Healing with Raw Juices
by Healthy Living Ministry
Juicing with raw fruits and vegetables is a great way to detoxify your body from: foods that you may have eaten that are unhealthy for you, the harmful effects of air pollution on your body, help fight any illnesses in your body and prevent you from getting any new illness. It also gets rid of excess water that causes belly fat. The ‘raw juice diet’ consists of using a juicer, filling it with fresh vegetables and fruits that are rich in oxygen and nutrients, making it into juice and drinking it raw. It really tastes great and is a refreshing drink! Healing with raw juices, is pretty easy to do and stick with. All you need to do is make a shopping list of what fruit and vegetables to buy and follow the juice recipes that you can find on the internet or in books. Suggestions of foods that are used to heal a multitude of ailments , and are basically great for you, include: carrots, apples, oranges, kale, swiss chard, lemons and limes.
Many believe juicing and using juice recipes are a new fad but actually eating raw has been around for a very long time. In fact it dates back to ancient Greece. It is said, that Pythagoras, who wrote the famous mathematical theorem, ate raw fruits and vegetables. Hippocrates is famous for being a philosopher and ‘the Hippocratic Oath” that was based on the philosophy of ‘do no harm’. He was a vegetarian who ate raw too. In 1930, Dr. Kouchakoly deemed the term ‘Digestive Leukocytosis’ to describe the body’s toxic reaction to eating cooked food. He said the body produces more white blood cells,(leukocytes) that cause cancer by attacking your health red blood cells.
In 1982, Dr. William Lee, Ph. D. also shouted the praises of a raw diet in ‘The Book of Raw Fruit & Vegetable Juices & Drinks’. He said that refined, white sugar, found in cookies, candies and cakes, was bad for your body. Dr. Lee went on to say that this sugar has no nutritional value at all. When you consume it, your body works hard to get rid of it, making you want it again quickly. Eventually all this sugar damages the body and it begins to produce sugar to compensate.
Juice recipes from Dr. Lee’s book include using carrots for: the prostate, menstrual cramps, kidneys (with cranberries), diarrhea, constipation, colitis and circulation. You can add lemon if don’t like carrot juice alone. For depression, use leafy vegetables, rich in B vitamins, like kale, spinach or swiss chard. (Sinuses are cleared with lemon, horse radish and carrots. Blemishes take a trip with apples, carrots and cabbage. Cabbage is good with carrots for ulcers, anxiety, indigestion and headache, Spinach and carrot are used for hair loss, hemorrhoids, gout. Cabbage and kale are good for bones and teeth.
Raw sugar is ok and is found at upscale coffee houses like Starbuck’s (the brown stuff) and in beets. By eating them (beets) in juice form, you won’t crave sweets that cause cancer. You won’t want salt either because juicing changes your taste buds. You will lose weight by not eating junk that puts on the weight also. The Gersen Therapy, named after German doctor, Max Gersen, is an alternative therapy diet to fight cancer established in the 40’s. Coffee enemas, supplements and juicing are used to cleanse the body of toxins and boost the immune system and stimulate metabolism. Unfortunately, though promising, these treatments were very expensive and could only be done in Costa Rica and Mexico. After Dr. Gersen’s death in the late 50’s, his work was continued by his daughter. In the 70’s, the Gersen Institute was founded in Mexico.
It takes time to achieve the benefits of juicing which is why there are: the 7 day juice diet, the two week juice fast and so on. It is recommended; however that you still eat food but just in mostly raw and steamed form, except for meats. Meat is best kept to a minimum but fish is ok twice a week. For example, you can have cereal or a toasted bagel in the morning, followed by an egg salad, peanut butter and jelly sandwich or tuna salad. For dinner you can eat salsa with cheese over a steamed potatoes. In the evening, make one of the juice recipes, drink and chew your juice, swirling it around in your mouth. You don’t need to deprive yourself! As we know dieting doesn’t work as we eventually go off it. The most important thing is that you consistently juice daily and eliminate the junk from our life. It is a proven fact that it is easier to kick a habit, replacing it with something else. Don’t go cold turkey!
Hippocrates said ‘Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine, be thy food!’ Juicing is a proven method that truly can heal what ails you. It is a lifestyle and a choice you make consciously to improve yourself and your health. If do these things, your body will thank you by running better and you will reap the rewards by functioning better mentally, emotionally and physically.
Our society has been obsessed with beauty for as long as records have been kept. Today, aesthetic appeal seems to be valued above all else and at all costs; we are routinely bombarded with images in magazines, posters, social media, newspapers, movies and television shows all telling us what we should look like.
Every day we are sold the idea that we are fundamentally imperfect. ‘Beauty’ we are told, amounts to a very specific set of physical attributes; we are manipulated to believe that in order to be happy and accepted by others, we need to have higher cheek bones, longer legs, a smaller nose, bigger eyes, fuller lips, slimmer hips, thicker hair; a flatter stomach… the list is literally endless and the goal posts are always moving!
Consequently, when we look in the mirror anything we see which does not meet today’s exacting beauty standards is considered a flaw. How many of us have looked at ourselves and silently wished for different features, or a different body shape? The sad truth is that everybody does it; even the people we aspire to look like have their own set of insecurities. Iconic actress and pin-up star Marilyn Monroe experienced unimaginable fame in her short and difficult life; this was largely due to her looks and status as an unrivaled sex-symbol. Women all over the world aspired to be like her, yet in reality her life was not enviable; she suffered from chronic anxiety and low self-esteem, which ruined her relationships and affected her career. Monroe once famously said, “Being a sex symbol is a heavy load to carry, especially when one is tired, hurt and bewildered.”
This warped ideology of what constitutes ‘beauty’ is ruining our self-esteem and ravaging our health. One recent survey reported that a horrifying 78% of 17 year-old girls in the United States are unhappy with their body type. So obsessed are we with getting one step closer to our physical ideal that we rarely, if ever, stop to ask where the sense in all this is. Is beauty really found in uniformity? Would we all find success, acceptance and happiness if we all looked like the models in our beauty and fashion magazines?
No. Real beauty is found in difference. What a boring world it would be if we all looked the same! In chasing ‘beauty’ standards, women have often lost their defining physical identities. Dirty Dancing star Jennifer Grey was unquestionably beautiful to everybody but herself; at the time the film was made she had a prominent yet distinctive nose which added to her beauty but about which she felt insecure. She had her nose reshaped after the film’s success; a decision which actually smothered her promising acting career. The problem was that even though her new nose looked attractive, she no longer looked like herself.
We must remember that we are all beautiful precisely because we are unique. God created us in His own image. He loves you and accepts you exactly the way you are; you are His perfect creation. In order to find happiness and self-acceptance we must put our trust in God and begin to love ourselves as He loves us. God shaped every aspect of your physical self to be yours alone; there will never be another quite like you, your body is a work of art.
So, if we don’t need to change ourselves and we are already perfect… then what are we doing here? In order to love ourselves and show gratitude to God, we must look after what he gave us to the best of our abilities. The same care should be taken to cherish your own body as should be taken with any other of God’s beautiful creations; you are worth just as much. Just because we don’t want to change ourselves to adhere with any beauty ideal but His, does not mean that we should neglect our physical selves.
It is important to remember that true beauty is the best possible version of your unique and beautiful self of both physical and spiritul that radiates from within; a sign of a nourished, healthy body,spirit and a happy soul.
In this Article we’ll be exploring some of the crazy things that people have done in the name of beauty throughout history. The treatments mentioned here range from unpleasant to absolutely shocking! The sheer number of beauty products and treatments available to us today can be a bit confusing, but once you’ve read about some of the barbaric practises below you will realise that women of today certainly have the better deal!
Despite being one of the oldest civilisations mentioned here, the ancient Egyptians were fairly sensible in their cosmetic practises. They took the application of make-up incredibly seriously; a make-up artist was considered to be as highly skilled as an engraver (writers who engraved tablets with hieroglyphs). Interestingly, the ancient Egyptians concocted various formulations to be both cosmetic and medicinal. One such formulation, made from honey, flowers, fruit and wine, was used as a perfume but also as a treatment for lung, gut, and liver problems!
The ancient Greeks considered the most desirable hair colour to be blonde, as it was thought to be angelic. Unfortunately, not many Greeks had naturally blonde hair, so they took to lightening it with bleaches made from arsenic!
Extremely pale skin was also considered to be attractive (this seems to be a running theme until very recently in world history), so women lightened their faces with pastes made from grease or wax mixed with powdered bones. As unpleasant as that sounds, skin lightening practises were set to get even worse as the centuries passed.
Europe during the middle ages
Like the ancient Egyptians, people during the middle ages often used food items as beautifying treatments. One particularly disgusting example would the use of curdled milk to treat acne. During this period, women attempted to reduce the appearance of wrinkles with topical solutions made from wax, almond oil or crocodile fat.
Skin whitening was still widely practised during this time. Women began to use powders made from highly toxic substances such as lead. Lead based skin powders caused hair loss, cancer, facial paralysis, insanity and even death, yet women still continued to use them!
Europe during the Renaissance
Renaissance Italy saw the introduction of semi-permanent make-up. Women created cheek and lip stains made from artists paint, sandalwood and grease which would last over a week, even though washing.
Toxic face powders were still widely used as the ideal complexion was considered to be white and flawless with vividly red lips and cheeks. An even more disgusting whitening practise came in to play during this period; women began actually bleeding themselves with leeches or cutting in an effort make their skin appear paler!
Large pupils were also considered a sign of beauty for Italian women during the Renaissance. So much so that it became common practice to superficially enlarge the pupils by applying a highly poisonous plant to the eyes, causing the pupils to dilate.
China throughout the ages
Until 1911, China was home to arguably the most barbaric body-modification practice which routinely maimed girls and young women in the name of beauty. Small, ‘lotus’ shaped feet were considered a beauty necessity for all women. The Chinese would achieve this look through ‘foot-binding’. This horrific procedure involved breaking the bones of the subject’s feet and binding them tightly with bandages that would hold them in their broken shape and restrict growth. It was normally performed on girls in early childhood and resulted in a life-long disfigurement which caused constant pain and lack of mobility.
