The last year has been particularly stressful for most of us. And unfortunately, stress manifests itself in our bodies in a ton of different ways. There are different types of stress too—acute stress, chronic stress, physical stress, psychological stress. And then there’s inflammaging, a type of chronic inflammation that can cause damage to your skin. Let’s discuss!
What Is Inflammaging?
Inflammaging is a mash-up of two words—inflammation and aging. According to this study, “Inflammaging refers to a continuous, low-grade inflammation associated with aging. Such chronic inflammatory response could build up with time and gradually cause tissue damage.” In layman’s terms, it’s the inflammation we get as we age—think creaky knees, aching backs, poor eyesight, and of course, dull skin, wrinkles, and fine lines. Brands are starting to capitalize on this new (ish) phase by offering products that combat inflammaging specifically.
As we get older, our bodies have a harder time managing the cortisol we produce when we’re stressed. I don’t know about you, but when I was in my 20s I could pull an all-nighter, go to work, go out to the club after work, and still be ready to go for my 9 AM class the next day AND STILL LOOK GOOD! Now? I can’t even do a day of minor errands like grocery shop, pick up a Target order, and make dinner without crashing for 10 hours at night and looking haggard AF in the morning. That’s good ol’ inflammaging for ya.
How to Combat It
What you put on your skin can only do so much. In the case of inflammaging, what you put in your body is equally as important as what you put on your body. Aim to eat at least a cup of fruit and veggies at each meal, as well as healthy fats like avocado, salmon, and lean proteins like chicken, tofu, and white fish. Green tea is also a great antioxidant that helps fight free radicals, or you can add some adoptogens to your daily coffee or tea.
Another big one? Reducing stress and getting enough exercise daily. Rita Linkner, M.D., a dermatologist in New York toldself “Anxiety and worry raise cortisol levels, which manifest in the skin and cause acne rosacea, , and eczema to flare up.” I know firsthand how stressful things have been recently, and I’ve been trying very hard to mediate daily, keep a gratitude journal, and get outside at least once a day. Connecting with friends has also been incredibly helpful for reducing stress. I recently had a “phone call day” and spent a collective three hours on the phone with four different friends, and I gotta say, it was the most fun I’ve had in a while.
Skincare For Inflammaging
And if you really want to target that inflammaging in a specific way, that’s where the skincare comes in. Of course, all the good stuff like antioxidants (Vitamin C , green tea, aloe, etc.) are going to be great for targeting inflammation.