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Understanding Inflammation: The Root Cause of Skin Aging

By: Rhonda Allison
Posted: April 1, 2014, from the April 2014 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
Understanding Inflammation: The Root Cause of Skin Aging

Centella asiatica

What’s really aging skin? Is it possible there’s one root cause responsible behind skin aging, diseases and other challenges? Much of the available research says yes—pointing to inflammation as the common denominator.

Although inflammation is often thought of as an infection or wound, it’s actually the body’s response mechanism to those two factors, or it could mean there is a deeper systemic issue present. It’s the body’s natural response to trauma and, in fact, it is a very complex biological process.

Inflammation is a signal to the body to begin the healing process. Without it, wounds and infections would not heal. It’s an important and necessary part of skin rejuvenation, but in chronic situations, inflammation becomes destructive. As a skin care professional, it’s important you understand the difference between acute and chronic inflammation, and how it impacts the aging and rejuvenation process.

Types of inflammation

There are two classifications of inflammation: acute and chronic. Acute is the aforementioned initial response by the body to initiate healing. Chronic is prolonged inflammation, which can often lead to a variety of diseases.

Acute inflammation generally lasts for up to several days and is essential to the healing process. This is simply the body’s way of sending internal support to the wound site by increasing the flow of plasma and leukocytes to eliminate pathogens. Swelling indicates the area is full of plasma and leukocytes, and pain draws awareness to the damage, prompting gentle care be taken. This is normal inflammation and is a good thing.