Microcirculation and Skin: A Primer

Microcirculation and Skin: A Primer

The flow of blood in our bodies is critical to our health and wellbeing, so an understanding of how blood flow can be affected by internal and external factors is of great value. 

Blood flow can be separated into two different and complementary contributions: the “Macrocirculatory System” that represents the flow to and from the main organs (heart, lungs, etc.) and the “Microcirculatory System” that represents the flow within our organs and tissues, including our skin. 

Skin microcirculation refers to the blood flow and perfusion through the dense and intricate network of small structures known as arterioles, capillaries, and venules that are embedded in the dermis and hypodermis of our skin. It is a well-balanced, highly sensitive and delicate mechanism, and it plays an extremely significant role in the viability of our skin through the tailored transport of nutrients such as oxygen, hormones, amino acids and glucose into the surrounding tissue, while at the same time removing waste products, such as carbon dioxide, metabolic debris and toxins. Microcirculation also contributes greatly to controlling thermal regulation and inflammatory processes within tissues. If these processes are disturbed, the physiological balance needed by the cells will be disturbed, and tissue damage will ultimately result. 

In order to stay at peak fitness and health, a person must pump approximately a gallon of blood into and through this microcirculatory system over 1500 times every day. As we age, there is much evidence of decreased microcirculation, and this contributes to rising levels of damage, inflammation, atrophy, and dysfunction in tissues such as muscles and skin. All hope is not lost however, as there are things a person can do to counteract some of this decline. 

Historically, practices such as drinking lots of water, participating in physical exercise, meditation and yoga, getting sufficient sleep, and eating a natural, well-balanced diet have been at the forefront of ways to increase microcirculation. 

More recently, introduction of infrared radiation directly into the tissue has been employed. This might sound scary, but fear not- our bodies actually emit infrared (IR) radiation in the form of heat every day! Infrared is a type of electromagnetic radiation that has the ability to stimulate living tissues, resulting in numerous beneficial responses.

Various infrared devices and technologies like infrared blankets, lamps, and saunas have been in use in wellness and aesthetics for years. These devices are used to improve blood circulation, increase metabolism, and accelerate detoxification and fat burning. Infrared has also been shown to increase the absorption of cosmetic products and relieve muscle and joint pain. 

An exciting new development is the ability to create fabrics that take the infrared radiation (i.e. heat) that’s naturally coming off our bodies and redirect it back into the top layers of the skin, resulting in an increase in microcirculation. Specifically for the skin around our eyes, which is thinner and more delicate than skin on other parts of our body, this increase in microcirculation has the potential to reap many benefits including improving skin color and tone and minimizing dark circles, fine lines and puffiness. 

Our eye area is often the first area of our face to show signs of aging, fatigue and stress, and Nollapelli’s Restorative Eye Mask is here to help! Get more out of the ⅓ of your day you spend in bed with Nollapelli.