You often hear medical advice about breaking the cycle of inflammation . . . . stopping inflammation . . . . getting inflammation under control . . . . and so on. You know all too well that inflammation plays a vital role in the process of aging and how the associated changes take place in the skin. You've heard too often about the role that inflammation plays when it comes to irritation and skin problems like rosacea.
But just how much do you understand about the inflammation cycle?
We'll break down the steps of the inflammatory cycle and detail what that process means to your skin. We'll touch on ways you can help to control inflammation in your skin, and teach you how you can fight that redness and irritation with good bacteria.
Over 35 million Americans are affected by inflammatory skin conditions, the process is complex and not completely understood.
Types of Skin Inflammation
Skin inflammation can be characterized as either acute or chronic. Acute inflammation can result from exposure to something damaging like UV radiation, allergens, or contact with chemical irritants like soaps or hair dyes. It can also be the direct result of a wound. Typically, there is little tissue destruction as a direct result of the inflammation. Chronic inflammation results from a sustained cellular response within the skin itself and can cause significant and serious tissue destruction.
Basic Steps in the Inflammatory Process
- Exposure to stimulus. This can be UV radiation or something like fragrance molecules or harsh chemicals.
- Skin's cells produce inflammatory chemicals. These chemicals include bradykinin and prostaglandins.
- These cause vasodilation (widening of the blood vessels), so that more blood can flow to the injured tissue, some activate nerve cells to trigger pain, or cause immune cells (white blood cells) to migrate into the skin by causing the blood vessels to become more permeable. More blood and tissue fluid in the area results in swelling.
- These immune cells produce more inflammatory proteins, enzymes, free radicals, and chemicals. These chemicals can cause damage to the skin.
Basically, when the skin senses an "assult," it launches a complex campaign to bring an army in to surround the invader and destroy it.
Is Inflammation Good?
Inflammation can actually be a very helpful response when there really is a threat to your health. Think about that time your body alerted you you had a little splinter a day after you actually leaned on the wooden railing. Your body detected the foreign invader before you even did. It launched the immune response to surround the splinter, effectively walling it off so that none of the bacteria it brought in with it would be able to travel any further into the body. White blood cells came in by the droves through the dilated blood vessels and were doing their best to try to eat up the wood and bacteria, creating purulent discharge (pus) and swelling. If you hadn't dug that splinter out when you noticed the pain, the body would have forced it out on its own.
Your body protected you from the foreign invader, and kept any of the possibly harmful bacteria it carried with it from causing damage anywhere else. Inflammation could have saved your life. (Well, ok, in this case it was just a splinter)
What Happens When Inflammation Gets Out Of Control?
Inflamed skin is irritated skin. It can appear in various ways including itching, burning, and discoloration of the skin. Inflammatory skin diseases are the most common dermatology problems. They range from occasional rashes with mild itchiness, to conditions like dermatitis, psoriasis, and rosacea.
The difference between acute and chronic inflammation is only a matter of timing. Acute inflammation usually lasts six weeks or less and can result from things like acne, sunburn, or allergic reactions.
According to Medical News Today, chronic inflammation refers to long-term inflammation and can last several months to years. It can be the result of:
- Failure to eliminate whatever was causing the acute (initial) inflammation.
- An autoimmune disorder that attacks normal healthy tissue, mistaking it for a pathogen that causes disease.
- Exposure to a low level of a particular irritant, such as an industrial chemical, over a long period.
Help Fighting Redness and Irritation
Redness and irritation are often the effects of inflammation. It can commonly be seen in cases of eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis. Rosacea is an inflammatory response in the skin of the face, manifesting itself in recurring outbreaks. It's fairly difficult to treat, but can be addressed with topical treatments and changes in lifestyle.
Most people with rosacea tend to react to the bacteria known as bacillus oleronius, causing an immune system overreaction. The presence of this bacteria correlates to overpopulation of the demodex mite. It's also been found that many people have an intestinal bacterial overgrowth that releases inflammatory compounds. This is most commonly linked to your diet. Certain foods like FODMAPs (fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols) are well known for triggering inflammation in the gut.
Recurring redness and rosacea can't be cured, but they may be controlled. One of the most effective ways to help with this irritation is through the use of probiotics, both internal and topical. Inflammation is closely tied with bacteria, so eating foods that are high in probiotics and taking a probiotic supplement daily can help to balance the good bacteria in the digestive system, creating a barrier to reduce inflammation. There is compelling evidence that probiotics can help to treat inflammatory conditions like acne and rosacea.
Applied directly to the skin, topical probiotics can have a similar effect. They help to create a barrier, protecting the skin from bad bacteria and parasites and killing the harmful bacteria that triggers inflammation. They can also help to calm the cells down, easing the inflammatory response from the inside, out.
Glowbiotics is a pioneer of probiotic skincare, delivering beauty focused results. Their products are formulated with both topical probiotics and other inflammation-inhibiting technologies specifically designed to avoid bad inflammation and leverage good inflammation. The unique formulas are designed to address and improve problems like redness and irritation, as well as many others!