• Unwanted Spots? Some Extra Help is Needed!

    Bettina ZammertSummer is over, and for most of us our holidays are now only a happy memory. However, some “souvenirs” stay with us a little longer than we want. I’m talking about brown discoloration of the skin, called hyperpigmentation. It develops very quickly, but it is very difficult to get rid of again. And what is really tough is that it not only makes the skin tone look irregular (as if that weren’t already bad enough), but it also makes us look older. So clients with hyperpigmentation can often suffer great distress, and the results don’t usually come about quickly enough.

    It’s very important that you don’t promise more than you can expect to deliver so you don’t disappoint your clients. Be realistic, and tell your clients that, depending on their age, it can take up to four weeks before the pigmentation marks start to lighten.

    And speaking of realistic expectations, have an in-depth consultation with your clients to establish the cause(s) of their hyperpigmentation. The sun is often the actual reason for changes in pigmentation, but not always. The unwanted marks can also be due to a hormonal imbalance or inflammation, or even stress. Another possibility is a phototoxic reaction to something like perfume, for example. Some medications and even plant active ingredients can increase photo-sensitivity.

    So you can see there are lots of possible causes of hyperpigmentation, and when it comes to treating the issue, sun protection with a minimum SPF of 30 is vital, as is the regular use of pigment-reducing products in your clients’ daily routines.

    In a professional skin treatment, exfoliation with Lactic Acid has proven extremely effective, because Lactic Acid blocks the enzyme Tyrosinase, which plays a key role in melanin synthesis. Furthermore, the removal of discolored cells makes the skin tone visibly more even after the treatment.

    So effective treatment of hyperpigmentation depends on both your clients’ daily skin care routines at home and the causes that led to the discoloration. If, for instance, it is due to a hormonal imbalance, then treatment will take longer and possibly only have the desired effect if the hormone imbalance is treated by a medical practitioner at the same time. Either way, be sure your clients layer on the SPF daily and take the necessary precautions otherwise to prevent the hyperpigmentation from growing worse!

  • Stressed Super Hero?

    So Mum, what have you been doing recently? If you’re the modern working Mum, you’ve been managing the children’s holiday, chauffeuring your kids from party to party and 101 sporting activities, doing the household chores, dealing with the daily pressures of work, and managing a relationship with your spouse. Is your super hero uniform getting a little ragged around the edges?

    Interestingly there is a new field of medicine called Psychodermatology, which focuses on the complexities of the mind-skin connection and the skin problems that are associated with or worsened by stress.

    Stress causes a chemical reaction in the body, making the skin more sensitive and reactive. It produces cortisol and other hormones, which trigger your sebaceous glands to produce more sebum. This can result in an increase of breakouts. Stress also impedes skin healing. Stress exacerbates psoriasis, rosacea, eczema, hyperpigmentation and skin irritation. Sadly, this results in a compounding effect on our stress levels, because when our skin isn’t great, it has a negative impact on our psyche!

    If you or your clients are struggling with the work life balance, it’s time for a “super hero intervention,” with some much needed stress management techniques.

    For stressed skin, the answer is to receive a prescriptive, professional skin treatment – a solution based treatment that not only addresses the effects that the client’s stress is having on the skin (acne, pigmentation, sensitization, dehydration, etc.), but that also incorporates stress reduction touch therapies such as scalp massage, pressure point face massage and stress relief back massage. All of this will help melt away the tension associated with stress.

    Product choice at this time is essential (think calming). Select products and treatments that addresses the neurogenic and immunogenic inflammation associated with stress. Look for these calming ingredients when treating the stressed client:

    Boerhavia Diffusa (Red Hogweed) Root extract: targets neurogenic inflammation.
    Oat Avenanthramides: anti-irritant and anti-redness properties, inhibits histamine release.
    Ginger and Bisabolol: act synergistically to reduce inflammation-induced itch, redness and irritation.
    Anti-inflammatory extracts: Cucumber, Echinacea, Wheat Germ Extract, Comfrey, Raspberry, Grape Extract, Allantoin, Panthenol, Vitamin E, Bisabolol.

    You can also offer or suggest these types of treatments for the body:

    • Swedish/remedial /aromatherapy/stress reduction massage
    • Body wraps
    • Hot stone
    • Reflexology
    • Spa water and heat therapies

    And while you’re at it, create a “super hero pressure pack” for everyday use with these therapies:

    Bach flower remedies:
    • Rescue remedy
    • Impatiens
    • Hornbeam
    • Larch

    Herbal supplements:
    • Gingko Extract
    • St John’s Wort
    • B group Vitamins
    • Magnesium
    • Niacinamide
    • Folic Acid
    • Tranquility teas

    As skin therapists we often give, but seldom do we receive, so don’t forget your “me time” too! An aromatherapy or mineral salt bath, combined with your favorite hobby such as reading, walking, exercise or seeing friends, will help relieve tension and stress levels. So advise your clients to receive these amazing treatments, but be sure to book yourself in too!