Reactions vs Responses - this is an important topic that Therapists need to be able to differentiate, and guide our clients through product transitions. Namely when using a Retinoid. Retinoid is the family name for derivatives of Vitamin A, and includes Retinoic Acid (prescription only), Retinol, Retinyl Palmitate, and Retinaldehyde.
So, you've decided to start using a Retinoid as you've heard about all of the wonderful benefits it has for your skin. It helps with skin texture, strengthening the skin, lightening pigmentation, building collagen, unblocking follicles, clearing acne and congestion - the list goes on. And you're ready to dive in all guns blazing to start reaping the benefits of this amazing vitamin.
After a couple of uses your skin is red, irritated, inflamed, dry, flaky - what on earth is going on? I hate this product! It was expensive, my skins horrendous and I must be allergic to Retinoids - right? Wrong.
When we think about the role of Retinoids and how they work their main function is to increase and regulate cell renewal, and make way for new cell production. So when the above symptoms occur technically it means that the product is doing its job (by creating cellular change) and is usually presented in the early days of use as dry flaky skin because of this.
When skin is not accustomed to using a Retinoid it could be responding to the delivery system, the strength/concentration, the dosage or you may have an impaired skin barrier. This is why I prefer to call these symptoms a response rather than a reaction and are to be expected at some stage during the journey of using Retinoids. Symptoms of an allergic reaction are hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of your face/lips/tongue, or throat. You should immediately discontinue use and seek medical assistance if you have any of these symptoms.
In my clinic 95% of my clients are using a Retinoid of some description - and they all get the same spiel on how to use it to avoid the response when they first start out. It can sound like a broken record to my product savvy clients, however CosMedix in particular use two potent derivatives of Vitamin A which are unique to the range so I can expect responses when I prescribe them.
Recommendations for Retinoid use:
* Evening use only, on cleansed skin. Daily SPF compliance is essential.
* To build skin tolerance start by using every 2nd evening for a week, if no response go to every evening.
* If there is sensitivity (redness, dryness, flaking, tight, shiny, irritated) use every 3rd evening for a week, and build up to every second then every evening.
* If symptoms continue to persist, go to every 4th evening (and so on) until your skin can tolerate.
* Less is more - use only the recommended amount of product.
* Symptoms can last 2-8 weeks.
80% of my clients don't experience the above symptoms and can tolerate using it every evening very quickly. But if you do experience the response and adjustment time above, know that it is completely normal and continued use of the Retinoid will (over time) improve the symptoms.
Tips to deal with the symptoms while your skin is responding:
* Avoid direct heat on the skin - luke warm water is appropriate for cleansing.
* Avoid intense exfoliation during this time. Gentle enzymes once a week will help reduce the flaking appearance and hydrate the skin.
* Use a nourishing mask 1-2x per week to help with dryness and irritation.
* Moisturise as often as needed, or use a soothing/anti inflammatory balm.
* Avoid touching, scratching, and itching your skin.
* Decrease usage at any time until your skins tolerance has been built up.
Building a close relationship with your Therapist will ensure you have the support on hand to get through a Retinoid response and get the right advice for you. Choosing clean, professional grade Cosmeceuticals with advanced ingredient technology means you and your skin will be enjoying the benefits of Vitamin A in no time.
Dermal Therapist (AACDS, ITEC, NaSA)
I love nothing more than hearing of young entrepreneurs with outstanding work ethics, commitment and absolute passion for what they do. This months inspiration embodies all of this and so much more, she is from my very own port town of Lyttelton - meet Bree from Glamour Cake.
If you haven't already been tempted by Bree's outstanding creations on social media (she has a solid 20,000 followers!) check out the amazing things this NZ young bread baker of the year is doing via her Facebook page. This determined and focussed young businesswoman works 5am-4pm six days per week to keep her dream alive, and to service the sweet tooth's of people from all over Canterbury. On any given week day this hard working lady makes 150 of her famous indulgent donuts, and 500 on a Saturday - queues out the door is normal in her work day! This doesn't include the gorgeous custom cake orders she somehow find times to fill.
