Inflammation is a natural part of our immune system's defense against bacteria and viruses. As soon as the body detects an intruder, it launches a biological response to try to remove it. The attacker could be a foreign body, such as a chemical, irritant, or pathogen.
1 | WHAT HAPPENS DURING INFLAMMATION?
Specific cells which are a part of our innate immune system release substances into the immediate area that make the blood vessels wider and more permeable. This allows the immune response, including white blood cells (leukocytes) and pro-inflammatory cytokines, to reach the affected area more easily, and is the cause of some of the symptoms we see associated with inflammation, including redness, heat, and swelling.
We most commonly see two types of inflammation: acute and chronic. During an acute inflammatory response, your body responds immediately to a negative stimulus. Chronic inflammation, however, persists. This type of inflammatory response is triggered by a number of internal and external stressors, including immune system dysfunction, environmental factors, pollution, lack of sleep, or poor diet.
Unfortunately, chronic inflammation of the skin weakens its structure, resulting in the degradation of collagen, elastin, and impairment of skin barrier function. Chronic persistent inflammation can dehydrate your skin, and also damages your skin’s fibroblasts. These cells reside in the skin’s connective tissue and are responsible for producing collagen and elastin. Fibroblasts give skin its firmness and smooth texture. Furthermore, inflammation exacerbates the loss of important protein from your skin by triggering glycation.
2 | HOW CAN PROBIOTICS HELP?
Studies have shown the effects of probiotics in reducing inflammation. Probiotics balance our microbiome, and in turn aid in the removal of harmful free radicals, toxins, and pathogens that can otherwise lead to acute (or even chronic) inflammation.
The topical application of probiotics to the skin can improve the appearance of inflammation and damage caused by inflammation. Probiotics stimulate a healthier environment for the skin and can encourage increased production of collagen and elastin. Probiotics also help counter the dehydrating effects of inflammation with mechanisms that restore the skin’s hydration and moisture content. These changes can help increase cell turnover and improve overall skin function by fortifying the overall skin barrier, and produce an anti-inflammatory effect that the entire body can benefit from.