The Secrets of Cellular Aging Revealed
Do you know what is Behind The Skin:
In order to keep our skin healthy and youthful it is important to understand how it works; knowledge of skin’s physiology and function can enable us to make more informed lifestyle choices to keep it in the best possible condition for as long as we can. So, let us first of all take a look at the structure and composition of skin:
Skin can be divided into three main layers: the hypodermis, the dermis and the epidermis.
The hypodermis is the thin layer of fatty tissue which sits just beneath the skin. It acts as padding, insulation and as a nutrient storage facility which supplies the skin. Unfortunately, the hypodermis gradually deteriorates as we get older; this contributes to the loss of ‘fullness’, and skin-thinning that we all experience with age.
The dermis is the middle layer of skin. It is best thought of as an interacting network of skin-tissues, made primarily from structural proteins such as collagen and elastin. The dermis also contains other types of cell such as mast cells (which regulate the skin’s immune response) and fibroblast cells (which synthesise proteins such as collagen and elastin). The cells of the dermis are connected with blood and lymph vessels which supply the skin with nutrients and oxygen, while transporting waste away.
The top layer of skin is called the epidermis; it ranges between 50 and 100 cells thick. The epidermis primarily exists to act as a barrier between your body and the dangerous outside world.
What Makes Our Skin Age?
Skin aging can either be intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic aging refers to the natural aging process, while extrinsic aging is determined by environmental factors. The rate at which we age intrinsically is beyond our control; it is completely determine by genetics. Intrinsic aging only actually accounts for around 5% of externally visible aging. One of the most prominent mechanisms behind intrinsic aging is the progressive shortening of telomeres (protective caps of repetitive DNA which buffer the end of our chromosomes). Chromosomes are found in every cell’s nucleus and contain all the information that cell needs to divide and produce new cells. Telomeres shorten very slightly which each cell division; once they are used up that cell can no longer reproduce. Inherent telomere length is slightly different from person to person, meaning that some of us have a better genetic chance at longer life than others. However, the shortening of telomeres can be ‘sped up’ by environmental factors.
Skin Aging Factors
Free radicals are basically any atom or molecule that does not have even numbers of (paired) electrons. They are extremely volatile and reactive particles, which cause a lot of damage to cellular components such as membranes and telomeres. Some of the biggest causes of free-radical formation are smoking, fried foods, pollution and pesticides.
Most of what we consider to be ‘normal aging’ is actually caused by sun exposure. Sunlight contains UV-B and UV-A rays which damage cell components such as protein fibres and DNA. This prematurely ages the skin and increases the risk of developing skin cancers significantly. Many people erroneously believe that tanning beds are safer than natural sunlight when it comes to achieving a tanned look. The truth of the matter is that tanning beds could be even more harmful to the skin as they use only long length UV-A rays, which can penetrate tissue more deeply.
Inflammation is the skins defence against injury, infection and invasion. Chronic inflammation is a constant, low-level inflammatory response which can occur if your skin is too frequently exposed to inflammation-causing stimulants such as toxins and chemicals. Basically, your immune response gets ‘stuck’ in a state of yellow-alert if it is activated too often. Chronic inflammation is one of the primary causes of premature skin aging.
Inflammatory reactions lead to a group of enzymes called Matrix Metallo Proteinases (MMPs) being released. Their job is to get rid of damaged or infected tissue in order to make way for new, healthy tissue to be created. MMPs only become a problem when chronic inflammation is at work. In this case they are activated systemically, at a low-level. This kind of MMP activity can cause collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid to be broken down and lost.
MMPs have a counterpart called Tissue Inhibitors of MMPs (TIMPs). The same mechanisms that initiate MMPs also initiate TIMPs. As their name suggests, TIMPs are released to keep the ‘breaking-down’ action of MMPs in check. Unfortunately, TIMP levels begin to decline as we get older. This means that the MMPs have less standing in the way between them and our healthy skin cells.
Glycation is the process by which glucose molecules from the food we eat latch on to proteins such as collagen, forming new molecules called Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs). In lab testing, the glycation process has been shown to erode collagen molecules found in vascular tissues such as veins and arteries. The damaged proteins formed plaque build-ups which put patients at risk of heart attacks and stroke. It is thought that glycation could erode skin collagen in the same way, leading to weakened skin composition and premature aging.
Your skin through the years
- In our 30’s: Studies suggest that we lose between 1% and 3% of our skin’s total collagen every year, after our 30th We will notice the first signs of our skin becoming dryer and thinner. Age spots may begin to show and we will develop more obvious expression lines around our forehead and eyes.
- In our 40’s: Collagen and elastin production will slow right down. We may begin to notice a ‘slackening’ of the skin and our eyes having a slightly ‘sunken’ appearance. Lipids that form the epidermal barrier will decline significantly, meaning that our skin will be much dryer in texture and appearance.
- In our 50’s: Studies suggest that women lose around one third of their remaining collagen during the first five years of menopause. Skin continues to become thinner and looser; wrinkles deepen; eye lids droop; age spots and spider veins become quite visible.
12 Culprits That Affect Your Skin
- Hormonal Imbalances: Estrogen dominance can lead to over-production of sebum and oily skin conditions such as acne. Conversely, low estrogen can cause loss of elasticity, pimples and dryness. Excess testosterone in woman can result in unwanted hair growth on the face or body.
- Xenoestrogens: These are chemicals in the environment which act like estrogen when they enter your body. Xenoestrogens can cause estrogen dominance by increasing the total amount of estrogen in the body. Studies have shown that exposure to these chemicals can worsen or cause acne.
- Toxins (do you know what’s in your jar?): Many harmful toxins can be found in personal care products. These chemicals are approved for use in so-called ‘safe’ quantities, however no recognition is given to the fact regular use of a product would lead to an un-safe level of exposure. See “Do you know what’s in your jar?” in the appendix for a list of toxic ingredients to avoid. Persistent skin problems are often a sign that your body is experiencing a toxic build up. This can result in acne break outs, unexplained skin rashes and irritations, puffiness around the eyes, skin blotchiness and many worse health problems with regular exposure.
- Allergies: Exposure to allergens stimulates the release of histamine-producing antibodies. Histamine can cause skin rashes or hives, which will begin to show within two hours of consuming the offending food. Allergic contact dermatitis is a flaky skin condition which can occur when you come into direct contact with an allergy trigger, such as dyes, fragrances and airborne allergens like pollen, smoke, pet hair and fabric fibres.
- Bad Diet: Sugar and high-glycemic foods such as white bread, white pasta, pizza, fried goods, juices, snack foods and sodas have been shown to spike insulin levels and kick start an inflammatory response in the body; over time this will damage skin-elasticity and cause wrinkles. High glucose foods can also damage collagen via other mechanisms, see ‘Glycation’ in the previous chapter. Cow’s milk consumption can alter the body’s natural hormone balance and cause oil glands to over-produce. Numerous studies have shown a correlation between milk consumption and acne flare-ups. One such study examined the diets of over 47,000 women who suffer with acne and found there to be strong connection between heavy consumption of dairy products such as milk and cheese and skin break-outs.
- Nutritional Deficiency: A poor diet can affect your skin in a myriad of ways; for instance an insufficient intake of zinc or essential fatty acids has been shown to worsen acne breakouts. Whereas particularly dry or thinning skin can be caused by a deficiency in vitamin A, vitamin E, potassium, vitamin D and essential fatty acids.
- Age: A gradual decline in skin function as we age will lead to loss of elasticity, resulting in sagging or wrinkles. Skin also becomes thinner; as less new cells are produced the dermis and epidermis become flatter. Consequently your complexion will appear more translucent and blood vessels will be more visible.
- Diseases: Many autoimmune diseases affect the skin either directly or indirectly. Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease which affects multiple tissues including the skin; it causes uncomfortable and unsightly ‘thickened’ patches on the skin. Psoriasis is another common inflammatory skin condition which results in sore, red flaking patches on the skin. Progesterone dermatitis (APD) is another rare autoimmune disorder which effects the skin; it occurs only during the period of the menstrual cycle between ovulation and menstruation and is characterized by sore, flaky patches on the skin.
- Climate: Extremes in temperature and humidity can worsen existing skin complaints and even give rise to new ones. Very cold temperatures often come with very low humidity, which can be harsh on your skin leaving it dry, tight, cracked and rough in texture. Conversely, extremely hot and humid weather can cause pore blockages, blemishes and acne as your skin will sweat more. This can be a particular problem for skin that is naturally oily.
- Stress & Mood disorders: Stress, depression and anxiety all cause your body to over-produce cortisol and other hormones, which in turn, lead to excessive sebum (skin oil) production. The connection between emotional stress and skin complaints has been well studied. One investigation discovered that a large portion of dermatology patients also suffered with an underlying psychological problem, which when treated was able to improve the symptoms associated with their skin condition. Other research has suggested that feelings of persistent anger or sadness could actually affect our skin’s ability to heal itself.
- Sleep Deprivation: Insufficient sleep also causes your body to release cortisol. Excess cortisol has been shown to break down vital skin proteins such as collagen. Lack of sleep has been shown to hinder the production of human growth hormone, which is vital to healthy skin regeneration. One study compared the effects of sleeping for the recommended eight hours a night with the effects of only having six hours sleep. After five days at the reduced six-hour level, the participant showed a measurable increase in spots, red patches, skin bacteria and pore visibility.
- Lifestyle Habits: The two most skin-damaging lifestyle habits are smoking and drinking alcohol. Smoking is known to be the most common cause of premature skin aging after sun damage. It causes blood vessels throughout the body to constrict, resulting in skin cells being starved of oxygen and nutrients. Drinking alcohol too regularly can cause blood vessels to excessively expand, resulting in visible red patches and frequent skin irritations. Studies show that continuous smoking for ten years or more will bring on premature skin aging in women. As most women begin smoking in their teenage years, their skin will be visibly aged by the time they are 30 years old.
