Keratosis Pilaris – Those annoying tiny bumps that can be found on the back of arms.

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Keratosis Pilaris is a common skin condition that causes patches of small rough raised bumps to appear on the skin. These tiny bumps (that look like pimples) are caused by a buildup of a protein called ‘Keratin’ (and also dead skin cells) at the opening of hair follicles. The condition sometimes gets referred to as ‘chicken skin’.

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The bumps usually appear on the upper arms (most common), thighs, and buttocks. Although less common, they can also show up the face. They are often accompanied with associated redness.

Those with dry skin, are more likely to have Keratosis Pilaris (KP). It may also occur in association with other skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis / eczema.  KP is usually worse in the winter months, when there’s less moisture in the air. It can often reduce slightly in the summer months.

Although Keratosis Pilaris can occur at any age, it is more common in children and teenagers. It usually reaches its peak prevalence in adolescence and for some, may disappear after the age of 30.

Keratosis Pilaris results from the buildup of keratin which forms a scaly plug that blocks the opening of the hair follicle. Usually many plugs form, causing patches of rough, bumpy skin.

Flare-ups can increase when there is a vitamin A deficiency.

Treatment?

There is generally no 100% cure for this harmless skin condition, however there are ways to greatly reduce the severity and to prevent it from getting worse.

What can help:-

  • Use a gentle soap free body wash (soap can exacerbate dryness). Avoid lathering agents such as sodium lauryl sulphate which dehydrate the skin and strips beneficial lipid layers.
  • Use a ‘gentle’ exfoliator once or twice per week to remove dead skin (without irritating the skin and adding to the problem). A great example is R+F ‘Microdermabrasion Paste’.
  • Topical Retinoids (Vitamin A) help prevent hair follicles from becoming plugged. It also helps with skin cell turnover. However be careful as some Retinol creams are drying. See here for a recommendation.
  • LED or Intense Pulsed Light (ILP).
  • Creams containing salicylic acid, lactic acid, glycolic or urea which help support regular skin-cell proliferation. A good moisturiser will help prevent water loss from the skin (ie dehydration).
  • Laser hair removal
  • Eat anti-inflammatory food such as Omega-3’s found in Salmon, Walnuts, Sea Buckthorn etc
  • Avoid inflammatory foods (non fermented dairy, gluten and sugar).
  • See Gut Health
  • Humidifiers – add moisture to the air, which can maintain the moisture in your skin and prevent itchy flare-ups.
  • Soothe 2 sensitive skin treatment
  • See Skin Supplements
  • Avoid long hot showers which dry the skin out.

More on Vitamin A

Low levels of this vitamin have been associated with inflammation and acne.

Carrots are a source of Vitamin A.  HOWEVER the Beta Carotene (in carrots) needs to be converted into vitamin A in your intestines by gut flora. If you do not have the right gut flora it just won’t happen. See Gut Article. The better absorbed source of vitamin A is from cod liver oil and organ meat, particularly liver.

 

Note:- Women who are pregnant, or breast feeding, or may become pregnant should speak to their treating Doctor or Midwife Before taking Vitamin A supplements or using topical retinoids.

Victoria Isherwood

Registered Nurse

Essential Fatty Acids & Skin Health

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) have many health benefits including SKIN health. This is due to the fatty acids EPA & DHA.

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Essential Fatty Acids – particularly Omega-3’s

  • Help keep the skin moist and strong by reducing the amount of water lost through the epidermis (the top layer of skin).
  • Have anti-inflammatory properties – including the treatment of eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, keratosis pilaris and acne.
  • Help prevent premature aging of our skin.
  • Mental Health benefits (eg anxiety & depression).
  • Heart Health
  • Helps with the management of ADHD.

With most skin conditions, inflammation is a big part of the problem (externally and systemically). Therefore a high intake of EFA’s (particularly omega-3’s) is extremely beneficial.

Since the body doesn’t produce EFA’s, they must be obtained through our diet or from supplements. Good dietary sources include salmon, sardines, walnuts, avacado’s and flaxseeds.

Good EFA supplements include Fish oil, Sea Buckthorn & Krill oil. However keep in mind that there are fish oils and there are fish oils. SO many of the supplements found in our supermarkets are manufactured cheaply and can even be rancid! Choose a reputable company (eg BioCeuticals in Australia) where the fish oil undergoes strict testing to ensure its purity & to make sure it is of the highest quality, using ethically sourced fish free of heavy metals.

