Ceramides – Understanding these Wonder Molecules

A healthy, hydrated skin with internal moisture control doesn’t need moisturisers, but for those who suffer from dry or oily skin, it is vitally important to address the rate at which water escapes from our skin, otherwise known as Trans-Epidermal Water Loss or TEWL.

Water loss is normal, but can be excessive in people with skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and ichthyosis. Losing the ability to control moisture levels in the skin is often an underpinning cause for a myriad of other skin conditions, including acne and rosacea, as well as contributing to the signs of skin ageing by leaving the skin dull and lifeless. That’s why skin hydration and water control management are vital to maintaining a healthy skin environment, and should play an integral role in every skin treatment protocol.

Essentially, most skin troubles have more moisture control as a common denominator.

Rosacure 3 Product Set: Take back control of your Rosacea this Winter

The Science

Moisture

Did you know that keeping house plants ensures your skin has a fresh supply of oxygen and can help improve your skin?

The skin is made up of two key layers, the Dermis and the Epidermis. The top layer of the skin is the Epidermis, and the top layer of the Epidermis is the Stratum Corneum. Despite being incredibly thin, the Stratum Corneum acts as the skin’s main barrier, stopping chemicals we come into contact with from getting inside the body, and controlling the rate at which moisture is able to leak out.

Skin lipid structure is critical in the moisture retaining functionality of the skin. The Stratum Corneum contains three types of lipids that have different chemical compositions and functions throughout the body; cholesterol, free fatty acids, and key nine ceramides, numbered 1 to 9, which account for 40-50% of the lipids in this outermost layer.

Ceramides are important to maintaining a healthy skin environment because they assist in controlling both cellular and skin water loss. This helps to prevent dehydration, impaired cellular function and hastened cell death. Skin that can’t increase skin lipid structure usually reacts in one of two ways; in some the skin will become dry and will crack, whereas in others, oil and skin cell production increase in an attempt to slow the rate at which moisture is leaving the skin. This results in thickened, oily skin that can lead to acne, or an exacerbation of acne symptoms – yes, believe it or not, oily skin is often a consequence of a lack of skin moisture.

Aknicare Ultimate Acne Solution (LINK): Medically licensed to target all causes and symptoms of acne

Controlling TEWL is therefore vital to any skin routine that want to encourage a healthy environment; if the skin can control the rate of moisture loss, it won’t end up drying out, or over-compensating with oil and skin production. In short, it’s important to address your skin issues at the root.

The Solution

Hydratime and Nutritime

Now only £5 with any SkinMed Product Set!

The good news is that recent studies have shown that lipids can be replaced with topical preparations. Interestingly, all three lipids (ceramides, cholesterol, fatty acids) have to be replaced at a certain ratio to restore the barrier function of the skin; if the incorrect balance of lipids is applied, it actually takes longer for the skin to heal.

This is what we have created in our creams.

Hydratime® and Nutritime® contain a balanced blend of all 9 key Ceramindes, improving skin barrier functions to slow TEWL and restore a healthy environment. Unlike most moisturisers, we don’t simply smear a water-blocking layer on the surface, ignoring deficient water levels deeper in the skin. Instead we improve skin structures from within, controlling moisture in all layers of the skin, so that you can achieve the best possible results from your treatments this winter.

Hydratime® and Nutritime® Plus Face Creams are currently available for just £5 with any SkinMed® product set. Visit our website (LINK) and use Promo Codes HYDRA or NUTRI to get yours

5 Great Reasons to Visit your Local Skin Clinic

Here at SkinMed®, our ultimate goal is to provide you with the best products and advice for your skin, but we are by no means the only skin experts. We have hundreds of SkinMed® accredited clinics all across the country, run by experts who know skin inside and out and can offer advice and treatments for a wide range of skin conditions.

Even if you don’t have a pre-existing skin condition, it’s a good idea to go and see a medical skin expert once a year for a check-up, so you can keep track of things like how your skin is ageing, and make sure you’re not running the risk of developing anything harmful, like skin cancer for example.

