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Inflammaging: Changing the Face of Skin Care

By: Noureddine Mriouah
Posted: January 2, 2013, from the January 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Today, the direct link between extrinsic skin aging and inflammation is well-established and documented. Elias and Feingold demonstrated the reciprocal effect of many chronic inflammatory diseases—such as psoriasis, and atopic and seborrheic dermatitis—on the stratum corneum barrier, which maintains healthy hydration levels in the skin.5, 6

The integrity of this barrier is maintained by metabolic balance, such as the synthesis of collagen fibers, and the replacement of old and worn out fibers, by enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and is regulated by tissue inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases (TIMPs).

Inflammaging destroys this balance, decreasing cellular metabolic activity and collagen renewal. Externally, the skin loses its suppleness and elasticity, and becomes flaccid. It is also known that inflammaging generates reactive oxygen species (ROS), causing age-accelerating oxidative damage, which further perpetuates a chronic, pro-inflammatory state.7

Anti-inflammatory treatments

Inflammaging can be prevented—and even reversed—by using a wide spectrum of topical products formulated with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant ingredients. In addition to inhibiting the key mediators of inflammation and aging processes, these ingredients should help reinforce, protect and boost the antioxidant response system.

Two different classes of anti-inflammatory agents seem to show promising results: cyclooxygenase (COX) inhibitors and 5-lipoxygenase (LOX) inhibitors. Boswellic acid from the boswellia serrata tree; resveratol, found in grapes; and tamanu oil, from tamanu tree nuts, are just some of the natural inhibitors that can be used in skin care products.

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