How to help your skin as the seasons change

How to help your skin as the seasons change

Our skin can be very quick to react to changes in the atmosphere and being our first line of defence it is important that it is prepared for this change. We are just about to step into spring so we can expect a change of temperature, humidity, and UV levels. This can all affect how our skin functions and responds to its external environment.

Sometimes it is not always about the change in the season that can cause issues, it can be the damage from the previous season. We are just coming out of the cold winter months, which can cause absolute havoc with our skin, the central heating, harsh weather and lack of daylight, to name just a few, will have had a massive impact on our skins barrier function.

As the weather transitions, this can cause changes within our skin for example humidity levels rising can result in the skin feeling a little more oily, or atmosphere changes can cause reactive skins to flare up. Different skin types and conditions can respond differently to the change in seasons. So it is important to get an individual assessment of your skin.

To minimise any impact of changes in weather it is vital our skins natural barrier function is intact and working effectively. This will ensure the skin is in a good healthy state to deal with anything the season throws at it. Making a few tweaks in your skincare regime may be necessary to ensure the skin responds well to any seasonal changes.

Here are a few tips to keeping our skin happy and ready for the new season:

  1. Ensure your cleanser isn’t stripping skin of its essential oils. I see this so often where people are using the wrong cleanser for their skin type or condition, or even worse they are using wipes to clean their face! If your cleanser is having a detrimental effect on your skin there is no point applying any other product to your face as it will be a waste of time and money.
  2. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. In terms of hydrating the skin, this is not always the most effective way, however, drinking the recommended water intake each day helps flush out any toxins in the body. A healthy body means healthy skin.
  3. Include antioxidants in your skincare as well as your diet. Our body is the last in the biological queue to receive any resources from the body. Therefore even if you eat the recommended dose of fruit and vegetables your skin will be receiving a minimum amount of antioxidants from these. We need antioxidants to reduce the free radical activity that causes damage to our cells and reduces their ability to function well and can even cause cell mutations and apoptosis (cell death)
  4. Introduce Retinol! This is a great time of the year to start slowly introducing Retinol into your skin regime. This active is great for almost all skin types, however, always seek advice from a professional as it can be very active and cause unwanted side effects if not used correctly.

And of course, you shouldn’t need telling anymore, but don’t forget your sunscreen every day. The UV levels are increasing so it more important than ever to protect your skin.

Thank you for reading, and if you need any advice on your own skincare regime or skin concerns please get in touch.

Frequently Asked Questions…

Frequently Asked Questions…

Frequently Asked Questions…

So we are in self Isolation due to Covid-19 and I thought I’d asked on my Instagram Stories for any questions relating to skin and skincare. If clients can’t come to me then I can still help virtually. Here are some of the questions I got asked:

  1. My skin feels really tight once I have cleansed, why is this?

This is a sign that your skin may be suffering from dehydration. I would normally have a look at the cleanser you are using, as this can be the culprit. Many cleansers can be too harsh for the skin and disrupt the delicate barrier function and acid mantle so resulting in the skin becoming compromised. Once the barrier function is compromised we get something called Trans Epidermal Water Loss, where we lose the natural moisture levels within our skin as they escape through the compromised barrier.

If our skin is dehydrated this has a knock-on effect to all the skins functioning. All cellular functions within the skin need moisture to happen, so if we are lacking then our skin is not functioning to the best of its ability. This can eventually result in issues such as sensitivity, reactive, inflammation, problematic skin and premature ageing.

To remedy this see a skincare professional that can advise on how you can restore your barrier function and hydration levels.

2. I have always thought I am an oily skin type but I get flakey patches too, does this mean I’m dry?

It is really important to know your real skin type to be able to treat and use products correctly, so a skin care professional can help with this. However, if you are an oily skin type but are getting dry, flakey patches on the skin this again can be a result of dehydration. Our skins natural desquamation process (shedding) needs moisture to happen. If our skin is lacking in moisture the chemical reaction that takes place when those top layers of the Stratum Corneum (top layer of the epidermis)are ready to shed will not be able to effectively break those bonds between the skin cells allowing them to come off. A result of this would be old tired skin cells still hanging on to the surface of the stratum corneum causing flakey patches and a dull appearance to the skin.

3. I have always had problematic skin (acne), I have tried everything, will my skin ever get any better?

The majority of acne is caused by hormones, it can usually be managed and improved but it may never completely go. I see many clients with this problem and there are usually underlying issues. A common one is stress, this can increase the level of hormones that are connected to our sebaceous activity. I recently wrote a blog on psychology and the skin which talks about this issue click here to read.

