Skin needling is one of the best skin treatments available on the market today. It helps to treat almost every skin concern from acne to aging to pigmentation. However, not all types of needling are created equal and the difference between an at home dermal roller and an in-clinic high-oscillating needling pen, can make an exponential difference in the health of your skin and the outcome of the treatment. Even though at home dermal rollers might sound like the best thing since sliced bread; they may not be all they’re cracked up to be. Various factors such as the ability to change the needle depth, mechanical action of the device, ability to sterilise or dispose of equipment, as well as education and understanding of the procedure, it’s interaction with the skin and aftercare, are the main differences between an at home dermal roller and an in-clinic needling pen. These differences make a huge impact to the quality of your results and the overall success of your treatment. While dermal rolling sounds like a fabulous, cheaper alternative for giving yourself at a home needling treatment, it truly can’t be compared with an in-clinic procedure.
The mechanical aspects of dermal rolling vs. an in-clinic needling pen are very different. Dermal rollers come equipped with hundreds of tiny needles at a set length which are then rolled over the skin, whereas an in-clinic needling pen punctures the skin extremely fast in a stamping-like motion. The pen is then moved over the skin and the needle length/depth can be adjusted immediately during the treatment. The ability to adjust the needle length is crucially important to safely treating the skin and maximising the results of the treatment and is one of the main differences between the two methods. The deeper the needles used in skin needling also increases the risk of damaging the skin, especially if the treatment is performed by a non-qualified therapist. Since many dermal rollers are sold for private use at home, they’re normally created with a shallower needle depth of only around 0.25mm in order to make them safer to use for someone who is not a professional. However, this means they may not be suitable for treating some skin concerns. Different skin concerns are needed to be treated at different needle lengths, for example acne can be treated at a shallower needle depth since this condition when not severe, and if scarring is not being treated, only effects the top layers of the skin. However, if you wanted to increase collagen production and decrease the signs of aging or scarring then you would need to treat the skin at a greater depth puncturing into the dermis in order to get the results desired, this also normally results in pinpoint bleeding. This information is typically only known by a qualified therapist and is crucial to be aware of in order to figure out the most effective way to treat your skin. Areas of the face also need to be treated at different needle depths. Depending on how much bone is under the skin or how thin the skin is will determine the maximum needle depth safe for that area. Sensitive areas such as the forehead, under eyes, nose and top lip are generally treated with a more superficial needle depth. Parts of the face like the cheeks and neck, however, can be treated at a deeper needle depth and be treated more intensely. The ability to change the needle depth allows the therapist to treat the skin in the most effective yet safest manner possible and get the best results out of your treatment.
Dermal rolling particularly can also cause excess trauma to the skin. The physical motion of rolling over the skin causes micro tears which can encourage excess bleeding and so, create unnecessary trauma. When an in-clinic needling pen is used, it only punctures the skin in a vertical manner which doesn’t create the micro tears seen with dermal rollers and minimises the trauma to the skin
There is also a massively larger risk of causing infections to the skin when performing an at home dermal rolling treatment vs having a skin needling treatment in-clinic. “No way!” you say, “I make sure my roller is clean.” Well unfortunately even though you might feel like your derma-roller is sterile at home I can assure you, it’s not. Unless you buy a new one every single time you use it and that new roller comes pre-packaged in sterile wrapping there will still be millions of bacteria lurking on the surface of the needles. Not even washing a derma-roller after use or wiping it clean with an alcohol swab does the job properly. Just think about it, you’re about to create hundreds of puncture wounds on your skin, do you really want to be doing that with a tool that is harbouring millions of bacteria and pathogens? Further to this, if your roller has larger needles and creates bleeding, that roller is now contaminated with human bodily fluids and should be disposed of since it now poses a risk to others if they were to touch it or get pricked by the contaminated needles. And don’t get me started on sharing dermal rollers between multiple people, honestly all I can say is yuck! You would never let a doctor give you an injection using a dirty reused needle, would you? So why do we do it to our faces? Using a needling pen in the clinic means that the therapist can open a new, sterile needling tip every time you come in for a treatment. There tips are never reused and disposed of as soon as the treatment is finished. This decreases the risk of infection exponentially and is extremely important to the procedure of the treatment its self. This is one of the most important differences between an in-clinic needling pen and an at-home needling roller and truthfully, I know which one I would prefer. There is no way I would ever have an invasive treatment that creates a wound on the body that doesn’t use sterile equipment! (This includes waxing too but that’s a whole other conversation).
