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

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.

Scarring: The story of our lives told on our skin

Forget wearing your heart on your sleeve, you wear the story of your life on your skin. The skin is the body’s largest organ, which is subjected to numerous traumas over a lifetime which leave enduring marks, such as bites, burns, rashes, acne attacks , injuries and surgical incisions. By protecting your skin and treating it well you can help stop a disfiguring scar from becoming inevitable and permanent.  Dr Joshua Fox founder and director of New York & New Jersey-based Advanced Dermatology, PC & the Centre for Laser & Cosmetic Surgery states “We now have some keys ways to help prevent scars, and even treat existing scars so they’re much less noticeable.”
How scars form
There are many contributing factors that determine the formation of a scar. These can include:

  • The depth of the injury. The deeper the impact of the trauma on the skin increases the risk of scarring. If you suffer a deep cut or burn on your face, it is wise to consult a doctor for stitches to decrease the scale of scarring.
  • Acne. Acne is a major cause of scarring; popping a pimple maybe a great temporary solution to improve the appearance of spots, but in the long run, it can cause permanent marks on the surface of your skin. If you have squeezed your spots and have been left with acne scarring, help is at hand.
  • Terproline products provide key ingredients to replace damaged collagen and elastin, it triggers the breakdown of the scar collagen and provides the skin with the means to replace this with new smooth elastic skin. In the meantime a great product to use to dramatically reduce the size of your pimples rapidly without the risk of acne scarring, would be the Aknicare range, especially the Skin Roller, a product specifically designed to reduce a large spot quickly before scarring can occur. It can reduce a spot in a matter of hours, this provides rapid relief to keep your pimples at bay. To prevent a breakout altogether try using one of SkinMed’s tailored-for-you acne busting product sets.
  • Trauma Location. There are areas of the body that are more prone to scarring than elsewhere, such as the middle of the chest, the earlobe and the tip of the shoulder. Scars that form on the joints are often more visible due to the stretching and movement during the healing process.
  • Age. A person’s age is a major contributor that determines the formation of a scar. The older you get the less capable your cells are at efficiently carrying out the wound-healing process and the skin takes longer to heal. Younger people heal more rapidly and in a lot of cases this can trigger an over healing response leading to hypertrophic or raised scars.
  • Family history and skin tone play a vital role in your proneness to an overly aggressive healing process. When this occurs, you can develop elevated hypertrophic and in some even keloid scars. The NHS describes this process “Collagen gathers around the damage and builds up to help the wound seal over. The resulting scar usually fades over time, becoming smoother and less noticeable. However, some scars don’t stop growing. They ‘invade’ the surrounding healthy skin and become bigger than the original wound. These are known as keloid scars”. You have a greater risk of developing keloids if you have darker skin.
  • Infection. Ensure you thoroughly clean the wound at the time of trauma and ensure that all foreign bodies, for example glass and dirt particles, are removed from the area. If the wound becomes infected, more white blood cells disburse to the trauma site and are more likely to leave traces of their presence in the form of more severe scarring.
  • Hard Scabs. It is essential not to pick¸ this will not only remove the scab but you are also stripping away new skin cells which delays healing, doubling the risk of scarring.

