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

The Secret to Glowing Holiday Skin!

Once upon a time, you’d have to go away on a long exotic holiday to get that gorgeous, healthy-looking glow that everyone is after today. But now, with the like of Instagram and SnapChat, everyone needs that glow before they go away, so they can be photo ready for snaps by the pool, on the beach, by the bar…you know, anything to make the folks back home green with envy!

This week on #SkinTheKnow, we’re giving you the inside scoop on how to get perfect summer skin before your next big trip, so that you can be ready for anything.

Introducing the EnerPeel® MA

Mandelic Acid is a slow-absorbing, gently exfoliating alpha hydroxy acid. It is originally isolated from almonds, but perfected in a lab, meaning that people with nut allergies can still benefit from treating themselves to an MA. In almonds, mandelic acid protects the nut from viruses, bacteria and fungi, a feature that can also be a great help to our skin too, keeping you free from pre-holiday ‘break-outs’. Its ability to control the hyperdilation of surface blood vessels also makes it ideal for those suffering from rosacea, and as we all know, UV can be a serious trigger for rosacea flare-ups, making EnerPeel® the perfect choice for rosacea sufferers or those prone to reddening.

Almonds

Remember, it’s the fact that it’s perfected in a lab that gives it amazing results – just rubbing almonds on your face will not do your skin any good!

Acne TripleLock® – All-encompassing acne solution, offering 85% success rates even amongst difficult to treat patients

Rosacea TripleLock® – Targeting all causes and symptoms of rosacea in just 8 weeks.

A lot of people are wary, or warn against, getting a chemical peel in summer due to fear of the effect of the sun on the freshly peeled skin, but EnerPeel® is not your average peel! Its rejuvenating effects are almost instant, delivering fresher, smoother skin with almost no downtime, meaning that with a high SPF sunscreen – which by the way, you should already be wearing every day, see our previous article for more details – you’ll be good to go and enjoy the summer sun. It’s even been called the Lunchtime Peel; that’s how little time it takes!

The beauty of EnerPeel® is that is also increases your skin’s absorbability, meaning that the SPF sunscreen you use will soak deeper into the skin for more even tanning, and the smoother texture of your skin means that your makeup will adhere so much better – and you won’t even need to wear as much because your skin will already look fab! That’s one less thing to worry about while you’re away!

Sunwards® SPF 30 Face Cream – Ultimate sun protection from but UVa and UVb rays, without irritation from chemical sun filters.

Rosacure Intensive SPF 30 – Rosacea targeting ingredients, combined with Factor 30 sun protection

Now we all know that holidays tend to be times when we let ourselves go a little and leave the diet at the airport to pick up again when you get home. And why shouldn’t you? Holidays are a time to treat yourself, live a little, and maybe have one too many cocktails at the hotel bar. The drawback is the hit that this can take on your immune system, which can often show on your face, potentially ruining your otherwise gorgeous holiday snaps. EnerPeel® MA will prevent these little holiday ‘break-outs’, keeping your skin clear and smooth, while you still get to push the boat out.

Cocktails

Disclaimer: Other side-effects caused by drinking too many cocktails cannot be prevented by having an EnerPeel before you go!

So, to sum up…

It gives you fresh, younger-looking skin, that will better absorb your sunscreen and tan more evenly.

It’s perfect for helping to control rosacea in time for your next summer holiday, and, with the right aftercare, can provide outstanding results to manage your rosacea symptoms long-term.

It prevents holiday break-outs from eating – and drinking! – too much and can be combined with an acne protocol to control acne by fighting all causes and symptoms.

The treatment lasts around ten minutes or less – a perfect little luxury to indulge in on your lunch break before your next sunny getaway.

Your skin will be cleansed, refreshed, brighter, incredibly smooth and soft to the touch, making it the ideal treatment prior to a garden party, holiday or a summers evening ‘get together’.

EnerPeel MA

Your ticket to gorgeous, glowing, summer skin

In short, it’s the perfect all-around chemical peel for summer, to give your skin that extra holiday glow, and that’s only after one treatment! A course of up to four treatments will also offer you the outstanding anti-ageing benefits of using MA, increasing collagen and elastin deposition, smoothing fine lines and tightening skin.

