News

  • 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!

  • Hormones and the Skin Q & A

    As seen in CLEO Magazine, Australia, July 2012

    Do hormones affect our skin? How?
    Absolutely! There are dozens of hormones that have major effects on the body, including our skin. Scientists are still discovering new hormones and new actions of known ones when it comes to effects on skin. The major hormones that affect skin are the sex steroid hormones, thyroid hormones, and growth hormones. The key is balance when it comes to hormones. When there is an imbalance, effects are seen on skin, hair and nails. For example, too much thyroid hormone and you get moist, smooth skin. Too little and you get rough, dry skin. Too much or too little and you can get alopecia. Too much of the androgen (male) hormones increase skin oiliness and face/body hair. This can lead to acne in both men and women. Too little of the female hormones (estrogens and progestogens) and you get thin, dry skin with reduced collagen and elastin, something that is seen in menopausal women.

    Why do we sometimes get pimples in the same spot around the time of our periods?
    Many adult women get a pimple around the time of ovulation, typically a couple weeks before the start of their period. This is most likely due to the surge in luteinizing hormone (LH) that is seen at this time. This hormone can trigger sebaceous gland activity, leading to increased oil production and the perfect environment for an invading bacteria to cause inflammation. Hormonal breakouts are quite common and can be controlled.

    What can be done to stop this kind of skin problem?

    Some methods of birth control can help regulate the hormones that lead to oil production and breakouts. But a good skin care regimen will do wonders for breakout-prone skin. Using mild cleansers that don’t strip skin oils is a good first step, since many people believe that the more squeaky-clean they are the better. Using harsh soaps to remove all oils can actually cause skin to produce even more oil, in an attempt to self-regulate. Next you want to moisturize with oil-free moisturizers to maintain hydration without clogging pores. And using spot treatments with Sulfur and Salicylic Acid are great ways to control breakouts without causing unwanted inflammation, which can worsen the problem. Retinoids (Vitamin A derivatives) are also good ways to manage adult acne and skin aging at the same time.

  • Hormones and Your Skin

    Imagine balancing a scale with grains of sand. This is how your hormones (the grains of sand) maintain a balanced body. Even the slightest difference in either way- whether it’s having a little too much or a little too little- can have a significant impact in the way your body works. Hormones are chemical signals that impact every slow, long-lasting process in the body, from hunger and growth to sleep and emotions. Unlike the quick-acting nervous system, the endocrine system, which governs hormones, releases these chemicals over an expanse of time and distance, circulating through the blood vessels. Once they reach their destination, they can impact a number of bodily functions. As the skin is the largest organ, it is also under the control of hormonal fluctuations.

    Hormones come in many flavors. There are sex steroid hormones, thyroid hormones, growth hormones and inflammatory hormones, among a myriad of others. These hormones have significant effects on skin throughout our lifetime, from puberty, through pregnancy and menopause. Here’s a short list on how some of these impact skin:

    • Androgens, like testosterone, are responsible for increasing hair growth and sebum production.

    • Estrogens (and most likely Progestogens) are responsible for regulating hydration, pigmentation and collagen production in skin.

    • Thyroid hormones, when imbalanced, can lead to hair loss and changes in skin hydration. Too much and skin is moist; too little and skin becomes rough and dry.

    • Growth hormone stimulates insulin growth factor (IGF-1), which can also trigger sebum production. This is the primary reason behind new studies showing how milk, which is high in these hormones, can lead to acneic breakouts.

    When it comes to skin, hormones are a leading factor behind many of the blemishes, bumps, spots, flecks, sheen and stubble that plague many people, especially women. One hundred percent of women have to deal with hormones at some point in their life, so it’s important to understand their effects on skin, and what we can do to control them.