Aging is inevitable, but did you know that the continuous stress we have about getting older may actually be aging us even faster?! Inflammaging is a type of chronic, low-grade inflammation that results in manifestations of aging. Luckily, there are ways to reduce the effects it has on our skin and bodies. Here's everything you need to know about inflammaging.
“In simplistic terms, inflammaging is a theory that the manifestations of aging in the human body are due to chronic inflammation and over-stimulation of the immune system in the course of one’s lifetime,” explained Macrene Alexiades, MD, Ph.D., PLLC, who holds three degrees from Harvard and runs private practice clinics in dermatology and laser surgery. Basically, chronic inflammation is the reason behind many forms of aging. So what exactly causes inflammation?
"Factors that contribute to chronic inflammation include 'antigen load,' namely the overexposure to external substances and microbes over the course of one's lifetime," Dr. Macrene shared. "This causes overstimulation of the immune system, the accumulation of activated immune system cells, and the overproduction of immune system factors that cause degeneration to various tissues in the body." To recap: when our immune system is overstimulated, it's inflamed. This is not god because that causes our body to be damaged at its foundational level. Other things that may add to the inflammation, according to Dr. Macrene, are obesity and problems with the gut microbiome.
There are many ways to minimize the effect of inflammation on the body, with the first one being a healthy diet rich in antioxidants and herbs. "Anti-inflammatory supplements such as turmeric, omegas, ashwagandha, and resveratrol may be helpful," said Dr. Macrene. Secondly, don't be exposed to excessive toxins like smoking, alcohol, and pollution. "To prevent and slow down inflammaging, specifically on the skin, use products formulated with active antioxidants, barrier repair, anti-inflammatory plant polyphenols, and DNA repair - all of which are among the over 110 actives in Macrene Actives cream and serum," the doctor advised. And of course, lastly, try to reduce stress. It may be easier said than done, but it's believed that some of the simplest tasks can help minimize stress. "The old adage from wise cultures is that we should minimize stress, and the old-fashioned ways of getting natural exercise by working in the garden and walking in the mountains are the best ways to prevent inflammaging. Get closer to nature, and you reduce stress, get lots of antioxidants in your bloodstream, stay fit, and keep healthy."