When it comes to achieving and maintaining a youthful, radiant complexion, the term “anti-aging” is often music to our ears! While we all desire timeless beauty, to achieve it, we must understand the role played by skin inflammation when it comes to skin health and appearance. This silent assassin, driven primarily by external (environmental) factors like the sun’s UV rays and air pollutants, often leads to a cascade of biological events that result in premature skin aging, aptly named “inflammaging”. 
In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricate connection between skin inflammation, oxidative stress, and skin aging. We will explore practical tips and skincare routines to help you combat this skin aging villain and regain youthful, radiant skin.
What is skin inflammation? 
Skin aging isn’t governed solely by time alone but is also heavily influenced by various external and internal factors. External factors include environmental elements like UV radiation, air pollution, and lifestyle choices including smoking and poor diet. These factors accelerate skin’s natural aging process due to the formation of free radicals that lead to oxidative stress and inflammation.
Inflammation is our body’s natural response to injury, infection, or any perceived threat. Think of it as our body’s way of saying, “Houston, we have a problem.” Inflammation is the body’s defense mechanism against harmful invaders like bacteria and viruses. It is a complex, orchestrated biological response involving immune cells, proteins, and signaling molecules. Acute inflammation is a short-lived process essential for healing and protection. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is a persistent, low-level response that can have detrimental effects on the body.
Inflammatory signaling molecules with fancy names like cytokines and immune cells are key players in the skin aging game. Cytokines are signaling molecules that regulate the inflammatory response. Immune cells such as macrophages and neutrophils are the foot soldiers in the battle against external troublemakers. However, when these foot soldiers become chronically activated, they unfortunately contribute to premature skin aging.
Numerous studies have shown that chronic inflammation plays a pivotal role in accelerating skin aging, i.e., “inflammaging”. It leads to the degradation of essential skin components like collagen and elastin, resulting in the formation of fine lines, wrinkles, and the dreaded sagging skin.
What is oxidative stress? 
Oxidative stress is like a ninja assassin that weakens your skin’s natural defenses. Free radicals, the foot soldiers of oxidative stress, are created when skin is exposed to external factors like UV rays and air pollution. Free radicals, a.k.a., reactive oxygen species (ROS) are highly reactive chemicals that steal electrons from healthy cells in the skin resulting in oxidative stress which, in turn, activates enzymes in the skin that break down collagen and damage the DNA of a cell.
The damage caused by free radicals can range from cell damage to cell death. The inherent reactivity of free radicals and the burden they place on the body’s natural antioxidant defense system in defending against the evolution of pathological conditions is referred to as oxidative stress. Inflammation is the body’s immune system response to pathogenic insults which includes oxidative stress.
The two primary sources of free radicals are solar radiation and air pollution. The body’s failure to neutralize free radicals prior to their overwhelming the body’s natural antioxidant defense system leads to oxidative stress. The combination of oxidative stress and the inflammation it triggers wreaks havoc on the skin barrier, ultimately affecting skin health and appearance. This is the phenomenon known as “inflammaging”, i.e., premature aging caused by chronic skin inflammation.
Inflammaging leads to the loss of skin elasticity, reduced collagen production, fine lines/wrinkles, and those pesky age spots. In simpler terms, it’s the fast-forward button on the aging process making it the ultimate adversary in the quest for anti-aging.
How can skin inflammation be effectively managed? 
To thwart oxidative stress and its kissing cousin inflammation, it is essential to incorporate the right products and practices into your daily skin regimen. An effective regimen includes:
- Use antioxidants: Anti-aging products today rely heavily on the use of antioxidants, and for good reason. Antioxidants represent a class of effective anti-aging tools that neutralize free radicals roaming around the skin before they can trigger oxidative stress. Look for microbiome-friendly serums like ANTU® SKIN BARRIER SERUM with its patented ANTUCOMPLEX® based on a combination of potent Matico, Maqui, and Murtilla (M3™) antioxidants in your anti-aging journey.
