The mysteries of aging that control an individual’s lifespan, and the way they look and feel, are still yet to be completely unraveled, despite the many scientific advances in all the relevant fields of medicine, genetics, health, and wellness.
Aging is truly a complex collaboration involving epidemiology, psychology, and cell biology, and there is no single theory that satisfactorily explains all aspects of aging. A host of molecular, cellular, structural, and functional alterations affect tissues and organs to varying degrees, which is occurring at the same time various psychosocial factors exert their influence. All of this means it can be a little bewildering to know how to age gracefully, especially if it begins before a person is even born.
WHAT IS INFLAMMAGEING?
Chronic inflammation is instrumental in driving the aging process, with a myriad of effects that include the activation and dysregulation of the immune system, notable declines in microbial diversity and increases in pathogenic flora, inhibition of growth factors, increases in inflammatory cytokine production, marked oxidative stress levels and the consequential mitochondrial damage, DNA damage and cellular senescence, interference with homeostatic signaling, and an increase in catabolism. Collectively this process has been named inflammageing.
Inflammageing is a result of a multitude of influencing factors beginning at preconception and pre- and post-natal health, and is added to through genetic susceptibility, injuries, environment, lifestyle, and all the different conditions in which an individual is born, grows, works, lives, and ages – even how they sleep. Social determinants, such as income, education, employment, and social support, can strengthen or undermine the health of individuals and their ability to cope with inflammation.
There is no one magic bullet to prevent the onset and progression of inflammageing. How an individual chooses to move, eat, drink, and think at every single stage of life will contribute to their personal skin and body inflammageing history – so will the skin treatments that they have chosen to work with.
There is still a clear lack of consensus in the industry as to what exactly constitutes an antiaging treatment, although science confirms that the exponential upregulation of collagen-degrading enzymes occurs with the ongoing production of reactive oxygen species (created by an inflammageing state), at the same time that a decline in collagen and elastin synthesis is occurring.
LED light therapy is photobiostimulation that offers positive regenerative effects at the molecular, cellular, and tissue levels. LED works powerfully when combined with either sonophoresis (low frequency sound waves) or pulsed iontophoresis (galvanic current) by massively enhancing penetration of specifically chosen actives (vitamins and other anti-inflammatories) into the skin to improve cell health at the subepidermal junction level. Enzyme facial treatments are also a less invasive option that aim to restore vital cellular nutrition and oxygenation for reduced inflammation and better skin function.
As corneotherapy gains more and more momentum in the skin industry, there has been a notable shift away from traditional microdermabrasion and peels, as these erode the stratum corneum, a vital layer for optimal functioning and overall optimal wellness. If the stratum corneum is continually compromised, inflammation can spiral out of control. Common presentations of inflammatory-based skin conditions are acne, dermatitis, pigmentation, urticaria, loss of laxity, and glycation.
Heat-based modalities such as IPL, radio frequency, and laser can all be extremely effective as antiaging modalities, yet all do induce inflammation in the skin, so it sensible practice to understand the underlying levels of inflammation in the client’s skin before beginning a treatment, and how to best ensure they have the nutrient resources required to combat the inflammation that will be created. Hormones, immune function, starting point skin health, and nutritional status are all factors to consider.
In terms of nutrition, it is well established that a balanced diet with sufficient essential nutritional elements to suit the lifestyle of the person is critical for maintaining an optimally healthy body. Both nutritional excess and deficiency, as well as defective gastrointestinal digestion and absorption functions, are associated with disease, so working with a professional could be the best option to ensure a client is optimizing their antioxidant nutrient capacity. A recent study found that increases in polyphenol intake, measured through a Mediterranean diet (extra virgin olive oil, nuts, fruit, vegetables, and red wine) are inversely associated with inflammatory biomarkers through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities.
It is important to keep in mind that genes, microbiota populations, feedback circuits, physiology, and pathophysiology can all impact specific nutrient supplementation and determine how the body uses those nutrients, so reducing systemic inflammation is not just as easy as taking resveratrol, green tea, omega-3, vitamins, and minerals each day – it is about understanding how these systems are working and working towards root cause, not symptomatic dosing.
Increasing awareness about the best choices for a unique recipe for inner and outer health is the perfect beginning. Science has shown that meditation, mindfulness, and mindful movement practices, such as Qi Gong, can positively impact specific markers of inflammation and potentially improve immunity and biological aging. Considering an intentional and sustained practice of conscious mindfulness to improve aging is a free, accessible, and fairly easy place to begin.
The coming decades are projected to see a move into the most long-lived populations of all time. It is possible to facilitate successful aging by devising individualized, multi-pronged solution plans that include a number of internal and external anti-inflammatory focused support measures to promote and protect health, energy, and wellness.
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Medina-Remón, A., R. Casas, A. Tressserra-Rimbau, E. Ros, M.A. Martínez-González, and M. Fitó. “Polyphenol intake from a Mediterranean diet decreases inflammatory biomarkers related to atherosclerosis: a substudy of the PREDIMED trial.” British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 83, no. 1 (2017): 114-128.
Nadjar, A., H.-K. M. Wigren, and M.-E. Tremblay. “Roles of Microglial Phagocytosis and Inflammatory Mediators in the Pathophysiology of Sleep Disorders.” Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience 11 (2017): 250.
Sugar, J., R.J. Riekse, H. Holstege, and M.A. Faber. Introduction to Aging: A Positive, Interdisciplinary Approach. Springer Publishing Company, 2013.
Tobin, D. J. “Introduction to skin aging.” Journal of Tissue Viability 26, no. 1 (2017): 37-46.