Victoria Isherwood

(Registered Nurse / Skin /Dermatology)

Victoria Isherwood (Registered Nurse)

Eczema

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Exactly What Is Eczema?

Eczema (sometimes referred to as atopic dermatitis) is a common condition where patches of skin become inflamed, itchy, red, cracked, and rough. The severity can vary greatly.

Eczema is most common in children and will typically clear as they age. However, they will often continue to have sensitive skin AND eczema will often return again in later life.

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As I’ve explained in previous articles, our skin should act as a protective barrier against external irritants and bacteria. However when the skin is affected by eczema (and the lipid barrier is compromised), external irritants and bacteria are able to penetrate into the skin and moisture is lost . This causes further irritation, inflammation and dryness, which can lead to cracks in the skin, itching, infection etc.

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While the exact cause of eczema is not fully understood, we do know  that;-

Skin hypersensitivity and reactions are often the by-product of hypervigilant immune system skin cells (called Langerhans cells), thrown into overdrive by triggers such as environmental allergens, stress etc.

To put it simply, eczema is caused by inflammation of the skin.

TRIGGERS, which activate and exacerbate episodes of eczema include diet, hormonal, environmental, stress and lifestyle-related factors.

Common triggers include soap, perfume, detergents, stress and change in temperature or weather. Food allergies can also play a part, especially in young children. Individuals will react differently to different triggers.

Other Triggers

  • Hormones: Women can experience increased eczema symptoms at times when their hormone levels are changing, for example during pregnancy and at certain points in the menstrual cycle.
  • Stress: This is not a direct cause of eczema but can make symptoms worse. See mind-skin connection.

Mild cases of eczema can leave the skin irritated, dry, red, scaly and itchy, while the more severe cases can lead to weeping, bleeding and crusting of the skin.

Managing Eczema

For many people, the severity of flare-ups will lessen with maturity, and ‘some’ may completely outgrow it. However, as eczema can come and go throughout life, learning how to manage flare-ups and identifying triggers is the best course of action.

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There are a number of things people with eczema can do to support skin health and alleviate symptoms, such as:

Avoiding external irritants and allergens

Common environmental irritants include:

  • Harsh soaps, bubble baths, some shampoos
  • Wool, nylon
  • Grass and sometimes sand

Common allergens (substances that can aggravate eczema if you are allergic to them) include:

  • pollens;
  • house dust mites;
  • animal dander (small scales from the skin and hair of animals).
  • certain foods.

Note:  an allergy assessment by an allergist will properly identify the allergic triggers.

  • As Overheating can make eczema worse,  therefor try not to have heating too high in winter, bathe in lukewarm water (not too hot), don’t use an electric blanket.
  • Prevent your skin becoming dehydrated and dry (which are two different conditions).
  • Wear cotton and soft fabrics, and avoid rough, scratchy fibers and tight-fitting clothing.
  • Use a mild soap when washing and a non-soap cleanser (such as Soothe gentle cream wash).
  • Gently pat (with a towel) or air dry rather than rubbing the skin dry after bathing.
  • Avoiding rapid changes of temperature and activities (like heated yoga) that make you sweat excessively.
  • learn and avoiding individual eczema triggers
  • Use a humidifier in dry or cold weather.
  • keep childrens fingernails short to prevent breaking the skin when itching.
  • Use an emollient daily to keep the skin moisturised.
  • Wear cool breathable natural fibres.
  • Eczema can get worse when stressed or anxious, so consider relaxation techniques such as meditation. See Mind-Skin-Axis.
  • Check ingredients of skincare products before use.
  • See common skin conditions

Nutrition and skin health

As certain food allergy’s intolerance’s can aggravating eczema, keeping a food diary can help pin point the particular foods that may be causing flare-ups. Speaking to a nutritional professional will point you in the right direction here.

It is important to remember that eczema is an inflammatory skin disorder. Therefore avoiding inflammatory foods can greatly help manage eczema. See gut-skin connection article.

When it comes to healthy eating, certain Vitamins and Nutrients can have a very positive effect on skin health. Some of the key nutrients believed to be essential in maintaining good skin health include; essential fatty acids (EFAs such as salmon, wallnuts or Sea Buckthorn), Zinc, Probiotics, Selenium, Vitamin E (avocados), Vitamin D, Beta-carotene etc. See here for more info.