While it might not seem like much when you compare it to other procedures like surgery for example, skin needling still does create micro-wounds on the skin and has specific after care which must be followed in order to prevent infection, encapsulation or other skin conditions from developing. Using particular products after skin needling such as vitamin a, exfoliants, comedogenic ingredients and some other active ingredients can create irritation, inflammation and may damage the skin. This can cause breakouts, infections, itching, redness, pain and a whole host of other nasties. Doing dermal rolling at home can increase the risk of adverse reactions and knowing what’s safe and what isn’t to use on your skin after needling should be left to your trained therapist.
Beach days, Christmas, summer barbies, and test match after test match; summer in Australia sure is debatably one of the best times of the year. However, while the hot weather makes for endless days of fun in the sun, the summer climate and festivities can be harsh on our skin. Airconditioning, excess sun exposure, chlorinated pools and salt water are very dehydrating to the skin, which results in dryness, redness, irritation and overall skin damage. Lollies, sweets, changes in our diet, an increase in alcohol consumption, as well as, the increased stress over the Christmas period, can also wreak havoc on our skin, causing breakouts, redness and inflammation. But before you hop on the next boat to Antarctica, don’t despair, there are plenty of simple tips and tricks that can help keep us flawless all summer long.
Ah, the good old aircon. Its hard to imagine a summer in Australia without one. I honestly don’t know how my family survived for over 14 years with only a portable fan. They’re a luxurious necessity for most households and for many businesses and offices. However, while working in an artic paradise is no comparison to a 40+ degree day, aircons are more like a double-edged sword when it comes to skin health. While they do help to keep us cool which minimises flushing, redness and heat related irritations, unfortunately the cold air sucks humidity from the environment which causes dehydration, dryness and a whole array of other problems. The drying action of the epidermis disrupts the skins protective barrier layer, and without which, your skin becomes more sensitive, prone to irritation, dull, and itchy. Dehydrated skin also ages faster and more noticeably than hydrated healthy skin. Fine lines and wrinkles begin to form at a faster rate and skin begins to lose its elasticity and takes on a droopier appearance. Using and air humidifier at night or within an airconditioned room can help to combat the lack of moisture in the air and help keep skin hydrated.
Similarly, chlorinated pools and salt water can also dry out our skin and create irritation. After going for a dip, don’t forget to rinse off with some fresh water and pop on a good moisturiser to combat dehydration.
While its unthinkable for many of us to even consider shunning the good old aircon during the summer months, or the cheeky trip to the beach/pool, we can combat epidermal moisture loss by ramping up the hydration in our skincare routines. Using a good barrier cream suited to your skin type will help to maintain hydration in the skin and decrease evaporation of moisture from the deeper layers of the skin. Using a refreshing sprits or hydrating mist throughout the day can also help to revitalise dry skin and maintain moisture levels. For an extra boost of hydration during the summer months, adding a hydrating serum such as Ultraeutical’s B2 into your routine will also provide your skin with what it needs. This serum contains masters of moisturisation and anti-inflammatory ingredients, vitamin B5 and B3 to give all-out hydration while soothing your skin.
Sun protection is also a must have for when the UV rating is as high as it is during the Australian summer. 90% of aging is a result of accumulated sun damage. UV rays not only burn and harm the DNA of skin cells which causes them to malfunction, mutate and lead to skin cancers, but it also breaks down and slows the production of collagen and elastin, which creates sagging, lines and wrinkles. Sun exposure as well creates pigmentation problems on the skin such as age spots and uneven skin tone, and creates inflammation, which if repeated can become chronic, and lead to cellular stress which again, increases signs of premature aging on the skin. For more info about how important sun protection is not only in summer but the whole year round, see the blog post below.
While Christmas is a great time for most people it can also be a very stressful time for many of us which unfortunately, also has an impact on our skin. An increase in stress within our body can increase androgen hormone levels, which intensifies the production of sebum. In turn, this can create oilier skin and breakouts, and that’s definitely not what any of us want for Christmas. Stress also impacts our sleep and as such, disrupts the skins natural regenerative process at night leading to a dull, lifeless complexion and dark circles. Being stressed can also cause us to change our diet and influence us to opt for some not so healthy choices, and thus again, can lead to breakouts and congestion.
Many of us also love to indulge with a couple of ‘cold ones’ arounds Christmas time too. While alcohol for the most part is fun, an increase in the substance can unfortunately also negatively impact the skin. Alcohol is a dehydrating substance and so, increases dehydration in the skin. It can also create inflammation and worsen some inflammatory conditions such as acne, dermatitis or psoriasis. Not to mention depending on what you drink, many spirits or cocktails contain quite a large percentage of sugar which can again increase inflammation and breakouts. Always remember to drink responsibly and rehydrate after a big night where possible to help reduce the impact on your skin.
