Last year researchers determined that airborne toxins — think soot and traffic exhausts — are as bad as the sun when it comes to skin aging. A study that was published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology found that exposure to nitrogen dioxide was significantly associated with more lentigines (dark spots) on the cheeks of German and Chinese women older than 50 years after a five-year period. Now industry insiders are pointing to “urbanism,” which includes additional lifestyle factors like stress, lack of sleep and unbalanced diet, as a driving force behind accelerated aging.

When the body is under assault from such stressors, it responds by setting in motion an inflammatory process that acts as a built-in defense mechanism to protect our cells and tissue. Thing is, this internal inflammation can linger and lead to the breakdown of collagen and elastin, resulting in wrinkles, sag and skin that is generally less radiant. Acne is another inflammatory condition. Keep reading to learn how to get ahead of inflammaging (see what I did there?), plus the products that will protect and calm skin.