So what is ‘inflammaging’? It’s one of the newer terms in the skincare world and it pertains to the skin aging prematurely because of too much inflammation. Now we all love our exfoliators: our glycolics and our retinols and our scrubs… but if we over do them, it can lead to trouble. When we start to remove our superficial layer of skin too often, we stress the skin out. This then leads to too much redness, irritation, and starts the inflammation cascade which leads to aging. In the last few decades, with easy access to over the counter exfoliators, peels, masks, enzymes and acids, we have all been a little crazy with over-exfoliating. So now the skincare world has had to come up with a new term to describe what we have all been doing to your skin. Now that’s not to say that exfoliating is bad, but it should be done only a few times a week to avoid overdoing it. In the last few years, I’ve started seeing clients over use laser resurfacing and medical grade acid or ‘downtime peels’ as well, which can really lead to a lot of problems. You can see the tell-tale signs of too much exfoliation by a glassy or super shiny look to the skin. Up close, the skin is almost see-through, you can see small veins, and when you push or pull on the skin it will blanch immediately. That type of skin is way too over-worked, and needs a break in a major way! You don’t want to get to a point where the skin can’t easily repair itself, which is the only way to come back from such aggressive over exfoliation.
Now lets get it straight, we all have inflammation. Acne is inflammation, rosacea is inflammation, too much sun is inflammation. Diet can cause it, stress can cause it, and some of it is just genetic. Also, we are all aging. But inflammaging really occurs from self inflicted over exfoliation of the skin. So we all just have to do our best, and not get too crazy when it comes to exfoliating our delicate faces. I love a good scrub, I love glycolic, I love a nice mask, I also love my Clarisonic, but I don’t use all of these on a daily basis. A lot of people have this feeling of ‘more is more’, if one peel helped my skin to look smoother and brighter then I’ll do them all the time! Uh.. please no! You’re poor face needs some time to rebuild!
If you think your skin has been over-exfoliated, just give it a rest for a bit. Keep it simple with a basic cleanser, good moisturizer, and consistent SPF until the redness or glassy look seems to calm down. Your skin will come back, promise… The skin loves to regenerate itself, it’s its only major job, it knows what it’s doing.
I hope this gives you a little insight into the world of aging, and what you should and should not be doing…
Thanks for reading!