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Inflammaging: The Link Between Inflammation and Aging

What is inflammaging?
Inflammaging, or inflamm-aging, is a chronic, low-grade inflammation that develops even without overt infection. While inflammation is essential for protecting against infections and healing, prolonged inflammation can harm our health. When talking about skin, inflammageing refers to low-level, chronic inflammation caused by exposure to environmental stressors that can accelerate skin ageing.

The skin and inflammaging connection
Our skin undergoes changes as we age, both in appearance and function. Part of this decline is due to skin inflammaging and the accumulation of senescent cells (often called “zombie cells”). These senescent cells release molecules that trigger inflammation. Additionally, mitochondrial decline and photo-damage from the sun exacerbate skin inflammaging.

How does inflammaging impact skin health?
Inflammation leads to a breakdown of collagen and elastin, essential for youthful skin. As skin’s defence mechanisms weaken, the degradation of collagen and elastin accelerates, resulting in visible signs of ageing.

Ageing and photo-damaged skin experience mitochondrial dysfunction. Mitochondria, the cell’s powerhouses, can no longer energise cells effectively. This dysfunction contributes to the creation of senescent cells and the release of toxic inflammatory proteins.

Other factors that may lead to inflammaging include insufficient sleep, overnutrition, physical inactivity, altered gut microbiome, and chronic stress occurring at any stage of the individual’s life.

Everyone experiences inflammation
Short-term inflammation can be useful, as it starts natural healing processes, promotes tissue repair and it is an important part of the body's defence system. However, chronic inflammation is a sign that the defence system is overwhelmed and results in a continuous inflammatory response. Over time, continuous inflammation and irritation can damage the cellular structure and skin's capacity to repair itself. 

What can you do?
You can make your skin more resilient to inflammation by incorporating anti-inflammatory habits into your lifestyle, being mindful of the food you eat and using suitable skincare. 

1. Anti-inflammatory diet
Opt for foods rich in antioxidants and polyphenols. The Mediterranean diet, including fruits, fatty fish, leafy greens, nuts, and olive oil, has shown anti-inflammatory effects.

2. Anti-inflammatory habits
Physical activity acts as a natural anti-inflammatory agent. Aim for at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity weekly exercise and muscle-strengthening activities. Make sure you get enough sleep. Find ways to deal with stress that suit you and your lifestyle best. 

3. Effective skincare
Incorporate products with anti-inflammatory ingredients into your skincare routine. Such as Pristine Brightening Essence and Soothe and Repair Daily Moisturiser.

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