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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, about Inflammation Part Two

We’ve got more on inflammation!  If you want to read more, press on brave reader!

Inflammation evolved as a way for the body to defend itself.  (GOOD!)  It is a response to the presence of an antigen, like an infectious agent or damaged tissue e.g. from damage by UV radiation.  When a leukocyte, a local immune cell, recognizes an antigen, blood vessels may either dilate or constrict, depending on the context, which makes the blood vessels more permeable.  Plasma proteins accumulate at the site of the antigen and all this activity can recruit circulating leukocytes to respond as well.


  • The immune cells secrete cytokines, inflammatory signaling molecules, recruiting more leukocytes from circulation. 
  • When leukocytes respond during inflammation, reactive oxygen species (ROS) are released.
  • ROS can damage cell membranes which are particularly susceptible to oxidative damage. (BAD!)
  • ROS-induced cell death can initiate or contribute to a pro-inflammatory state, increasing leukocyte recruitment. (BAD!)

What does this all mean? 

ROS and cytokines break down the extracellular matrix*, increasing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while decreasing the elasticity or the skin.  (UGLY!)

Leaky vasculature** combined with the presence of leukocytes causes skin to appear flushed, a condition known as erythema.  (UGLY!)

The secretion of cytokines and pro-inflammatory compounds can cause itchiness and discomfort.  (BAD!)

 The good news is that there are both skin care products and dietary solutions for inflammation effects.  (GOOD!)  Check back with us to find out what some of the solutions are.

*Extracellular matrix is a meshwork of proteins and carbohydrates that binds cells together

**Vasculature is the circulatory system that circulates the blood

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