Everyone is individual and what your body needs, may be different to someone else’s. A nutrition professional can help you understand what foods may be causing your skin issues and guide you in the right direction.

Moisterisers / Emollients

Moisturising is one of the easiest (and most important) measures in protecting the skin barrier. It can also prevent itching and scratching, as well as reduce eczema flare-ups.

As eczema is a chronic condition, it is important to incorporate regular moisturising into your daily skincare routine.  – normally a cream or ointment that softens and soothes the skin. For very dry skin, this should be done twice per day.

  • Avoid moisturisers that contain perfumes which can irritate the skin.
  • Moisturisers should also be applied within 3 minutes of bathing to ‘lock in the moisture’

Rodan + Fields offers dermatologically tested and proven products that are gentle and safe enough to use on childrens delicate skin. Steps 2 & 3 from the Soothe Regimen are two of the products that I recommend. If you are looking for relief and just don’t know where to turn, please feel free to contact me to see if these products are right for you and your family.

Note: emollient is just another word for a moisturiser

Steroid creams and ointments?

Creams or ointments containing corticosteroid are commonly used for flare-ups of eczema. Steroid preparations can relieve itching by reducing inflammation. However it is important to discuss this with a dermatologist as using high-strength steroid ointments or creams over long periods can be associated with  side effects. Short term use intermitted (when required) is a better option.

Anti-itch preparations for eczema

Cold compresses, oatmeal baths, coal tar and pine tar preparations may help to relieve itchy skin.

Antihistamines are occasionally recommended to relieve itching that is disrupting sleep. Their benefit is partially due to the sedating effect – they do not completely suppress the itch. Sedating antihistamines (such as Phenergan) are therefore best taken at night.

The mind-skin connection

Some skin conditions, including eczema, have a psychological component. This is a dynamic is referred to as psychodermatology.  See more information here…

Also see

Light Therapy benefits

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Victoria Isherwood (Registered Nurse)

Are Your Skincare Products Eco Friendly?

Enspired by recent Earth Day! 🌏 

Unfortunately not all Skincare products are kind to the environment!

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Testing on animals?

Cruelty free skincare

Many people are surprised to learn that so many of the big name skincare and cosmetic companies test on animals. The good news is that there are some great great companies out there such as Rodan + Fields that are 100% cruelty free.

To find out more about which companies DO test on animals please visit:-

https://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/companies-that-test-on-animals/

The bad list includes….

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Microbeads and our Marine Life

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In bays and estuaries all around the world (including Sydney), there are billions of particles of toxic plastic called microbeads. Sadly these microbeads are killing our fragile marine life!

Unfortunately microbeads are a common ingredient in cosmetic and household products. This includes some facial exfoliators, scrubs and polishes.

These microbeads are incredibly small. So small, in fact, that most wastewater treatment facilities can’t filter them out. The only way to stop microbeads from poisoning our rivers, lakes and oceans is to stop them entering delicate marine ecosystems in the first place.

Microbeads = toxic sponges

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Microbeads function like miniature sponges, absorbing things like pesticide and other chemical runoff. In fact they are often a million times more toxic than the water they’re floating in 😫

Marine worms in our oceans ingest these toxic microbeads. The worms are then eaten by fish and other predators. Then if people then eat those poisoned fish, well… you guessed it, they’re at serious risk of falling ill from the toxic residue too.

To find out more about the devastating effect microbeads have on our marine life please visit:-

http://animalsaustralia.org/features/plastic-microbeads-poisoning-marine-life.php

🐠 Rodan + Fields Microdermabrasion Paste does NOT have these non-biodegradable beads in them. Their product uses sugar and salt to polish and exfoliate the skin (helping to get rid of dead skin cells).

Other positive facts about R+F skincare company 

🌏 The vegetable gel capsules from the Redefine Intensive Renewing Serum and the Redefine Lip Renewing Serum all start to disintegrate when they come in contact with water.

🌏 All the products come in recyclable containers and clearly state on them, “Please recycle.”

🌏 The company aims to empower all women…. even   Mother Nature

🏅 They just received the award (for the 2nd year in a row) of #1 skincare line in ALL of North America!! The  numbers and awards speak for themselves 🥇

If you’re at all curious send me a message, happy to share some info 😊

Victoria Isherwood (Registered Nurse / Dermatology)

Should You Be Taking Skin Boosting Supplements?

