WHAT IS INFLAMMATION? - It is a process by which the body's white blood cells (pictured above) and substances they produce protect us from infection with foreign organisms, like bacteria and viruses. Its role is to remove harmful invaders and to heal itself. White blood cells go out of the bloodstream and into the skin, they create swelling [inflammation] in the skin, blood vessels dilate, causing redness. Inflammation can happen anywhere – the brain and joints are two examples. When inflammation is high skin can become dry, irritated, red, or simply dull. Inflammation from your diet is also a primary cause of eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, and acne, the main problem the body is struggling with is inflammation; acne has the combination of inflammation and bacteria.
SKIN CONDITIONS RELATED TO INFLAMMATION
Rosacea - This is an oxidative stress condition - this is due to an imbalance between antioxidants and reactive oxidizing species within the skin. The phenomenon is identical to what is known as free radical damage and underlies the worsening of rosacea through inflammatory pathways.
Psoriasis - This is characterized by skin cells that multiply up to 10 times faster than normal. As underlying cells reach the skin's surface and die, their sheer volume causes raised, red plaques covered with white scales.
Eczema - Atopic dermatitis is a recurring, non-infectious, inflammatory skin condition, the skin becomes red, dry, itchy and scaly, and in severe cases, may weep, bleed and crust over, causing the sufferer much discomfort. Sometimes the skin may become infected.
Acne - This is a common skin condition with sebum overproduction, hyperkeratosis, Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) and Staphylococcus aureus, and inflammation.
RECENT RESEARCHRosmarinic Acid - People with psoriasis have been showing elevated sensitivity to gluten. It is known that chronic skin inflammatory disease such as psoriasis can be provoked by viral pathogens. In a recent study, it was demonstrated that rosmarinic acid has an inhibitory potential on inflammatory reaction induced by viral pathogens. Rosmarinic acid is found in Rosemary Essential Oil and Rosemary Extract.
Vitamins & Minerals - Calcium, Vitamin D, and Vitamin A may have a therapeutic role in diseases such as rosacea and psoriasis. Found in: Carrot + Nettle + Hemp + Kale.
Pomegranate - Shows the tannins found in pomegranate display multiple anti-acne capacities [anti-bacterial, anti-lipase, anti-keratinocyte proliferation, and anti-inflammatory actions] The antibacterial properties of Pomegranate and Green Tea on the most common bacteria associated with the development and progression of acne suggest that these extracts may offer a better preventative/therapeutic regimen with fewer side effects than conventional pharmaceuticals.
Turmeric - Has been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-neoplastic properties. Growing evidence shows that an active component of turmeric, curcumin, may be used medically to treat a variety of dermatologic diseases. Skin conditions examined include acne, alopecia, atopic dermatitis, facial photoaging, psoriasis, and vitiligo.
Prickly Pear - Polyphenols are abundant in the cactus pear with antioxidant potential which helps the prevention of skin inflammation.
Botanical Plants with skin calming properties
This is not an exhaustive list but covers botanicals we have worked closely with while formulating our multi-tasking Hero Product [face] these botanicals can help prevent and reduce skin inflammation:
Red Raspberry - Ellagic acid and anti-inflammatory compounds help to soothe and calm irritated skin Eczema + Psoriasis.
Carrot - has a reputation for helping to heal eczema + psoriasis, because of its ability to stimulate cell growth and repair damaged skin. It balances the skin's sebum levels to prevent blackheads and pimples.
Avocado - Vitamin D helps prevent and heal irritation, acne + eczema. Highly anti-inflammatory, this oil-soluble vitamin penetrates dermal layers to strengthen, soothe and calm the skin’s barrier.
Rosehip - The Trans-retinoic acid (which the body turns into Vitamin A) makes this a great oil for treating Acne + Rosacea.
Sunflower - The carotenoids namely Beta-carotene can help lighten the appearance of red inflamed blemishes and even out skin tone. High linoleic acid helps reduce skin inflammatory conditions - Acne + Eczema.
Chamomile - Soothes sensitive skin with its anti-inflammatory properties helps relieve itchy and inflamed skin conditions - Eczema.
Green Tea - has one of the highest levels of naturally occurring antioxidants along with anti-inflammatory properties soothes irritated skin - Eczema.
Protect - Sun exposure really increases inflammation in the skin, (remember sitting by a window you are still exposed to UV light). Wear sunscreens - zinc-based is best as it has good anti-inflammatory properties.
Exfoliation/scrubs – if they’re not gentle enough, they can bring up a lot of inflammation on sensitive skin.
Acids - AHAs, BHAs, or retinoids can be too harsh for the sensitive types or if you have rosacea + acne + psoriasis.
