Is It Possible To Have Glowing Skin after 50?

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Changes in our SKIN after 50 predominantly occur due to

  • The multiple effects of hormonal fluctuations
  • A shrinking skeleton
  • Decreased collagen production
  • Accumulated sun damage over the years
  • Repetitive facial expressions over the years (causing lines and wrinkles to become etched in).

Some of the typical skin changes that occur during this period of estrogen decline:-

  • Dryer (and sometimes itchy) skin
  • Thinning skin
  • Decreased elasticity
  • Sensitivity
  • An increase in rosacea and other inflammatory skin conditions
  • Increased  pigmentation (äge spots”)
  • Lines and wrinkles & volume loss.

Fortunately, there’s lots we can do for healthy skin after 50 

Cleanse GENTLY

Cleansing is an important skin care step at every age. However, as we get older our skin becomes more delicate and drier. So we need to use a cleanser that is right for our skin. Choose either creamy formulas or cleansing masks -rather than harsh foam or gel cleansers (which can strip moisture away and compromise our delicate lipid barrier).

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Oestrogen stimulates the production of oils in our skin and also our skins ability to hold moisture. So when oestrogen production diminishes  – dry and sometimes itchy skin becomes a common problem.

Although ‘Dry’ and ‘dehydrated’ seem like two words which describe the same thing;- there is a big difference when it comes to our skin! To put it simply, dehydrated skin lacks water and dry skin lacks oil / lipids.

In relation to skin care, hydration means increasing the amount of water in our skin cells, which results in a healthy, smooth and plump complexion. When our skin doesn’t have enough moisture, it gets scaly, rough and dull.

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Moisture and hydration skincare products do different things. A moisturiser tends not to hydrate the skin. Instead it forms a barrier to prevent moisture from escaping. A hydration product on the other hand – actually brings water to the skin. So, it is important that we give our skin the right combination of hydration and moisture.

If you are not using a serum now YOU SHOULD. Most contain effective anti-aging ingredients not typically found in other products such as cleansers, toners, moisturizers,or facial oils.

You Still Need SPF

The maintenance of Melanocytes (cells that manufacture the pigment Melanin) is under the control of estrogens. During menopause, the number of melanocytes in the skin is therefor reduced (due to a decrease in estrogen). Less melanocytes, means we produce less of the protective melanin. Our skin therefore becomes more prone to sun damage.

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Although a lot of the damage was caused by the amount of sun we got in our 20s, 30s, and 40’s, it’s still vital to protect our skin from further damage. So include a broad-spectrum SPF as part of your daily skincare regime.

Sunscreen for anti-aging

Hit the Brown Spots

Pigmentation äge spots” on the face, hands, and chest can look more obvious around menopause. Help prevent them by using sunscreen every day. Already got spots? See here

Clean up your DIET and consider your GUT

Eating foods rich with antioxidants can help your skin from the inside out. See more here regarding skin boosting super foods to increase in your diet and here for foods to avoid. Also consider:- Omega-3’s

Consider your Mental Health 

Our mind and skin are very much connected. This is now being referred to as Psychodermatogy.

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

Take time during your day to reduce stress levels. Try yoga, meditation, pilates, going for a walk, reading OR any other stress-reduction techniques – to help reduce cortisol levels.

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Get Moving

Exercise helps keep our skin healthy and vibrant. The multiple benefits of exercise include:-

  1. Increased circulation, including blood flow. This
    results in oxygen and nutrients being delivered to
    our skin.
  2. An increase in blood flow, also helps waste products 
    to be carried away from our skin.
  3. Endorphins (our feel good hormones) are produced. This subsequently helps reduce stress levels and cortisol. This can result in an improvement of acne, eczema and other skin conditions.

Upgrade your Skincare regime

  • Upgrade your Skincare Regime / Products – to suit your changing skin conditions. Visit the Solution Tool for further advice regarding which skincare products will best suit your individual skin concerns.

Bulk Up on Beauty Sleep

Getting enough sleep helps your skin look younger. Lack of sleep can cause hormonal imbalances (and also decrease our metabolisms). It can also increase  flare-ups of inflammatory skin conditions and adult acne. getting adequate sleep helps prevent dark circles under our eyes, and it also gives the rest of our body a chance to recharge.  Aim for 7-9 hours per night.

Sleep and your skinAnd a Retinol serum at night

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 helps to correct lines, wrinkles, and scarring and can also help with breakouts.

Retinol benefits

Minimize Wrinkled Skin

Wrinkles are formed from a combination of too much sun over the years, hormonal change, repeated facial expressions, a loss of collagen, and thinning skin. Wrinkles are more obvious when our skin is dry. SO use a hydrating serum and a moisterising cream every day.

  • Some people choose to get muscle relaxant injections – these work to prevent the formation of static wrinkles by stopping the signal between the nerve and muscle. The decreased movement in the muscle places less stress on the skin helping to give a fresh and youthful appearance. Anti-wrinkle injections are made from a purified protein that temporarily causes facial muscles to relax, instantly softening lines and wrinkles and reducing the severity of visible wrinkles. Please contact Victoria for more information on Laser Clinics Australia bookings. Or visit the  LCA website
  • Hyaluronic dermal filler injections – once again, this is a personal choice made by some people. A dermal filler helps re-volumise and hydrate the face. Made from hyaluronic gel – a natural sugar already present in the human body. Hyaluronic can help restore fullness and volume in numerous facial areas. Visit here for more details.

Always use an Eye Cream.

The skin around the eye is thinner and more fragile. It requires a different efficacy and mix of ingredients than the skin on the rest of your face does.

Tip – Try keeping your eye cream in the fridge, as the cold cream will help constrict blood vessels to reduce puffy under eye bags in the mornings.

