This thing called inflammation is getting everyone worried. Some say it’s good, others say it’s bad. So, here you are a little confused and in need of clarifications. In truth, inflammation is a little complicated, especially since it can be both good and bad. We provide all the clarifications you need right here. You will want to keep reading to really understand this skin condition and learn how you can perhaps minimize its problematic version.
First Things First, What Does an Expert Say Inflammation is?
“Inflammation is really our body’s ability or capacity to try and return function and form when something is being damaged,” says Jennifer Byrne, a lecturer of dermal science and president of the Australian Society of Dermal Clinicians.
Obviously, in this sense, inflammation is actually a friend and not a foe. Inflammation is simply the body launching a biological attack to try and remove any intruder it perceives in the body. Once the body manages to achieve its aim of getting rid of the intruder, the body begins to return to its normal state again.
The real problem begins when the inflammation just refuses to go. The response lingers for a longer period, leaving your body in a perpetual state of alertness. This type of inflammation is called chronic inflammation. Over time, chronic inflammation can have very adverse effects on your tissues and organs. The scary part is that you may not even know that the inflammation is slowly damaging your body until, alas, it’s too late!
What Causes Inflammation?
Typically, inflammation results from any trauma to the body’s tissue. Therefore when there’s an injury— cut, burn, or pretty much anything that causes tissue to be traumatized— inflammation occurs. Also, there are less obvious things like stress (both physical and psychological) that cause it as well.
Characteristics of Inflammation
How Do You know Your inflammation is Chronic?
Naturally, inflammation generally takes a while to heal, even the not-so-serious ones. However, when the healing period extends beyond two weeks, then the inflammation may be chronic. Medically, the inflammation is not considered such a big deal until it reaches around 3 months and still persists.
Again, most inflammation will heal after this 2-week period. When the swelling begins to last longer, some kind of scar tissue begins to form that makes the skin more rigid, stiff, and not as pliable as normal skin would be.
Inflammation can often be seen and felt. Still, not all inflammations are seen, especially chronic ones. This kind of inflammation show subtle signs like fatigue, fever, rashes, etc., and this is what makes them go unnoticed most times. Chronic Inflammation can contribute to quick aging, obesity, sleep problems, and more.
Basic Things to Do to Avoid or Manage Inflammation
Use Emollient based moisturizers
When dealing with inflammation you can use products that assist the skin in healing faster. One such product is a moisturizer with an emollient in it. Emollients are basically ingredients that make the skin more pliable and softer. They help to prevent and reduce inflammation.
Using antioxidants can also help. Antioxidants are known to shield tissues from damage. They also stop unwanted inflammatory responses from occurring. Jennifer says antioxidants like vitamin C and, in some cases, vitamin A can be used to solve some of the problems associated with inflammation. Foods like onions and garlic that have natural antioxidants in them.
Don’t cleanse aggressively
While you need to clean your skin, it is vital that you don’t use ingredients that will disrupt your skin barrier. In other words, don’t overclean. In fact, Jennifer advises against soap-based and foamy exfoliants. This can be irritating to the inflamed area, though some people are more sensitive than others. Also, try to use skin products that are closer to your pH.
Avoid UV exposure
Ultraviolet radiation has been proven to cause redness and inflammation in the skin. Staying away from the sun from which this harmful light comes is a good way to prevent inflammation. And when you do go out, make sure to wear sunscreen.
Get Enough Rest
Stress often causes inflammation. The more rest you give yourself, the lesser your chances of getting inflammation from stress. Even if you already have inflammation, more rest can help you heal faster.
Do lymphatic Drainage
If you have inflammation you can gently massage the area or do lymphatic drainage just to get the excess fluid in that area to subside.