The Story of Your Face ……….Revealed
It’s Written All Over Your Face: Deficiencies & Disease
What story is your skin telling you? Use this chapter to find out! We’ll be looking at different skin types and their associated problems; a variety of common skin conditions and what your skin could be trying to tell you about your overall health.
The condition of your skin can tell you an awful lot about what is going on in the rest of your body. Nutrient deficiencies can affect your skin in a multitude of ways, some of which are more obvious than others. Recurring skin problems can also be a sign of worse health issues to come; many chronic diseases have ‘early warning’ symptoms which present in your skin before they appear anywhere else. Paying attention to your skin health can help you to prevent far more serious threats to your health from manifesting further down the line.
How do different nutrient deficiencies affect your skin
Vitamin A: This nutrient is vital for cell regeneration and regulating the production of oil. A deficiency in this vitamin can lead to skin becoming rougher in texture or to raised bumps forming on the skin’s surface; this latter symptom most often occurs on the back of the arms
Zinc: Zinc deficiencies are fairly common and the cause of so many minor skin complaints. This mineral plays an important role in wound repair and skin cell regeneration, as well as being vital for literally dozens of other bodily functions. Skin legions, unexplained rashes, finger nail spots and persistent dryness are all symptoms of a zinc deficiency.
Vitamin C: This vitamin is vital for healthy collagen production. Consequently, a serious deficiency in vitamin C can lead to sagging skin and premature wrinkling. If you suffer with dry, flaky skin you are probably not getting enough vitamin C in your diet
Biotin: Even a very mild deficiency in this B vitamin will cause skin symptoms. Biotin forms the primary chemical basis for skin, nail and hair cells. Insufficient amounts of biotin in your diet will quickly lead to dry, flaky skin and even dermatiti
Selenium: This mineral helps to prevent skin cancer and sun damage. A deficiency could leave you more susceptible to long-term damage as a result of exposure to UV rays. If you find that your skin is more sensitive to the sun than usual, you could be deficient in selenium.
Essential Fatty Acids (Omega 3 & 6): A deficiency in these nutrients will show immediately on your skin. Symptoms include: rough, dry or scaly skin, brittle nails, dull complexion and patches of raised bumps on the skin.
Skin complaints which could indicate disease
- Very dry flaky skin or lips: This is a common symptom of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). Other symptoms include weight gain, extreme tiredness, feeling cold all the time and mental fog.
- Itching skin, puffy eyes & persistent bacterial or fungal infections: Irritated skin and persistent skin infections can indicate poor blood flow, a symptom which commonly accompanies diabetes. Excessive eye-puffiness as a result of fluid retention is also associated with this disease.
- Excess facial hair: This is a common complaint among women who suffer with polycystic ovary syndrome. The hair growth is a result of a hormone imbalance caused by cysts growing on one or both ovaries. If left unchecked this condition can lead to loss of fertility.
- Yellow spots on the eyelids: These spots are fat-filled legions called xanthelasmata; they can be sign of high cholesterol. They are associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Unexplained rashes or blotchiness: Many autoimmune diseases present with skin symptoms such as rashes or blotches. Rashes that appear as groups of red bumps could indicate celiac disease, whereas facial rashes across the cheeks and nose could indicate a more serious systemic condition such as lupus.
- Excessively pale skin: When accompanied with general weakness and fatigue, pale skin could indicate anemia.
- Yellow or greenish complexion: This is a sign of improper liver function and could indicate liver disease or cancer.
- Excessively red facial complexion: This likely indicates high blood pressure and is associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Blueish tint to lips and fingernails: This suggests that your skin is not properly oxygenated, indicating the presence of heart or lung disease.
- Dark colour around the eyes: This could suggest poor kidney function.
Skin Complaints which could indicate a hormone imbalance
- Dark Circles: Dark circles under the eyes could indicate a cortisol deficiency.
- Drooping eyelids: A growth hormone deficiency could lead to prematurely drooping eyelid.
- Skin hyperpigmentation (dark patches): Indicates over-production of MSH, the hormone responsible for increasing melanin production (the skin pigmenting agent).
- Excessively dry or watery eyes: Tear production is regulated by testosterone, DHEA, progesterone and estrogen. Excessively dry or watery eyes could indicate an imbalance in one or several of these hormones.
- Sagging skin around the cheeks or neck: Can indicate deficiencies in DHEA, testosterone and growth hormone.
- Very pale skin: This can be due to poor circulation as a result of a thyroid hormone deficiency.
- Vertical wrinkles around the lips: Could indicate an estrogen deficiency.
- Thinning eyebrows: This could indicate low thyroid function or hypothyroidism.
- Loss of eyelashes: This can be a symptom of estrogen depletion associated with menopause; it can also indicate either an overactive or underactive thyroid. If you also suffer with allergies it is more likely to be a symptom of the latter, indicating insufficient production of thyroid hormon
- If you suffer from any of the above mentioned skin complaints and are concerned about your general health or feel you may be at risk of disease, contact your general physician to discuss your concerns and request further testing.
Here we are going to take a look at some of the most popular eco-green botanical ingredients, their benefits and any scientific evidence which supports their use in beauty products – enabling you to make the smartest possible skincare choices to suit your individual needs! The idea of using cream to treat certain skin ailments actually dates back to ancient Egypt; one papyrus document which is thought to be around 3500 years old was found to contain details of various topical formulations. Honey and milk were among the most common active ingredients, extracts of which are still used today to treat certain skin diseases, such as eczema and psoriasis.
Herbs & Plant-Sourced Antioxidants
Numerous studies have proven that licorice extract can visibly reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation in sun damaged skin. It’s a great natural alternative to synthetic lightening chemicals which is suitable for even the most sensitive skin. Licorice is a great option for people who suffer with melanin related skin conditions such as vitiligo.
Laboratory testing has validated ginkgo biloba’s antioxidant claims, though human trials have yet to be conducted that would illustrate its wrinkle-fighting qualities in action. However, it has been tested in relation to acne and oily skin treatment; it was found to substantially reduce oil production, reduce pore blockages and minimise acne flare ups.
Green tea contains several active compounds with potent antioxidant effects; these have been well documented in laboratory studies, crediting this botanical’s use in anti-aging formulations. It has been shown to increase collagen production and protect skin from oxidative stress. A fantastic anti-aging ingredient!
Scientists have isolated burdocks primary compounds in an effort to determine their efficacy as antibacterial agents. Laboratory tests confirm that these compounds will kill harmful bacteria, however this is yet to be confirmed in animal or human studies. However, Burdock’s anti-inflammatory function has been documented in animal trials. It is a must have ingredient for people who suffer with acne or recurrent skin infections.
Calendula’s wealth of medicinal benefits have made it a well-established treatment for a whole host of skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, varicose veins and sores. It is particularly good for people who suffer with very dry skin and has been proven effective in the treatment of rosacea.
Aloe Vera’s healing capabilities are well known; its ability to aid in digestive healing when taken internally suggest its use as a topical healing agent are also valid. Cream treatments and salves for use after microdermabrasion treatments are often Aloe Vera based – it’s wonderful for rejuvenation!
Dandelion’s active compounds have been well tested in a laboratory setting, but there is limited research to fully validate its use in skin-clearing products. However, laboratory test results have been extremely promising. If you suffer with acne or oily skin, dandelion is certainly an ingredient to consider.
Witch hazel’s ability to calm inflammation has been verified through clinical testing. Researchers were able to clearly illustrate a reduction in inflammatory markers when patients were treated with topical witch hazel.
Lavender is known to improve circulation and as such is great for skin rejuvenation as it aids the transportation of vital nutrients and skin cell waste products. It is also a great skin-care ingredient for people who suffer with rosacea; proven effective in clinical tests.
Various studies have validated sage oil’s antibacterial and wound healing qualities. Topical application of this oil reduced patient post-surgical healing time. This is also quite a bit of research which suggests that sage oil-based acne treatments can reduce the frequency and severity of breakouts.
Tea Tree Oil
Well over 300 studies have verified tea tree’s use as an antibacterial agent and its effectiveness against acne. Furthermore, it was discovered that unlike pharmaceutical antibiotic skin treatments, tea tree oil actually helps to protect against the development of bacterial resistance to antibiotics.
Star Anise Oil
Star anise oil has been utilized in acne formulations for many years. Recently more research has been conducted around one of the oils main compounds; it was proven to be an effective antiseptic that is useful in the treatment of skin infections such as scabies.
An effective acne treatment; ylang ylang has scientifically proven regulatory effects on the skin’s oil producing glands. It appears that the oil mimics our skin’s own oil and therefore tricks glands into slowing down production.
Research has demonstrated that lemon oil effectively reduces acne, rejuvenates damaged skin and calms sebum production, whilst still providing hydration.
Chamomile has been proven effective in the treatment of acne; this is thought to be due to its antibacterial properties clearing out sebaceous glands in the skin.
Rosehip oil’s ability to reduce scarring has been well documented. Researchers treated a group of mastectomy patients with twice daily applications of this oil; after three months they found that the oil-treated patients had less raised scarring and a more natural skin pigmentation than the control patient group.
Jojoba’s anti-aging, photo-protective qualities have been observed in scientific studies; researchers found that treatment with this oil was able to boost collagen expression in photo-damaged skin. It has also been well established as an acne treatment and a suitable moisturizer for oily skin.
This oil has a literally endless list of benefits and applications. It is particularly great for keeping oily skin, healthy and moisturized without blocking pores. One study compared grapeseed oil to ‘oil-free’ cleansers in the treatment of acne prone skin; the findings suggested that grapeseed oil far out-stripped the oil-free moisturizers in keeping skin hydrated and break-out free!
Evening Primrose Oil
Several studies have investigated evening primrose oil’s emollient benefits by using it to treat eczema. The results were significant enough the evening primrose oil has now been approved for the treatment of this skin condition in several countries (not the United States – yet).
