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What is Inflammation—and Why It Affects Your Skin

What is Inflammation—and Why It Affects Your Skin

Inflammation is no laughing matter — but taking time to laugh and de-stress every day can help reduce inflammation and keep your body, and your skin, healthy.

Inflammation is actually the core of our body's healing—and immune—response. When something harmful or irritating affects a part of our body, an inflammatory cascade of events is set in motion: blood flow increases to that area, and along with it, healing proteins and infection-fighting white blood cells. In fact, without inflammation, wounds and infections would never heal.

As with stress, though, some inflammation is healthy, but chronic inflammation—which some experts describe as an immune system response that's out of control— is not, particularly when it comes to the skin.

In fact, inflammation has been called "Skin Enemy Number One"[i]—for good reason: it's been linked to skin problems like rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, and acne. In fact, one study—published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology[ii]—found that systemic inflammation throughout the body can trigger acne breakouts on the skin[iii]. Research also shows that people with acne are under increased systemic and skin oxidative stress (defined as a "disturbance" in the balance between the production of harmful free radicals, triggered by the stress, and the body's own protective antioxidant defenses)[iv]—and appear to consume antioxidants at a faster pace than their acne-free peers.

Replere Acne KitColorful fruits and vegetables (think: squash, berries, grapes, leafy greens like spinach and kale, and even purple cauliflower and potatoes) are chockfull of antioxidants, as are coffee, green tea, and spices like cinnamon and turmeric. This is why I made antioxidants the key ingredients in my REPLERE line—and even created the REPLERE Acne Kit (top) to target inflammation and restore smooth skin. (It includes a face wash, day lotion, and my one-ounce daily antioxidant drinks called Beauty Shooters; these are great for helping anyone—even those who aren't prone to skin conditions—get enough antioxidants if they can't from their daily diet.)

What this all means: beauty is more than just skin deep. Eating a healthy diet, getting enough exercise, sleeping enough every night, and reducing stress—in general, following a healthy lifestyle—all work to reduce inflammation in the body, which helps you have beautiful, problem-free skin.

Stay healthy—and beautiful!

"Inflammation: Skin Enemy Number One," Sally Wadyka, YouBeauty.com, September 29, 2011; http://www.youbeauty.com/skin/inflammation

[ii] "The Role of Inflammation in the Pathology of Acne," Emil A. Tanghetti, M.D., The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, September 2013, 6(9), 27-35; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3780801/

[iii] "Acne Vulgaris: the Role of Oxidative Stress and the Potential Therapeutic Value of Local and Systemic Antioxidants," Whitney P. Bowe, Nayan Patel, Alan C. Logan, Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, June 2012, 11(6), 742-746; http://www.biomedsearch.com/nih/Acne-vulgaris-role-oxidative-stress/22648222.html

[iv] "What is Oxidative Stress?" DJ Betteridge, Metabolism, Feb. 2000, 49 (2 Supplement 1), 3-8; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10693912