The EnerPeel® range is available from SkinMed® accredited clinics all across the country; to find your nearest clinic or for any further information, simply give us a call on 0333 247 2474, and a member of our dedicated clinical team will be able to point you in the right direction.

How Gluten can Affect your Acne – and (more importantly) Why?

This week we’re taking on another requested myth sent on by one of our lovely readers, namely ‘does wheat cause, or effect, your acne?’

During my research into this particular skin myth, it became quite clear that I was by no means the only person looking into this subject, and came across hundreds of articles giving their own opinions about whether or not wheat and gluten can affect your skin. Unsurprisingly, I came across a somewhat mixed set of conclusions. That’s why I thought it more important than ever to get to the bottom of this mystery and find out the truth – after all, I’ve already advised you to stay away from dairy, milk chocolate, and excessive sugar! Add bread and gluten to that list unnecessarily, and I’d never be able to forgive myself.

Bread

Give us this day our daily bread… or don’t

Why all the confusion?

From what I’ve been able to unearth, the link between gluten and acne isn’t quite as straightforward as it has been with other foodie-myths we’ve looked at previously (like our Dairy Article for example), instead the reaction to gluten that appears on your skin is more likely to be a reflection of a reaction happening in your gut.

Gluten intolerance, or Coeliac Disease, is a common affliction, affecting around 1 out of 100 people, with many more people being diagnosed with what’s known as gluten sensitivity; similar to Coeliac Disease, but with symptoms that are less immediate that can develop over time. In either case, gluten causes inflammatory responses within the gut – that’s probably the politest way to put it – as well as other symptoms as well, such as headaches, joint and muscle pain and, in some rare cases, neurological issues. As you’ll no doubt be aware, it is these internal inflammatory reactions that make themselves known on your skin, exacerbating acne symptoms and causing so-called ‘break-outs’.  It’s well known that inflammatory reactions that take place in the gut are often reflected by inflammation in the skin, meaning that if you have a sensitivity to a particular food, cutting it out of your diet will not only improve your stomach but most likely your skin as well.

When you consider that 1 in 5 adults suffer from acne, and 90% of people will have experienced acne at some point in their lives, you’ll realise that it’s no wonder that so many people are experiencing a correlation between consuming wheat and gluten products and seeing a negative impact on their skin.

(FYI, these inflammatory responses can also exacerbate the symptoms of other skin conditions, such as rosacea, which also tends to flare up when the sufferers are exposed to triggers that cause these types of inflammatory responses within the body. These include certain foods, alcohol, UV light and many more. With gluten sensitivity being so common, rosacea sufferers may also benefit from being aware of how much gluten they are consuming, as well as monitoring their skin to see if there is an apparent cause and effect reaction.)

Pasta

Thankfully most supermarkets now stock gluten-free alternatives to things like pasta

How can I tell if gluten will affect me?

First of all, I want to emphasise that the link between gluten and acne should only affect you A. if you already have acne, and B. if you are already sensitive to gluten. Gluten sensitivity can occur at any time in your life, as can acne, but consuming wheat and gluten will not cause you to contract acne. Acne is a medical condition which occurs as a result of your skin reacting to hormonal activity within your body and is not caused by any of the food you eat.

If you have Coeliac Disease or think that you might have it – i.e. you suffer from immediate and severe reactions whenever you ingest foods that include gluten – you most likely won’t be consuming anything with gluten in it anyway. However, because gluten sensitivity can manifest itself in so many ways, and often not immediately or severely enough to cause people to seek medical advice, there are those who will fall into both camps, of having acne while already being sensitive to gluten, with this sensitivity only becoming apparent through their skin.

The problem lies in the fact that gluten-rich foods are so often staples in our diets – it is often literally our daily bread – coming in the form of the more obvious foods like bread, pasta, baked goods like cake or pastry, cereals and beer, but also in places you wouldn’t expect, like your toothpaste, shampoo and makeup. It’s therefore often difficult to figure out if gluten is having an effect on your skin, or if your exacerbated symptoms are the result of another trigger entirely because there isn’t time to gauge the reaction between the consumption of gluten and the break-out of acne because gluten is such a constant in your diet and lifestyle.

Toothpaste

Did you know it’s also a commonly believed myth that toothpaste gets rid of spots? Consider that another myth busted!