What I do see with clients that have problematic skin is their skincare regime is usually all wrong for their skin type which is exacerbating the acne condition, so once we get them on the right products they start seeing improvements pretty quickly.

4. I get little bumps/spots under my skin what can I do for these?

Without analysing the skin it’s a difficult one but it does sound like the skin is crying out for a little exfoliation. Sometimes when our skin doesn’t desquamate itself very well it needs a little help. There may be a blockage of skin cells within the pores that are causing this bumpy rough texture. Feeding our skin with extra hydrating products also will help keep the skin working and functioning well, including that natural shedding process that has probably become sluggish.

5. Should I exfoliate my skin at home, if so what should I use?

This is a great question at a time when I am seeing so many skins over exfoliated. The frequency that you should exfoliate is individual to your skin type and condition, but there are not many clients that I tell to exfoliate daily, however, I see this happening a lot.

The best types of exfoliators are AHA or BHA exfoliators, my favourite being Lactic Acid or Salicylic for more oily skin types. The way these acids work is by mimicking the chemical reaction that happens in our skin to desquamate our skin cells, this encourages that process and gently removes those old skin cells to reveal younger fresher cells of the Stratum Corneum.

If you are a lipid dry skin then I would recommend Enzyme exfoliators. Unlike AHA’s these do not break those bonds to release the cells, instead, they act like a Pac Man across the skin’s surface munching on any excess skin cells that are past their desquamation date. Lipid dry skins have a tendency to have a compromised barrier function and be quite fine and delicate. So we want to keep that Stratum Corneum intact and with a good thickness to maximise its ability to protect.

The Skin and Psychology

The Skin and Psychology

The Skin and Psychology

If you follow me on social media you will have seen that last weekend I attended Aesthetic Medicine Live Clinical Conference in London. One of the subjects talked about which really resonated with me was Skin and Psychology. The psychological impact of skin conditions really cannot be underestimated and in my clinic I often find myself on the front line of this.

Dr Raj Thethi, an aesthetic doctor from Leeds talked about a new concept ‘psychodermatology’ which refers to skin conditions that are linked to psychological health.

From very early on in our lives, in fact from just 2 weeks into conception there is a link between our brain and skin. The Ectoderm in the embryo forms the epidermal skin cells along with the nervous brain tissue.

This link with the brain means that our skin really can shows signs of what is going on in someone’s head. Psychodermatology looks at the links between skin problems that may be affected by stress or emotional states of mind, or psychological problems that have been caused by having a skin disorder.

In my consultations I will always ask the client about their stress levels or any factors that may contribute to stress, this is one of the main psychological factors that can have a big effect on the skin. If we have high stress levels we will get a rise in the Cortisol hormone within our body, this increases our Testosterone levels and results in more sebum being produced which in turn can cause spots and breakouts. This can then become a vicious cycle as the skin condition that has now manifested on the skin can have an effect on our moods and behaviour.

An example, if we have a look at the statistics for acne; 80-95% of adolescents suffer from acne. Acne and acne scarring have been directly linked to issues such as depression, suicide, anxiety, low academic performance, and even unemployment.

Dr Raj presented a case he had worked on recently, a client who had suffered with acne and eczema since the death of her brother. She had tried everything in terms of clinical treatments, dermatology, and medicine but to no avail. Dr Raj took on this client and gave her a combined treatment plan that not only included homecare products and clinical treatments but also psychological help. The result was clear skin!! Her conditions had completely cleared up! Not only that, you could almost see the improvement in the clients state of mind by just looking at the expression on her face in the after photo compared to the before.

“In a vicious circle, stress, depression, and other kinds of psychological problems can exacerbate the skin problems. The common dermatological issues that have been documented to be made worse by stress include acne, rosacea, psoriasis, itching, eczema, pain and hives, just to name a few.”

American Psychological Association

I often say the skin is the window to what’s going on inside and this couldn’t be more apparent after listening to Dr Raj on Sunday. I always take a holistic view when treating skin conditions, which not only includes lifestyle, diet, health, environment, but stress and wellbeing are big factors too.

Looking at peoples past and present is the key to getting the skin they want for the future. And once we start getting those results they begin to fall in love with their skin again and we break that vicious cycle.

If you are having issues with a skin condition please get in touch today, and lets get you started on your journey to your future skin.