Sea Buckthorn Oil
More than 130 studies have been conducted which validate seas buckthorns plethora of therapeutic uses. It has been found to reduce the risk of skin cancer as a result of photo-damage.
Argan oil has been proven to have immense health benefits, for your skin when applied topically but also internally when used in cooking. Topically applied argan oil has been shown to reduce acne break outs, and improve the appearance of fine lines and scarring.
In this section we will be shining the light on different extraction methods and how they can affect the quality of your cosmetic ingredients. We will also take a look at how extracted herbal ingredients can be categorized, to help you understand what you’re buying.
Extraction is the process by which the active substances are extracted from a raw herb or plant. There are a variety of different methods and some are healthier than others; choosing products based on their extraction methods is every bit as important as choosing based on ingredients.
- Solvent Extraction (Maceration, percolation & countercurrent extraction): These methods all involve soaking the plant in a chemical solvent (e.g. hexane or benzene). The solvent is then drained away and the active material is separated from the plant with pressing, or using a centrifuge. Unfortunately, traces of chemical solvents often remain in the resulting extract, leaving you with a less than all-natural ingredient.
- Supercritical Gas Extraction: This method separates the active ingredient from the rest of a plant using pressurized gas. The active ingredient is dissolved, causing it to drain away from the plant where it can be collected. This method uses gases such as ammonia, nitrogen, ethane, propane, carbon dioxide and methane – it too can leave a chemical residue on the collected extract.
- Steam Distillation: This method uses steam rather than gas to dissolve active ingredients. The active substances are vaporized and then collected in a condenser where they turn back into liquid. It is a slightly more complex but inherently safer method as no chemicals are used.
- Cold Pressing: This process uses purified fats to extract oils from plants. The desired herbs are spread onto a sheet of purified fat which dissolves the target oils. These are then separated off using water. This method is by far the healthiest choice when it comes to substance extraction – always choose cold-pressed ingredients where you have the option.
Standardized Extracts Vs Whole Herbs
Choosing a product which specifies “whole herb” ingredients is not always the best option for your skin, surprisingly. Standardized extracts guarantee a set amount of the plant’s active ingredient per measurement (whatever the recommended dose or daily application is). Conversely, whole plant extracts cannot be regulated in the same way, so you can expect some variation in how potent the product is
How good is Your Skin-Care Regime?
Skin is the largest bodily organ and it is constantly exposed to external elements such as weather, toxins, chemicals and fabrics. A proper daily skin care regime is vital to maintain skin health by cleansing, toning, exfoliating correcting, hydrating and protecting it from wear and tear. You may not feel that a daily routine will make much of a difference to how your skin ages, but consider that a few minutes every morning and evening adds up to a great deal of time on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis. You can make a lot of difference to your skin with this amount of attention.
Washing your skin daily with water alone is not enough to remove bacteria, dead skin cells and excess oil. These substances can quickly build up to affect skin function, block pores and leave you with a dull and blemished complexion.
Daily toning will improve your complexion, minimising blemishes, red patches and other imperfections. Choose a toner to suit your skin type and apply it every day after cleansing to smooth and calm your skin.
This phase of your skin care routine should not be included more than three times a week. Exfoliation is important to remove dead skin cells which may block pores; it can also reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. However, exfoliating too often can irritate skin and not leave it with enough time to regenerate.
The next phase of your regime should involve using a correcting product to deal with any unwanted skin problems such as fine lines, wrinkles, scarring, spots and hyperpigmentation. With the enormous range of correcting skin products on the market this phase is highly customisable in terms of meeting your skin’s specific needs. Ideally, you want your skin correcting product to be rich in antioxidants; this will help to deal with the visible signs of skin health issues at the root of the problem: cellular function.
The older we get, the less our skin is able to retain moisture on its own. When skin is persistently dehydrated it can affect the stability of skin proteins such as elastin and collagen, causing them to breakdown prematurely. Choose a hydrating moisturizer to suit your skin type for this phase of your skin care regimen.
This is arguably the most important phase of any skin care routine. When we consider that 95% of aging happens as a result of external factors, with sun damage topping the leader board, we can see just how vital it is that we protect our skin from harmful UV rays on a daily basis. You should choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher.
Facial saunas are a great way to clear pores and lift impurities out from the skin. A ten minute steam will leave your skin feeling soft, supple and smooth; it also has the added advantage of increasing blood flow and intensifying the effect of any skin care products you apply afterwards.
You can use an at-home facial sauna device or do it yourself by adding a few cups of boiling water to a bowl, along with a few drops of essential oil. Simply hold your face over the steam for 5 to 10 minutes or until the steam dissipates. Facial saunas should be slotted in between the cleansing and toning phases of your skin care routine; you can repeat them a couple of times a week.
Seasonal Skin Care
The changing seasons set different challenges for our skin; as such, some minor adjustments to your skin care regime should be made throughout the year. You should be fine to follow your standard skin care regime in the more moderate periods of spring and autumn, though this will depend on the climate where you live. The excessively hot and excessively cold weather during summer and winter will warrant the most adjustments to your routine.
Excessively cold weather and dry air can cause skin to become dry, cracked and sensitive. You should moisturize more regularly during the winter months, or use a more intensive moisturizer – especially if you are prone to dry or sensitive skin. Avoid taking long, hot showers in the winter; these can strip your skin of naturally present oils and nutrients. Instead, opt for shorter showers using lukewarm water.
Hot or humid weather can be a disaster for your skin; remember, there is no such thing as a healthy tan – all tans evidence damage to the skin. So, protecting yourself from the sun should be your number one priority. Use sunscreen every day, even on cloudier days, and be sure to keep out of the sun on hot days as much as possible. High humidity weather during the summer can lead to excessive sweating and pore blockages. You will likely find that your skin feels “oilier” and is more prone to acne and imperfections during the warmer months. Adjust your skin care regime by using lighter moisturizers and choose products with natural skin purifying ingredients. Switching to a moisturizing oil rather than a heavy cream can also be a good option for many people.
Ten Health-Boosting Super-Foods for Beautiful skin
To get you started, here is a list of ten, great health boosting super-foods to include in your diet:
- Maca: This is a powdered root grown in Peru; it is also referred to as Peruvian Ginseng. It is particularly rich in vitamins B, C and E as well as being a great source of various minerals and amino acids. It has been shown to improve sexual function, relieve mood disorders, increase energy levels and decrease skin sensitivity.
- Bee Pollen: This super food contains nearly all the nutrients required by human beings. It has extremely high levels of free form amino acids (free form amino acids are ideal for supplementation as they are ready to be used by the body without being broken down).
- Probiotic Foods: This refers to foods that positively develop gut bacteria, such as natural yoghurt, sauerkraut, miso soup, pickles and tempeh. These foods have been shown to regulate the immune system, prevent infections, improve digestive function and heal inflammatory conditions.
- Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate is extremely rich in antioxidants and nutrients. It has been shown to lower blood pressure, lower the risk of heart disease and is actually more effective in treating depression than pharmaceutical antidepressants!
- Medicinal mushrooms: Mushrooms such as Shitake, Reishi and Morel are rich sources of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They have been shown to have anti-viral and anti-cancer properties, lower blood sugar levels and effectively modulate the immune system.
- Calcium rich foods: Calcium rich plant foods are important to maintain bone health and healthy hormone production. Luckily, plant-source calcium is actually much easier to absorb than animal-source calcium. Some rich plant sources are: cabbage, kale, kidney beans, chickpeas, almonds and parsley.
- Iron rich foods: Iron is not just found in red meat, good plant sources include: raisins, lentils, soybeans, pumpkin seeds and Brussel sprouts. Iron is extremely important for healthy blood formation as well as mood and immune function.
- Omega 3 rich foods: The best plant sources of omega 3 are linseed oil, chia seeds, walnuts and soybeans. The benefits of an omega 3 rich diet cannot be overstated, it is vital for brain health, skin health, hormone regulation and healthy digestion.
- Green Powders: Green powder supplements like spirulina, chlorella, wheatgrass and barley grass are a great way to boost your nutrition. They often come in blends which offer you a little of everything. They are extremely nutrient dense (spirulina topping the leader board as officially, the most nutrient dense food on the planet) and very alkalising. It is important to actively alkalise your body as its optimum state is slightly alkaline; stress, toxins and bad foods can all increase your body’s acidity.
- Herbal teas: There is a variety of herbal tea to suit everybody’s needs and tastes. Varieties include ginkgo biloba (for circulation and mental focus), green tea (for detoxification, energy and a blast of anti-oxidants), chamomile tea (for its calming effect) and valerian tea (for its sleep-promoting effect). Regular consumption of herbal tea has been associated with maintaining a healthy weight. Whatever you are looking for in a tea, there will be something to suit you. They are also a super healthy way to stay hydrated!
Juice cleansing involves a person consuming only freshly juiced fruits and vegetable for a set period of time, while refraining from eating any other kind of food. A juice cleanse can last for a few days or a number of weeks (any person attempting a juice cleanse for longer than 14 days should consult their doctor first). The idea behind juice cleansing is that it detoxes and ‘resets’ your body; it is a good first step for anybody who is considering a complete diet and lifestyle change.
Juice cleansing has been popular for a number of years, though it was first made famous by an Australian film-maker named Joe Cross, who underwent a 60-day juice fast and was able to lose 100lbs and cure himself of an autoimmune disease in the process. He documented his journey in the documentary “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” – a highly recommended watch for anybody considering a juice fast.
The Benefits of Green Juice
Green juices are phenomenally good for your health. When you consider that one juice may contain something like: 1 bag of spinach, half a cabbage, 2 apples, 1 green pepper and 2 limes… it isn’t difficult to see why! So how is juicing superior to just eating all of the ingredients in their whole form?
- You would never be able to eat that much fruit and veg in a day in its whole form.