While Christmas and the Summer months can be some of the best, our skin unfortunately, may not be feeling as merry. But remembering some quick tips and tricks such as making sure to up the hydration in your skincare routine and minimise stress during this period can help significantly to keep you flawless all summer long.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!
- Skin x
The way our skin looks can be a major confidence killer. In our younger years we seem to take our skin for granted as premature aging creeps up on us. One day we’re feeling gorgeous and living life with hydrated, plump skin and that golden tanned glow, and before we know it, our face is starting to look more like the Grand Canyon, with more cracks and crevasses and strange brown patches then we ever thought possible. While it may be tempting to book in to peel your whole face off to start again, or to book for a one-off laser rejuvenation session, long-term results require more than just a one-off treatment. When thinking about skin treatments we have to remember the five keys to success otherwise known as the five P’s: Patience, Persistence, Products, Prevention and Professionals:
Skin, as an organ, takes time to physically change and improve the way we want it to. Especially if the damage we are trying to fix has accumulated over a course of many years. It’s not going to take 3 months to fix 15 years of damage. While marketing and various companies claim that you’ll see “visible results from the first use,” or even after a week, generally, depending on your age it will take at least 3 months for our skin to even begin to show results. While some products such as moisturisers and cleansers may do their job from the get-go, other products such as serums and any active ingredients who’s goal it is to effect changes to the skin at a cellular level, need longer to take effect and offer any noticeable differences. There’re also many factors that determine how quickly your skin will improve or start to change. These include genetics, alcohol consumption or smoking habits, occupation, other medical conditions, medications and general health just to name a few. These factors not only influence how fast your skin can improve but also the time it takes for your skin to heal, and how your skin heals from any treatments done in clinic such as; skin needling, peels or laser treatments. While it might seem like it’s taking months for your skin to start showing any progress, patience is truly a virtue with regards to anything involving your skin.
Persistence goes hand in hand with patience. There is no point expecting a drastic result within 2 weeks and then giving up when nothing seems to be happening. Being persistent and regimented in your home care plan will guarantee the best results possible from any skin treatments you’re having in clinic.
Using the correct products that are well formulated with quality ingredients and that have an efficient delivery system of those ingredients to ensure they make it to where they need to go, will make the biggest difference to your skin. Homecare is where the majority of skin health comes from and also assists in supporting and enhancing any treatments performed in clinic. I like to imagine it similarly to going to the gym (scary I know). If you were to go to the gym everyday but then go home and continue to eat Macca’s for every meal, you’re probably not going to see much progress. This is exactly the same as if you were to have skin treatments every month in clinic, but then continue to use the incorrect products at home, you’re not going to see much progress. Or at least not as much progress as you would see without the correct home care. Even if you have skin treatments weekly, during that week you will still use your homecare products 14 times vs one treatment in clinic. Choosing homecare can be a daunting and complicated process. There is so much hype and clever marketing in the skincare industry, with thousands of professional brands on the market. However, here at Skin Geraldton, having done countless hours of research and chatting to industry professionals, we’re proud stockists of Ultraceuticals products. Ultraceuticals is one of the best brands on the market, with every product containing the highest quality ingredients and undergoing clinical trials (on babes only, no animals) to ensure that they will provide real visible results after 90 days of consistent use. We know that not only are these products of great quality, with clinically proven ingredients; but their real star power comes from their mastery of formulation and effective delivery systems, which deliver those delicate ingredients to the deeper layers of the skin where they’re needed, in the most stable and bio-available form possible, so that they can actually be utilised by the cells.
Prevention is better than cure, and this is never truer when it comes to skin health. Taking certain preventative measures is the best action possible to help maintain youthful and healthy skin for the long haul. Now before you start thinking, “Well it’s too late for me now!” Hold on a minute because it’s never too late to help prevent further damage and stop existing damage from getting any worse. Prevention comes in many forms however one of the easiest ways to prevent premature aging, is to simply remember to ‘slip, slop, slap.’ While the famous slogan has been around for longer than I’ve been alive, it’s definitely not just a catchy phrase. Not only does sunscreen and covering up decrease the risk of skin cancers; 90% of our skins extrinsic aging, which is the aging caused by external factors, is caused by UV exposure from the sun. What this unfortunately means for all the sun bunnies out there, is accumulative damage that equates to more wrinkles, blotchy brown patches and skin structure damage that results in sagging. Certain medications, skincare products and treatments in clinic can also make your skin more sensitive to the sun and so sunscreen is essential, as without it you might be undermining all the good you have been doing for your skin and could actually be worsening your original concerns. For more info on why sunscreen is so important in your skincare routine check out our other blog post below.
