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.

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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.

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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

Let yourself glow!- Why shine-free skin isn’t healthy or natural…

Cosmetics companies everywhere seem to be obsessed with giving you a matt, shine-free finish to your skin, making those of us with skin that tends to be a little on the shiny side – i.e. those of use with natural human skin – scrambling for products that will help us reach these near-impossible standards, especially if you have naturally oily skin. If your skin has a shine to it, either all the time or towards the end of the day, you are not alone, and should not be pressured into feeling bad about your skin.

In fact, letting your skin have a natural shine is perfectly healthy, as everybody’s skin needs a level of surface oil, or sebum, in order to function properly. This week on #SkinTheKnow, we’re going to be talking about why exactly your skin needs sebum, what a healthy complexion should look like, and how to manage oily skin in a way that is healthy and safe.

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What is sebum?

Sebum is the natural oil produced by the sebaceous glands and then flows onto the surface of the skin. These glands are attached to every hair follicle all over the skin and scalp because, whether cosmetics companies want you to know it or not, your skin really needs the oil that it produces.

While being completely shiny all over your body and scalp probably won’t ever be a desirable look, sebum performs many functions that your skin cannot live properly without. One of these functions is to lubricate your skin and keep it soft and supple – skin without any oil would be completely dry and brittle, and wouldn’t be able to stretch and flex as your body moves. Ouch!

Oil

The original ‘Essential Oil’

One of the most important functions of sebum, however, is that it creates a protective barrier known as the acid mantle, which is an invisible layer on your skin comprised of a mixture of oil and sweat (we know that doesn’t sound too pleasant, but trust us, you don’t want to get rid of it!). The acid mantle has a slightly acidic pH and protects your skin against a portion of the microorganisms that could cause infection, as well as chemical irritants, pollution particles and other ecotoxicants. It acts as your skin’s primary barrier function; its first line of defence to protect and maintain the skin’s integrity – the second part of your skin’s barrier function is lipid bilayers of the epidermis, which hold your skin cells together and prevent moisture from evaporating too quickly.

Hydratime® & Nutritime®: Ceramide boosting face creams, supplement the skin’s lipids and provide anti-oxidant action for ultimate hydration.

Stripping away the acid mantle, either by excessive cleansing for example or by using an astringent toner containing a lot of alcohol, is stripping away this natural protective layer, leaving your raw skin exposed to the elements.

Acne

Remember, your skin is your largest organ and needs to be protected

This exacerbates existing conditions, such as acne, rosacea or dry skin:

– Acne is made worse as your skin is now more prone to inflammation, or you may even make any underlying inflammation worse, making acne break-outs more likely.

– Rosacea sufferers, or those with particularly sensitive skin, will now be more susceptible to reacting to irritants and external triggers

– Dry skin will become even more dehydrated as, without the acid mantle, moisture in the skin will find it more easy to escape.

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How much is too much?

We would ask ‘how much is normal?’, but in our experience, there is no such thing as ‘normal’skin; every individual’s skin is as unique as their fingerprint, and there is no such thing as ‘one-size-fits-all’.

Having said that, those prone to having particularly oily skin will notice a shine first thing in the morning, which will typically cover the majority of the face, if not all of it. Combination oily skin will show this shone mostly in the T-Zone, which is where the concentration and level of activity of the sebaceous glands are higher.

T-Zone

In case you didn’t know, the T-Zone is comprised of the nose and forehead, where you’re most likely to suffer from pimples and blackheads due to excess oil

‘Normal’ skin – if we must call it that – will probably not notice any shine in the morning, but will develop a shiny T-Zone by the end of the day; it may not be very obvious, but can show up more clearly when photographed, or under strong lighting.

Dry skin won’t show any kind of shine, as it produces very little oil, and is usually most common in those over the age of 60, as the skin’s natural oil production gradually declines with age. If you are under 60 and find yourself in this group, it’s more likely the result of dehydration, and not to do with having skin that is genetically drier.

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What can you do about excess oil?

Oil production is regulated by testosterone, a hormone present in both men and women, which activates the oil-producing sebaceous glands. Testosterone is controlled by the highly complex endocrine system, and the amount of oil you produce is determined by your genetics, so it’s very difficult to control how dry or oily your skin ends up being.

You do, however, have some level of control.

You need to remember that your body is all about balance; if you try stripping away any excess sebum, your body will automatically work to produce more, and usually will try to over-compensate and produce more oil than you had in the first place.

Balance

Everything is about balance, and just like training your body, you have to learn to retrain your skin.

If you suffer from acne as a result of having excessively oily skin, invest in a decent acne treatment that will target both the causes and the symptoms of acne – FYI, we’ve written an article about how to best choose the right products for your skin, but long story short, make sure you pick a brand that specifically states that they treat acne. If it doesn’t actually say the word ‘acne’, chances are it won’t work all that successfully.

With the right treatment, you can tackle your acne troubles without the backlash from your skin, keeping your skin healthy for long-term relief.

Acne TripleLock® – Targeting not only the symptoms, but the underlying causes, of acne to deliver successful results in as little as 8 weeks.

Don’t dull your shine!

Forget what beauty and cosmetics companies are telling you; shine is nothing to be ashamed of. Without a counter-top full of mattifying make-up and a professional photoshop artist, there is no one who has natural, healthy, shine-free skin. It just doesn’t exist.

Now, as we well know, excess oil and shine can be problematic, but that doesn’t mean you should try to eradicate it altogether. Remember, oil is healthy, protective, and keeps your skin pliable and wrinkle-free. You may not want oily skin now but trust us, you’ll be glad of it in future when your skin doesn’t dry out!

So keep that natural, healthy glow, and embrace the shine!

Smile

Let yourself glow!

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

Aging Explained and How to Stop it Dead in it’s Tracks!

When it comes to ageing, most people first turn to facial skin care to hide the signs. From sagging skin to pigmentation spots, appearance of fine lines and excessive dryness – these are issues experienced by most, and most try to safeguard themselves against it, but there are other more visible signs of ageing that most people tend to overlook. It’s not just the face that needs care and attention, but wrinkled elbows, veiny hands, cracked heels and a drooping neck among other body parts need to be looked into. Eating healthy, being fit and a good skin care regime can help reduce the signs of ageing.

Hands show ageing first

Hands are the first to start showing signs of age followed by the face and neck. Often ignored body parts include hands, knees, neck, elbows, and cleavage. You can take care by using sunscreen as these parts of the body are most exposed to sun damage. It is essential to apply a broad spectrum sunscreen on regular basis to hands, neck, elbows and cleavage. Since these areas are usually dry, apply a thick moisturiser and the best thing is that this effect does not last only for a few days, but stays for up to a year, The SkinMed Hydratime® day cream and Nutritime® night cream offer superb upper skin hydration and re-establish the skins barrier properties, they provide sun protection, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial agents, which all play a crucial role in decreasing signs of aging.

Treatments can help

Dr Mohan Thomas, senior cosmetic surgeon, The Cosmetic Surgery Institute says moisturisation after a bath and prevention of sun damage are the most important requirements to prevent ageing changes. “Knees, elbows and the neck develop pigmentation due to sun damage.” The décolletage or the upper chest skin is frequently exposed to the direct rays of the sun which means this area is especially prone to sun damage and pigmentation, if you do suffer from pigmentation from sun damage fear not, there’s a solution!

The SkinMed® Thiospot range can help lighten dark pigmentation marks caused by sun damage and even contains a UV filter to protect spots from darkening more from the ultraviolet rays from the sun, which in turn can visually improve the colour and texture of the skin in these areas.