The secret skincare ingredient: adaptogens.

By Roxanne Adamiyatt
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It's safe to say that inflammation and cellular distress have been big words in the beauty and wellness space over the past few years. However, buzzwords aren't helpful when you don't understand what they mean. That's the often the case with inflammation-you understand that it's not good, but do you really know if you have it? When it comes to inflammation-especially as it relates to fertility-Dr. Julie Von, a Manhattan-based holistic doctor, is the woman you want to turn to. Not only does everyone have a certain degree of inflammation, she explains, but because the skin is a major detox organ, skin disorders often reflect internal inflammation. You might find that inflammation is manifested in hives, rosacea, eczema, or acne.

Treating Inflammation from the Inside Out

Nicolas Travis, the founder of Allies of Skin, further explains how gut inflammation manifests itself through your skin. "Refined sugar and processed foods can alter the gut flora composition of your body. When the gut flora composition is compromised, the body is more susceptible to inflammation and free radical damage. The skin is the largest organ we have and when the body is out of sorts, it shows up on the skin via acne (which is an inflammatory disease). Often, many develop allergies later in life which can sometimes explain why people suddenly develop adult acne that doesn't seem to go away. "

According to Dr. Von, the simplest way to treat inflammation is by making wiser decisions about the food we eat, "Eating whole, non-GMO foods is a simple way to lower overall inflammation," she says. However, if you want to take this a step further, adaptogens are a great place to start. What are adaptogens, you ask? "An adaptogen is essentially a plant-based substance, which balances your body's adrenals and stress hormones," says Von, "It acts as a re-calibrator and either increases or decreases the balance of hormones in your body." So, if you are looking to reduce inflammation and you suspect your hormones might be out of whack because your daily intake of sugar, which is known to raise cortisol levels, is way out of line, an adaptogen might be helpful for you. But where can you find adaptogens? Dr. Von suggests maca, goji berries, and licorice as her go-to adaptogenic foods.

Treating Inflammation from the Outside In

Skincare lines like Allies of Skin are designed to topically treat inflammation in your skin. According to Travis, "The 1A Masks function as nutrient reservoirs for the skin; supplementing the skin with all the nutrients it needs to regenerate and repair itself. It works the same way as a multi-vitamin supplement; the body takes what it needs from it." Travis explains that the skin is smart enough to do the same: if your skin is dehydrated, the hydration and moisture-magnets will be activated. If you're in a polluted city, the antioxidants will kick in to protect from free-radical damage. In other words, these masks have been formulated to adapt to stressing conditions that would otherwise lead to premature aging, such as loss of radiance, loss of elasticity, fine lines and the ability to properly maintain moisture.

Travis notes that a lot of traditional supplements like maca and Rhodiola are great as supplements, but they aren't proven to have efficacy when applied topically to the skin. Instead, the Allies of Skin formulations combine proven adaptogens like Moringa (anti-pollution and anti-inflammatory) and Licorice Root (anti-inflammatory, brightening and anti-bacterial) with powerful antioxidants like Spin Trap, Glutathione, Ergothioneine, Pterostilbene, and vitamins C and E. "This two-pronged approach ensures that all boxes are checked. They have the added benefit of working symbiotically-for example, glutathione recycles vitamin C and prolongs its potency."

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