Other products such as vitamin A, B and C serums, as well as antioxidant creams and many more, can also help to prevent aging from occurring prematurely or to prevent other things such as acne or congestion from forming altogether. The best thing to do is to come and see us for a consultation so we assess your unique skin requirements and devise the best plan of action to suit you and your concerns.
And that my friends, brings us to the last P, professionals. Luckily, we’re not just pretty faces, and we’ve studied for many years to help you get the best results possible. As skin therapists we live, breath and dream (literally) about skin and are continually keeping up-to-date with the latest research, training techniques and industry knowledge to ensure that we provide you with the best possible advice, products and treatments available. One of our biggest prides in life is making you to feel confident and fabulous in your own skin. Truthfully, nobody wants your skin to look better than we do. And trust us, nobody has more questions or is more scrutinizing of whether treatments and/or products offer real results with scientific evidence or whether they’re just a load of marketing than us. We’re also always the first guineapigs testing out any new treatments and products, so if we offer it in the clinic then you can bet your bottom dollar, we’ve tried it and loved it first. So, if you’re stuck in a bit of a skin rut or your skin seems to be looking a little worse for wear, come and see us for a chat so we can help you out.
Just remember, in order to maximise your results, don’t forget the five P’s.
- Skin x
If you take a look on the back of any of your Ultraceuticals products and you’re likely to see Panthenol or vitamin B5 sitting proudly in the ingredient list. With its hydrating properties, it’s no wonder this ingredient has become so well loved in the skincare industry. However, Panthenol is more than a one trick pony. Not only does it act as a moisturising humectant, but it also provides many other skin benefits, such as, helping to decrease inflammation, supporting wound healing, as well as providing benefits to the hair and nails just to name a few.
Panthenol, like many ingredients can be a little tricky to find when looking for it on packaging, as it can also been known as dexpanthenol, D-pantothenyl alcohol, butanamide, alcohol analog of pantothenic acid or provitamin B-5 within an ingredients list.
Panthenol is the alcohol form of vitamin B5. Once applied topically, Panthenol is quickly absorbed by the skin and is then converted to vitamin B5, similar to the way retinol is converted to retinoic acid in the skin.
The most common use of panthenol within skincare is to act as a humectant and help increase skin moisturisation. Humectants attract water to themselves helping to increase the skins moisture content. They also help to strengthen the natural protective barrier of the skin which decreases dehydration caused by TEWL (Trans-epidermal water loss).
As a result of panthenol’s moisturising ability, it can also help decrease inflammation and stimulate the wound healing process. “There’s evidence that suggests panthenol can help decrease inflammation caused by UV exposure,” suggests Dr Suneel Chilukuri, MD, of Refresh Dermatology in Houston. This is why panthenol is a popular ingredient in many sunburn relief creams. It can also help to reduce itchiness and irritation caused by other skin conditions such as dermatitis. More scientific evidence to support this can be found in this article here:
Panthenol: 8 benefits of a multifunctional active ingredient (ulprospector.com)
In regards to hair and nails, panthenol’s moisturising ability is a winner once again. It can form a protective, hydrating film on hair stands which helps them to retain moisture for longer, and appear smoother and silkier. This ingenious ingredient can also reduce frizz and increase hair shine. Panthenol has a similar effect on our nails since they’re also made of keratin, equally to our hair and skin. It’s able to penetrate into the layers of the nails to hydrate and moisturise which is perfect for brittle, dry nails prone to breakage.
So, if you’re concerned with dry, dull or dehydrated skin, hair or nails, then panthenol may be your perfect match. This unsung, yet common ingredient really is one of the best when it comes to hydration and moisturisation.
- Skin x
Hype about free radicals and antioxidants has been at the forefront of the skincare industry for years, popping up everywhere from supermarket shelves, to skincare salons and everywhere in between. They’re some of the most popular buzzwords to be thrown around in this rapidly evolving industry and understanding what they are and how to incorporate them into your skincare routine can be a game changer in the fight against premature aging.
So what exactly are free radicals?