Unsure whether you may need an extra nutritional boost for your skin? OR are you perhaps lacking in a vital skin nutrient without realising 😳?

Our skin is often a reflection of what is going on inside our bodies. It’s always best to aim to get the majority of your nutrition through your food. HOWEVER, if you don’t always eat as well as you should ….here are 7 supplements to consider

Skin Boosting Supplements

Vitamin A (Retinol)

Vitamin A is an antioxidant that belongs to the class of compounds called retinoids. It is critical for skin maintenance and repair, collagen production and acne prevention.

F9BB7C22-1C20-4892-9FCB-AE360A838526.jpegLow levels of Vitamin A have been associated with:-

  • Rough, dry and scaling skin.
  • Inflammatory skin conditions.
  • Follicular thickening of the skin – which can show up as rough, raised bumps on the back of the arms (called hyperkeratosis pillaris).
  • Acne – Vitamin A is essential for the normal shedding of dead skin cells which can otherwise build up inside our pores. As we know, blocked pores ultimately lead to acne. Furthermore, Vitamin A has anti-inflammatory benefits for our skin and can therefore help calm angry acne breakouts.

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Vitamin A is found in two different forms: Active Vitamin A and Beta Carotene. Active Vitamin A comes from animal-derived foods and is otherwise known as retinol. This ‘ready to be absorbed’ Vitamin A can be used straight away by the body -it does not need to be converted. The 2nd type of Vitamin A (which is obtained from colourful fruits and vegetables), is ‘Beta Carotene’. These carotenoids need to be converted to the active form of Vitamin A by the body (after the food is ingested). Beta carotene is found primarily in vegetables and fruits.

The most vitamin A-rich foods are liver and cod liver oil, however other sources include:-

Eggs, asparagus, peaches, carrots, beet greens, kale, broccoli, spinach, sweet potato, cantaloupe, red peppers and mango.

Poor Gut Health can cause malabsorption of vitamin A.

Vitamin A (commonly known as Retin-A) has been prescribed for decades by dermatologists to treat acne ‘topically’. Accutane (Roacutane) is a prescription oral medication which is derived from vitamin A. It has been used to treat severe cases of acne by dermatologists for years. However it can have serious side effects and its use must be supervised by a dermatologist.

Note:- Because Vitamin A is fat-soluble, it can build up in our body. Therefore an excessive intake (of more than 10,000 international units / IU) can be toxic. This is especially the case during pregnancy, so women who are planning on becoming pregnant should check with their doctors before starting any supplements.

B7 / Biotin

Vitamin B7, otherwise known as ‘Biotin’ is a water-soluble ‘B-complex’ vitamin.

B7 (biotin) contributes to the maintenance of strong and healthy hair, SKIN, nails, mucous membranes, the nervous system, and psychological functions. It is also essential for the metabolism of glucose, proteins and fatty acids.

Interestingly B7 sometimes gets the nickname ‘Vitamin H’, which stems from the German word “Haar” which mean “hair and skin.”

The human body cannot synthesis its own Vitamin B7. Only bacteria, molds, yeasts, algae, and certain plants can make it. SO it needs to be supplied via our diet.

Unabsorbed B7 is eliminated in urine, so the body does not build up spare reserves. This means it must be consumed daily.

Sources of B7 include:-

Salmon, sardines, avocado, bananas, raspberries, liver, mushrooms, yeast, whole-wheat bread, cheddar cheese, pork, chicken, cauliflower, egg yolk, carrots, dairy, certain nuts.

Although B7 deficiency is not too common, the symptoms include:
• dry, irritated skin
• brittle hair or hair loss

Vitamin C

The antioxidant properties of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), combined with its role in connective tissue health and the synthesis of collagen -makes Vitamin C vital for SKIN health.

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which our body does not make on its own (and it does not store it either). SO it is important that it is included daily in our diet.

Many fruits and vegetables are great sources of vitamin C. Some good ones include:-

Citrus fruits, strawberries, broccoli, spinach, kale, red capsicum (pepper), kiwi fruit, guava, papaya.

