up in the skin.

Internal inflammation can take a toll on the skin in a variety of ways including acne breakouts, rosacea and the visible signs of ageing. The higher the cortisol levels are, wound-healing rates slow leading to an increased breakdown of collagen. This can accelerate the ageing process. Collagen keeps skin full and elastic – as it breaks down skin starts to sag, wrinkles and generally look less vibrant.

Acne is also an inflammatory condition and can be exacerbated by stress.

Another skin condition that can worsen with inflammation is rosacea. The redness that shows up on the forehead, nose, cheeks and chin is triggered by inflammation, whether it comes from stress, sun exposure, food or hormones. Rosacea can also be exacerbated by skincare products that stimulate inflammation.

Since stress is one of the main reasons for inflammatory skin damage, anything you can do to reduce stress is going to help. Getting more exercise and better sleep are two ways to combat the situation. Exercise boosts the release of endorphins, which are anti-inflammatory hormones. Sleep is also key because when you’re sleeping endorphin levels are at their highest and cortisol levels at their lowest. This gives your skin a chance to heal and repair.

Eat a diet that’s rich in anti-inflammatory compounds.

Consuming the right balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats will help reduce the levels of prostaglandins which are pro-inflammatory in the skin. The healthiest way to ingest these is to add flaxseeds and fatty fish, like salmon to your diet on a regular basis. For more healthy skin nutrition, eat antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables (like berries and leafy greens).

How inflammation from the outside affects your skin

One of the most damaging external causes of skin inflammation is the sun. Ultra violet rays generate molecules called free radicals, which cause inflammation. Whether its short-term issues (like hives, a rash or sunburn) or the cumulative effect of chronic assaults, inflammation does take a toll on the skin. The skin’s barrier function weakens which leads to more trans-epidermal water loss; this leaves skin drier and more prone to sensitivity. So even if you don’t normally have sensitive skin, you could suddenly find yourself getting irritated more easily.

Inflammation caused by sun exposure accelerates the breakdown of collagen causing skin to look old before its time.

Sunblock is a key element when it comes to protecting skin. Block the inflammatory pathway that the sun’s UV rays create by wearing zinc oxide based sunblock when you go in the sun. Using a moisturising serum daily, rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants such as COMPLEX8 can assist greatly. The serum treats inflammation, hydrates the skin and contains bio-film forming ingredients to protect your skin from free radical damage.

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