Free radicals are types of unstable molecules or atoms that are missing electrons in their outer shell, which causes them to search for other atoms/molecules with electrons that they can steal away in order to become stable. This leaves the unfortunate molecule or atom that has had their electron stolen to become unstable themselves. What does this have to do with our skin you may ask? When free radicals come into contact with our skin, they steal electrons away from the molecules in our skin cells, causing them to become dysfunctional and damaging the DNA inside them, which in turn, disrupts cellular functions, creating inflammation, that if prolonged, increases premature aging.
Further to this, damaged and dysfunctional cells equates to unhealthy and weak skin. The structural and defensive layers of the skin are particularly vulnerable to free radicals, which attack certain proteins, such as lipids, as well as, collagen and elastin fibres, increasing the aging process.
Free radicals are all around us, everywhere, however, they are more concentrated in areas of high population and pollution, such as larger cities or industrial zones.
Thankfully though, there is an effective way to reduce the harmful effects of free radicals on our skin and keep us younger for longer; which is where antioxidants come in. “Antioxidants are compounds that can be found in food and in skin care that stop or delay damage to our cells,” Dr Noelani González, M.D., director of cosmetic dermatology at Mount Sinai West in New York City explains. “They work by binding to free radicals, which prevents them from binding to your healthy cells and damaging them”.
A good way to get your head around antioxidants and how they work is to imagine what happens when you squeeze lemon juice on an apple to stop it from going brown. The lemon juice acts as an antioxidant and stops the oxidisation process from occurring, and as a result, the fruit stays fresh and doesn’t brown as quickly. We can reproduce this process on our skin by using the right skincare products with the right ingredients in order for us to stay fresh and youthful too.
So, what are the best ways to incorporate these amazing antioxidants into our skincare routines and when is the best time to use them? Well, for starters, antioxidant products are best applied in the morning, in order to protect your skin from environmental stressors throughout the day. Ingredients like vitamin C and resveratrol are fantastic at helping to counteract and protect from the harmful effects of free radicals. Vitamin C also is essential for the production of collagen and elastin within the dermis and can help to firm the skin, reducing fine lines and wrinkles and all sorts of sagginess. Niacinamide or vitamin B3 also has great antioxidant power. It acts to target inflammation, redness, and can even reduce hyperpigmentation. Other ingredients like vitamin E, turmeric, green tea extract, sea buckthorn and astaxanthin are also common antioxidant powerhouses.
While it’s true that free radical damage is one of the contributing factors to skin aging, I think we can all agree that antioxidants are some pretty rad ingredients and some of the best things we can all add to our skincare routine.
- Skin x
While skincare products and topical treatments do wonders for the health and condition of our skin from the outside in, research suggests that in order to maximise our skin health, we should also be aware of what’s going on with our body on the inside. Collective evidence has shown that there is an intimate connection between the health of our gut and the health of our skin. Gastrointestinal disorders are often accompanied by skin conditions such as breakouts, dryness, redness, sensitivity and inflammation. In particular, studies have shown that the gastrointestinal system – specifically the gut microbiome, appears to contribute to the exacerbation of many inflammatory skin disorders such as acne, psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.
While it may sound gross, our bodies share a special symbiotic relationship with trillions of bacteria and fungi. These microbes don’t cause damage under normal healthy circumstances but directly influence the body’s functions and immune responses. Collectively, they make up what is call the microbiome which can be found in throughout the body, in areas such as the surface of our skin and within the digestive system. This microbiome helps us digest our food correctly, benefits our immune system and is also vital in the production of various nutritional components such as vitamin K. All in all, our gut flora is vital to our health and wellness and plays a key role in keeping our body in a state of homeostatic balance.
Further to this, factors such as stress, a poor diet, and antibiotic medications can all contribute to an imbalance within the microbiome of our gut that can lead to a range of health issues, including inflammation. This is where the gut-skin connection occurs. While gut health isn’t the only contributing factor to skin health, studies show that the inflammation that occurs as a result of gut microbiome imbalances may exemplify and aggravate many inflammatory skin conditions.
Certain bacteria in our gut such as Bacteroides fragilis, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, and bacteria belonging to Clostridium cluster IV and XI help promote the production of T-cells and other immune cells, which enables the body to create an anti-inflammatory response. When the gut microbiome is out of balance, the body’s anti-inflammatory response can be disrupted, so inflammatory skin conditions can become more severe. Changes in the gut microbiome may also increase the penetrability of the intestinal tract which may lead to leaking of the gut microbiota into the bloodstream and skin resulting in systemic, cutaneous inflammation.
