INFLAMMATION - Bane or Boon?

Inflammation is our body’s protector. Or at least, that is it’s intended physiological purpose!

An essential biological mechanism, inflammation is our body's way of defending itself from injury, illness, and infection. White blood cells, immune cells, antibodies and chemicals such as cytokines which help fight infection, all burst into action as a part of the inflammatory response.

In fact, as skin health professionals we are trained to look for particular inflammatory responses, such as edema and erythema, as an indication that we have achieved clinical end points in our skin treatments. This is because they signal to us that we have triggered the healing cascade, which will result in processes such as the release of growth factors, the stimulation of macrophage cells and eventually, the induction of collagen.

Let’s face it, we all get more excited than during a Bachie Finale when we see this type of controlled inflammation as a response to our treatments, because we know it will result in more youthful, firmer and even looking skin for our patients!

Wait. If inflammation is such a helpful physiological response.... why does it get such a bad rap? 

Inflammation isn’t a problem when it’s turned on and off as part of a normal acute reaction. The issue arises when inflammation it is left on and becomes chronic.

There is a growing body of research that is showing that chronic inflammation may actually be the causative factor in many illnesses, and even in common skin concerns such as ageing, pigmentation and acne.

A new wave of modern, holistically trained skincare professionals understand this and are beginning to focus on inflammation as a primary consideration when assessing the skin and creating treatment plans. 

So, what contributes to chronic inflammation and how can you treat it? 

The truth is that there are so many factors that contribute to chronic inflammation such as pollution, UV, constant environmental IR and blue light and a disruption in the skins microbiome just to name a few, however, using a holistic treatment approach, there is much we can do to reduce its effects.

From a clinical treatment standpoint, including modalities such as LLLT or LED into pre and post treatment protocols can yielded great success, not only in the treatment of conditions such as acne, but also in the treatment of Melasma and PiH.

Diet and lifestyle are key factors in controlling chronic inflammation. Studies have shown that there is a strong link between poor gut health, conditions such as SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), and inflammation. Working with a nutritionist and integrating an anti-inflammatory diet plan and gut support program into treatment protocols can work wonders for your patient’s skin and general health.

Hormones such as cortisol, which is produced by your adrenal gland in times of stress also have an impact on chronic inflammation, in fact there is research which suggests a correlation between poor gut health and increased levels of cortisol in the body.

High levels of cortisol not only affect your general health, but it also wreaks havoc on your skin, exacerbating a whole host of concerns from acne to immune related skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Excessive amounts of cortisol can lead to sensitised skin, increased redness, reactivity and can significantly contribute to acne and premature skin ageing.

Fortunately, there is a revolutionary generation of active skincare ingredients are targeted towards reducing cortisol levels in the skin. The results also extend to improving skin quality, radiance and luminosity. A remarkable 90% of our Dermalist trail group using these revolutionary new cosmeceutical ingredients are reporting a significant increase in skin radiance and glow – a unique effect they’ve coined the #dermalistglow!

While we are on skincare, there is also increasing evidence that supports the benefits of only using clean ingredients. Chemicals such as phthalates and parabens, along with preservatives such as DMDM hydantoin and imidazolidinyl urea, which release formaldehyde have shown to have toxic effects in studies from institutions such as the CDC and Harvard School of Public Health, and are a hot topic surrounding the anti-inflammatory and anti-toxicity movement.

Thanks to the advancements in science, knowledge and technology we are able to manage chronic inflammation better today than ever before, which can have such a dramatic and impactful effect on our client’s skin. Our industry is about helping people feel confident and creating real, meaningful change in their lives, and doing this ethically and holistically, with conscience and integrity is something we can all feel proud of.

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