Inflammation: How it Affects Your Skin + What to Eat on an Anti-inflammatory Diet
If one thing’s for sure, you can’t hide behind your skin when it comes to chronic inflammation. In fact, your skin’s appearance can be a telltale sign of underlying health issues.
If your body is suffering from chronic inflammation, it will signal the problem by manifesting itself through a variety of skin conditions. It’s important to look out for those signs and to examine more deeply to find out what the root of the problem might be.
What is the Purpose of Inflammation Anyway?
There are 2 types of inflammation: acute and chronic (or systemic).
Acute inflammation occurs when you suffer from a cut or scrape. This type of inflammatory response triggers chemicals to be released from your white blood cells and serve to protect your body from foreign invaders. This type of inflammation is short-term and is your body’s built-in defense mechanism utilized when undergoing threatening circumstances.
Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, poses a threat to your health. This type of inflammation is brought on by many different factors such as stress, autoimmune disorders, poor diet, smoking, and obesity. It’s the type of inflammation that persists and becomes long-term.
In short, acute inflammation keeps you alive, while chronic inflammation slowly deteriorates your body!
6 Ways Your Skin Reacts to Chronic Inflammation
When you break out in hives, your body is sending a strong message. Take note of it and try and eliminate things that may be the trigger. Avoid common skin allergens: soap, household cleaners, dryer sheets, laundry detergent, fragrance, etc.
Chronic inflammation may trigger a skin disorder called hyperkeratinization. Under normal circumstances, your body simply sheds dead skin cells. However, with this skin condition, excess keratin in your follicles prevents your body from shedding those dead skin cells. When this happens, dead skin cells build up and get trapped in your pores. This is the perfect environment for bacteria to breed and what ultimately leads to acne breakouts!
Rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition that appears in the form of redness on the forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin. It is often triggered by eating certain foods or drinking alcoholic beverages.
Eczema, or chronic dry, scaly skin is a by-product of inflammation in your body. It’s oftentimes hard to pinpoint its root cause, so it’s extremely important to follow an anti-inflammatory protocol in order to keep it under control!
Psoriasis is characterized by large patches (also known as plaques) that are scaly, red, and itchy. It is an autoimmune disorder linked to chronic inflammation.
Inflammation will cause collagen to break down rapidly. Collagen is the framework on which your skin is built upon. Once that framework collapses, your skin begins to sag and age quickly.
When trying to keep inflammation under control, there are foods that you must limit (or avoid altogether) and foods that you should incorporate into your diet. Below are examples of foods avoid and foods to include in your daily regimen.
Foods that Cause Inflammation:
- Refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice, breakfast cereals
- Sugar found in pastries, candy, sodas, etc.
- Fried foods
- Red meat
Foods that Fight Inflammation:
- Fatty fish such as wild salmon
- Green leafy vegetables such as spinach
- Green tea
Eating a diet full of antioxidant-rich foods will help reduce systemic inflammation. When you reduce overall inflammation, you give your body the chance it needs to heal and recover.
Just remember: It may take awhile to heal the inflammation that’s been raging within your body for so long. Be patient with yourself and take the time to learn what foods might be your inflammatory triggers. Overtime, you’ll start to notice patterns, and slowly, you’ll regain control over your body!