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 Top 5 Reasons Why Your Skin Freaks Out in the Sun and Exactly How to Stop Them

Even if the sun is behind the clouds you should always be wearing sunscreen and if you’re not, you need to be, whether you’re spending your summer at the beach or using your lunch break as a time to get your vitamin D boost. If you’re religiously applying your SPF but still confused as to why your skin is turning red then there could be multiple underlying reasons for this. Here are 5 of the most common issues related to sun exposure and how to manage and prevent them.

1. You’re prone to rosacea

If you’re covered in SPF and still look like you’re burning, especially on your face and chest then this could be a result of rosacea says New York dermatologist, Dr Whitney Bowe. Rosacea sufferers blood vessels can be very reactive and when you’re hot, as a way to regulate your body temperature, your body will dilate the blood vessels close to the skin which causes this redness. Always make sure you’re hydrated and cool when out in the sun to prevent blushing but a way to treat redness is to carry a cooler containing an ice pack or cold drink and hold this against the affected red area. If the redness doesn’t fade then The UV rays could be the problem, always make sure you use a high SPF – 30 or above explains Dr Bowe. We recommend Rosacure to help treat Rosacea as it reduces permanent and intermittent reddening skin and thread veins through desensitising the skin against reddening triggers making the skin more tolerant. Evidence and Success Stories available. We also recommend Enerpeel Mandelic acid skin treatments for the management of Rosacea and thread veins.This peelincorporates a 5% concentration of MSM deep into the skin. MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) has been shown to exhibit significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties making it a fantastic new treatment for reddening skin. Call us on 0333 247 2474 to find out where you can have this amazing treatment.

2. You just need to cool off

Prickly heat is caused when your sweat glands are blocked. This could be a result of tight clothing or sensitive skin and humidity, the sweat builds up which causes an uncomfortable reaction explains Manhattan-based dermatologist Dr Joshua Zeichner.

In order to avoid this nasty reaction wear loose clothing and make sure you keep yourself cool.  If you do find yourself experiencing a reaction, Sensicure Cream Gel is a brilliant treatment for prickly heat as it delivers a calming action to rapidly and effectively control the signs of irritation. Also used to reduce the frequency and degree of itching and burning and reduces unpleasant tightness.

3. You’re using birth control pills

Melasma is a reaction result from a combination of fluctuating hormones from factors like birth control and pregnancy and UV rays. Bowe explains that the blotchy, brown hyper-pigmentation that may appear on your forehead, above your lip and on your upper cheeks is usually melasma. Always wear plenty of SPF and a large hat when in the sun to protect yourself from the UV rays to prevent this from happening in the first place.

We recommend using Thiospot, its new formula reduces pigmentation levels in the skin safely improving skin discolouration caused by increased melanin production.

We also recommend Enerpeel JR for melasma to give a smooth and even skin tone. Call us on 0333 247 2474 to find out where you can have this amazing treatment.

4. You’re allergic to the sun

PMLE (Polymorphous light eruption) is a skin allergy that can leave you with a spotty, red and itchy rash when exposed to the sun and after you leave it, says Zeichner. In simpler words, your skin has had an allergic reaction to the sun. This usually happens earlier in the summer season or if you haven’t been exposed to the sun a lot. Make sure you’re always reapplying your SPF and in order to get your skin used to the sun and to make sure it doesn’t react as strongly, acclimate your skin to the sun slowly. Ceramide boosting can also reduce sun sensitivity and sun reactivity. SkinMed recommend Hydratime and Nutritime for ceramide boosting as they can increase lipid density in the epidermis. This can then lead to a normalization of lipid levels reduced by hormonal triggers.

5. You’ve handled limes

If lime juice is mixed with UV rays, this can cause phytophotodermatitis – a burn-like reaction on the skin, explains Zeichner. Depending on whether the lime juice has dripped or splashed, the reaction will be seen in streaks or little dots. Always make sure to wash your hands thoroughly, washing away any drips and splashes after handling the limes. If skin has had contact with limes we recommend using Sensicure Cream Gel due to its powerful soothing, desensitising and hydrating action to eliminate any burning or stinging sensations.

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.

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.

Keep Pigmentation at Bay

Use a Good Quality Face Wash

Dependant on your skin, you need a good quality face wash over the hot season. It will refresh your skin, removing impurities and make your face clean and spot free, if you have sensitive skin it’s important to use a gentle cleanser, these are tough on acne, kind to your skin. Aknicare’s Gentle Cleansing Gel is a superb solution to ensure your skin is kept clean and acne free, whilst being gentle on your face. If you don’t have sensitive skin, you can use the normal Aknicare cleanser, this product has been clinically proven to deliver remarkable results. Use either of these products withAknicare’s products set, with the fast acting skin-roller containing salicylic acid and the acne creamand say Good-Bye to acne. For good.

Use an SPF at all times 

Even when the sun is not out, use an SPF of 30+. This will not only prevent you from getting tanned but will also make sure that your skin is not susceptible to developing age spots due to the constant exposure to the harmful UV rays of the sun, if you already suffer from forms of hyperpigmentation it’s imperative to remain in the shade or wearing sunscreen or those dark patches will become instantly more prominent. If this is the case, and you want to dramatically reduce the darkness of your pigmentation then fear not, there is now a solution on the market! Thiospot products are aimed at pigmentation sufferers and even contain a UV filter to protect skin spots from darkening when exposed to the suns radiation. So, this would make your ideal companion for you on your summer holidays

Up your fluid intake 

Another way you can protect your skin during this season is by drinking lots of water and fluids through the day. Dermatologists suggest that when you wake up in the morning, consuming a glass of seasonal fresh fruit juice like that of a watermelon will keep your skin hydrated. Further, it will also cleanse your system and keep your skin fresh. Vegetable juices made from cucumber, tomato and kale will keep your skin glowing at all times.

Summer proof your eyes and lips

Last but not the least, your eyes and lips are also prone to pigmentation during this weather. Apply a cooling pack on your eyes — green tea bag dipped in cold water or ice pack on your eyes before you retire for the night. For your lips, use a pack made of cucumber and aloe Vera to lighten the dark patches. You can also use a lip balm that contains SPF during the day so that your lips do not darken.