The food we choose to consume does make a huge difference in the health of your skin and inflammation. For healthy glowing skin remove sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and processed or junk foods from your diet, gluten and dairy are also offenders causing inflammation, they are harmful to your gut health and can lead to autoimmunity and thyroid dysfunction. Eliminate all sources of inflammation from your diet to help reduce inflammation of your skin. Studies have shown that acne is absent in populations consuming Palaeolithic diets with low glycaemic load and no consumption of milk or dairy products.
Pro + Pre-Biotics The ability of the gut microbiota and oral probiotics to influence systemic inflammation, oxidative stress, glycemic control, tissue lipid content and even mood itself, may have important implications in acne
What are some common causes of inflammation?
Causes of low-grade, non-self-healing inflammation affecting the skin can include:
- Candida & digestive impairment
- Sugar & processed foods
- Exposure to toxins, chemicals, cigarette smoke & pollutants
- Environmental stress & free radicals (oxidative stress)
- Vitamin deficiencies, particularly D and B
- Anxiety & stress
- Lack of sleep
What else can exacerbate inflammation?
- High temperatures - Saunas, steam baths, sun lamps.
- Weather – Sun, heat, strong wind, cold.
- Emotions – Anger, rage, embarrassment, anxiety.
- Activity – Intensive exercise, chronic cough, straining.
- Drugs – Niacin, nitroglycerin, topicals - corticosteroids, retinoids, alcohol, acetones.
- Skincare products - comedogenic ingredients that are known to clog the skin, synthetic fragrances (Parfum), Aluminum Compounds, Acids, Metals + Sulfates.
- Ultraviolet light.
Foods that promote inflammation:
- Sugar is the number one source of inflammation in the body.
- Simple, refined carbohydrates + wheat.
- Processed foods - saturated and trans fatty acids cause inflammation.
- Corn & soybean oils.
- Bok Cho
- Green Leafy Vegetables
- Bone Broth
- Shiitake Mushrooms
- Coconut Oil
- Red grapes
- Fermented vegetables
- Chia Seeds
- Flax Seeds
In Summary: understanding the synergy between what you consume and apply topically to your skin, equally contribute to the health of your skin. You have a 'superpower' known as a choice, use it wisely.
Until next time..
Be human | be kind | be you
Anti-inflammatory-diet Dr Weil
- Chronic inflammation Altern Ther Health Med. 2005 Nov-Dec [Role of diet on chronic inflammation prevention and control - current evidence]
- Diet: J Am Coll Cardiol. 2006 Aug [The effects of diet on inflammation: emphasis on the metabolic syndrome]
- Prickly Pear Seed Oil: El-Mostafa, K.; El Kharrassi, Y.; Badreddine, A.; Andreoletti, P.; Vamecq, J.; El Kebbaj, M.S.; Latruffe, N.; Lizard, G.; Nasser, B.; Cherkaoui-Malki, M. (2014). Nopal Cactus (Opuntia-ficus indica) as a Source of Bioactive Compounds for Nutrition, Health, and Disease. Molecules 19(9): 14879-14901. DOI: 10.3390/molecules190914879.
Great read!! I have bad eczema so I am definitely going to research more from this post! thanks!
Thank you for such an in-depth post! I know diet can play a role in the amount of inflammation I get on my skin aka acne. We can often get very complacent about the quality of our diets and I know my skin will be a mirror of what is going on internally. When my diet is high quality so is my skin. I love your point about studies showing acne to be absent in populations consuming Palaeolithic diets with low glycaemic load and no consumption of milk or dairy products. So very interesting. You have outlined why it is so important to get nutrition and topical treatments in the correct balance for healthy skin, thank you for sharing :)
Thank you for sharing such a comprehensive and helpful post – truly appreciated. I know so many people who experience these skin conditions, and as knowledge is power, cannot wait to forward this on. X
I absolutely loved this article! I try to be thorough and informative with my posts, so I really appreciate when I read articles with attached research. This was super informative, and I’d love to retweet it on Twitter!
It’s crazy how much toxins can effect us. I really don’t know how I ate and drank so much sweets and coffee!
Last night I had an espresso martini with a friend and I near instantly had a headache that turned into a severe throbbing migraine. I had exercised vigorously, but that near seems to be a problem for me. I have been soooo strict with my eating that the minute I had that drink my body was NOT loving it! Lesson learned.
Such a comprehensive list of preventatives and cures! I love your blog!
Wow this is super informative. Thanks so much for sharing!
Wow, what an informative article! Thank so much for sharing. It is amazing how much of an effect inflammation has on our bodies!