Stop infammation before it starts, and live flare-free, yet full of flair

Meet the Expert: Tatum Hunter
Expert Julia Tatum Hunter, MD, dermatologist and founder of Skin Fitness Plus in Beverly Hills

When our bodies are exposed to infection, irritation or injury, inflammation is a natural defensive response. The redness, warmth and swelling we experience are our bodies’ attempts to heal and repair themselves when they feel overwhelmed by outside threats. In addition to taxing our internal organs, such reactions have a direct effect on how we age externally, giving way to wrinkles, puffiness and sagging skin. Julia Tatum Hunter, MD, a dermatologist and founder of Skin Fitness Plus in Beverly Hills, explains the basics of this reaction, as well as ways to better control it. At last, get ready to say farewell to flare-ups!

Q: What is inflammation?

A: Inflammation—the cause of all disease and aging—is triggered by the following:

  • Diet (prepared foods that contain no living ingredients can cause inflammation, such as hydrogenated fats, sugar, cow milk dairy, carbohydrates and some grains)
  • Sunlight
  • Radiation (sunlight is a form of radiation, as are X-rays, microwave ovens, cell phones and computer screens)
  • Stress, which deranges hormone levels in men and women and initiates the inflammatory response in the body.
  • Pollution (i.e. the air we breathe, the food we eat, chemicals in cleaning products and even dry cleaning)
  • Genetics (can contribute, but can also be minimized)
  • Products for the skin, hair and nails, which often contain ingredients that cause inflammation, such as glycolic acid, parabens, synthetic propylene glycol, acrylates and ureas.

Q: How do I know if I am suffering from inflammation?

A: Inflammation means “to set on fire” in Latin. When a disease name ends in -itis, it is an indicator of inflammation (i.e. arthritis, dermatitis, gastritis, tonsillitis and hepatitis). Inflammation results when the immune system is activated by infection or any of the aforementioned causes, and begins long before disease or skin conditions are detected.

Inflammation leads to high blood pressure; Alzheimer’s disease; cancer; diabetes; gastrointestinal problems such as constipation, indigestion and heartburn; impotence; weight gain; heart attack; and stroke. Additionally, acne is an inflammatory disease, which is why skin becomes red and plagued by pustules. A strong indicator that inflammation is present includes any abnormal blood tests, acidic tissue or blood pH, thickening of blood vessels and trouble losing weight, as well as aging symptoms such as wrinkling, brown spots, abnormal tiny red veins, general skin redness and skin sensitivities.

Q: How do I treat—and attempt to cure—inflammation?

A: You are what you eat and drink—eat organic, fresh, raw and green (the darker, the better) foods as much as you can, including onions, garlic, fruits, raw cilantro and parsley, fresh herbs, seaweed and organic whole leaf aloe juice. CosMedix’s Balance, Restore, SKINamins line, Neutralize and Clarity Supplement are excellent ways to detoxify and combat inflammation.

Drink at least one liter of water a day. While drinking sodas is highly inflammatory, smoking of any kind is worse. Be cautious in consuming cow’s milk products. Get your heart pumping for at least 30 minutes, 2–4 times a week, and strength train on the other days. Stop weight gain early; fat cells store and produce chemicals, which increase inflammation and thus, make it difficult to lose weight. Do not put inflammatory chemicals on your skin, hair and nails, including various makeup products.

I recommend using CosMedix products to my patients because they contain no inflammatory chemicals and produce desirable results. Have your thyroid gland checked for optimum function as you age, and educate yourself on bio-identical hormones to keep all organs operating youthfully. Don’t be overwhelmed—take one step at a time and you’ll walk up the staircase of success. Remember, you are in control of your health and beauty.

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