That’s why this week on #SkinTheKnow, we’re giving you our top five reasons to go and see the doctor or nurse that runs your local skin clinic so that you can get the right information about your skin, giving you the knowledge to do what’s best for you.

1. You will be seeing a skin expert.

Skin expert

Get your answers right from the experts!

Now, you may think that this goes without saying, but the doctors and nurses that lead our skin clinics are specialised experts in their field and are more well-versed in the world of skin than your GP, with the ability to diagnose over 3000 skin conditions. Despite this, many people, upon finding something about their skin that concerns them, go straight to their GP for a diagnosis, rather than consulting with someone who deals with skin exclusively.

Your GP may refer you to a dermatologist if they want a second opinion, but you may as well save yourself some time and go and speak to the doctor or nurse at your local skin clinic yourself and cut out the middleman.

Want to find your nearest SkinMed clinic?

2. Find out whats going on with your skin.

FAQ

There’s no such thing as a silly question – remember, knowledge is power!

With your local GP available on the NHS, many people are unwilling to splash out on what they might consider being an unnecessary expense, but many skin clinics will offer a consultation free of charge, or for a small fee that can be redeemed against products and treatments should you want them.

At your consultation, your skin will be assessed in detail, so that you can find out what it needs, what products and treatments would work for you to help you get the results you are looking for, and receive personalised treatment plans so that you can really get the best from your skin.

Remember, the skin is the largest, and arguably most important organ in the body, and should be treated with great care. Seeing a dermatologist can help you look your best, and improve the overall health of your skin.

SkinVital: Usually only available in clinics, our Anti-Ageing Super Serum is now available from our online shop for a limited time only

3. Undiagnosed, or Misdiagnosed Skin Conditions.

Internet

The internet is an amazing tool, but the best resource for a health concern is always a trusted expert

The skin is often an organ that is misunderstood; if you have an upset stomach, it’s easy to assume it’s because of something you ate, but if your skin starts to react badly, how can you tell whether it’s because of something you have exposed yourself to, or whether it’s something medical that needs treatment?

Many conditions, like rosacea, for example, are widely misunderstood even amongst doctors, and can easily be misdiagnosed and mistreated. A lot of people may not even have the time or inclination to visit the doctor when they have a skin complaint, instead, trying over the counter products to try and treat themselves. But if you don’t really know what you are trying to treat, how can you know what treatments to buy?

Rosacea TripleLock: Clinically proven to target all causes and symptoms of rosacea, providing long-term relief in as little as 8 weeks

Then there are the more serious conditions like forms of skin cancer or sun damage, which may not necessarily be visible during their early stages, but can develop into something more dangerous if left unchecked.

A consultation with a medically lead clinic can help you with all of these issues, even if it is only to put your mind at ease and tell you that you have nothing to worry about. They can make sure you have the correct diagnosis for any skin complaints you might have, and offer effective treatments that will deliver real results.

4. Over-the-counter-treatments don’t cut it.

Products

All these fancy products may look impressive, but you really need an expert to tell you what’s going on inside, and what’s right for you

Long-standing sufferers of conditions like acne, eczema or rosacea may feel they have tried every treatment on the market with no effect. There are even those who have had products prescribed by their GP and still haven’t seen the results they are looking for. Medical-lead skin clinics, as well as offering a much deeper understanding of skin conditions and how to treat them, can offer products and treatments not available on the high street or in the chemist.

These products are often medically licenced and clinically proven to deliver results and will be recommended to you because they are right for your skin, and your skin expert will be there to see you through your journey to clear skin, offering help and advice along the way

Acne TripleLock – All-encompassing, medically licenced acne treatment, delivering outstanding results in 85% of patients

5. Spend your money wisely!

Money

As my mother used to say, take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves!

With all the ads you see on the tv, on the internet and in magazines, it can be easy to get carried away with all the latest miracle products. But this dazzling array of expensive looking packaging, fancy names and bewilderingly scientific ingredients can lead to confusion and overspending on products you may not even need. Most of these products are just filled with empty promises, their science-y sounding contents are often just terms that have been made up.