- Use sunscreen: This anti-inflammatory shield is your BFF in the battle against inflammation-induced aging (inflammaging). It acts as an anti-inflammatory shield against UV rays, the primary instigator of skin inflammation. By regularly applying a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, you can prevent inflammation from gaining a foothold.
- Moisturizer daily: A well moisturized, properly hydrated skin barrier is like an anti-aging superhero. Well hydrated skin, with its moisture locked-in, keeps your skin barrier healthy functioning at a high level. Use a gentle, microbiome-friendly moisturizer containing hyaluronic acid that hydrates your skin and locks in the moisture like ANTU® SKIN BARRIER MOISTURIZER which not only moisturizes your skin, but also protects it against 92% of air pollutants! You may also want to consider using an exceptionally decadent, deeply nourishing moisturizer prior to bed for accelerated night time recovery like ANTU® SKIN BARRIER NIGHT CREAM to turbo-charge the repair and restoration of your skin barrier.
- Regenerate your skin: Retinoids like retinol and tretinoin are like skilled artisans on your anti-aging team. They stimulate collagen production, boost cell turnover, and reduce the signs of skin inflammation-induced aging. Their use is considered a “best practice” when it comes to skin regeneration. For those who prefer to use Mother Nature’s plant-based retinol, Bakuchiol, then SHAANT® BALANCING OIL CONTROL CREAM is just the ticket to not only stimulate cell turnover but also mattify unwanted shine, smooth uneven skin, and combat the appearance of redness.
- Exfoliate regularly: Exfoliation helps to remove dead skin cells and promote cell turnover which can improve the appearance and texture of your skin. However, be gentle with your skin and avoid over-exfoliating, as this can damage the skin’s natural barrier function. Use a mild, microbiome-friendly exfoliant once or twice a week that contains alpha-, beta-, and poly-hydroxy acids like ANTU® TONING RADIANCE MIST or SHAANT® BALANCING REFINING TONER.
- Lifestyle: In the world of anti-aging, the choices you make outside of your skincare routine also matter. Managing stress, staying hydrated, maintaining a balanced diet, avoiding smoking, and limiting alcohol consumption all contribute to an anti-inflammatory lifestyle that compliments your skincare regimen helping you avoid skin inflammation and achieve anti-aging nirvana. You may also want to introduce stress-relieving supplements into your daily skincare regimen like SHAANT® SKIN DE-STRESS DIETARY SUPPLEMENT with its anti-inflammatory, stress-, metabolism-, and hormone-supporting dietary ingredients.
Does Codex have a proprietary secret weapon for combating inflammation?
Actually, we have three! The first is our antioxidant powerhouse that goes by the name M3TM This antioxidant superhero is a unique blend of three extracts derived from plants indigenous to the Patagonian region of Chile, namely, Matico (Buddleja globose) + Maqui (Aristotelia chilensis) + Murtilla (Ugni molinae). These plant extracts, working in synergy, scavenge and neutralize free radicals to alleviate and avoid inflammation.
The second secret weapon is called ANTUCOMPLEX®, a patented technology specifically developed by our talented team of researchers to address oxidative stress and chronic inflammation. It’s based on a proprietary combination of M3TM + hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid + specific calming/soothing/anti-inflammatory ingredients which, in combination, synergistically work to effectively manage skin inflammation.
ANTUCOMPLEX® has been shown to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, the precursors to inflammaging. Third-party clinical testing has demonstrated the ability of this patented technology to (1) provide a physical shield against free radicals by blocking them from contacting the skin; (2) deposit free radical-scavenging antioxidants (M3TM) in both the upper AND lower layers of the skin; (3) address existing inflammation; (4) restore/replenish the skin barrier; and (5) help skin recover from inflammaging.
Codex’s third secret weapon is called PRESERVX®. Representing Codex’s first patented technology, this preservative system contains bio-fermented probiotics and other natural ingredients that work in synergy to preserve our water-containing products without destroying the skin’s microbiome.
If your serious about anti-aging and want to protect your skin from oxidative stress-inducing damage, you should really make it a point to give our ANTU® COLLECTION a try. You won’t be disappointed. How do we know? Because, as always, we have the clinical data to prove it!