Inflammation is a hot topic in skin care because of its purported connection to aging, and big names like Dr. Perricone think we should be doing everything we can to avoid it. But is inflammation really such a bad thing, and is there anything we can do about it? To find out what we know for sure about inflammation, just keep reading.

  • Inflammation is a key immune process. Humans are constantly fighting off infection, and to do that we need some varieties of inflammatory response. So while too much inflammation may be a bad thing, seeking to eliminate it would mean that cuts and infections would never heal.
  • There is evidence, however, that chronic inflammation accelerates aging. In fact, people who experienced high levels of infection-related inflammation as children actually die earlier and seem to age faster.
  • Wearing sunblock lowers your risk of harmful skin inflammation. UV light penetration of cells sets off inflammatory reactions (sunburn is one of these), so one of the best ways to prevent inflammation is to use sunscreen every day.
  • Your diet can affect inflammatory levels. While eating a bunch of anti-inflammatory foods may not keep you from aging forever, the types of foods you eat can change your levels of inflammation. So if you have skin redness and irritation concerns, changing your diet may actually help, which in turn may help with premature skin aging.
  • Inflammation is a chronic skin disease predictor. High systemic levels of inflammation have been linked to psoriasis, eczema, and acne; it's also a known factor in diabetes and even coronary problems. However, while the evidence is compelling, it's important to remember that correlation doesn't equal causation. In other words, just because inflammation is present and contributes to the condition, that doesn't mean it's the base cause.