Research has been ongoing for over 70 years, with clear links shown between gut health and skin health. One study completed by Dr. Robert H. Siver found that 80 percent of subjects with acne had some degree of clinical improvement following the introduction of a commercially available probiotic, and that the intervention was most valuable in cases of inflammatory acne. Further to this, a study published in 2011 found that subjects with gastrointestinal issues such as constipation, halitosis, and gastric reflux, were more likely to suffer from acne. This article also described a recent report detailing small intestinal bacterial over-growth, (SBIO) is 10 times more prevalent in those with acne and rosacea vs. healthy control subjects, and that rebalancing of the gut microbiome leads to marked clinical improvement in patients with rosacea and acne.
For more information on this, see the link below to the aforementioned article:
So, what can cause in imbalance within our gut and how do we fix it? Well, antibiotics for one can reach havoc on our inner microbiome. While antibiotics are crucial to fighting some infections, they kill both bad and good bacteria which can allow the bad bacteria to take over and create an imbalance. Eating fermented foods and using a probiotic and after a course of antibiotics can help to restore the balance of gut flora. Lack of sleep, stress and a poor diet deficient in vitamins, minerals and essential macronutrients can also create imbalance and impact overall health.
The good old bar soap has been a much-loved staple in skin care routines for years. They’re cheap easy, and effective at removing dirt and oil, right? Well, while squeaky clean skin sounds good in theory, lathering it up on the regular however, might be doing more harm than good. Traditional bar soaps contain a mixture of fats, lye colouring and fragrance. Which are commonly too harsh and irritating to be used on the face and can wreak havoc on our skin by over drying it, causing irritation and disrupting its PH levels.
So, what exactly are soaps? Now get ready everyone because it’s about to get a little ‘sciency’ in here. Technically speaking soaps are the chemical result of combining some kind of vegetable or animal fats with lye, otherwise known as sodium or potassium hydroxide or another strong alkaline solution which is what gives soap its cleansing power. This chemical process is called saponification, and the resulting molecules have a hydrophilic (water-loving) head and a hydrophobic (water-phobic) tail. Normally water and oil don’t mix which makes it hard to clean things properly with just water. However, when these molecules or soap comes into contact with the dirt or debris the head of the molecule attracts itself to these oily particles and the tail of the molecule helps them to be effectively removed by water.
Nevertheless, soaps aren’t the only molecules that have this talent. They’re actually rather a small group within a larger chemical class known as surfactants. Surfactants or otherwise known as ‘surface active agents’ are materials which have both a polar and non-polar unit that acts on the surface of two mediums. Normally this refers to water and some type of oil but it could also include water and air or any other liquid/liquid or liquid/gas interface. When talking about soaps this refers to the molecule’s hydrophilic head and hydrophobic tail, and their ability to emulsify water and oil. Soaps are part of the strongest group of surfactants known as Anionic surfactants. This is the largest group, within the surfactant chemical class and are considered the high-foaming powerhouse surfactants that really pack a punch in terms of cleansing power. They’re the most widely used and versatile surfactants found in all sorts of cleaning products such as detergents, handwashes, kitchen cleaners ect and are the most effective at removing oily residue. Due to their potent power however, these surfactants are also the most prone to causing skin irritation. Anionic surfactants include soaps, sulfates (e.g. sodium lauryl sulfate), as well as gentler alternatives like sodium lauroyl sarcosinate. If you see a surfactant beginning with ‘sodium’ and ending with the ‘-ate’ suffix, it’s safe to say it’s anionic.
Regular soaps like anionic surfactants are made for cleaning regular things like our kitchen counter top, and our skin is certainly not regular. It’s actually a rather complex organ with its own microbiome we need to make sure we look after. Think of it like your gut. Both our gut and our skin rely on millions of good bacteria to maintain at optimal health. If this microbiome is upset or disrupted it can seriously damage our skin health just like how it would similarly cause problems in our gut such as Indigestion.
Our skins health and condition are directly linked to its PH levels. The PH of something is measured on a scale from 0 – 14 with 0 – 6.9 being classified as acidic, 7 being neutral, and 7.1 – 14 being alkaline. The skin sits at a scale between 4.5 and 6.5 making it slightly acidic. This acidic environment is otherwise known as the acid mantle and is comprised of sebum from our sebaceous glands, lipids from the breakdown of skin cells and amino acids from our sweat. This acid mantle is one of the most important parts of our skin and its slightly acidic environment helps to protect us from harmful bacteria, infections and all sorts of nasties. Not only this, but it also helps to form a shielding barrier over the skin in order to stop dehydration and irritation. Most bar soaps are alkaline and have a PH of around 10. This high alkaline PH makes it super easy to dissolve fats, grease, oils, and protein-based substances which is what makes anionic surfactants like soap the most effective cleaning agents. Unfortunately, while our skin may feel super clean afterwards, continual use of these soaps disrupts our skins natural PH levels and leads to a whole host of other problems.