A deficiency in Vitamin C can present as:

  • Rough, dry, scaly skin
  • Easy bruising
  • Slow wound healing
  • Dry and splitting hair
  • Dry red spots on the skin
  • Poor gum health (bleeding, inflammation etc)

Essential Fatty Acids – particularly Omega-3’s

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) have many health benefits including SKIN health. This is due to the fatty acids EPA & DHA.

  • Help keep the skin moist and strong by reducing the amount of water lost through the epidermis (the top layer of skin).
  • Has anti-inflammatory properties – including the treatment of eczema, rosacea, psoriasis and acne.
  • Help prevent premature aging of our skin.
  • Mental Health benefits (eg anxiety & depression).
  • Heart Health
  • Helps with the management of ADHD.

Inflammation is a big part of the problem with acne (externally and systemically). Therefore an anti-inflammatory Omega-3 supplement is helpful when it comes to clearing acne.

Since the body doesn’t produce EFA’s, they must be obtained through our diet or from supplements. Good dietary sources include salmon, sardines, walnuts and flaxseeds.

Good EFA supplements include Fish oil, Sea Buckthorn & Krill oil. However keep in mind that there are fish oils and there are fish oils. SO many of the supplements found in our supermarkets are manufactured cheaply and can even be rancid! Choose a reputable company (eg BioCeuticals in Australia) where the fish oil undergoes strict testing to ensure its purity & to make sure it is of the highest quality, using ethically sourced fish free of heavy metals.

Zinc

Zinc is an vital mineral that helps with;-

  • Healthy skin, hair & nails
  • Prevention and management of acne & other skin conditions.
  • Healthy immune function.
  • Tissue repair and wound healing.
  • The metabolism of omega-3 fatty acids

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Zinc is easlier absorbed from animal food sources. However some plant foods and nuts can be high in zinc as well. Good sources include: Organs such as kidney and liver, red meat such as beef and lamb, and seafood such as oysters, scallops, and other shellfish. Non animal sources include pecans, pumpkin seeds, ginger, legumes, mushrooms and whole grains.

Probiotics

See previous article…

Curcumin

Turmeric is a bright yellow-orange spice related to ginger. Turmeric gets its health benefits primarily because of its bioactive component ‘curcumin’.

Curcumin – is an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral powerhouse.

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Curcumin has been shown to be quite effective in calming the symptoms of eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, scleroderma, rosacea, and other skin diseases. Although the underlying causes of these conditions vary, they all have ‘inflammation’ of the skin in common.

Science shows that Curcumin can be beneficial for acne sufferers. Topically applied it can kill bacteria and reduce acne-causing inflammation. Taken internally it can reduce inflammation which partially the cause of acne. In fact, studies have shown that acne sufferers have higher levels of inflammation and lower levels of antioxidants than people with clear skin. Therefore it is no surprise that treatments that reduce inflammation and oxidative stress reduce acne.

More recently, studies have suggested that curcumin, may slow (or even cease) the growth of melanoma skin cancer cells.

 

Victoria Isherwood (Registered Nurse) 🙂

 

Please note:-
The recommended daily amount of vitamin A (from all sources) is 700mcg retinol equivalents for women and 900mcg retinol equivalents for men. If you are pregnant, or considering becoming pregnant, do not take vitamin A supplements without consulting your doctor or pharmacist. WARNING – When taken in excess of 3000mcg retinol equivalents, vitamin A can cause harm to the baby.

The Importance of a Strong Skin Barrier

The below is a great extract from ‘Mind Body Green’ written by Amy Chang (2018). It really highlights the importance of a strong skin barrier. For years I personally suffered from hormonal adult acne. Having dry skin meant that the products I was using to treat breakouts were making my dry skin worse …and the products to (supposedly) nourish my dry skin were increasing my breakouts. I was suffering from product overload and a severely compromised skin barrier.

The breakthrough for me came after I switched skincare products. I was then able to fortify my skins natural moisture barrier. This meant my skin became more resilient,  less prone to irritation, and had fewer breakouts.

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Extract below from Mind Body Green 2018

Note: The author Amy Chang is a Los Angeles-based influencer and founder of BOND EN AVANT, a beauty and wellness blog dedicated to sharing her journey exploring nontoxic skin care and makeup etc

The Skin Care Routine That Helped Clear My Adult Acne

If you get a pimple or two, is your first reaction to reach for something drying? It was always mine. But somehow, every time I approached treating my adult acne this way, all it did was make things worse. Much worse. I couldn’t understand why these prescriptions and products marketed as “acne treatments” weren’t working and were actually exacerbating the situation. I figured maybe I hadn’t found the right one. So, one after the other, I tried them all, desperately hoping one would work. Finally, after almost a decade of riding the acne roller coaster, I discovered how to clear up my adult acne. The first and most important step was realizing my acne was not a result of excess oil but rather dry skin, inflammation, and a disrupted skin barrier.

