Dull skin? Another breakout? A rash that just won’t go away? If you’re experiencing on-going issues you can’t seem to correct, the culprit may be chronic skin inflammation.
Inflammation is a common cause of many health and skin problems, as well as serious illnesses. But what exactly is inflammation, and how can you reduce it for maximum wellness and beauty benefits?
An inflammatory response is triggered when your body feels threatened or harmed. Whether you eat something that doesn’t agree with you or sustain an injury, the immune system sends white blood cells to protect and heal the area. Once healed, the white blood cells retract and the inflammation goes away. It’s a very natural and healthy process.
However, an array of diet and lifestyle factors can lead to chronic inflammation. Poor eating habits, lack of sleep, and increased stress can create widespread inflammation that lingers in your body.
Signs of Inflammation
Inflammation on the inside eventually starts to show on your skin. Long-term inflammation even starts to break down collagen, which causes sagging and premature aging.
What’s more? When you’re body is inflamed, you may experience a number of symptoms throughout your body and skin, including:
- Joint pain
- Leaky gut
- Menstrual cramps
More serious illnesses that are associated with inflammation include:
- Heart disease
5 Ways to Reduce Skin Inflammation
While inflammation can be alarming, just remember that early signs are your first indication that there is an internal imbalance. Use it as information to course correct and ease or eliminate your symptoms. Not only will you feel better but your skin will glow as a result.
Here is a simple five-step strategy to calm the immune system and reduce skin inflammation:
Upgrade Your Diet
Foods rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids are naturally anti-inflammatory. They help strengthen the immune system and fight free radicals. These foods include all vegetables and dark leafy greens, berries and citrus fruits, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. Spices like turmeric are also known to ease inflammation. In fact, you can try swapping your morning coffee for a turmeric latte. Enjoy as a relaxing and satisfying way to start your day.
Buy organic meats and produce as much as possible to reduce pesticide exposure. It’s also important to eliminate any foods you might be sensitive to, as they can cause an immune and inflammatory response. Common allergens are corn, soy, gluten, dairy, eggs, and peanuts. If you suspect you have a food allergy, consider working with a holistic health coach to uncover any unknown sensitivities and to develop a personalized roadmap to health.
Exercise and Hydrate
When you engage in cardio activities, your body releases anti-inflammatory myokines and endorphins. Additionally, exercise makes you sweat — and sweat carries toxins out of the body through the skin. Try to work out for 30 minutes at least three times per week. If you don’t enjoy going to the gym, find an activity you love, like swimming, hiking, yoga, or dancing.
Exercise also encourages water consumption, which further assists in the detoxification process and hydrates your skin. How much is right for you? On average, take your body weight, divide it by two, and drink that number of ounces per day. For example: If you weigh 130 pounds, you should drink approximately 65 ounces (or a little over 8 cups) daily.
Manage Stress and Sleep
It doesn’t matter if you’re running from a bear or running late to an appointment, your body can quickly shift into fight-or-flight mode. When in this state, cortisol is released. Excess cortisol from excess stress can tax your body, cause fatigue, and lead to inflammation.
It’s therefore essential to find ways to relax and decompress on a daily basis. Take a hot bath, go for a walk, pet a puppy, spend time in nature, or plan a getaway. Be sure to prioritize sleep, so your body gets the rest it needs to repair and recover.
Swap Your Products
Are your skin care products backed by third-party certifications? Do they contain all-natural ingredients? If not, it might be time for a change. The toxins you put on your body are absorbed by the skin and can ultimately trigger your immune system, much like a food allergen.
This story originally appeared on Well Within Beauty. It has been reprinted with permission.