Not only do soaps disrupt our PH levels, but they also over strip the skin of its natural oils and moisture which leads to dryness, flakiness, inflammation and irritation. Without the skins protective oils, water can also easily evaporate through the skin known as trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL) which leads to dehydration and again, inflammation and irritation. Dehydration is a big no-no when we’re concerned with healthy skin. It can make fine lines and wrinkles more apparent, create redness, blotchiness or uneven skin tone, and makes us look overall dull. Dehydrated skin cells also are unable to intercellularly correctly communicate with each other which can lead to a whole bunch of other problems such as pigmentation issues, or increased premature aging.
Using soaps on our skin can not only dry it out, but can also cause breakouts and aggravate acne. When our skin is stripped of its natural oils it can put the cells into panic mode as they rush to re-protect the skin and reproduce the sebum it’s lacking. This oil production can lead oilier skin and pore clogging, which can turn on the acne cascade," warns Dr. Seemal Desai, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. When our skins PH balance is disrupted it also allows other bad microorganisms such as the bacteria that causes acne to breed and multiply on our skin which can significantly increase breakouts.
So, what can we do? Well the easiest thing to keep in mind when shopping for a new skin cleanser is to look for one that is specifically designed for cleansing the face rather than just going for an all over soap. It’s also best to make sure your products are PH balanced and preferably soap free or Anionic surfactant free. So how do know if a cleanser is soap free if it’s not written on the packaging? Well Initially, soaps have very meagre solubility and so they’re almost always found in solid bar form. However, if you’re up for the challenge the easiest way to pick out a soap free product is to look at the back in the ingredients list and look for ingredients with the prefix (sodium or potassium) and the suffix (-ate). Soaps are named based on the oil or fat they’re made from, so olive oil, once it’s treated with sodium hydroxide, becomes sodium olivate. Tallow becomes sodium tallowate, and coconut oil becomes sodium cocoate. Emulsifying agents in soap free products work similarly to soaps in the way that they can breakup fats and oils to cleanse the skin but without the harsh alkaline PH and the over drying effects. One popular gentler surfactant used in many soap free products is cocamidopropyl betaine. Using milder, soap free surfactants will ensure you get the best product that is able to effectively cleanse your skin while maintaining your skins health and not over strip it of its precious oils.
Ageing. Unfortunately, it happens to all of us. Wrinkles, fine lines, sagging skin and age spots are some of the most common skin concerns that effect most of the clients we treat here at Skin. But what if there was a way to reduce premature ageing by over 85%? Well luckily for us, this “magical” solution is actually a lot simpler and underrated than a lot of people think, and you probably already have it sitting at home in your bathroom cabinet. That’s right, sunscreen!
Now I know what you’re thinking, that’s about as crazy as the humbling, bumbling reporter being an undercover superhero in his spare time, but it’s true. Sun exposure is one of the most significant factors that increases premature ageing and sunscreen is one of the easiest and simplest, undercover superheros in our skincare routine that can help us look and feel younger for many years to come.
UV radiation or the sun’s rays can be broken up into 2 categories when we’re concerned about skin aging, UVB rays and UVA rays. UVB rays, otherwise known as the “burning rays” are the ones that give us that nasty sunburn. Due to their shorter wave length they only penetrate into the upper layers of the skin. This isn’t good news though, as the burning from these rays is what damages the DNA of our skin cells. This cell damage stimulates the melanocyte cells, the cells in our skin that produce pigment, to rush to create a protective umbrella over the nucleus of our burning skin cells. This is what gives us our much-loved tan, but unfortunately excess sun exposure can also cause an excess production in melanin, which results in blotchy, uneven skin tone and age spots. Constant sunburn also creates inflammation within the skin which again contributes to an increase in skin ageing. This ray also causes melanoma or skin cancer which is one of the most preventable forms of cancer that exists.
UVB rays are certainly not one to mess with, but it’s their lesser known sister UVA rays that we really need to watch out for when it comes to skin ageing. UVA rays or the ‘ageing rays’ penetrate deeper into the skins dermis where they break down all the important structural components of our skin, such as collagen, elastin and other glycosaminoglycans (GAG’s). This reaction causes an increase in fine lines and wrinkles, sagging, drooping and overall, less toned skin which can make us look and feel years older than we actually are.