Should you give up Gluten completely?

As I said before, I would hate to be the reason for anyone to give up on good, tasty food for no reason. Cutting out wheat and gluten could work wonders for your skin, or it could cause a lot of unnecessary hassle for you trying to change your whole diet, without it making any real difference.

One way to find out if you are gluten sensitive would be to go and speak to your doctor to be tested for gluten antibodies. That would give you a good idea of whether gluten could be a cause for your exacerbated acne troubles, however, as I’ve discovered, gluten sensitivity can present its symptoms in various ways, and skin trouble may not be one of them.

Which brings us to method number two; temporarily cutting out gluten from your diet to see what effect it has on your skin. It’s essentially the same method we recommended with dairy, usually known as the elimination technique, where you cut out your chosen food type from your diet and observe any effect over 3 to 4 weeks. If after that time you notice a positive difference to your skin, you can then start to think about removing gluten from your diet on a more permanent basis – thankfully nowadays most supermarkets offer gluten-free alternatives to things like bread, pasta and cereals, making this kind of transition much easier than it would have been in the past, meaning you don’t have to give up on the foods you love, and still get to keep your skin clear. After your time spent gluten-free, to make doubly sure of your results, you could experiment by indulging in a gluten-rich meal and seeing the effect it has on your skin – you often only need one relapse to give you the resolve to stick to your new diet. 

If, however, after your gluten-free month you don’t notice any discernible difference, you can be fairly certain that gluten is not the culprit for your skin troubles, and go back to your usual diet. The elimination technique doesn’t only have to apply to gluten though, and if your skin is still suffering, you can always try experimenting by eliminating different food groups and keeping track of the effect on your skin.

Calendar

After one month of no gluten, you either have clearer skin, or you can go back to enjoying bread – It’s win-win!

One thing you can’t go wrong with though is the right skin solution.

Acne TripleLock® is a clinically proven skin solution, and unlike cosmetic brands, is medically licensed in the treatment of acne, 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.

To learn more about the Acne TripleLock® range, click here.

SkinMed® has a variety of product ranges to treat many skin conditions, suitable for almost all skin types.

Need help deciding what to buy? Take advantage of our trained skin specialists, they know skin inside and out as well as our extensive product ranges – that makes them the best people to ask when it comes to seeking advice.

There’s no such thing as a silly question, we’ve heard it all! Contact us using the details below:

Contact us!

Call: 0333 247 2474 Email: info@skinmed.co.uk – Online chat: www.theskinmedshop.com

Could you have a cheese addiction? Find out why it’s so hard to give up dairy…

After our article last week, sent in by one of our lovely readers, about whether or not drinking milk can give you acne, we realised that our research had only really scratched the surface, and so we’ve decided to dig a little deeper into this particular food myth. Sadly, the cheese-lover that I am, all of our research pointed to the conclusion that, while dairy does not cause acne in and of itself, it is a major culprit for affecting your skin and exacerbating your acne if you already have the condition.

As such, we recommended two courses of action to help you cut back on your dairy intake, in order to better your chances of achieving clearer skin. As a rational adult, I thought it would be easy to cut down on dairy, in order to be responsible and do what’s best for my skin and my health… how wrong I was – and for me, cheese is my biggest weakness!

So why is it so difficult to give up on cheese in particular? I mean, it smells like somebody’s unwashed socks for a start! Is it possible that it could actually be addictive? The answer is a resounding ‘yes’.

Cows

With enough milk, he should be able to grow into those ears!

As I said last week, to get to the root of this mystery, we have to go back to what milk is actually for; growing strong babies, and strengthening the bond between mother and child. Because of this, milk contains a chemical called casomorphin, a psychologically addictive substance that binds to the opioid receptors in your brain that make you happy when you drink it – perfect for baby cows to keep them coming back to mum, to make them grow up big and strong. But the problem is that no other animal drinks the milk of another species, so we humans are unique in that we are inadvertently consuming this chemical intended for babies well into adulthood, essentially causing a minor addiction to dairy that is surprisingly hard to break, sometimes even resulting in withdrawal symptoms.

When you consider that it takes around 1kg of milk to make 100g of cheese, you realise that the casomorphin content is so much more concentrated compared with other forms of dairy… hence the struggle.