With the sound advice from your skin clinic, you can be sure to spend your money wisely on products tailored to suit your skin and deliver results – without all the trial and error!

Find your nearest SkinMed accredited clinic here

SkinMed® provide clinically proven skin solutions, which, unlike cosmetic brands, are medically licensed in the treatment of many skin conditions and suitable for almost all skin types, with thousands of successful users across the UK and Europe.

The products were created through decades of experience, in collaboration with top dermatologists from all around Europe. Professor Tony Chu, President of the Acne and Rosacea Association UK (ARA UK), endorses and prescribes the products for his patients – you can be certain you’re in the right hands.

If you would like to find out where your local SkinMed® accredited clinic near you, all you need to do is get in touch. We have hundreds of clinics country-wide and our dedicated team will be more than happy to point you in the right direction.

We are also offering free skin consultations at many of our clinics for all our loyal customers. If this sounds like something you would be interested in, please let us know and we can find the nearest clinic to you offering a consultation free of charge.

Contact Us:

Phone: 0333 247 2474 – Email: info@skinmed.co.uk – Live Chat: www.theskinmedshop.com

5 Things that Cause Your Skin to Age

Featured

Growing older is a fact of life; with every passing day, each of us grows a little bit older, and sometimes wiser too, something that is completely out of our control. But is that such a bad thing? With age comes knowledge, experience and perspective that we don’t have in our younger years, and so in my opinion, getting older is not quite the end-of-the-world crisis situation that some people make it out to be.

Having said that, how you age, and how you take care of your skin as you age, is something that you do have control over, and maintaining healthy skin should be a priority for everyone.

Here’s our list of things that can damage your skin and cause premature ageing – some of them you can avoid, some of them you can’t, and some of them, you might not want to…

1. Photoageing:

Now this is the one you’ve probably heard a hundred times before, but it is still as true now as it ever was; spending time in the sun!

Exposure to UV is one of the biggest culprits for causing your skin to age (around 90% of the signs of ageing are caused by spending too much time out in the sun without sunscreen). The reason for this is that UV damages the elastin in the skin, causing it to sag, stretch and lose its ability to snap back after stretching, resulting in fine lines and wrinkles. UVA rays reach deep into the dermis, damaging collagen fibres by forming abnormal amounts of elastin and increasing metalloproteinase production. Collagen begins to malfunction and decompose; incorrectly rebuilding the skin and forming wrinkles along the way, a process which is repeated every time the skin is exposed to UVA rays.

UV Light

UVb rays are what cause sunburn, and it’s been fairly easy to protect yourself from them with most sunscreens, but it’s UVa rays that cause premature ageing and can cause skin cancer, so making sure you’re protected from both is vital for both your skin and your health.

Exposure to sunlight can also result in excess pigmentation and ‘sun-spots’ when your skin overproduces melanin, the pigment colour in your skin that you naturally produce to protect you from the sun. There are two types of pigmentation: hypopigmentation, where patches of skin become lighter in colour compared to surrounding skin due to a depletion of melanin or melanocyte levels, and hyperpigmentation, where patches of the skin become darker, which occurs when an excess of melanin forms deposits in the skin.

Both hypopigmentation and hyperpigmentation are quite common and usually harmless, but studies have shown that having excess pigmentation, or uneven skin tone, can make you look up to 12 years older.

The answer is easy – and we’re not going to tell you to just stay indoors, or only go out at night! Wearing a sunscreen with a high UVa rating and SPF every day, as well as reapplying where necessary, is all you need to keep your skin protected. It’s a simple habit to get into, and once it’s a part of your daily routine, you probably won’t even think about it any more – and believe us, your skin will thank you for it.

Sunwards: Providing SPF 30 and outstanding UVa protection without irritation, Sunwards is the perfect choice for those with sensitive skin.

2. Free Radicals:

This is another cause of ageing that has been in the public spotlight a lot lately, but what exactly are free radicals, and why do they damage our skin?