- You are consuming the ingredients raw, so no nutrients have been lost in the cooking process.
- Juicing separates nutrients from fibre, meaning that the resulting liquid is absolutely packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are incredibly easy for your body to absorb.
How Will Juice Cleansing Make You Feel?
The first couple of days of a juice fast can be fairly difficult. You will inevitably crave all of the things you would normally consume and feel that you should be consuming still. It can be particularly challenging for anybody who is normally reliant on caffeine. You will likely find yourself feeling sluggish, irritable and maybe even a little hungry. However, once you have passed the 48 hour mark, you will begin to feel better… and better, and better! You will suddenly begin to find that you sleep better, have far more energy, great mood, and a much clearer mental state as your body rids itself of unpleasant toxins and starts to put all those valuable nutrients you are consuming to good use!
Juice Combinations & Recipes
You will need to be drinking four to six juices a day, with each juice being between 16 and 20 oz. Aim to create different colored juices (green, red/ purple, yellow) and include one of each in your daily menu. If you’re doubling up go for extra green juices as these tend to be the most nutrient rich. There are literally endless possibilities with regards to individual juice ingredients, so you’ll get do quite a bit of fun experimentation to find out what you like. It is important to use a wide variety of ingredients and include different colored juices in your menu; this is because different colored fruits and vegetables have different nutrient profiles and health benefits. Here are some juice recipe examples to get you started:
1 bunch of kale
1 bunch of spinach
4 celery stalks
1 small chunk of ginger to taste
This juice is incredibly zingy and refreshing. The spinach, kale and celery are incredibly alkalising and nutrient dense. The lemon and ginger add to this juice’s anti-inflammatory assets and give it a real flavour kick.
Red/ Purple Juice
Half red cabbage
1 cup strawberries
2 large oranges
2 celery sticks
This vibrant juice is surprisingly sweet and absolutely packed with antioxidants. The purple pigment in the beets and cabbage comes from a compound that reduces inflammation, fights cancer and provides a whole host of anti-aging benefits.
Small chunk of turmeric
Small chunk of ginger
Yellow juices are usually a great source of vitamin C and this one is no exception. It is also rich in anti-inflammatory enzymes and bioflavonoids which promote healthy digestive, brain, immune and eye function! This super fruity juice makes a great breakfast option.
Weight Loss: Supplements & Exercise
Weight loss treatments such as fat cavitation, body wraps and liposuction are fantastic tools to help you reach your long-term weight and body shape goals. However, it is important to remember that these treatments are not an all-inclusive fix. In order to maximise their effects and create long-lasting change, real lifestyle changes are also necessary. In this chapter we will be looking at the best exercise and supplement tactics to help you achieve your goals.
Fat Burning Supplements
There are some really effective fat burners on the market which can help you achieve your weight loss goals. Of course, no pill is a one-stop solution to weight loss; fat burners are designed to complement a healthy diet and exercise program. Fat burning supplements are formulated using thermogenic ingredients; they subtly increase body temperature and consequently the amount of fat your body naturally metabolises for energy also increases. The best products use a combination of ingredients; here are some of the most effective fat-burning ingredients to look out for:
- Green Tea: Studies have shown that green tea increases calorie burn rate but also that it can also reduce existing body fat. Look for supplements that contain doses of between 120 and 350mg.
- Caffeine: This popular thermogenic ingredient appears in a lot of fat burning supplements. It is believed to increase endurance so is a good option for anybody undertaking an exercise program.
- White Tea extract: This contains catechin which is believed to aid weight loss by inhibiting the development of fat cells.
- White Willow Bark: This ingredient works well alongside thermogenic ingredients as it is thought to prolong their activity.
- Raspberry Keytone: This compound is found in raspberries; it aids weight loss by boosting metabolism and breaking down fat cells.
- Yohimbe: This is an extract from the bark of Yohimbe trees. It helps your body to burn fat faster and more efficiently.
- Green Coffee Beans: This supplement is thought to aid weight loss by preventing glucose absorption. It also contains thermogenic compounds which metabolise fat.
- Black Pepper extract: Black pepper contains a compound called piperine which helps to slow down fat cell development. It has also been shown to have significant anti-cancer activity.
The Best Exercise Regime for Body Transformation
It is a common misconception that cardiovascular training is the best way to burn fat. It is true that activities such as swimming, running and cycling raise your heart rate to that critical, fat-burning level; however, they won’t do you very much good unless you already have good muscle density. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn during any activity. Muscle even uses up calories while you sleep! That’s why any body-shaping, fat-burning exercise program should be based around strength and HIIT (high intensity interval training), to build stronger, denser muscles.
HIIT involves completing short sets of high intensity exercises with little or no rest in between, then repeating over three to five cycles. One massive advantage of this kind of training is that it can be done in your own home and will only take around half an hour, three times a week! No more costly gym membership and time-consuming work outs.
Here is a typical HIIT work out example:
30 squat jumps
(15 seconds rest)
30 seconds plank
(15 seconds rest)
30 lunges with weights
(15 seconds rest)
30 sprint starts
(1 minute rest)
Then repeat the whole sequence three times. And you’re done!
Completing a HIIT workout three times a week will very quickly see you shed those unwanted pounds and makes for a great, muscle building program to complement fat loss treatments. Workouts are extremely customizable; if there is any exercise you don’t feel comfortable doing simply don’t use it and look for something else that works the same muscle groups! As you become fitter you can increase the number of repetitions of each exercise, or the intensity by adding weights, while decreasing the rest periods in between. Whatever the exercise, the idea is that it activates as much muscle as possible and has you working at near enough full capacity for the duration of the work out.
Description: The word “cosmeceutical” describes any cosmetic ingredient or personal care product which has, or claims to have medicinal or health promoting properties. These hybrid products can be considered neither purely cosmetic nor purely pharmaceutical. Going beyond the superficial and temporCosmeceutical Ingredients and Their Cutaneous Effectsary benefits of cosmetics, cosmeceuticals contain beneficial “active” ingredients, either natural or synthetic, which are designed to affect positive biochemical changes on your body. The term “cosmeceutical” was not actually popularized until the 1970’s; a man named Albert Kligman, who was among the first to develop vitamin A based formulations to improve the appearance of aged or sun-damaged skin, coined the term.
Claims: Despite not being officially recognised as a product category by the FDA, cosmeceuticals are big business. The market place is flooded with beauty and youth promoting products claiming a wide variety of therapeutic skin effects, such as:
- Reducing fine lines and wrinkles
- Reducing pore size
- Protection against free radical damage
- Protection against sun damage
- Brightening the appearance of skin
- Promoting a ‘smoother’ skin texture
- Reducing hyperpigmentation or ‘age spots’
- Sun protection SPF 15-100
How Beneficial Are They?
With so many “wonder-creams” on our drug-store shelves it can be difficult to know which, if any, are effective enough to be worth our time and our hard-earned cash. The main problem lies in the fact that these products are not properly regulated by the FDA; as they are not considered to be pharmaceuticals they do not need to be proven effective in order to be approved. However, that isn’t to say that none of them work. The enormous pressure on beauty companies to come up with products that really deliver on their promises means that they are constantly striving to cook up new and even more effective formulations, but with so much choice it can be difficult to decide who, and what, to put your trust in.
There are three things to be considered when deciding if a cosmeceutical product is worth your time:
- Does the active ingredient have a biochemical action which can effect change in target cells and tissues?
- Can it penetrate your skin? The active ingredient needs to be absorbed through the outer layers of your skin in order to have any effect on target tissues and cells.
- What does the research say about the product? Are there any published peer-viewed, double blinded, placebo controlled and statistically significant trials to substantiate the claims made by this cosmeceutical formulation?
- What does the research say about the ingredient(s)? If the product itself has not been subject to clinical testing; is there any published clinical evidence supporting the active ingredient’s use in the product?
Delivery System Liposomes & Nanoparticles: Pros & Cons
Resolving the Skin Penetration Problem
Nanotechnology has revolutionized anti-aging skin care; liposomes and nanoparticles serve as a carrier for those all-important active ingredients, taking them deep into the skin where they can target the cells most at need. Skin permeating nanotechnology was originally developed as a delivery system for drugs used to treat cancer and other diseases; the technology has since been utilized by cosmetic companies due to its unique ability to penetrate the skin and deliver anti-aging ingredients to the areas they can be most productive.
Liposomes are microscopic bubbles which absorb and transport water soluble nutrients (e.g. vitamin C). Their membranes are similar to that of skin cell walls; consequently they are able to merge with skin layers, permeating otherwise impenetrable barriers, carrying and delivering their active ingredients to target cells. Nanoparticles are similar in size and structure to Liposomes, but have oil-based centres, meaning that they can carry fat-soluble nutrients, such as Vitamins E and A. Nanoparticles are particularly useful in skin hydrating formulas; they carry moisturizing oils deep into the skin, surpassing the outer layers where they take little effect and will eventually be washed off.
As discussed in the opening of this chapter, skin penetration is one of the biggest obstacles preventing cosmeceutical formulations from being successful in the treatment and prevention of aging. If beneficial nutrients cannot be absorbed and influence skin on a cellular level, the cream itself, no matter how ground-breaking it’s active ingredients, is useless. Consequently, nanotechnology is paramount in the efficacy of anti-aging skin creams.
Cosmeceutical ‘Pros & Cons’
· Pro: They are inexpensive compared to other anti-aging solutions, with an option for every budget.
· Pro: They are a completely non-invasive, anti-aging treatment.
· Pro: They require no recovery time.
· Pro: There are options to suit every age and skin type.
· Con: They vary in efficacy; they do not all do as they claim.
· Con: They work best as a preventative measure, doing little to ‘reverse’ the signs of aging of very mature skin.
A Word From the Experts
Cosmeceuticals are widely recognised by Dermatology experts as being an effective anti-aging therapy; however, buyers are advised to take steps to establish the efficacy of a product before purchase, to avoid wasting money and time. There are unfortunately, many cosmetics companies trying to cash in on the wave of cosmeceutical popularity, by promoting largely useless ‘fad’ products, which do not deliver on their promises.