What’s happening beneath the skin
Scars are caused as a result of burns, surgery or injury and form as part of the healing process. New skin collagen fibres are rapidly produced to mend this damage and they form a dense network of bound fibres in the area of injury, resulting in scar tissue, which has less elastin and hyaluronic acid incorporated and hence has a different texture to the surrounding skin. The collagen fibres all stick together to create a rigid less elastic tight skin texture.
Collagen fibres in the lower levels of the skin along with soft keratin in the upper skin layers provide skin strength and shape. Collagen exists in different forms, but the important ones related to the ageing process and skin damage are Collagen Type-III (mobile dynamic youthful collagen) and Collagen Type-I (known as scar collagen).
Skin cells called fibroblasts produce new Collagen Type-III fibres, which are single stranded and flexible. These strands are linked together by elastic fibres called elastin, which together create a network that can bend and expand and then contract back to normal, so skin maintains its shape.
Elastin (and fibronectine) gives the skin elasticity and work in conjunction with collagen to provide skin structure and ‘springiness’. Loss of elastin leads to reduced elasticity, so when skin creases it takes longer for these creases to expand out again. Scars have very little elastin associated with them and are mainly many compressed collagen fibres ‘stuck together’.
Hyaluronic acid is a sugary long-chain fibre which attracts and holds water, forming a jelly-like filler which provides skin plumpness and firmness, and keeps the collagen and elastic network in place. As we age, hyaluronic acid levels reduce causing the skin to lose plumpness, leading to lines and wrinkles, where again elastin levels are reduced and collagen fibres come into contact with each other and link together more easily as hyaluronic acid levels reduce. In a way wrinkles are like mini-scars in structure.
Scar prevention and over the counter remedies
Although it is not possible to prevent a scar from occurring, it is possible to help your scar heal better and become less visible. It is essential to thoroughly clean the wound to reduce the risk of infection. Applying a protective layer of a hydrating ointment can keep the area moist and promote a more regular healing response and helps new skin cells to migrate to the site of trauma as the wound closes. Moisture can also encourage bacteria so some may recommend incorporating an antibacterial agent or a disinfectant. To prevent infection, clean the wound and replace the bandage daily until the wound is fully healed. If the wound becomes warm or painful to touch, oozes yellow puss, redness extends beyond the site of the wound or you develop red streaks, it is possible that you have developed an infection and it is wise to seek medical advice.
Terproline® stimulates fibroblast activity, while providing the raw materials for new collagen and elastin. Terproline®  improves the elasticity and extensibility of the skin, accelerating tissue repair by triggering removal of old/scar collagen and increasing production of new collagen and elastin, promoting faster, more uniform healing and recovery. Terproline® has remarkable properties in promoting the skins rejuvenation response, by sustaining results for longer and by increasing collagen and elastin development.
How medical advice can help
Not only can scarring have a devastating effect on an individuals’ self-confidence, it can continue to cause pain. In these circumstances it is wise to seek medical advice, as there is now a wide range of treatments available.
Some of the most difficult scars to deal with, especially emotionally, are keloids and hypertrophic scars; because the scar will be raised and red. There are treatments available to reduce the inflammation and the redness, such as steroid injections and laser treatment. These treatments to have what is referred to as ‘downtime’, where a client feels they cannot go out in public after invasive treatments due to redness and swelling. Dr Fox states “You need to stay home after these procedures since your skin can be raw.” If you are looking for a non-invasive treatment, with no added downtime, Terproline Professional®, a clinic strength product, has been shown to reduce keloids and hypertrophic scarring. It is also an excellent product to use if you choose to have invasive treatments. It’s best to use this product before and after many cosmetic procedures that cause skin trauma, such as chemical peels, lasers and injections due to its protective and recuperative properties. Terproline® has remarkable properties in promoting a much better response from rejuvenation procedures, reducing complications and sustaining results for longer by increasing collagen and elastin development. When used in conjunction with Fillast®, these products achieve a high hyaluronic acid environment by promoting a more youthful Collagen Type-III environment

Acne Can Affect More Than Just Teenagers

Acne tends to affect most teenagers to some degree. And in most cases, it is a mild temporary condition that is not permanent. But some teenagers develop severe acne problems that dramatically and negatively affect their social and emotional well being. And for some of these individuals, this embarrassing condition can turn into a life long problem.

Severe acne problems affect millions of adults. An acne breakout for adults can occur out of nowhere and without any warning and then go away just as easily. But it can also be a serious chronic condition for some sufferers. Severe acne sufferers also have to deal with the embarrassment of unsightly acne scars, which can result in low self esteem issues. Scarring can be reduced and treated by our Terproline range which is designed to treat and reduce scarring.

There are hundreds of acne treatments that involve drugs and expensive creams. But they are not designed to treat the underlying conditions that cause acne outbreaks. These expensive remedies treat the symptoms of the disease, not the disease itself. Aknicare is a uniquely different solution as it is designed specifically to treat the underlying causes of acne.