Free radicals were once-healthy oxygen molecules that have now become overactive and unstable. There is a theory called the Free-Radical Theory of Ageing (FRTA) that states that organisms age because cells accumulate free radical damage over time – ever cut an apple in half and see how it turns brown? That’s the equivalent of what is happening to your skin. They are produced in various ways; from bodily functions and sun exposure as well as from high levels of toxic fumes and pollution in big cities, meaning we are all exposed to them every day. Smoking also causes free radicals meaning smokers will, therefore, develop more wrinkles than non-smokers – one puff of cigarette smoke emits 40,000 free radicals!

So what can you do about it? For a start, stopping smoking can be one of the best things you can do for your skin. If you don’t smoke though, the key to combatting free radicals is with antioxidants, such as Vitamins C and E, which you can either incorporate into your diet or use vitamin-rich products to treat your skin and keep it looking its best.

SkinVital®: our anti-ageing super serum contains 20% Vitamin C – 33% more than the leading competitor – to combat free radical ageing and damage

Orange

Keeping up a balanced, vitamin-rich diet can also be really beneficial – keep reading to find out more.

3. Collagen Production:

Collagen makes up around 75-80% of the skin’s dermis and is what makes your complexion firm, plump, and youthful, limiting the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and saggy, slack, and crepe-like skin. If everything works as it should, our cellular collagen-making machines called fibroblasts continue to create new collagen, while your body also produces enzymes that break down the old or damaged collagen and carry it away, keeping your skin looking young and beautiful.

Unfortunately, production of this youth-preserving protein decreases as we age – roughly you start to produce 1% less collagen every year from when you’re in your 20’s, which is precisely why we say that there’s nothing wrong with starting to use anti-ageing products early on! Signs of ageing occur when the fibroblast cells that step in to repair damaged collagen fibres cannot complete their work, resulting in sagging skin and wrinkles.

Elephant

Elephants are very beautiful and wise creatures, but that doesn’t mean you want to have skin like one.

This is another case where you cannot turn back time; your body will continue to do its best to keep producing collagen but after a while, it can only do so much. That’s why we recommend investing in a product that will not only give your skin a collagen boost but also give your skin the tools it needs to create more collagen for itself, keeping you looking youthful.

Terproline® Contour – Offering your skin the building blocks to produce new collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid, to improve skin structure, appearance and tone.

4. Facial Muscle Contractions:

Some specific fine line and wrinkles, such as crows’ feet, frown lines, and furrows in your brow are caused by small, repeated muscle contractions from your facial expressions.

You may have seen in our previous article (LINK) that some so-called ‘experts’ have recommended certain facial exercises, that are meant to keep the muscles in your face strong and firm. This sounds great in theory, but the problem is that when it comes to ageing, it’s your skin that’s the giveaway, rather than what’s underneath it, and repeatedly forcing your face into weird contortions is more likely to cause excess fine lines and wrinkles, from your skin losing it ability to snap back into place after stretching.

Facial Exercises

Believe us, doing these kinds of exercises is only going to make things worse – plus, you’ll probably look really stupid when you’re doing them!

But, aside from biding these bizarre exercises goodbye, what can you do about this kind of wrinkle formation? It’s not as though you can just stop smiling, frowning, moving your eyebrows or showing any kind of emotion at all for the rest of your life – and even if you could, would you want to? A high-quality anti-wrinkle cream should be all you need to keep these fine lines and wrinkles to a minimum, but the ones to look out for are creams whose active ingredients work within the skin, rather than just on the skin’s surface, to ensure long-lasting, effective results.

Fillast® Duo Pack: specifically designed to fill wrinkles from within, increasing the skin’s hyaluronic acid levels, and increasing the skin’s capacity to bind water.