Dr Linder, a board certified dermatologist and chief scientific officer for PCA Skin, asserts that there is a cosmeceutical product to suit every patient. He also issues a word of caution, stating that buyers must “remember to ask: for the science supporting the use of certain ingredients; if the cosmeceutical actives are used in the formulation at the same percentages that were used in the studies supporting its benefits; and to see visual evidence of positive patient outcomes, such as untouched before and after photographs.
Cosmeceutical Ingredients and Their Cutaneous Effects
In this articles, the most common types of cosmeceutical ingredient and their biological effects on the skin will be listed. These active substances will often appear in isolation, or as ‘blends’ with other ingredients. This depends on which aging effect(s) they aim to treat, and whether those effects are a result of external aging factors (e.g. sun damage) or intrinsic aging factors (e.g. loss of elasticity due to a natural decrease in collagen production). Let’s begin.
Vitamins & Antioxidants
- Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid): Is a known antioxidant which targets and eliminates skin-aging free radicals. Animal studies substantiate this claim, showing a clear reduction in oxidative stress in vitamin C treated mouse skin. This vitamin also has anti-inflammatory properties which help to promote collagen production.
- Vitamin E: This is another antioxidant, with anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown it to be particularly effective when combined with vitamin C.
- Vitamin A: Numerous clinical trials show that vitamin A and its derivatives have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, skin rejuvenating properties which when used in topical creams, can effectively reduce the appearance of fine lines and improve elasticity by promoting collagen production.
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin): In cosmeceutical creams this reduces skin inflammation, the appearance of fine lines, promotes even skin tone and youthful elasticity. A series of studies conducted in 2005 validated this nutrients use in topical skin treatments for aging, acne and rosacea. It has also been found to boost the photo –protection offered from broad spectrum sun creams.
- Vitamin D: Topically applied vitamin D is thought to help minimize acne, boost elasticity, stimulate collagen production and brighten skin. Experts have some concerns that the plant derived vitamin D used in anti-aging creams may not be biologically active in the same way as the vitamin D naturally produced in skin. More research is needed to add clarification.
- Grape seed extract / oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPC): This is a potent antioxidant commonly used in botanical skin creams; it is also thought to aid in wound healing and closure. Some clinical studies have managed to validate its use as a topical wound healing agent; in theory, it should also protect against free radical damage when applied topically, though there is little in the way of published evidence to back this notion up.
- Green tea extract / epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG): A known anti-inflammatory and as such is thought to reduce redness and inflammation when applied topically to the skin. It is also thought to improve skin tone and reduce the signs of aging. Research has shown green tea to increase circulation when applied topically to the skin, which could account for its ability to improve skin tone with repeated applications. Other studies have discovered that green tea actively reduces levels of a collagen inhibiting enzyme. A decline in collagen production is chiefly responsible for the loss in skin elasticity that develops with age. Therefore Green Tea can, in theory promote firm and elastic, youthful looking skin.
- Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA): This potent antioxidant is frequently used in skin care products. Research supports its application as an oxidative stress reducer. It is also used in skin creams to reduce puffiness around the eyes, redness and inflammation.
- Polyenylphosphotidyl choline (PPC): This commonly found in anti-aging products aimed at people who suffer with dry skin, as it is an effective emollient which mimics the natural unsaturated phospholipids in your skin. It promotes healthy, hydrated looking skin.
- Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE): An ingredient with extensive clinical backing; it is an antioxidant with cell-reinforcing properties which is known to promote firmer, smoother and brighter skin. It is worth noting that DMAE has been found even more effective when used as part of a blend with other topical antioxidants.
- Resveratrol: This antioxidant is found in red grapes and cocoa. It promotes skin elasticity and reduces fine lines by supporting collagen production and protecting against oxidative stress. It has been found particularly effective when used in blends alongside hyaluronic acid; a combination used more and more frequently in high-end cosmeceutical products.
- CoQ10: This is a vitamin-like compound which occurs naturally in all of our body’s cells; it is responsible for energy production in cells, and declines naturally with age. CoQ10 can fight skin aging on a cellular level, by replenishing depleted supplies and neutralising harmful free-radicals. As such, it is useful in the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles, while promoting youthful and plumped up skin. Research suggests that when applied topically, CoQ10 levels in skin cells may not actually increase. More research is needed but it seems its anti-aging action may work best when taken orally.
- Selenium: This antioxidant is a vital trace mineral with a variety of biological functions. In studies, selenium has shown that it works synergistically with other nutrients such as vitamins C and E. Consequently it is often used in combination with these nutrients in anti-aging skin creams.
- Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF): This is a synthetically produced substance, which is designed to activate skin growth on a cellular level. As such, it encourages skin rejuvenation and repair and collagen production. EGF is big news in anti-aging skin care; its creator was awarded a Nobel Prize for a ground-breaking achievement in wound-healing medicine. Since then, cosmeceutical companies have been falling over themselves to get EGF into their products.
These are vitamin A derivatives; some commonly used forms are retinol, retinaldehyde and retinoic acid. Isotretinoin and tazarotine are examples of two particularly potent synthetic retinoids, which alongside retinoic acid, are usually only available with a prescription. These claim to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and age spots while maintaining skin elasticity. Retinoids have an impressive amount of published and peer reviewed research supporting their use in cosmeceutical products. They have been shown to support collagen production by blocking inhibitory enzymes; to smooth out wrinkles by encouraging epidermal shedding while also having a ‘thickening’ effect which reinforces the deeper layers of the dermis; and to restrict the production of melanin, the pigment responsible for darkening skin.
The cosmetic use of stem cells should not be confused with the medical use of stem cells Medical stem cells are “raw” human cells, which can develop into any type of human cell; whereas, cosmetic stem cells are plant extracts, called ‘stem cells’ because they are taken from the stem of the plant. They claim to cause wide-spread cell regeneration, leading to dramatic anti-aging effects. The name ‘stem cells’ is misleading, as whole, live cells are not actually used, extracts from cells are taken instead. In this way stem cells are little more than botanical extracts and have no other use. In order for a stem cell to cause tissue regeneration it would have to be live and it would have to be from the same organism as it aimed to treat. Consequently, even if whole, live stem cells were used in skin creams (which is impossible, they would die), they would not have a regenerating effect on human tissue, as they are taken from plants. So, unfortunately, stem cells in anti-aging cosmeceuticals may have some effect as botanical extracts, but certainly not the dramatic regenerating effect that they claim.
Hyaluronic acid is a substance which occurs naturally in the human body; it is present in its highest concentrations in the skin, eyes and joints. Hyaluronic is known for its ability to hold water; as such it is frequently used as a moisturizing agent in anti-aging skin creams and is hailed for its ability to promote plumped, smooth and youthful-looking skin. Unfortunately, clinical trials have shown that hyaluronic acid is not capable of passing through the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of skin). So, while it does have a skin-hydrating effect, this effect is largely superficial, taking action on only the surface layers of skin, and would dissipate with discontinued use. However, there is some hope for hyaluronic acid’s derivative, sodium hyaluronate; it has a similar hydrating effect and its particles a smaller, meaning they can reach deeper layers of skin.
- Hydroquinone: This is one of the most thoroughly studied depigmenting agents; it is also one of the most effective in reducing the visibility of hyperpigmentation. Unfortunately, it does come with a warning sign; in high concentrations it can have adverse side effects and even be carcinogenic
- Liquorice extract: This is a particularly effective depigmenting agent as it contains a skin lightening compound and has been discovered to enhance the penetration of any other substances in the formulation. So, used alongside other depigmenting agents such as vitamin C, it should be highly beneficial.
- Azelaic acid: In addition to being a depigmenting agent, this is well known for its anti-bacterial properties; as such it is actually a highly effective ingredient in acne-treating formulations. It has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects which calm redness, and can be useful in the treatment of conditions such as Rosacea
- Mequinol: This targets the skin cells responsible for melanin production (the substance responsible for pigmenting skin). It is very effective in the treatment of sun damage and age spots, particularly when combined with Tretinoin (a form of vitamin A which promotes skin regeneration).
- Arbutin: This is another lightening agent frequently used in topical depigmenting formulas; it also works by inhibiting melanin production and is particularly effective when used alongside Hydroquinone.
- Aleosin: This was designed as an alternative to hydroquinone for pharmaceutical skin-lighteners (due to the concerns over hydroquinone’s negative side effects in high concentrations). Unfortunately, Aleosin does not appear to have the same skin penetrating abilities as Hydroquinone, so does not so effectively treat skin pigmentation disorders. However, Aleosin has some use as a surface skin lightener, so has been picked up by cosmeceutical manufacturers.
Damage from ultraviolet rays is the number one environmental cause of skin aging; consequently, any anti-aging cosmeceutical formula worth its salt must contain UV protection. Look for ‘broad spectrum’ SPF moisturizers, as these protect against both UVA and UVB damage. SPF skin creams are a vital part of any beauty regime and experts say we should begin protecting our skin with them, all year round, in our teenage years.
The SPF (skin protection factor) of sunscreens is a rating of how well a product will block UVB rays. You should aim to choose a sunscreen rated factor 15 or above. There is little point in choosing anything above a factor 30 as the increase in protection is very small for each step up after factor 15.
- SPF 15 blocks 93 percent of UVB rays.
- SPF 30 blocks 97 percent.
- SPG 50 blocks 98 percent
- SPF 100 blocks 99 percent
Chemical or Physical Sunscreens
Chemical sunscreens are the most commonly used; they are based on carbon compounds which are designed to filter the sun’s rays. There has been some concern that the chemicals used in this type of sunscreen can be absorbed through the skin and mess with our hormone balance; they can also cause minor allergic reactions in sensitive skin.
Physical sunscreens are mineral based; they use very fine powders of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to create a physical barrier between your skin and the sun’s harmful rays. As they don’t use chemicals, physical sunscreens are a more natural sun-protection option and they have the added advantage of lasting longer (as there are no chemicals to decompose).