What about lactose-free dairy products?

It’s a commonly believed skin myth – that’s right, we’re doing a myth within a myth! – that lactose-free milk is somehow better for acne-prone skin. In fact, the only thing that lactose-free milk is better for is people who are lactose-intolerant. Aside from the fact that lactose-free milk has that additional ingredient of lactase, to help those who are incapable of processing lactose, it is otherwise exactly the same as regular milk and therefore will still have the same effect on your skin.

This is also true of goats’ and sheep’s milk, which are also commonly believed to be better for your skin, when in fact, they still contain all the same growth hormones that will exacerbate your acne. Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be any wiggle room on this one.

Hedgehog

Did you know hedgehogs are lactose intolerant?

Getting over your cheese addiction:

Last week, we said that cutting out dairy completely is one of the best things you can do for your skin, but it may not do much for your mood. It may be that you have to wean yourself off milk gradually; try lasting two weeks or so without dairy, then have a cheat day, and just wait and see the effect it can have on your skin – doing that a few times is sure to give you the motivation to kick your milk addiction!

There are also some alternatives to milk that you might want to consider:

– Unsweetened, organic almond or coconut milk (lovely on granola, in porridge, or blended into smoothies and milkshakes)

– 100% coconut cream (a great addition to desserts, salads and soups)

– Organic, full-fat coconut milk (delicious in curries, stir-fries and risottos)

Any dairy that you can’t bear to part with should be as raw, organic, and unprocessed as possible; that means, full-fat dairy from grass-fed cows, and looking out for hidden dairy in other foods as well, like pre-made soups, curries or mashed potatoes. The more processed the dairy – like skimmed or powdered milk or low-fat versions of cheese and cream – the worse it is for you.

Say cheese

Smile! You can still enjoy the foods you love, without them affecting your skin!

As we’ve said time and again, however, while diet and lifestyle can have a huge impact on your skin, it’s only half the battle to get you the results you want. For the other half, you’re going to need an acne solution that is medically licensed to treat all causes and symptoms of acne, to give your skin the best chance of success.

Acne TripleLock® is a clinically proven skin solution, and unlike cosmetic brands, is medically licensed in the treatment of acne, 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.

To learn more about the Acne TripleLock® range, click here.

SkinMed® has a variety of product ranges to treat many skin conditions, suitable for almost all skin types.

Need help deciding what to buy? Take advantage of our trained skin specialists, they know skin inside and out as well as our extensive product ranges – that makes them the best people to ask when it comes to seeking advice.

There’s no such thing as a silly question, we’ve heard it all! Contact us using the details below:

Contact us!

Call: 0333 247 2474 Email: info@skinmed.co.uk – Online chat: www.theskinmedshop.com

Does milk give you spots?

We’re back in the kitchen this #TopTipTuesday and tackling another food-related myth, after a request from one of our avid readers, asking the question, does drinking milk give you spots?

Unlike our similar article ‘Does Chocolate give you Spots?’ the answer is a little more cut and dry this time, with most indicators pointing to a yes, but we at SkinMed believe that understanding why something affects your skin is more important than just a yes or no answer.

Why?

Knowledge is power

So maybe we ought to start over…

Why does Milk give you Spots?

We want to start by pointing out that drinking milk will not give you, or cause you to contract, acne. However, if you already have acne, or are prone to spots, consuming dairy can exacerbate your symptoms. This is also true of carbohydrates (maybe I should just save us all some time and make a list of all my favourite foods because somehow everything I love is meant to be bad for your skin).

So, as we have said previously, acne is caused by a hormonal imbalance that prevents the skin from controlling water loss. This, in turn, leads to the skin thickening, producing more oil and dead skin cells building up in an attempt to slow down the loss of water; the dead skin and excess oil cause blockages in hair follicles in the skin which lead to spots of varying severity. So how do milk and dairy affect this process and make it worse?

Calf

Just look at this cutie!