5. Diet and Nutrition:

A lot of people forget that the skin is the largest organ in the body, and therefore can be hugely affected by your diet and nutrition. You may have read our previous article about how your diet can affect things like acne and rosacea but the same can also be said for ageing your skin as well. As we’ve said earlier, Vitamins C and E are both antioxidants and can help combat sun damage and free radicals, but Vitamin A helps to maintain and repair skin tissue, and Vitamin B helps to form the basis for new skin, so keeping up a vitamin-rich diet – as well keeping up a skin routine with products specifically designed to combat the signs of ageing – can work wonders for your skin.

Synchrovit A: containing encapsulated forms of Vitamins A and E to stimulate cell renewal and promote tone and turgidity, leaving the skin looking younger and brighter

Yo-yo dieting can also have an effect on your skin; losing and gaining back large amounts of weight forces your skin to stretch and then retract, and, as skin elasticity starts to decrease with time, your skin will start to look slack and saggy. There are many other reasons why fad-dieting is not good for you, never mind for your ageing skin, but maintaining a balanced diet for your skin, as well as a healthy lifestyle and exercise routine, should also keep you at a healthy weight.

Hydration is also a vital part of keeping your skin healthy and youthful because, as we get older, our skin becomes thinner and drier. Drinking plenty of water, and investing in a rich, hydrating cream will encourage your skin to maintain high moisture levels, keeping it plump and youthful.

Balanced diet

Remember, beauty starts from within – maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle are key to keeping skin healthy and youthful

In conclusion…

When it comes to your skin ageing, there are some things you can control and some things you can’t. In our experience, the best defence is a good offence, and it’s far easier to prevent the signs of ageing from occurring in the first place, rather than trying to turn back time.

SkinMed® provide medically licensed products that are clinically proven to deliver outstanding results – to find out more about how you can keep your skin healthy and beautiful, why not give us a call on 0333 247 2474, to speak to one of our dedicated team?

Beautiful Skin Through Menopause

Menopause, by definition, is when a woman has not had a menstrual period for 12 months. The time leading up to eventual cessation of these periods is referred to as ‘peri-menopause.’ This is marked by commonly known symptoms such as hot flushes, mood swings and sleep disturbances. Women typically experience this in their late 40s to early 50s with an average age in the US of 51. Some women go through menopause quite smoothly while others struggle with this troubling myriad of symptoms.

Technically 85% of women have menopausal symptoms. For most these symptoms may stop within a year but in others may last up to 2-3 years. A decline in estrogen levels is the main contributor to these symptoms, although decreased levels of progesterone and testosterone play an important role as well.

While the overall trend is for estrogen levels to decrease it is not always a steady decrease. Women have a wide array of experiences with menopause, but one quite universal fact is how decreased estrogen levels affect the skin.

What happens to the skin during menopause

1.The Epidermis (top skin layer) becomes thinner and drier.  Estrogen help improve blood flow to the skin through capillaries in the dermis (layer below epidermis). These capillaries supply nutrients and oxygen to the basal layers of the epidermis (where new epidermal cells are being made). Now with less estrogen and fewer epidermal cells, the epidermis becomes thinner. A thinner epidermis means more water loss and an overall drier surface.

Try our Hydratime® and Nutritime® range. The Hydratime® and Nutritime® systems also sustain, protect and re-establish the skins’ barrier properties to resist moisture loss by delivering a range of water binding ingredients into the skin. They also provide sun protection using the latest organic pigments. Antioxidant and free radical scavenger activity is provided by special absorbable forms of Vitamin C and Vitamin E which support the natural calming ingredients. Click here to read more about this range.

2. The Dermis has less collagen. Decreased estrogen levels result in decreased synthesis and repair of the collagen and elastin in the dermis. Collagen is the architecture that supports the skin. The skin now loses elasticity, tightness and firmness. When the skin (and collagen) is exposed to environmental insults such as UV-rays, the skin struggles to repair. The end result is the presence of more fine lines and wrinkles. Try our Fillast range. FILLAST is the most effective solution for treating:
– Deep wrinkles and expression lines
– Sagginess and loss of elasticity
– Dryness
– Dull skin
– Signs of age

Click here to read more about Fillast.

