Inflammation 101

Ben Winston


Inflammation is enemy #1 for youthful, glowing skin and it is the main culprit behind aging and skin dis-ease.

 Inflammation may seem like the latest scary buzzword sweeping health and beauty categories but it has been known as the silent killer in the medical profession for decades. Inflammation wreaks havoc internally and externally- here’s what you need to know to reduce inflammation STAT.  



There are two types of inflammation acute and chronic.

Acute inflammation is the result of an injury and manifests with redness, heat, pain and swelling- those are the four classic inflammatory responses.  Think back to the last time that you cut yourself, first, the wound turns red and then becomes warm and tender, that is your body's defense system coming to the rescue and alerting the repair team to rush into the area to begin the healing process. This is completely normal inflammation and we rely on it daily to keep our skin and systems healthy.

Unlike acute inflammation, chronic inflammation often remains invisible until it is too late: Time Magazine featured it on a 2004 front cover, called it "The Silent Killer". Chronic inflammation manifests systemically, meaning that the entire body suffers when it is not managed and can affect major systems such as your pulmonary and endocrine system resulting in a variety of serious diseases.

You may be thinking, “I’m healthy, I am just concerned about the redness that I see on my skin.” Think again.

Your skin is your body’s first line of defense from outside invaders and the first alert system that tells you something is wrong on the inside. Think of it as your literal bodyguard and listen when it alerts you by showing redness or unusual textures.

The redness that you see on your skin is called Dermal Redness and comes from two sources: Internally or Externally.

Dermal Redness is most often caused by internal, chronic inflammation and is often rooted in some sort of dis-ease or imbalance in the body. Look to medications, stress levels, allergies and most importantly, the foods that you eat. Food acts like an unregulated drug in the body and we really are what we eat.

Foods are either pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory and it is worth doing your research to know the difference. Sugar is the main culprit and it hides in the most unexpected places. Excess sugar also contributes to inflammation. Dr. Nicholas Perricone calls sugar (and keep in mind, all carbohydrates including wheat bread convert to sugar in your body) "a burst of inflammation throughout the body."

External Dermal Redness is caused by outside factors and the good news is that for the most part, you can control your exposure, therefore, minimizing this type of inflammation.

The most common external aggressors include: UV exposure, harsh exfoliation, overdoing with acids and peels, hot water, climate, smoking, detergent, and perfumes.

Our skin works so hard for us every day, take a pampering and nourishing approach and you will enjoy a calm, healthy complexion.


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