Now, this all sounds intense, but it brings us back again to the simplest solution to it all, sunscreen. A recent study conducted by the Annals of Internal Medicine examined how effective sunscreen is to reducing skin ageing. The study compared 903 adults who were separated into various groups and instructed to either apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen to their body daily or to apply the sunscreen at their own discretion. The researchers then studied latex impressions of the back of the participants hands over 4 years later and found that those who used the sunscreen daily showed no “detectible increase” in skin aging and overall showed 24 percent less skin aging than those in the discretionary group by study's end. "This study effectively communicates that daily sunscreen application can reduce the signs of photoaging and photodamage," says Dr. Brundha Balaraman, a dermatology researcher from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. However, she adds "The key to prevention, is to develop these healthy sun-protective habits at a young age."
Prevention is easier than a cure, and this statement is never truer when it comes to skin aging. Nevertheless, its never too late to start slapping on the sunscreen! Even if you feel like your skin is already aged and past the point of no return, sunscreen is an essential step in your skincare routine to help minimise future skin damage and help protect your skin when you are undergoing other skin treatments in clinic or using active skincare ingredients at home such as vitamins A and C which can increase your skins sun sensitivity.
We’ve come along way from the old thick, greasy and breakout inducing sunscreens of the past and nowadays, sunscreen formulas are sophisticated, smooth and non-pore clogging making them perfect for every skin type. The best time to apply sunscreen is in the last step to your skincare routine or as a part of a moisturiser-sunscreen combo. Make sure to also apply it rain or shine, as UV rays still penetrate through the clouds and even through windows which makes it just as important to apply your sunscreen even if you are spending a day indoors. Reapplying after swimming or doing any activities which make you sweat will also offer best protection. The most effective sunscreens are broad spectrum sunscreens which form a barrier from both UVB and UVA rays rather than just sunscreens labelled sun protection factors which only protect against UVB rays.
Whether it’s reducing the risk of skin cancer, or minimising the impact of premature aging, sunscreen is an amazing, underrated superhero in your anti-ageing skincare routine. It is in essential product that will help keep your skin protected and looking and feeling young for years to come. Happy Anti-Aging!
Skin needling has come a long way from the barbaric, painful treatment practiced only a short time ago (and I must admit it is still happening!), when sessions had patients dripping with blood, often needed topical anaesthetic and required some serious downtime. Thanks to innovative aestheticians, skin needling is now quick with minimal discomfort and almost no downtime.
Innovators such as Dr. Andrew Christie have studied thoroughly the effects needling has on the skin and discovered that old techniques were actually over treating the skin. This meant that the wrong healing response was being stimulated which was actually hindering results. His revolutionary technique took what was a harsh ablative treatment to a gentle fractional therapy.
The changes that occur in the deeper layers of the skin following needling, need adequate time to transpire. Treating again before this time has elapsed is actually detrimental in that it triggers a cicatrical wound healing response and is effectively over-treating the skin.
Cicatricial wound healing encourages the body to produce collagen type 1; which is large and forms a weak structure which is what we see in scar tissue. It also produces an imbalance of pigment growth factors, which is why scar tissue is usually a different colour from our healthy skin. Neither of these things are desirable following a needling treatment.
The scarless wound healing that is observed with Dr Christie’s revolutionary technique triggers an entirely different response. Collagen type 3 is produced; which is small, compact and forms a strong structure akin to the collagen present in the dermis of children.
I can only hope that over time all aestheticians will be adequately informed of this important skin needling stigma.
There's always a leader in the pack and when you're talking skincare; it's Vitamin A.
This Super Vitamin was up and coming in the 80's where the cosmetic industry thought they had stumbled across the worlds best kept secret.
Topically it was proven to slow down the ageing process, clear acne and improve skin texture.
With this discovery came an evolution of Vitamin A based skin care. Its stabilisation and delivery system has been fine tuned, proving less retinoid reactions and a wider scope of use. Most of us should be using it, not only to help us age more gracefully and have clear skin, but, more importantly, so our skin is healthier.
Function's of Vitamin A for the Skin:
The secret to achieving Vitamin A Rich skin is to listen to it! Slow and steady wins the race, your skin will, over time, build a tolerance to vitamin A. At Skin Geraldton we start our vitamin A at a Baseline Ultraceutical's mild .2% strength, ranging up to our Medical Grade Concentrate 1% Pure Retinol (Ultraceuticals MD). A Skin Consultation is necessary to determine the correct skincare products and ingredients to suit you.
* WARNING * If pregnant, thinking of being so or breastfeeding, please discuss the use of any Vitamin A product with your doctor. We recommend that you cease use during this period.