The Importance of a Strong Skin Barrier

‘The Acne Answer: A Step-by-Step Guide to Clear, Healthy Skin’, written by organic skin care founder and chemist Marie Veronique, was actually instrumental in bringing this understanding to light. In her book, Marie breaks down the importance of strengthening the skin’s barrier and rebalancing its microbiome, which many acne sufferers have severely—and unknowingly—disrupted due to prescription topicals, preservatives (i.e., parabens, phthalates) that can have microbiome and endocrine-disrupting capabilities, and overcleansing or overexfoliating the skin.
“With the skin microbiome,” she explained to me in our interview, “if you use a topical antibiotic for instance, clindamycin, it will kill all of the bacteria on your skin, disrupting the balance. It may work for a while, but once you stop, the bacteria can come back with a vengeance and can be very difficult to treat. We have been taught that when you start getting a breakout, you must use oil-free products, that you want to cleanse to get rid of the bacteria, but all you’re doing is drying out the skin, stripping it of the oils that are actually going to help keep your skin microbiome in balance and creating dry skin, which may invite more pathogenic bacteria to overcolonize. What started out as a little problem can quickly become a large problem.”

What finally worked to heal my cystic acne

Upon learning this from Marie, I decided to make an effort to avoid harmful synthetic preservatives and began employing a skin care routine aimed at strengthening my skin’s barrier and rebalancing its microbiome. Within weeks, my skin drastically improved.

Key tips to take away:-

Focus on reducing inflammation.

Even (adult) breakouts are commonly ‘inflammation’ in need of soothing, not something to overstrip and dry out. Re think your skincare products as you may be doing more harm than good!

Gentle Cleansing

Cleansing needs to be about removing impurities, without the use of harsh surfactants -which strip our skins natural (and beneficial) moisture. Two great options are R+F Soothe Gentle Cream Wash or Redefine Daily Cleansing Mask (with Koalin Clay). Click here to find out more or purchase.

Gentle physical exfoliation 

Exfoliation is absolutely essential in every skincare regime because it sloughs off a whole layer of dry, dead skin cells (causing dullness). This allows other products to then work more effectively. HOWEVER there’s a catch;- Most of the granulated exfoliants on the market are very harsh. In fact it is not uncommon for them to have apricot seeds (pits) as an ingredient.  The small sharp edges can easily create micro-tears in the delicate lipid barrier, allowing distress. This is not something we want to experience.

One of my favourite products is the R+F Micro-Dermabrasion Paste. This dermatologically developed product features Vitamins C & E + ‘sugar granules’ that melt away leaving the skin silky-smooth.

Ideally, an exfoliant should only be used 1-2 times per week instead of cleanser. To purchase click here.

For information on certain problematic skin issues please visit:-

Common Skin Conditions

Rosacea

Perimenopause & your skin

Adult Acne

Melasma & Pigmentation

😌 Victoria Isherwood (Registered Nurse – Skincare)

 

 

 

Retinol

Can we have an impact on how our skin ages?

 The answer is: YES

Retinol (Vitamin A) is clinically proven to make a huge impact on how skin ages. Dermatologists have been prescribing it for decades as the gold standard for promoting skin cell turnover and collagen production. It can help with:-

Retinol benefits

SO …..when it comes to delivering long-term benefits and creating a more youthful appearance, it certainly gets an A+.

However, there’s a hitch: Prescription Vitamin A causes irritation and can be very drying, which makes daily use very difficult.

DC54FDED-82A5-4FF1-8207-C07918FAF408So how can you reap the benefits of Vitamin A without the irritation or the need for a Doctors script??

One way is to use products that contain a very low percentage of Retinol – this would be less irritating to the skin, but also less potent and effective (compared to prescription Vitamin A). The innovative way is to use Rodan + Fields Intensive Renewing Serum, which is the closest thing you will find to prescription strength WITHOUT drying your skin out.

