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

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.