Please enjoy reading about this sweetheart that is following her dream - show her some love by hitting like and commenting below.
**Please tell us about you Bree**
I'm 24, have always been a baker since I left school at 17. I love music, surfing and hiking! I started baking because of my dad he's a baker and took me on as an apprentice.
**Tell us about how Glamour cake began and how long you've been operating**
Glamour Cake started two and a half years ago when I won NZ young bread baker of the year. For winning I was awarded some funding to further my baking career. So I decided to spend it on setting up a small test kitchen at home so I could start creating and experimenting with new products.
Once I stated making a few new things I set up a Facebook page and over the two years I've been trying many new products and treats until I found the cheesecakes and donuts were a hit and it just took off on its own though the social page.
**You have an amazing work ethic! What keeps you motivated**
I absolutely love my job! I love the fact I can go into work and create something new everyday if I wanted to - makes me jump out of bed everyday!!
**Where do you draw inspiration for your amazing creations?**
My inspiration comes from Instagram, Facebook and cook books. I love imagery. I find it very stimulating and give me lots of ideas.
**What is the best part of having your own business**
Being able to be my own person and let myself come out into my products, and create what I feel.
**What are the biggest challenges you face within your business?**
My biggest challenge is the negative that comes with my social media page. Because my following continues to grow. So does the number of people that I can please every time. But at the end of the day I know that you can't please everyone and I must learn to be ok with that.
**Any tips for young people wanting to start their own business?**
Give it your all. Let your passion and love drive you to what you want to create and the rest will follow if people can see the love and passion coming out in your work.
**Do you have a motto/saying you live your life by?**
Stay sweet and keep eating cake!
A big thank you to the lovely Bree for featuring in this months inspiration of the month. Don't forget to head to the Lyttelton Bakery on Norwich Quay to try one of her amazing creations (Tip: Get there EARLY!)
As many of you know I spent some time up in Tauranga last month doing a dermo-nutrition course which was absolutely out of this world. I've come back with a lot more knowledge around how our food can affect our skin - it's far more than you realise! Did you know in relation to your skin, there are SIX key nutrients essential for skin health? Many of these you can get from diet alone - some not so easy.
This is a huge topic, but to make things clear and easy for you I will discuss each of the six key nutrients, their benefits and how you can get them in your diet. I will also briefly cover digestive health and foods to avoid if you have specific skin concerns.
The six KEY nutrients for skin health.
* Supports collagen and keratin production
* Helps cells produce normally
* Promotes healing
* Keeps skin strong and moist
Food sources of Vitamin A:
* Leafy green vegetables
**Note: One carrot per day will give you your daily requirement of Vitamin A**
* Support microcirculation
* Regulates cell turnover (folate)
* Releases sebum (oil) onto the skin
* Required for cell energy
* Stress resilience vitamins
Food sources of B Vitamins
* Brewers yeast
* Leafy greens
* Hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds
* Pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds
**Note: In addition to foods we eat it is advised to supplement with a B complex. When choosing a B complex ensure the supplement has equal levels of B2 & B6 (eg: 25-50mg of each)**
* Vital in the production of collagen
* Essential for wound healing
* Strengthens capillaries
* Powerful antioxidant
* Supports liver function
Food Sources of Vitamin C:
* Red capsicum
* Citrus fruits
**Note: Half a lemon squeezed into a glass of luke warm water will give you your daily Vitamin C requirement**
* Transports Vitamin A
* Crucial in wound healing
* Regulates sebaceous glands (oil glands)
* Produces collagen & hyaluronic acid
* Is a co-enzyme for 70 enzymes
Food Sources of Zinc:
* Oysters (very rich in zinc)
* Nuts, Seeds, Whole grains
**Note: Zinc testing is readily available at health foods shop. If you test low for Zinc, supplements are recommended**
Essential Fatty Acids (EFA's) Omega 3 & 6