Collagen based skin-creams do little to replenish our skin’s supply of this all important protein. Topically applied Collagen has been shown to be practically incapable of penetrating the outer layers of skin; it is therefore ineffective as a cosmeceutical ingredient. However, there are a large number of very effective collagen boosting creams on the market which contain other ingredients known to kick-start our skin’s own collagen production. See ‘Peptides’ below.
Peptides for Anti-aging therapy.Fact or Fiction
Peptides are big news in anti-aging therapy. They are short chains of amino acids (the building blocks of proteins, such as collagen); they can occur naturally or be produced synthetically. The best anti-aging cosmeceutical creams list peptides among their active ingredients; they have a wide range of benefits, the biological mechanisms behind which fall into one or more of the following categories:
- Neurotransmitter inhibiting (neuropeptides): These peptides are often marketed as a non-invasive alternative to Botox injections; they claim to relax facial muscles by blocking nerve signals, having a smoothing effect on wrinkles.
- Signal peptides: These peptides are collagen boosters. When collagen breaks down as part of the aging process it leaves protein fragments (peptides) behind. These will eventually break down too, but initially, they act as a signalling agent which asks your skin to produce more collagen to replace what has been lost. Signal peptides in face creams, such as palmitoyl pentapeptide, mimic these naturally occurring peptides. When applied daily the idea is that they will continually ‘trick’ your skin into producing more collagen, which will promote plump and youthful skin.
- Carrier peptides: These peptides claim to carry therapeutic trace elements such as copper and magnesium to the deeper skin layers. These minerals have antioxidant and wound healing properties; delivering them to deep skin tissue can supposedly encourage skin cell regeneration, leading to smoother and more youthful looking skin.
- Enzyme inhibitor peptides: These are designed to minimize the break-down of collagen by blocking the production of collagen inhibiting enzymes known as matrix metalloprotease (MMP).
What does the research say?
There is quite a lot of published research supporting the use of signal (collagen boosting) peptides in beauty formulas. The data from the studies which inform this review shows that with twice daily application, these peptides have boosted collagen production by a minimum of 100%. One study in particular found that palmitoyl pentapeptide was able to reduce the average wrinkle depth and length by 15% over 28 days of use, with the maximum reduction measured being a rather astounding 60%.
Neuropeptides, however, do not appear to live up to their claims. The problem being that in order to have a Botox-like affect, they would have to penetrate the skin deep enough to reach muscle tissue, which experts say is not possible.
Enzyme inhibiting and carrier peptides do appear to have an effect, though there is little evidence to verify or dismiss their use as an ingredient in cosmeceutical creams. Any effective face cream would need to be thin and light enough to penetrate the outer layers of skin; thicker creams may do little beyond hydrating the skin’s surface. It is also important that any synthetic peptides used in skin creams are formulated correctly, so that they don’t break down before they can take affect; so good ingredients and light consistency are not always guarantees that a cream will be effective.
Common peptides & their applications
- Acetyl Tetrapeptide-9: A collagen booster; it works to create plumper, firmer skin.
- ‘Argireline’: A neuropeptide; frequently found in ‘wrinkle-relax’ creams. Thought to be largely ineffective in wrinkle reduction.
- ‘Chronoline’: There are a limited number of studies which support this peptides use in anti-aging creams. It has collagen boosting and skin restorative functions.
- Copper Peptide (GHK-Cu): A carrier peptide widely acknowledged for its anti-wrinkle, anti-aging and collagen boosting activity.
- Hexapeptide-11: Has a variety of age-fighting actions, including reducing the appearance of fine lines, boosting skin oxygen levels, firming and thickening the skin and increasing collagen production.
- ‘Matrixyl’ (palmitoyl-pentapeptide 3): A collagen boosting peptide which helps to stimulate skin regeneration.
- ‘Matrixyl 3000’ (Palmitoyl Oligopeptide And Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7) : Similar functions to the original Matrixyl formula, though with the added benefit of additional signal peptides to stimulate collagen production.
- ‘Matrixyl Synth 6’ (Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38): A peptide which has been formulated to the six main components of skin (collagen I, III, IV, fibronectin, hyaluronic acid and laminin-5).
- Palmitoyl Oligopeptide (Pal-Ghk): A collagen booster; used in ‘skin-firming’ and ‘rejuvenation’ formulas.
- Acetyl Glutamyl Heptatpeptide or ‘Snap-8’: A neuropeptide which studies suggest is more effective at reducing the appearance of deeper, muscle contraction-induced wrinkles. It also has collagen boosting mechanisms which are effective in the treatment of fine lines.
- ‘Myoxinol’ (an oligopeptide complex): A neuropeptide comparable to Argireline which supposedly diminishes the appearance of deeper wrinkles by limiting facial muscle movement. It is worth noting that the only trials substantiating these claims were conducted by Myoxinol’s manufacturer.
- ‘Syn-Ake’: A muscle paralysing neuropeptide derived from snake venom. For the appearance of smoother skin.
- ‘Syn-Tacks’ (Palmitoyl Dipeptide-5 Diaminobutyroyl Hydroxythreonine And Palmitoyl Dipeptide-6 Diaminohydroxybutyrate) : A peptide complex, designed to boost the production of collagen III, VII, XVII and laminin 5.
- ‘Aldenine’: A combination of Tripeptide 1 (a carrier peptide) and wheat and soy proteins. Boosts collagen synthesis and helps to repair photo-damage.
- ‘Eyeliss’ (Hesperidin Methyl Chalcone and Dipeptide-2 and Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7): A skin-firming peptide complex used to reduce under-eye bags.
- ‘Inyline’: A neuro-hexapeptide designed to reduce the appearance of expression lines.
- ‘Leuphasyl’: A neuro-pentapeptide often used alongside other wrinkle reducing peptides for the treatment of expression lines by limiting muscle contraction.
- ‘Sepilift’ (Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline): A wrinkle –smoothing, skin-firming collagen booster with protective antioxidant properties.
- ‘Uplevity’: A peptide which boosts collagen and encourages the expression of certain proteins required for collagen’s skin firming action. Promotes firm and lifted skin.
- ‘Haloxyl’ (Chrysin, N-Hydroxysuccinimide, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide and Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7): A complex formulated for the treatment of dark circles around the eyes. It inhibits the formation of certain darkening pigments, firms and evens skin tone.
Chemical Exfoliation & Peels
Chemical exfoliation and peeling are skin rejuvenating practises in which a chemical solution is applied to the skin, causing the outer layers of skin to slough or peel off, revealing smoother, more youthful looking skin underneath. This technique actually dates back thousands of years, when our earliest civilizations in Greece, Rome and Egypt used mildly acidic solutions made from ingredients such as milk (for its lactic acid content) to encourage skin exfoliation and rejuvenation. Today, there is an incredibly wide range of chemical peeling procedures available, the different virtues of which we will be discussing during this chapter.
A Question of Depth
The effect that a chemical peel has depends on the depth of its penetration. Peel depths can be superficial (also known as chemical exfoliation), medium, or deep; the deeper the peel the more dramatic the results. The depth of penetration depends on the chemicals being used, the chemical percentage in the peel solution and most importantly, the pH of the solution. The lower the pH of the peel, the deeper it is. Beauty salon and at-home peels only use solutions of pH 3 or higher. Peels with a pH of less than 2.5 must be administered by a nurse or a medical professional, while pH 1 peels can only be administered by a doctor or surgeon. The cost of the peel depends on its depth, the ingredients used and where you undergo the procedure. The range is from about $60 for a superficial peel, up to about $400 for a deep peel treatment.
Exfoliation or ‘Superficial Peeling’
Chemical exfoliation, also known as ‘Superficial Peeling’, is a very gentle procedure and targets only the dead skin cells of the epidermis. Alpha hydroxyl or beta hydroxyl acids are typically used for these treatments.
This level of chemical peel can be administered in beauty salons, or at home, as there are now various ‘DIY’ treatments on the market – though these do vary quite a bit in efficacy. Superficial peels are safe to use every few weeks, are completely painless and can be effective in the minimisation of flaky skin, hyperpigmentation and acne with repeat applications.
Pros’ and ‘Cons’
· Pro: The advantage of using light peels is that they take little or no time to recover from and the effects are almost instantaneous.
· Con: They have little impact on scarring and wrinkles; regular light peels are a great way to gradually improve the texture of your skin.
Medium Depth Peels
Medium depth peels often use trichloroacetic acid (TCA), and are slightly more invasive. The procedure itself can cause some discomfort in the form of burning or stinging sensations, which can continue for a short while after the treatment is completed. These peels take longer to recover from; skin will remain very red and will peel for a week afterwards, with some pinkness and irritation continuing for up to six weeks. Medium depth peels can be very effective in the treatment of sun damage, hyperpigmentation, fine lines and can even slightly improve the appearance deeper wrinkles.
Pros’ and ‘Cons’
· Con: The downside to medium-depth peels is the recovery time; you may want to spend the first week at home as your healing skin can be quite unsightly.
· Con: You will have to take care in the sun for a few weeks afterwards; your newly exposed skin will be very susceptible to sun damage.
· Pro: The anti-aging effects will last longer than a light peel.
· Pro: Can noticeably reduce fine lines, hyperpigmentation and some scars.
As you might expect, deep peels have the longest recovery time and the most dramatic results. The procedure can be quite painful and is sometimes performed with the patient under sedation. These peels are very effective in the treatment of deep wrinkles, scars, sun damage and have even been used to remove pre-cancerous growths.
You will experience severe swelling followed by scabbing and peeling in the week following the treatment; the overall recovery take around three to four months. Carbolic acid (phenol) or high strength TCA are typically used in deep chemical peel solutions, if phenol is used the treatment must be administered by a doctor. These peels do carry with them the risk of hypopigmentation (light patches on the skin) and scarring.
