My Formula: Dr. Tiffany Lester on inflammation and skin

My Formula: Dr. Tiffany Lester on inflammation and skin

‘Anti-inflammatory’ ingredients in both food and skincare are often promoted, but what does inflammation mean for our skin and why should we try to get it under control? We consult our Medical Advisor.

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Having a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle can make a huge difference to all aspects of the body, including inflammation. Inflammation refers to the body’s defense mechanism against pathogens, injury and the effects of certain chemicals or radiation

While having our very own army of cells to protect us is vital, inflammation isn’t always a positive. A host of issues, including skin conditions such as psoriasis, can arise when the immune system fights against the body’s own cells by mistake.

Our resident Medical Advisor, Dr. Tiffany Lester, answered our questions on how to reduce inflammation, the repercussions of prescription skin drugs on the gut and the most effective skincare ingredients (that just so happen to be included in our new topical skincare supplement).

What causes skin inflammation? 
It is typically due to a trigger through your immune system due to an allergic reaction, an infection, or an imbalance.

What are the symptoms?
Acne, rash, burning/itching, redness, hyperpigmentation, dry skin, oiliness and puffiness are the most common.

Why are some people more prone to inflammation than others?
I typically find this is based on the status of their immune system and stress levels. When these systems are not in a healthy place and they get exposed to triggers, the reactions are more severe.

When are antibiotics necessary to treat skin conditions?
If you have a skin infection like impetigo or an abscess, antibiotics are absolutely necessary. Most of the time they are just a bandaid for a deeper issue. For example, antibiotics are often prescribed for acne and may clear the skin because it kills ALL the bacteria in the gut, good and bad. However, this significantly alters the microbiome leading to long-term negative health effects like intestinal permeability.

What can you do to reduce inflammation?
There are certain foods that are known to combat inflammation like turmeric, fatty fish, olive oil, nuts and green leafy vegetables. Eating a combination of these foods on a weekly basis will decrease levels over time. You want to eat foods that increase Omega-6 fatty acids in moderation as these can contribute to higher levels of inflammation. These include red meat, cheese, corn, safflower and sunflower oils.

What exacerbates inflammation?
Lack of sleep, dehydration, processed and high sugar foods, not doing any exercise and smoking.

Can skin inflammation be hereditary?
Not that I know of...

How does CBD work on skin?
The endocannabinoid systemwhich works to create harmony in response to changes in the environment, regulating many functions including mood, sleep and immune function is found all over the body, even the skin! We have receptors in our skin that are present in the epidermis containing the primary skin cells called keratinocytes, immune cells, hair follicles, and sebaceous glands (that secrete oil for hair and skin). CBD applied topically may help to regulate sebum production to reduce oiliness, increase cell turnover, and reduce inflammation. Some early research has also shown that it can prolong the regression phase of hair growth which is especially helpful for individuals who want to lessen facial hair.

What topical ingredients do you think have the biggest impact on skin?
CBD and Hyaluronic Acid.