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Gritty Pretty · The rise of anti-inflammatory skincare

We’ve put our skin through a lot. It’s now time to respond with a healing touch.

Life is all about balance. Take skincare acids, for example. For so long, we have built our beauty routines around the AHAs, BHAs and retinols, all in search of solutions that will brighten, even and smooth the complexion. We have conditioned our faces to monthly peels and harsh exfoliators on our quest for the ‘perfect’ skin. But sometimes when you love something you have to let it go. Too many harsh ingredients has led to rising concerns around inflammation and how you could be doing more harm than good. Sorry to be the bearers of bad news.

We so readily hear about gut inflammation and the gut microbiome, but what about the skin microbiome? What effect is inflammation having on our skin? With rising cases of rosacea, eczema, breakouts, or skin sensitivity in general, we are being met with the backlash of those harsher and more intense routines. With anti-inflammatory skincare now the cool kid on the block, we explore the effect that inflammation has on the skin and the industry’s kinder and gentler approach to supporting your barrier health.

How Inflammation Affects The Skin

There is no straightforward answer to the inflammation question, as is pretty standard when it comes to questions about the skin. However, there are conditions that experts typically note can affect the skin’s barrier function and lead to irritation. “We are bombarded every day with inflammatory influences, from harsh skincare ingredients to UVA and UVB rays, stress, tailpipe emissions, HEV rays, smoking, drinking and sugar,” shares Dr Barbara Sturm. Skin Expert Melanie Grant also expressed that it is possible to see skin conditions such as compromised barrier function, increased sensitivity and irregular sebaceous surface when inflammation flares. “Other conditions include collagen breakdown, acne, hyperpigmentation or hormonal congestion,” she adds.

But should we consider all inflammation the same? Dr Timm Goleuke, Founder of Royal Fern Skincare shares that “there are two types of inflammation in the skin: acute and chronic. The difference between them is a matter of timing. Acute inflammation usually lasts six weeks or less and can result from many skin issues, like acne, sunburns and allergic reactions. Chronic inflammation goes beyond six weeks and maybe indefinite. It often goes hand in hand with eczema, rosacea and psoriasis.”

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