3. Changes in skin Melanin production. The cells that produce melanin (melanocytes) are also regulated by estrogen. With less melanin the skin becomes lighter and more prone to sun damage. Women around the age of menopause (and everyone else) should use sun block with a minimum SPF of 20 on exposed skin, particularly of the face, neck and hands. Our Enerpeel JR and Thiospot ranges can help with this. Click here to read more on Thiospot and Click here to read more on Enerpeel JR.

4. Acne may develop.  During adulthood, with adequate estrogen available, the fluid secreted by sebaceous glands is thinner and less likely to block pores. The estrogen and testosterone are in balance. During menopause, the testosterone can exert a greater effect as the estrogen levels decrease. With more testosterone and less estrogen the sebaceous gland secretions become thicker making the skin more acne prone. Try our Aknicare range. AKNICARE® is an Acne Treatment Range which has a superb antibacterial action without using antibiotics. It stops new spots forming and has a spot reducing & calming action. AKNICARE® reduces oil by an average of 53%. Click here to read more about Aknicare.

Improving your skin during menopause

At its core, medical aesthetics and skin care is about improving the top layer of skin while helping increase the supporting layers (collagen and elastin). Ideally we achieve a smooth, vibrant epidermal layer with an elastic, toned and firm architecture supporting it. So with menopause we will utilize every possible (and safe) treatment in our arsenal.

1. Replace Estrogen. Understandably everyone cannot take estrogen replacement but if you can, this is clearly step #1. This is a hotly contested area especially with the arrival of ‘bio-identical hormones’ as an alternative. Certain types of cancers including breast or uterine cancer, a history of heart attack/heart disease, stroke, liver disease, or blood clots are conditions which preclude women from taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT). This is something that needs to be taken on an individual basis and discussed at length with your doctor. Suffice it to say if there is no contraindication to taking HRT, your skin will be much happier with more estrogen around.

2. Avoid Skin Irritants. Changes in humidity, particularly a lower humidity in the winter months can dry out your skin. Wear gloves and a scarf to protect your hands and face in the winter and keep your home at 67-70 degrees. An optimal humidity level is 45-55%. Keep your showers brief with cooler water and avoid ‘scrubbing’ your skin. Hot and long showers combined with aggressive scrubbing strips your skin of its protective, moisture preserving oils.
Avoid any soap or shampoo with heavy perfumes which can be irritating to your skin. Unscented is universally better for your skin. Do not neglect to realize that bed sheets, clothing, dryer sheets, laundry detergents and shampoos may contain irritants that may irritate the skin. If your skin is newly irritated or dry, try to remember if you have tried a new detergent, shampoo or soap.

3. Moisturize your Skin.  Hyaluronic acid should be an ingredient somewhere in your daily skin care regimen due to its amazing ability to keep moisture in the skin. It is almost like an anti-wrinkle vitamin. It doesn’t end there as the list of effective ingredients to help moisturize and hydrate your skin is lengthy. Some favourites to look for in your skin care regimen include petroleum, glycerin, lanolin, ceramides, dimethicone, jojoba oil and coconut oil. Try our Hydratime and Nutritimerange! Click here to read more.

4. Treat Acne (if present).  Many women around age 50 may find themselves wandering through the ‘acne isle’ at the local pharmacy. With a relative increase in testosterone due to the lower levels of estrogen, sebum thickens on what may already be dry skin. This is a recipe for adult acne. While no acne treatment regimen is ‘one size fits all’ (nothing is like that anywhere in medicine for that matter), improvements in diet along with the use of salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are certain to help. Try our Aknicare range. Click here to read more about Aknicare.

5. Consider procedures known to increase cell turnover and collagen in the skin. Three procedures that come to mind are chemical peels, micro needling and laser skin resurfacing. In different ways these treatments all increase new cell production in the epidermis making it thicker and more vibrant while also boosting the amount of collagen in the layers beneath the epidermis. Click here to read about our Enerpeel range.

6. Consider having a cosmetic treatment such as Botox or dermal fillers (Restylane, Juvederm, Radiesse) to give you some real help in reducing fine lines and wrinkles.