This is because Intensive Renewing Serum contains a proprietary blend of powerful peptides and Retinal-MD (which is 20 times the strength of regular retinol). This will allow for visibly improved skin WITHOUT the side effects. The time-release technology keeps this anti-ageing serum working all night long to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and pores for firmer, younger-looking skin. SO …..you can revitalise the appearance of your skin while you sleep. It is designed to be tough on the signs of aging and not on your skin.

What about oral Vitamin A?

Vitamin A is a super important antioxidant / fat-soluble vitamin. It is crucial for maintaining overall health and keeping our SKIN healthy and clear. See here for the multiple skin benefits of oral vitamin A (including the best dietary sources).

Q&A:

Why should topical Retinol only be applied at NIGHT time?

Its important to keep your skin away from direct sunlight when using retinol. This is because retinol makes skin super-sensitive to UV rays and more likely to burn. In addition, the sunlight makes the product less effective. SO ALWAYS apply retinol serums in the evening before bed and remember to use sunscreen every morning.

Why does R&F Intensive renewing Serum (Retinol) come in small capsules?

The patented capsules eliminate the product’s exposure to oxygen. Oxygen decreases the efficacy of retinol dramatically – hence the creation of these little blue capsules! This intensive serum is as close as you can get to prescription Vitamin A without a visit to a doctor.

Pregnant woman and Vitamin A?

If pregnant please speak to your Doctor or Midwife before considering topical or oral Vitamin A. This is because high levels of vitamin A early in a pregnancy increases the risk for birth defects.

 

Click here to purchase or to find out which other products may suit your Skin type. Please message Victoria to find out how to get an instant discount and free shipping.

Want to amp up your Retinol Serum even further? Visit here

Victoria Isherwood (Registered Nurse)

Victoria Isherwood (Registered Nurse)

 

Psychodermatogy – The Mind-Skin Connection

Our mind and skin are very much connected. This is now being referred to as Psychodermatogy. Psychological stressors such as chronic depression, stress, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have been known to increase flare ups of acne, rosacea, psoriasis, hives, eczema and vitiligo (depigmented white spots on the skin).

According to Shelley Sekula-Gibbs (MD Professor of Dermatology), studies show that “at least 30% of all dermatology patients have some underlying psychological problem that often goes unaddressed”.

Constant stress increases the production of our stress hormone ‘cortisol’. This then triggers inflammation and can also throw off other hormones in our body.  Increased inflammation is not good news for inflammatory skin disorders.

Stress can also disrupt the balance between the good and bad bacteria in our gut. As we know, our gut health can also cause havoc with our skin. See Gut Article

When cortisol levels backfire, it can lead to over activity of oil glands in our skin. The sebaceous glands on the face and neck produce excess sebum, and our pores are more likely to become blocked. Bacteria loves to harvest in these blocked pores, which causes pimples.

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Anxiety & other Psychological Conditions can also make it harder to sleep. Studies have shown that sleeplessness seems to have an effect on our skin’s ability to heal. This can then negatively effect skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, acne etc.

 What else we know about Stress (and other Negative Emotions)

  • When we are anxious or stressed, it becomes much harder to ignore negative sensations, like itching caused by eczema and psoriasis.
  • For psoriasis sufferers –  the immune system really over-responds to stress hormones— which can lead to major flare-ups.
  • Stress hormones also trigger our body’s “fight or flight” response. Blood, oxygen and nutrients are directed to vital areas such as our muscles so that they are ready for action. This means that our non-vital areas such as our SKIN miss out.
  • Cortisol inhibits our bodies repair and healing process. This is not ideal for flare-ups of any inflammatory skin conditions.

 

The Viscous Cycle

Flare-ups of Skin Conditions such as acne and psoriasis can then cause a person to experience more stress, continuing the cycle.

What Can Help

Finding ways to cope with underlying psychological issues (such as stress) can have a very positive impact on improving skin conditions.

  • hypnosis is an option for some people
  • meditation
  • exercise
  • Get more sleep
  • deep breathing exercises
  • seek help from a professional
  • some people fin essential oils useful
  • psychotherapy
  • yoga

 

Exercise Skin Benefits

A Great Read 

first, we make the beast beautiful’ by Sarah Wilson

For more information visit

https://www.psoriasis.org/life-with-psoriasis/stress

https://www.webmd.com/beauty/features/effects-of-stress-on-your-skin#1

Rosacea – What to do and what not to do

Rosacea is an inflammatory condition. It is characterised by intense and frequent flushing or blotchy redness, with the appearance of ‘broken blood vessels’ on the cheeks, chin, and nose, and in most cases, acne-like pimples. It is often mistaken for adult acne, however it usually lacks the blackheads and true whiteheads (‘comedones’) of acne vulgaris. It is important to distinguish between the two as the treatments that work for acne are not good for rosacea.

