Inflammaging and skin: A link between inflammation and aging

Skin inflammaging is key to total body health and may drive overall aging. A healthy lifestyle and a simple skincare routine are your best defense.

Illustrated representation of Skin inflammaging
What to know
  • Inflammaging, chronic low-level inflammation in our bodies, is associated with aging skin

  • Scientists continue to research the complex interplay of skin inflammation and body inflammaging

  • A healthy lifestyle and an effective skin health regimen are your best defense for protecting and preserving your skin and overall health

Inflammaging is the chronic low-level inflammation in our bodies associated with aging. While many of us are familiar with inflammaging and our general health, you may not be aware that this phenomenon also plays a role in skin aging, driving the visible signs we so often strive to slow down.

This blog will explore the interplay between inflammation in the body and the skin, and provide tangible interventions to help support the health and longevity of our skin.

About inflammaging and the skin

As we age, the skin undergoes changes in appearance and function. Part of this decline is due to skin inflammaging and the accumulation of senescent cells - also known as “zombie cells.” [1]These “zombie cells” release molecules that can trigger inflammaging. Mitochondrial decline has also been linked to inflammaging in the skin, and this can be exacerbated by photodamage from the sun.[2]

Scientists are fascinated by the complex interplay of skin inflammaging and body inflammaging and how it relates to our skin health and overall health. It’s a new frontier that will hopefully reveal many insights into how we can better preserve our health and longevity.

Understanding inflammaging—the skin and body connection

Healthy-looking skin has always been considered a mirror of good health. And we know poor health can reveal itself in the impaired function and poor appearance of skin. But instead of merely reflecting our good or poor health, many scientists now believe that poor skin health and skin inflammaging can drive poor overall health and inflammaging.[3]

Research has revealed that aging skin may drive premature aging of other organs and impact overall health. The connection? Inflammatory proteins that are released from senescent cells which are linked to chronic conditions associated with aging.[4]

A closer look at skin inflammaging

Knowing what’s happening to the skin at a cellular level makes it easier to understand how unhealthy skin could drive inflammation throughout the body.

As skin ages and is photodamaged, cells experience several changes, including mitochondrial dysfunction. The cell’s powerhouse can no longer energize the cell for its healthy functioning. This leads to the creation of senescent cells and the release of toxic inflammatory proteins, which can impact other organs in the body.[5]

In healthy skin, these damaged cells would be cleared, but in aging and photodamaged skin, these “zombie” cells build up. The inflammatory proteins impact the immune system, “infect” surrounding cells and tissues, and cause inflammaging.

On the outside, this decline in skin health is marked by the accumulation of fine lines and wrinkles, uneven pigmentation and dark spots, and rough, thinning texture. On the inside, the skin cannot perform its regular functions of resolving inflammation, fighting infection, creating collagen, and renewing itself.[6] Since the skin is the largest organ and covers our entire body, it’s easy to see how it could significantly affect our overall health—for better or worse.

Scientists postulate that supporting cellular health by re-energizing the mitochondria could potentially delay cellular senescence and its harmful effects on the skin and the body.[7]

It’s well-established that one of the primary triggers for cellular senescence and inflammation in the skin is excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays.[8] If you need another compelling argument for proactive sun-protective practices, add this to the risk of skin cancer and premature aging.

Healthy skin requires daily proactive steps

A healthy skincare regimen can improve your skin’s health and longevity. It starts with protection, topicals that address the cellular process of aging, and of course, the same healthy habits that optimize your overall health.

  • Be sun-smart: Wear protective clothing and hats and use sunblock or sunscreen.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet full of antioxidants, healthy fats and vitamins and minerals: Consume more veggies, fruits, lean proteins, whole grains, and probiotic foods (yogurt, pickled veggies). Eat less sugar and less processed foods.[9]
  • Exercise regularly[10] to optimize your overall health and skin health.[10]
  • Sleep well: Getting quality sleep is essential to your health and to keep your skin looking healthy and youthful. [11]
  • Simplify your skincare regimen: Choose gentle yet effective products backed by science
  • Avoid cigarette smoke and air pollution as they can damage your skin, promote skin aging, and put you at a much greater risk of disease.[12]

Focus on cellular health for better skin health

At the heart of healthy skin are healthy cells. And it’s never too late to focus on skin health and longevity. Building on more than a decade of scientific research on cellular health, Timeline scientists have unlocked a new way to target cellular health. They developed Mitopure®, a highly purified form of Urolithin A, which can help re-energize and revitalize our skin cells to protect against both intrinsic and extrinsic factors that contribute to skin aging.