* Essential for cell function
* Are incorporated into the cell membrane
* Released in the upper layers of the skin to form "bi layers" (skins natural protection)
* Omega 6 is required to prevent pores from blocking
* Anti inflammatory
* Healing on the skins surface
* Help nutrients reach cells
* Forms ceramides (natural moisturiser)
Food Sources of EFA's
* Oily fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel) - Omega 3
* Walnuts, flaxseed/oil - Omega 6
* Wild rice
**Note: Supplementing is highly recommended - while we can get a portion of EFA's from diet, most modern diets don't have a consistent amount daily EFA's. While fish oil is popular for Omega 3 intake, Omega 6 is also essential as it is converted to Linoleic acid (layman terms forms natural moisture factor in the skin. Omega 3 is not capable of linoleic acid conversion). Flaxseed oil contains both Omega 3 and 6**
* Hydrates the body and deeper layers of the skin
* Facilitates the removal of waste
* Allows nutrients to be delivered to the skin
* Prevents digestive issues (which can inhibit absorption of nutrients)
Tips for more Water intake:
* Lemon water in the morning before breakfast
* Always carry a water bottle with you
* Drink caffeine free herbal teas
* Always accept water when its offered
* Up your water intake when exercising
* Limit alcohol and caffeine (dehydrating)
**Note: 70-80% of skins hydration comes from the Dermis (deep layer of skin) and it reduces to 13% in the stratum corneum (very superficial layer of skin) - water is ESSENTIAL for skin health!**
The importance of digestion.
"You are what you eat" should be re-phrased as "You are what you absorb"...
The ability for your body to absorb nutrients is dependant the health of your digestive system - if you are suffering from any digestive issues you won't be absorbing all of the nutrients that you could be.
Absorption of nutrients begins in the small intestine, then sent to the liver for filtering/checking then released into the bloodstream. There are a hundred trillion bacteria in the gut (some good, some bad!) Probiotics help with digestion, keeping the gut healthy and in balance.
Tips for better Digestion:
* Avoid fluid around meal times - fluids dilute digestive juices/make them less efficient at breaking down food.
* Focus on chewing - "puree" your food as much as possible before swallowing.
* Smaller, more regular meals place less strain on the digestive system than eating large meals.
* Peppermint tea aids digestion and reduces bloating
* Avoid chewing gum which stimulates digestion and acid release in the stomach
Foods to avoid when treating specific skin conditions.
Do you suffer with sensitised, red, irritated skin and broken capillaries? Many foods can exacerbate these symptoms, these are categorised as "heating foods". Here is a list of foods to avoid and some alternative "cooling foods".
* Hot and spicy foods (chilli, curry, cayenne) - replace with fresh herbs, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, cardamon, cinnamon, cumin, coriander etc
* Oranges, orange juice and strawberries (naturally heating in the skin) - replace with any other seasonal fruit
* Peanuts, peanut butter and cashews (high rate of intolerance and reactions) - replace with tahini, almond butter, almonds and brazil nuts
* Commercially prepared chocolate (high in saturated fat and dairy) - replace with raw cacao, high percentage dark chocolate, raw treats
* Caffeine, alcohol (especially red wine) and energy drinks (all vasodilators/weaken capillaries) - replace with herbal teas, kombucha, water with freshly cut fruits and herbs
Is your skin congested with blackheads, prone to breakouts and bumpy? There are many common congesting foods (especially those high in saturated fat) that can irritate and inflame the surface of the skin. These are categorised as "congesting foods". Here is a list of foods to avoid and some alternative "smoothing foods". (Particularly important if you suffer from acne).
* Cheese (highly processed and high in saturated fat) - replace with nutritional yeast (similar savoury flavour), hummus or avocado
* Full cream dairy products - replace with unsweetened rice, oat or coconut milk
* Red meat (specifically sausages, mince, and pork with are high in saturated fat) - replace with grilled lean meat, chicken, turkey, fish, lentils, beans, eggs, tempeh.
* Chips and fried food (high in saturated fat) - grilled, steamed and baked foods
* Protein powders/bars (highly processed) - replace with eggs, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, spirulina, beans.