Many acne products are designed to treat the mild temporary acne that primarily affects only teenagers. Doctors know that teenage acne is a fleeting problem and, as the teenager enters adulthood, the acne normally goes away. As a result, most doctors treat only the acne, not the underlying condition. Unfortunately, adult acne sufferers know that their acne will return again and again. They know that acne will be a recurring visitor in their life. The expensive treatments the doctors typically prescribe don’t often cure the disease in the long term but primarily treat the current symptoms thus allowing the acne to re-emerge.

If you suffer from severe acne, you also know that serious infections can result. And this sometimes requires powerful and expensive drugs to fight it off. Until recently, there were not many effective tools to deal with severe acne. But after extensive research, knowledge and clinical trials, Aknicarewas developed. Aknicare targets the underlying problem of acne. Professor Tony Chu, Consultant Dermatologist and Lecturer at Hammersmith Hospital (London) agrees “Aknicare is the only product to target the four key symptoms of acne and the underlying process, leading to healing of existing spots and stopping new ones developing.”

A clinical trial was carried out on patients who were patients who were failing on GP prescribed treatments and so difficult to treat patients. Aknicare was highly effective and symptoms resolved in a matter of weeks, not months as with other treatments. Aknicare slowed down oil production by an average of an amazing 53%. This study was carried out by the top acne Professor in the UK and head of the UK acne charity. This study was published in the British Journal of Dermatology, which has the reputation of being the best dermatology academic journal in the world. You need a good professionally done trial to be accepted for publication. You can read the full study by clicking here.

Acne Scarring

Scars are formed when the deep thick layer of skin is damaged. This can be caused by acne or damage to the skin and is the result of the natural healing process of the skin. The formation of scars occurs due to excess production of collagen, prolonged inflammation and excessive proliferation of fibroblasts.

Scar tissue which replaces the original skin tissue is inferior in quality and not resistant to ultraviolet rays. Hair follicles and sweat glands do not grow back within scar tissue.

The main types of scarring are atrophic scars, hypertrophic scars and stretch marks.
Atrophic scarring is associated with acne, chickenpox, certain diseases, surgery and accidents. An atrophic scar takes the form of a sunken recess in the skin, which has a pitted like appearance. These are caused when underlying structures supporting the skin, such as fat or muscle, are lost. Hypertrophic scars are due to the over production of collagen that causes the scar to become a raised lump on the surface of the skin. Stretch marks are also a form of scarring which occur during events such as pregnancy and excess weight gain when the skin is subjected to stretching.

Scars disfigure the body by leaving seemingly permanent marks on the skin making it unattractive. They can lower the quality of life of the suffering person by causing low self esteem and depression. These scars can have a devastating effect on the sufferer and many, especially teenagers, contemplate suicide since appearance is important during the teen age.

Thanks to today’s scientific research, Skinmed are able to help you treat almost all types of scarring whether it is a self treatment or clinical treatment option.

For those looking for a non surgical treatment to help reduce scarring try our Terproline rangewhich is available directly from Skinmed or from your local Skinmed clinic.

Why Terproline?

-Terproline will reduce unattractive scars and reduce the risk of hypertrophic scarring.
-Terproline will flatten any existing scars to help blend them into surround skin.
-Terproline will Elasticise your scars to make them smoother and less visible.
-Terproline is medically proven to increase the elastic properties of the skin.

To prevent further scarring from active acne it is important to use our Aknicare range alongside Terproline especially the Aknicare cream which actively helps to re-hydrate the skin and reduce scarring.

We suggest Clinical treatments for Box and ice pick scars because scars with deep indentations are effectively empty space and it is very difficult to remodel empty space.  So we need to fill them with new tissue, and then stimulate skin regeneration processes to work to remodel this new rapidly produced scar tissue with more normal skin tissue which will have greater elasticity and structure.

Using SkinMeds Enerpeel TCA cross technique, it is possible to pipette the solution into the scar and allow the acid to cause frosting and then scabbing. Once the skin had healed and the scab gone, techniques such as using the Derma FNS pen can then initiate the replacement of scar tissue with new skin.

There are lots of treatments and solutions available to you.  Contact SkinMed to hear more about the ranges we offer for scarring and if you wish we can arrange a free skin consultation at one of our registered clinics near you.