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We often focus on UV exposure as the largest contributor to visible aging. What we haven’t talked as much about is its counterpart inflammation, the cellular saboteur that can be both hero and villain depending on its source and its duration. You’ve probably heard plenty about all the ways inflammation damages the body and catalyzes disease, but it’s also a major factor in visible skin aging, and paradoxically, skin rejuvenation. It’s safe to say the skin’s relationship with inflammation is complicated. Let’s explore.

Is there good inflammation?  YES!

The tricky part of inflammation is that it is as necessary as it is destructive. Inflammation is what signals the body to initiate healing when there is injury or infection. In that way, it plays a critical role in keeping the body healthy.

In skin care, we often harness inflammation to jumpstart growth factors. Treatments like micro-needling, dermabrasion, chemical peels and exfoliants and cell turnover accelerators like acids and retinoids all, to one degree or another, rely on the skin’s response to micro-injury to spur cell regeneration and collagen production. This is good inflammation. It’s when inflammation is chronic that it becomes a problem.

What is chronic inflammation?

When inflammation is prolonged, the immune system’s attempts to heal backfire causing damage to tissue and organs. In the body, chronic inflammation is a catalyst for disease. In the skin, chronic inflammation is strongly linked to many preventable and treatable conditions including rosacea, hyperpigmentation, eczema and visible skin aging.

What causes chronic inflammation?

It’s more like what doesn’t cause inflammation. Many things that are part of everyday life are stimuli for inflammation: UV exposure, stress, pollution, alcohol, smoking, toxins and sugar.

Does the last one surprise you? When your glucose levels get raised, the sugar molecules bond with proteins (collagen) and create advanced glycation end products (AGEs), triggering oxidative stress and inflammation. AGEs are responsible for the breakdown of collagen and stiffening of elastin fibers. And in a vicious cycle of inflammatory damage, AGEs make cells more sensitive to external stimuli like UV.

What can you do to avoid or counter bad inflammation?

To avoid the most common triggers of chronic inflammation, review your lifestyle and adjust your habits as necessary. 

You can disrupt the process of glycation, help control the accumulation of AGEs and decrease inflammation by using skin care products that offer antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection.   Morgan Paris B3  is a disruptors of glycation as is the Antioxidant Peptide Cocktail and all of the Morgan Paris Masks and Scrubs.  These products in addition to the entire line of Morgan Paris Skincare are all potent anti-inflammatory agents.  Used daily, these products will prevent future damage to the skin.