Your Skin

Your skin has to put up with a lot. It’s exposed to the elements on a daily basis and the way it looks and feels can say a lot about you, from your age to your health and wellbeing. So when you look after your skin it looks good, feels good and gives your self-confidence a boost.

The skin is the largest organ in the body, with a total area of about 20 sq feet.  It protects us from microbes and the elements , helps regulate body temperature and permits the sensations of touch, heat and cold.  Understanding the structure and function of this vitally important and complex organ is the first step to finding an anti ageing solution.

Young, healthy, vibrant skin has greater elasticity and firmness, so it’s smooth to the touch and appears luminous, and fresh. That’s because the outer layer of the skin, the epidermis, is made up of cells that attract and retain water, keeping the surface of your skin soft and plump.

Healthy, young skin works perfectly at rejuvenating itself with the older cells on the surface falling away to be replaced by newer skin cells. Fibroblasts, cells that are formed in your skin’s dermis layer, produce collagen and elastin that, along with hyaluronic acid, also help hydrate, plump and smooth your skin. This is how young skin stays even in tone, texture and luminosity.

As you age, your skin’s natural processes become less and less efficient. Our products are specifically designed to give ageing skin a helping hand, treating lines, wrinkles, blemishes like acne scars, changes in pigmentation and photo-damage, so that you can keep your skin looking great for longer.  We been trained by world class skin specialists so that we can assess and advise our clients on the appropriate course of action for them.  We will prescribe a treatment plan and accordance to your lifestyle and needs.  We work along side of dermatology specialists and will refer clients on as required.

The Ageing Process

Up to your mid 20s your skin will keep itself hydrated and youthful looking through this constant process of repair and replenishment. But as you start to get older your skin’s processes don’t work as effectively, which is when your skin begins to show visible signs of ageing.

Your skin begins to show signs of ageing because:

  • Your skin produces less elastin and collagen, which keep your skin smooth and firm.
  • The natural process of skin cell renewal begins to slow down, meaning that fewer new cells are produced and the older, dead cells are not shed as frequently.
  • Your skin’s natural defences become less effective, allowing reactive oxygen species (ROS, also known as free radicals) to damage healthy cells and protein in your skin, such as collagen and elastin.
  • The blood supply to your skin can become less efficient, resulting in your skin appearing less vibrant.

As you age your skin’s natural protection begins to decline, leaving it vulnerable to lasting damage. It produces less and less collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid, which causes the skin’s elasticity, firmness and smoothness to be reduced. This eventually results in fine lines and wrinkles forming.

Skin cells aren’t renewed as regularly and your blood supply can also become less efficient, meaning your skin can begin to look less vibrant and fresh. Your skin’s epidermis also doesn’t retain as much moisture, making it less firm, plump and elastic, which negatively impacts your skin’s tone and texture. This can result in fine lines and wrinkles developing as well as your skin tone becoming sallow and dull.

Your skin’s natural anti-oxidants can also become less prevalent and less effective leaving your skin vulnerable to damage. Which means that exposure to harmful UV rays in sunlight, also known as photo-damage, as well as unhealthy activities such as smoking, only accelerate your skin’s natural decline.

Photo Damage

Photo-damage to your skin is caused by UV radiation in sunlight. On warm sunny days your skin is most susceptible to UVB radiation, while UVA has a more significant effect on your skin all year round – even when it’s cloudy. The danger with UVA is that it’s not obviously damaging your skin as it doesn’t burn or tan your skin. Instead it causes damage within your skin which prematurely ages it as well as causing additional health problems. Daily exposure to high levels of visible light and infrared-A can add to this damage.
If you don’t take the right steps to protecting your skin these harmful rays can:

  • Break down your skin’s natural defences which work to provide low-level protection from all of these effects.
  • Trigger the production of ROS which damage your skin’s healthy cells and protein.
  • Damage the top level of skin (the epidermis), giving it a leathery appearance.
  • Affect your skins pigmentation creating irregular dark, brown patches and age spots.
  • Damage the DNA in your skin cells, preventing them from functioning properly meaning they can die. In certain cases this can even lead to skin cancer.

All of these factors, both natural and external, contribute to visibly ageing your skin. Because of this it’s essential to use a clinically-proven, evidence-based skincare regime that addresses all of the daily challenges that your skin must deal with. Protecting your skin will prevent further damage, while combining it with a carefully selected regime can help rejuvenate and repair a lot of the damage that your skin may have already experienced.

Pigmentation Problems

Pigmentary complaints cause the uneven darkening of an area of skin. This can appear as brown/age spots which can go on to form keratoses (a scaly growth), and pre-cancerous or cancerous lesions. These conditions are difficult to treat because they affect each of us differently depending on our skin type, and how deep in the skin the pigmentation sits. This often depends on the cause of the issue, which is frequently a combination of factors.
Melanocytes in our skin produce melanin as a defence mechanism against radiation caused by the sun. The melanin travels to the surface of the skin to absorb the harmful UV rays. This is the process that, over time, gives us a tan, but within the skin the melanin protects other skin cells, and their DNA, from damage – although this protection is not enough with ongoing exposure to the sun.
Not only does radiation directly damage cells in our skin, it causes excessive Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) to be produced. ROS cause additional harm to healthy cells and protein, and stimulate melanocytes. Our natural defences against these ROS decline as we age, so their effects are more prevalent in mature skin.
There are several other factors that can also stimulate excessive production of melanin:

  • Hormones can have a significant impact on melanocytes, for example while taking the contraceptive pill or during pregnancy. This disruption can cause a condition called melasma, in which excessive pigmentation appears on the forehead, cheeks and around the mouth.
  • Inflammation or trauma of the skin can also disrupt the melanocytes and cause increases in ROS. This can be associated with acne, folliculitis or laser therapy.

Although pigmentary disorders commonly effect darker skin types (due to their increased levels of melanin), aged skin can become susceptible to some of the factors described above.

Understanding your skin

  1. Hair
  2. Sensory Nerve Ending
  3. Nerve
  4. Capillaries
  5. Sebaceous Gland
  6. Fibroblast
  7. Subcutaneous Tissue
  8. Collagen

Spot prone skin

Our skin is covered in hair follicles. In a healthy hair follicle the sebaceous gland produces a small amount of sebum, which moves up to the surface of the skin where it acts as a waterproofing agent. The opening of the follicle is wide making it easy for the sebum to exit the follicle.

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Spots are caused when the opening to the hair follicle is blocked, closing off oxygen and allowing the sebum to stagnate. This is the early stage of a spot known as a comedone

This environment allows rapid growth of P. acnes, the bacteria that leads to acne. At this point the hair follicle becomes inflamed and red (a spot) and forms a pustule (figure 3).

There are several factors than can contribute to cause of spots:

  • Hair follicles can become blocked by excessive sebum on the skin and an accumulation of dead skin cells
  • Some cosmetic products can block hair follicles
  • Hormones can cause an increased production of sebum and an accumulation of dead skin cells at the follicle opening

In order to effectively fight spots each stage of the spot development process needs to be tackled.