First, we have to get back to basics and think about what milk is actually for – namely making baby cows grow up big and strong. It, therefore, contains a naturally occurring growth hormone, IGF-1, which is perfect for a young calf but causes inflammatory responses in people, which is what exacerbates your acne symptoms. Milk and dairy products also cause a spike in insulin production, that causes the liver to produce even more IGF-1, artificially making your skin more hormone sensitive, and causing your skin to produce excess oil and increase in thickness, resulting in more blockages and more spots

Dairy can also act as a sort of glue, sticking together the dead cells in your skin, which, when building up in your narrowed, inflamed hair follicle ducts, makes the plugs of dead skin and oils more resistant to being dislodged.

In short, it’s not good news.

So, what can you do?

Unfortunately for all you cheese lovers (myself included) now is the time when we need to make a choice – dairy, or clear skin? Sadly, when it comes to achieving clear skin, cutting out milk and dairy is one of the most powerful things you can do; you may miss your dairy treats, but the difference it will make to your skin should more than make up for it. That’s why if you’re a dairy fiend, we recommend you try one of the following:

Going Cold Turkey:

Entirely cutting out all milk, cheese, cream, yoghurt, ice cream, butter, and anything else of dairy origin from your diet is likely to get you the greatest, fastest results possible, so if you can bear to say goodbye to all of it, this is the plan we would suggest, especially if acne is something that you’re really suffering with. You can either go completely cold turkey and remove all sources of dairy from your diet immediately for 30 days, or you can steadily reduce your dairy intake before beginning your dairy-free month.

Once your 30 days are up, you should be seeing some noticeable improvements in your skin!

They say it takes three weeks to make a habit, so after nearly a month you may have gotten used to your new no-dairy diet and continuing with it may be nothing short of a breeze. If you’re like me, however, and would probably be showing withdrawal symptoms by this stage, you can start to reintroduce certain forms of high-quality dairy, such as raw, grass-fed whole milk, or organic yoghurt and cheese, one at a time to your diet. This will allow you to keep track of which particular dairy products cause your acne to react, meaning that you won’t have to give up everything you love entirely, while still maintaining control of your symptoms.

Grass fed cows

It’s that green, green grass that makes all the difference

Decrease and Enhance:

This is the plan that I will probably try to stick to – in case you haven’t already gathered, I love cheese! Decrease and enhance is essentially decreasing the quantity of the dairy you’re consuming, and enhancing the quality, so you don’t need to cut it out completely. This is a plan you can get away with if your acne symptoms are manageable, but you want to improve the results you’re getting from your daily skin routine.

The main two things to remember when you’re doing the ‘Reduce and Boost’ plan are:

  1. Cut back on any unnecessary dairy you have throughout the day – don’t add milk to your scrambled eggs, and cut back on the amount of tea and coffee you drink if you drink them white, swap yoghurts for fruits, and try dairy-free milk alternatives like almond or coconut milk (which by the way make incredible tasting smoothies and milkshakes). When you are making something that requires you to use dairy, make sure it’s of the highest quality you can manage; raw, organic, grass-fed products are the least harmful to your skin.
  2. Avoid having dairy if you don’t know for sure of the quality, i.e. when you’re eating out – regardless of what it says on the menu, unless you can know for absolutely sure that you’re only eating organic whole dairy products from grass-fed cows, it’s better to simply not take the risk
Cheesy pizza

It may look delicious, but we’ve all heard the phrase ‘pizza-face’ right? Maybe not so delicious now…

There you have it – not such good news I’m afraid, but something to work towards at least; either cut it out completely or reduce your dairy intake to only what is necessary and of the highest quality. It’s only posh cheese from here on out! Even still, removing this or that from your diet and lifestyle will only help or hinder your acne symptoms. Acne is a medical condition, and it will remain even if you never touch milk again; it is the line of treatment you pursue that will ultimately determine the future of your skin.

Acne TripleLock® is a clinically proven skin solution, and unlike cosmetic brands, is medically licensed in the treatment of acne, 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.

To learn more about the Acne TripleLock® range, click here.

SkinMed® has a variety of product ranges to treat many skin conditions, suitable for almost all skin types.

Need help deciding what to buy? Take advantage of our trained skin specialists, they know skin inside and out as well as our extensive product ranges – that makes them the best people to ask when it seeking advice.

There’s no such thing as a silly question, we’ve heard it all! Contact us using the details below:

Contact us!

Call: 0333 247 2474 Email: info@skinmed.co.uk – Online chat: bottom right of your screen