Here’s what the science on topical Urolithin A shows:[13]

  • Cellular renewal: Mitopure supports better energy production at the cellular level
  • Visibly younger skin: Visible improvement in wrinkles and fine lines as early as two weeks
  • Increased UVB resilience: Improvements in redness and inflammation associated with UVB exposure
  • Collagen boosting: Genes that promote collagen assembly and organization are upregulated
  • Clean formulation: Free of parabens, artificial dyes, and fragrances and a 93/100 Yuka Score

The result: Healthy, more youthful looking skin!

The good: you hold many of the keys to your health

Science is advancing our understanding of the complex interplay of skin inflammaging and the role of our skin in overall health and longevity. It’s an exciting time in dermatology and medicine, and in the coming years, we will learn much more. In the meantime, there’s no mystery that we hold many of the keys to our health. Embrace a healthy lifestyle and an effective daily skincare regimen to optimize your well-being and to look and feel your best.


Lydia Dobbs


Julie Faitg, PhD

Reviewed by

Lead Regulatory Affairs & Scientific Manager Alliances at Timeline


  1. Lee YI, Choi S, Roh WS, Lee JH, Kim TG. Cellular Senescence and Inflammaging in the Skin Microenvironment. Int J Mol Sci. 2021;22(8):3849. Published 2021 Apr 8. doi:10.3390/ijms22083849

  2. Sreedhar, A., Aguilera-Aguirre, L. & Singh, K.K. Mitochondria in skin health, aging, and disease. Cell Death Dis 11, 444 (2020).

  3. Pilkington SM, Bulfone-Paus S, Griffiths CEM, Watson REB. Can Skin Aging Contribute to Systemic Inflammaging?. J Invest Dermatol. 2022;142(2):484-485. doi:10.1016/j.jid.2021.09.032

  4. Li X, Li C, Zhang W, Wang Y, Qian P, Huang H. Inflammation and aging: signaling pathways and intervention therapies. Signal Transduct Target Ther. 2023;8(1):239. Published 2023 Jun 8. doi:10.1038/s41392-023-01502-8

  5. Miwa S, Kashyap S, Chini E, von Zglinicki T. Mitochondrial dysfunction in cell senescence and aging. J Clin Invest. 2022;132(13):e158447. doi:10.1172/JCI158447

  6. Rittié L, Fisher GJ. Natural and sun-induced aging of human skin. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2015;5(1):a015370. Published 2015 Jan 5. doi:10.1101/cshperspect.a015370

  7. Dodig, Slavica et al. “Hallmarks of senescence and aging.” Biochemia medica vol. 29,3 (2019): 030501. doi:10.11613/BM.2019.030501

  8. Salminen, Antero et al. “Photoaging: UV radiation-induced inflammation and immunosuppression accelerate the aging process in the skin.” Inflammation research : official journal of the European Histamine Research Society ... [et al.] vol. 71,7-8 (2022): 817-831. doi:10.1007/s00011-022-01598-8

  9. Cao C, Xiao Z, Wu Y, Ge C. Diet and Skin Aging-From the Perspective of Food Nutrition. Nutrients. 2020;12(3):870. Published 2020 Mar 24. doi:10.3390/nu12030870

  10. Nishikori S, Yasuda J, Murata K, et al. Resistance training rejuvenates aging skin by reducing circulating inflammatory factors and enhancing dermal extracellular matrices. Sci Rep. 2023;13(1):10214. Published 2023 Jun 23. doi:10.1038/s41598-023-37207-9

  11. Beauty Sleep. Sleep Foundation. January 2023. Accessed Mar 12, 2024

  12. Martic I, Jansen-Dürr P, Cavinato M. Effects of Air Pollution on Cellular Senescence and Skin Aging. Cells. 2022;11(14):2220. Published 2022 Jul 17. doi:10.3390/cells11142220

  13. Topical application of Urolithin A slows intrinsic skin aging and protects from UVB-mediated photodamage: Findings from Randomized Clinical Trials D D’Amico, AM Fouassier, J Faitg, N Hennighausen, M Brandt, D Konstantopoulos, C Rinsch, A Singh medRxiv 2023.06.16.23291378; doi:

Knowledge is power
Sign up to our newsletter

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. References: *Nutrition studies: 500mg Mitopure® have been shown to (1) induce gene expression related to mitochondria function and metabolism and (2) increase the strength of the hamstring leg muscle in measures of knee extension and flexion in overweight 40-65 year olds. Data from two randomized double-blind placebo-controlled human clinical trials. **Nutrition NOURISH Study: 500mg Mitopure® have been shown to deliver at least 6 times higher Urolithin A plasma levels over 24 hours (area under the curve) than 8 ounces (240ml) of pomegranate juice in a randomized human clinical trial.

© 2024
© 2024