We are not 100% sure of the exact cause, but we do know:-

  • It runs in families
  • Sufferers usually have sensitive skin
  • Hormones play a role
  • Certain infections can may play a role
  • Gut Health is often connected (see Gut-Skin) – there is in fact a a higher incidence of rosacea in people with SIBO (small intestinal bacteria overgrowth).
  • The regulation of blood flow to the skin in rosacea is abnormal.
  • Is most common in light skinned women between the ages of 30 to 50.
  • Many sufferers also have facial seborrhoea dermatitis. This can also be known as facial dandruff.

 

There are 4 different Subtypes of Rosacea

Erythematotelangiectatic Rosacea
The inflammation is more diffused into the skin and is associated with redness and flushing. There is often episodes of flushing which occur due triggers (see triggers below).
Papulopustular Rosacea
The inflammation is heavily centred around the pore, causing pimple like redness and swelling. Sometimes pustules and nodules are present. Skin may be sebaceous and even oily in areas.
Glandular Rosacea
Is more commonly seen in men who had a history of teenage acne. It is typically around the nose area. Skin is thick and reddened, pores are large and can be filled with plugs of dead skin cells and sebum. There is usually enlargement and swelling of the oil glands on the nose which makes the nose look larger and rounded at the end.
Ocular Rosacea
The oil glands along the eyelash line. Ocular rosacea can be seen with the other types of rosacea.

Triggers

  • Spicy foods
  • Heat – including saunas and spas
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol– particularly Red wine
  • Stress, anxiety and embarrassment
  • Physical exertion
  • Cosmetic & skincare products that contain high levels of alcohol, glycolic acids or fragrance.
  • Hot drinks
  • Excessive physical exertion.
  • Due to the skins weakened barrier, certain skin treatments need to be avoided. This includes facial acid peels and microdermabrasion.

 

What else we know about all types of Rosacea

  • Demodex mites have been linked to rosacea in some studies. This microscopic mite likes to reside in hair follicles and have been shown to be more numerous in the skin of rosacea sufferers.
  • Intestinal bacteriah. pylori’ may play a role.
  • Sebaceous hyperplasia papules are often present. These are enlargements of the oil glands which look like small waxy yellow bumps and have a central pore. They are often mistaken for milia.

 

What can help

Although rosacea can not always be 100% cured, there are a variety of lifestyle changes and treatments that can help keep it under control.

  • See Kleresca
  • Topical agents such as azelaic acid, benzoyl peroxide (because P. acnes may play a role in rosacea), sulfacetamide (10%), and sulfur (5%).
  • Advances in ‘peptide technology’ have been found to help calm the inflammation associated with rosacea.
  • Specialised laser therapies – eg IPL (non-Laser intense pulsed light) or PDL (Pulsed dye Laser).
  • Short term oral antibiotics- however this is not ideal for gut health SO it should be followed with a course of probiotics.
  • One anti-aging product that is usually well tolerated is Retinol. Ideally it should be combined with gentle peptites.
  • Omega-3’s (Fish oil, flaxseed, walnuts, Sea Buckthorn
  • Probiotics …..see Gut-Skin
  • Avoiding or decreasing inflammatory foods such as wheat and unfermented dairy.
  • LED Light Therapy

 

SKINCARE

Sensitive Skin Skincare Treatment

The Skin barrier strength in rosacea is abnormal making a lot of skin products and cosmetics irritating.

1) Cleanse
Use emulsion type soap-free cleansers which sweep away makeup and other skin impurities without the use of harsh surfactants. Barrier nurturing ceramides are essential.

2) Calm
Dimethicone and allantoin can help to fortify the skin’s barrier and relieve irritation and dryness.

3) Nourish
It is important to replenish the skins natural moisture without the use of traditional emulsifiers. The aim being to hydrate and nourish.

4) Protect
Sun can play a role for rosacea sufferers. Daily lightweight sun protection is important.

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