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Inflammaging refers to a low-level of inflammation driven by an increase in molecules in the blood called cytokines. What is really aging the skin as we get older? We explore the differences between chronic and acute inflammation and how CBD can help reduce skin conditions caused by stress and inflammation.
Our skin starts to deteriorate around age 50 with changes to epidermal pH, hydration, and the permeability barrier, which keeps water in and bacteria and other potential pathogens out. A loss of moisture and breaks in the permeability barrier cause the skin to release inflammatory cytokines. Ordinarily, these cytokines help to repair defects in the barrier, but in aging skin the barrier can’t be fixed as easily, so the inflammatory signals continue to be released, eventually reaching the blood. When cytokine levels remain elevated and reach the blood stream it can cause a domino effect of other health issues. Therefore, decreasing inflammation simply by caring for the skin dysfunction seen in aging could have profound health effects. A proper skincare regimen consisting of a combination of three types of lipids (cholesterol, free fatty acids, and ceramides) is vital for skin health and overall health and wellness.
ACUTE Acute inflammation develops rapidly and can occur from allergies, acne, sunburn, bug bite, infection, trauma, or reaction to chemical irritants/ingredients. It often shows itself as pain, redness, swelling, heat, loss of function, fatigue, and fever. The good news is that acute inflammation isn’t known to cause permanent tissue damage and is short term, usually resolving within a few moments, few days or few weeks.
CHRONIC Chronic skin inflammation may be expressed as eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, long term exposure to irritants, poor diet. It can also appear less noticeable on the surface of the skin and feel like fatigue, fever, or generally feeling unwell. Raised cytokine levels and chronic inflammation can cause permanent tissue damage in the integrity of the skin. Long lasting impacts of issue death, thickening, scarring of connective tissue can also result. Scientists are conducting studies to test if lowering cytokine levels can delay or prevent age-related inflammatory diseases.
The many different cells contained in all three layers of skin, epidermis (outermost protective layer), dermis (second layer of nerves, capillaries, and oil glands), and hypodermis (deepest layer of fat, connective tissue, and water) work together in an intertwined and complex yet balanced neuro-immuno-endocrine network that is regulated by the endocannabinoid system (ECS). It is here the ECS engages in a homeostatic process called cutaneous cannabinoid (“c[ut]annabinoid”) signaling. This signaling mechanism promotes healthy skin renewal and barrier function.
A 2019 in vitro study by Italian scientists in Phytotherapy Research found that the anti-inflammatory impact of cannabis oil and in particular compounds other than CBD isolate, down regulated several genes involved in wound healing and skin inflammation. CBD is rich in antioxidant properties and is a naturally high source of vitamins A, D, E and essential fatty acids (omega 3 and 6), which all work to enhance skin health and overall youthfulness.
A 2015 study, found that cannabidiol [CBD] exerted anti-acne effects by normalizing excessive sebaceous lipid production (sebum or oil), lessening the spread and alleviating inflammation.
CBD isn’t the only molecule in Mowellens hemp extract that works to bring the body back into balance, boost the immune system, and lessen inflammation. Terpenes, molecules in hemp responsible for the aroma as well as the feelings, contribute to the benefits of the products as well.
Acting through the PPAR receptor, CBD demonstrates anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, with antioxidant properties comparable and arguably stronger than vitamins E or A. Beta caryophyllene and Phytol, both calming relaxing terpenes, anti-inflammatory properties, aid in wound healing. Beta Caryophyllene modulates expression of stress response genes as well.
We may have rituals in our skincare practices where we, unknowingly, introduce acute or chronic inflammation. Certain ‘treatments’ or modalities used in skin services, such as microdermabrasion or microneedling, utilize a method to create a wound response in the skin. While these treatments can create a temporary desired effect, long term or multiple treatments may result in chronic inflammation. Additionally, many skin products have mild irritants causing inflammation that is only recognizable with everyday use over a long period of time. This could then result in chronic inflammation as well. Over time, these practices can be extremely taxing on our immune system. As a result, we may find that one day our immune system will become exhausted and find it difficult to continue it’s effort to rebalance skin. When our skin is busy trying to rebalance & repair from trauma, it is taking energy away from necessary functions that could let it repair on it’s own.
Our bodies are extremely intelligent, and know how to function when given the right support. Therefore, we should aim to educate ourselves and evaluate our skincare routines and products in an effort to support skin health rather than challenge it.
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