Inflammation Impacting Your Skin: Part 1

January 24, 2011 | posted by Justin Skeesuck

There has been a lot in the media about inflammation in the body and how long-term is linked to a variety of diseases. But can that actually impact the skin too? Yes!

Inflammation is part of the process by which our body heals itself, and therefore it influences the health of our body’s largest organ, the skin. Inflammation is not a bad thing, but it must be controlled to prevent long term damage in the body. There are two different types of inflammation that we’ll break up in this two part series: Acute and Chronic.

When your body is injured, an entire network of inner response “teams” is immediately triggered to help fix the injury, which is why you will notice swelling, tenderness and redness around the injury site. This is the process known as Acute inflammation. Acute inflammation is necessary to help the body heal its injury and protect against infection. The pain response of acute inflammation is your body’s signal to stop what you are doing, to avoid further damage.

Acute inflammation can be triggered in the skin a number of ways. Some of these include application of some topical products, like harsh prescriptions or facial scrubs. Microdermabrasion and chemical peels will also trigger an acute inflammation response in the skin.

Microdermabrasion or chemical peel treatments help remove the outer layers of the skin barrier, and help move fresh cells to the skin surface. At the same time, collagen and elastin are stimulated in the dermis, to help plump and support the skin. But you couldn’t microderm or peel your skin every day, or you could be left with a very damaged skin barrier! It’s also important to protect your skin after one of these types of treatments, since leaving your skin unprotected invites harmful exposure to environmental elements (sun, microbes and bacteria).

People who choose to exfoliate on a daily basis (men exfoliate every time they shave their faces) should consider taking steps to repair and fortify their skin barrier after exfoliation, when freshly exposed skin is most vulnerable to damage or bacteria.