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Make sure your using skin products that suite YOUR skin type

It’s very important to choose cleansers, moisturizers, and a skin care routine formulated for your skin type. If you don’t know yours, find out at What’s Your Skin Type.

Skin Boosting Supplements

  • Certain supplements can do wonders for our skin especially if its a supplement your lacking in. For example Zinc, probiotics (see gut health), and Omega 3’s (which help with inflammation and dryness). See here for more

 

Victoria Isherwood (Registered Nurse)

Victoria Isherwood (Registered Nurse)

 

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)

Dry vs Dehydrated SKIN: Is there a difference? And what can we do to help?

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DRY vs DEHYDRATED skin

Dry’ and ‘dehydrated’ seem like two words which describe the same thing. However there is a big difference between dry and dehydrated skin! To put it simply, dehydrated skin lacks water and dry skin lacks oil / lipids.

C314026C-AA54-4C14-8065-40AC3DD559FD.pngDehydrated skin is caused by not having enough water content in your skin, however oil production may still be present. Meaning – you don’t need to have dry skin to have dehydrated skin!

Dehydrated skin is common among people who have acne-prone and oily skin. Especially if they use strong skincare products that strip water away from the skin.

DEHYDRATED SKIN

  • Shows more fine superficial lines
  • Looks dull
  • Is thinner and more fragile
  • Prevents skincare products from working as well as they could.
  • Can be sensitive
  • Feels rough
  • Shows accelerated signs of ageing
  • Has decreased elasticity
  • Has a compromised lipid barrier, which means more moisture is lost and the skin is vulnerable to bacteria and irritants getting in. For some this can result in redness and irritation.

DRY SKIN

  • Feels rough
  • Appears dry and sometime flaky
  • also has decreased elasticity
  • Can have a pileup of dead skin cells which causes a loss of smoothness.
  • Can be itchy
  • The older we get, the less natural oils we produce.

 

How did my skin get so dehydrated?

Everyday life and the environment can negatively impact our skin. Sun, wind, harsh air conditioning, heaters and some harsh cleansers can leave the epidermis parched and fragile. In Winter, indoor heating removes humidity from the air which can cause are skin to become more dehydrated. Taking long hot showers in winter further exacerbates dry dehydrated skin.

Hydration

When you think of hydration it’s only natural to think of water. To hydrate something means to increase its water content. In relation to skin care, hydration means increasing the amount of water in your skin cells, which results in a healthy, smooth and plump complexion. When our skin doesn’t have enough moisture, it gets scaly, rough and dull—and can in fact look like the skin of someone far older. That means whether you’re in your 20’s OR 50’s or somewhere in between, you need to start making sure your skin is properly hydrated now!

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When our skin starts to look and feel dehydrated our first instinct is to slather on heavy moisturiser . The tightness and dullness may go away for a few days or so, but then we find ourselves back at square one trying to solve the problem. Drinking plenty of water will help, HOWEVER since our skin is the last organ to absorb hydration, using topical ingredients that promote hydration are necessary as well.

Moisture and hydration skincare products may seem synonymous, however these products do different things. A moisturiser tends not to hydrate the skin. Instead it forms a barrier to prevent moisture from escaping. A hydration product on the other hand – actually brings water to the skin. So, if you want to show off a healthy glow at any age, make sure you give your skin the right combination of hydration and moisture.

Active Hydration Serum

What order should Hydration and Moisturising products be applied?

Since the purpose of hydrating is to bind water to our skin and moisturising is to prevent the water from leaving our skin, it’s important that hydration comes before moisturising. This is why serums are to be applied first (think thin to thick) . Then once you get that layer of hydration on, you need to seal it all in with a moisturiser. This combination creates the perfect balance.

 For those with particularly oily skin, you may not need to moisturise as often. So applying a hydrating product may sometimes be enough. However this only applies if your skin naturally produces enough oil to prevent water from leaving the skin.

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A great way to keep your skin hydrated (and therefore looking younger) is with R+F Active Hydration Serum™. This hydrating, oil-free serum contains Hyaluronic Acid and 30% Glycerin to help defend against dehydrated skin. Why do we love this unique Hydration Serum? because it…..

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  • Is clinically tested for all skin types – even oily, acne-prone or sensitive skin.
  • Immediately hydrates skin to its optimal level, maintains it throughout the day and continues to build over time with ongoing use.
  • Incorporates 3D3P Molecular Matrix, which acts as your skin’s personal water reservoir, drawing and locking in moisture from the air as your skin needs it.
  • Is OIL free
  • Serves a totally different purpose than a moisturiser.
  • Is clinically tested to boost Regimen performance for all skin types.

The Science

The secret is the patent-pending 3D3P Molecular Matrix. The key ingredients are cross-linked Hyaluronic Acid and Glycerin. These are powerful humectants (aka water magnets) and are the two best water binders on the market. Did you know Hyaluronic Acid can hold 1000 times its own weight in water! Together, these ingredients attract and lock in moisture which subsequently helps nourish and replenish dry skin. Active Hydration Serum is not like any other product on the market. It self adjusts to your skins needs and your environment to address hydration in a different way. Most moisterisers don’t add hydration to the skin. They just form a barrier that prevents moisture from escaping.

Incorporating Active Hydration Serum into your daily Regime?

Active Hydration Serum can be applied before moisteriser and makeup. Because hydrated skin responds more easily to products layered on top, using Active Hydration Serum will also help to boost the visible results of other products.

Click here to purchase. Please contact Victoria to find out how to receive a 10% discount + free shipping.

Other relevant and helpful information-

Skin Masks

Look after your skins protective lipid barrier 

Skin Supplements

What NOT to do

How to Nourish Sun Damaged Skin

Victoria Isherwood

(Registered Nurse / dermatology / Skincare)

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.