The Regimen

What Does Inflammation Have to do With Wrinkles?

Woman holding hand mirror in bathroom


We often focus on UV exposure as the largest contributor to visible aging. What we haven’t talked as much about is its counterpart inflammation, the cellular saboteur that can be both hero and villain depending on its source and its duration. You’ve probably heard plenty about all the ways inflammation damages the body and catalyzes disease, but it’s also a major factor in visible skin aging, and paradoxically, skin rejuvenation. It’s safe to say the skin’s relationship with inflammation is complicated. Let’s explore.  



Is there good inflammation?

The tricky part of inflammation is that it is as necessary as it is destructive. Inflammation is what signals the body to initiate healing when there is injury or infection. In that way, it plays a critical role in keeping the body healthy.


In skin care, we often harness inflammation to jumpstart growth factors. Treatments like micro-needling, lasers, dermabrasion, exfoliants, and cell turnover accelerators like acids and retinoids all, to one degree or another, rely on the skin’s response to micro-injury to spur cell regeneration and collagen production. This is good inflammation. It’s when inflammation is chronic that it becomes a problem.



What is chronic inflammation?

When inflammation is prolonged, the immune system’s attempts to heal backfire causing damage to tissue and organs. In the body, chronic inflammation is a catalyst for disease. In the skin, chronic inflammation is strongly linked to many preventable and treatable conditions including rosacea, hyperpigmentation, eczema, and visible skin aging.



What causes chronic inflammation?

It’s more like what doesn’t cause inflammation. Many things that are part of everyday life are stimuli for inflammation: UV exposure, stress, pollution, alcohol, smoking, toxins, and sugar.


Does the last one surprise you? When your glucose levels get raised, the sugar molecules bond with proteins (collagen) and create advanced glycation end products (AGEs), triggering oxidative stress and inflammation. AGEs are responsible for the breakdown of collagen and stiffening of elastin fibers. And in a vicious cycle of inflammatory damage, AGEs make cells more sensitive to external stimuli like UV.



What can you do to avoid or counter bad inflammation?

To avoid the most common triggers of chronic inflammation, review your lifestyle and adjust your habits as necessary. Use sunscreen daily, don’t smoke, limit alcohol consumption, and adjust your diet to reduce sugars and increase antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods. The Harvard Medical School recommends a diet that includes tomatoes, olive oil, green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards, nuts like almonds and walnuts, fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines, and fruits like strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges.


You can disrupt the process of glycation, help control the accumulation of AGEs, and decrease inflammation by using skin care products that offer antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection. Green tea and vitamin C are disruptors of glycation. Niacinamide, green tea, vitamin E, grape seed oil, witch hazel, aloe, mandelic acid, peptides, allantoin, zinc peptides, and algae are potent anti-inflammatory agents. These are some of the ingredients you should be incorporating into your routine.



What does Vivant recommend?

Green Tea Antioxidant Cleanser is rich in collagen-supporting polyphenols and vitamins C and E and anti-inflammatory ingredients to combat the effects of AGEs and promote healthy skin.


Skin Nourishing Toner is a clarifying cocktail of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredients including rosehip oil, ceramide-boosting niacinamide, green tea extract, mandelic acid, zinc ferment, and witch hazel. Perfect for sensitive or rosacea-prone skin.


Spin Trap Antioxidant Serum harnesses the antioxidant strength of vitamins C & E to inhibit and slow the process of glycation and protect skin from inflammatory, oxidative stress.


For acne-prone or oily skin, Daily Repair Pads are uniquely formulated with anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and rejuvenating ingredients to improve skin texture and tone while prepping skin for better absorption of Vivant’s rejuvenating serums. 


Wink Eye Rejuvenation Cream’s brightening and firming formula includes caffeine, which is rich in polyphenols and other anti-inflammatory compounds, plus vitamin A and peptides making it the ultimate rejuvenator.


Algae Soft Mask is the ultimate inflammation-reducing weekly booster. Antioxidants, marine minerals, amino acids, sea protein, and polysaccharides support cell function, protect collagen and elastin, and leave skin radiantly calm.


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