Chronic Inflammation: The Root of Aging and Problem Skin

blogfritchey's picture

The skin (our faces in particular) is the only part of our body that doesn’t wear clothes… just think about that!  In the US, we go to great lengths to camouflage discolored skin and make pores look smaller. The appearance of our skin is a huge factor in our overall self-confidence and in how we are perceived by others.

In our western culture, we have been conditioned to cover up, correct, and conceal less-than- perfect skin with corrective cosmetics to “hide” skin flaws. This is done without any understanding of why those flaws exist in the first place, much less how to make them go away (permanently) so that those cosmetic “cover ups” are no longer necessary. In Europe, proper skin care is introduced at a very early age, and as a result, the skin of adult women in these countries is often dramatically different than their western counterparts. Although the use and need for good daily skin care has become more common place in recent years, our society still has a “quick fix” mentality when it comes to our understanding of how to choose and correctly use effective, healthy skin care.  As the number of aging women (and men) continues to explode, the signs and symptoms of aging and problem skin have grown as well—and these quick-fix cosmetic cover ups no longer meet the needs of aging Americans.

Over the past several years, I have been astonished by the number of women who come to my clinic for professional anti-aging treatments who are also experiencing chronic inflammation.  This was rare for me to see 15 years ago; now, it seems the majority of women seem to have varying degrees of inflammation—this really concerns me.  As a result, I include products with active ingredients focused on reversing and preventing chronic inflammation in both my professional treatments, and in my clients’ home-care programs. This change in my strategy includes all topical products, nutritional supplements, and dietary recommendations.

The linking of chronic inflammation to multiple cutaneous and systemic diseases, including skin aging and cancer, was suggested more than a century ago, but now has been scientifically accepted. It is now clear that destructive chronic inflammation can be prevented and reversed by the consumption of proper food and oral supplements, as well as the application of ingredient-specific topical skin care products. Optimizing the skin’s protective barrier function is necessary to prevent opportunistic bacteria from invading this delicate barrier, and reverse the skin damage caused by chronic inflammation. This helps the skin return to its ideal, natural balance, and prevent and minimize visible skin aging.

Essential Fatty Acids are vital nutrients that help reduce inflammation and replenish or maintain a healthy skin-barrier function. They are best used topically and internally. The body does not metabolize these important nutrients, so they must be acquired from the diet and/or supplements. My personal favorite EFA nutritional supplement is  Natures’ Sunshine’s Super Omega for efficacy and purity. Eessential Fatty Acids are vital for proper functioning and formation of ceramides, which are a crucial element to help the skin bind and maintain water and moisture balance within the epidermal layers.  Omega -3 and omega-6  fatty acids are a crucial element to help the skin bind and maintain water and moisture balance within the epidermal layers, and have  been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin, providing a level of relief from symptoms associated with eczema, dermatitis and acne skin conditions.


Emily Fritchey is a holistic skin therapist, award-winning product formulator, and nationally recognized aesthetics educator who's unique and highly effective approaches for the treatment of aging and problem skin conditions have been presented at national aesthetics conferences, wellness seminars, and natural health workshops across the country. She has been featured in Cosmetic Surgery Times and Dermatology Times, and has received the endorsement of beauty experts and nationally syndicated radio talk show hosts across the country, including Kat James, author of "The Truth About Beauty." Emily is the founder and president of Sunshine Botanicals and the recipient of three consecutive "Beauty with a Conscience" awards from Natural Solutions magazine for outstanding product formulation. For more information, visit, as well as her Facebook andTwitter pages.