Pros’ and ‘Cons’
· Pro: Deep peels can dramatically improve the appearance of wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and scarring.
· Pro: Have the longest lasting effects of all chemical peels.
· Con: Recovery is painful and can last up to four months.
· Con: There is a risk of hypopigmentation (overly light skin) once healing is complete.
Chemical Peeling Agents
Alpha Hydroxyl Acids
This category includes acids such as lactic acid, glycolic acid, malic acid and tartaric acid. These are all water soluble acids which are appropriate for use on normal to dry skin. Glycolic acid is perhaps most frequently used in chemical peel formulations; it usually comes in concentrations of between 30% and 90%. Lactic acid occurs naturally in the skin and is also present in milk; lactic acid, malic acid and tartaric acid are gentler alternatives to glycolic acid.
Beta Hydroxyl Acids
This category includes acids such as salicylic acid. Beta hydroxyl acids are usually milder than AHAs. They are fat-soluble which makes them ideal for use on oily skin; as water soluble AHAs would not be able to effectively penetrate oily skin. Beta hydroxyl acids are a great peel treatment for acne-prone skin.
Other Types of Peel
Vitamin Based Peels
These are a very mild type of vitamin-enriched peel. Their ‘peel’ effect is very superficial, taking off only the dry top layer of skin. The beauty of these peels is that they can deliver beneficial, skin rejuvenating nutrients deep into the skin where they can take effect. Vitamin C is a common ingredient; it is has powerful antioxidant and skin lightening properties. So is useful in the treatment of lightly aged, dull or hyper-pigmented skin. There are many at-home vitamin peels on the market, but you will get the best effects from professional salon or spa treatments.
These are a type of light-to-medium depth peel which uses a specific combination of three chemical agents: lactic acid, salicylic acid and resorcinol (an anti-bacterial substance used in the treatment of acne). These peels are used to remove the surface skin layers, treat acne, reduce fine lines and improve the overall appearance of aging skin. The peeling effect will begin a few days after treatment; the best results are obtained with repeat treatments once a month. These peels are a half-way house between superficial and medium depth treatment, particularly suited for people who suffer with acne.
Enzyme peels are typically much gentler than chemical peels and as such, can be incorporated into your regular skin-care routine. They are suitable for all skin types and only remove dead skin cells; they have no effect on living tissue. With regular use, enzyme peels can diminish the appearance of fine lines and improve the texture and tone of your skin. These treatments will not have as dramatic an effect as chemical peels, and very little actual ‘peeling’ will occur.
Despite being well into her 40’s, Jennifer Aniston is still one of Hollywood’s great beauties, renowned for her flawless skin and youthful appearance. She revealed that regular chemical peels are the secret to her beautiful skin! We think that Jen probably opts for medium to deep strength peels, based on her description of the treatment on a popular talk show “It’s extremely intense. You don’t realize you look like a battered burn victim for a week. Then the dead skin on your face just kind of falls off—for eight days. It was horrifying.” But the results are certainly worth it!
Microdermabrasion, also referred to as ‘mircoderm’ is an exfoliation and rejuvenation treatment. The procedure itself can be performed by any qualified skin-care professional, or with any of the various at-home microdermabrasion kits now on the market.
Microdermabrasion is a very gentle procedure which involves the outermost layer of skin being partially or completely removed, using a machine which sprays exfoliating crystals directly onto the area being treated, or an exfoliating tool tipped with microscopic diamond flakes. Treatment times vary but usually do not exceed an hour.
One microdermabrasion session should leave your skin feeling softer, with a smoother and brighter appearance. This procedure can be used to reduce the appearance of very fine lines, scars and ages spots, though best results are said to be achieved with repeated treatments, approximately every two to four weeks.
How does it work?
By gently removing the very top layer of skin, microdermabrasion reveals the newer and more youthful looking layer of skin underneath. In this way it can be used to gradually wear away raised scars, acne, sun damage and other skin blemishes. The abrasion process also activates your skins own repair mechanisms, causing an increase in collagen production and re-hydrating glycoaminoglycans.
How long does it last?
The effects of microdermabrasion are relatively short-term, as the skin will naturally re-surface itself fairly quickly. Your skin will appear smoother and brighter for a few days after treatment, but re-treatment will be required every couple of weeks to see a continual improvement in skin texture.
Microdermabrasion ‘Pros’ and ‘Cons’
· Pro: Short recovery time; an appropriate beauty treatment for those who cannot take time off to recuperate.
· Pro: Fast results; skin immediately feels softer and skin tone is improved.
· Pro: Triggers your skins own healing mechanisms.
· Pro: Low risk and no harmful chemicals involved.
· Con: The effects are relatively short lived.
· Con: The treatment has little impact on deep wrinkles and severe photo-damage.
Microdermabrasion is such an effective anti-aging tool that many top celebrities swear by it. Victoria Beckham and Cameron Diaz have both admitted to suffering with acne-prone skin, claiming that microdermabrasion treatments are responsible for their now flawless complexions
Injectable anti-aging treatments can achieve a more youthful look instantly by reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles; injectable treatments can last between 4 months and several years before re-treatment is required. This kind of treatment should only ever be administered by a certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon. There are two main types of injectable treatment, which will be discussed in detail below.
Dermal fillers work by plumping up the skin and therefore smoothing out lines and wrinkles; they are often used to plump and lift areas such as the jawline, cheeks, temples, forehead and lips. There are a wide variety of wrinkle fillers available.
Hyaluronic Acid Fillers (Average cost of treatment: $590)
Brand Names: Captique, Belotero Balance, Elevess, Hylaform, Juvederm 24HV, Juvederm 30, Juvederm 30H, Perlane, Perlane – L, Prevelle Silk, Restylane, Restylan-L, Restylane Silk.
Hyaluronic acid is naturally present in human skin. Consequently, fillers that use this substance carry a fairly low risk of side effect or allergic reaction. Unfortunately, they tend not to last as long as some other wrinkle fillers; re-treatment is likely to be required every four to six months.
Synthetic Wrinkle Filler Brand Names: Radiesse, Sculptra.
These fillers are all man-made and carry a slightly higher risk of adverse effects; including redness, bruising at the injection sight and in rare cases, hard lumps or ‘nodules’ under the skin. Synthetic fillers can be either absorbable (temporary) or non-absorbable (permenant); they tend to have longer lasting results.
Calcium Hydroxylapatite (Average cost of treatment: $620): Absorbable mineral filler which usually lasts 12 to 18 months. Calcium hydroxylapatite is found in human teeth and bones. This type of filler will show up on x-rays and can obscure any features underneath from view.
Poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) Average cost of treatment: $770: A synthetic, biodegradable polymer. It can last up to two years but is usually administered in instalments over a period of a few months.
Collagen Wrinkle Fillers ( Average cost of treatment: $505)Brand Names: Artsense, Cosmodern, Evolence, Fibrel, Zyderm, Zyplast, Artefill.
These fillers claim to achieve a more natural look, but they do not last very long and will begin to break down after one month. Most collagen fillers are animal-sourced; unfortunately this means that they have quite a high rate of allergic reaction. Artsense (formally Artecoll) consists of natural collagen and polymethyl methacrylate microbeads; this filler is best suited for the reduction of ‘puppet’ lines, chin imperfections and scarring.
Autologous Wrinkle Fillers (Average cost of treatment: $1790)
These fillers involve using fat or blood from your own body as a filling agent. Fat is usually taken from the thighs, hips or buttocks. Unfortunately, this does mean that you will undergo two procedures in one sitting (extraction followed by injection), with a wait in the middle for the blood or fat to be purified. The effects of autologous fillers can last from 12 to 18 months and allergic reactions are extremely uncommon.
Dermal Fillers ‘Pros’ and ‘Cons’
· Pro: Dermal fillers can smooth out fine lines and deeper wrinkles.
· Pro: They can provide a more lifted, firmer appearance without the considerable cost of a face lift.
· Pro: There are a wide range of choices available to suit every patient.
· Con: They can do nothing to improve skin tone, hyperpigmentation or other blemishes.
· Con: The longer the treatment lasts, the higher the risks associated with it.
Kim Kardashian owes her plump and youthful skin to dermal fillers around her cheeks and eyes, so industry experts think, as she has never ‘officially’ admitted to it. Though who would come out and say it directly when the look you have achieved is so natural that nobody could tell for certain! Other celebrities rumoured to have profited from dermal fillers include Megan Fox and Rene Zellweger.
These injectable treatments are made from bacteria-derived neurotoxins; they are injected into areas of the face most affected by expression lines (i.e. crow’s feet and frown lines). They work by disrupting nerve signals, thus temporarily paralysing facial muscles and reducing the appearance of lines and creases caused by muscle movement. These treatments can last between three and six months.
Botox (Average cost of treatment: $425)
Botox has been used to treat various medical conditions, such as ‘lazy eye’, for over 50 years. It is a purified form of the Botulinum toxin; therefore, is safe to use in small quantities. In 2002, Botox was approved for use as a facial muscle relaxant to improve the appearance of frown lines and crow’s feet. These areas are targeted very precisely with a small amount of toxin which affects these muscles only; so, your normal facial expressions will not be altered with this treatment. It works best on wrinkles which are not well established yet, i.e. wrinkles that are only visible in certain areas when facial muscles are moved. Botox injections take seven to ten days to take full effect after the procedure is complete.
Who should use it?
Botox is thought to be the best treatment option for deeper lines and wrinkles, unless they span over a wide surface area.
Dysport (Average cost of treatment: $350)
This material is made from the same neurotoxin but is formulated slightly differently, resulting in a slightly different cosmetic effect. Dysport reportedly spreads a little further than Botox; it is therefore able to relax muscles over a larger area than Botox, which some patients prefer. The results of the procedure reach their peak marginally earlier, in about two to three days after treatment.
Who should use it?
Dysport is considered the appropriate choice for patients who need a larger surface area covered.
Xeomin (Average cost of treatment: $350)
This is a purer form of the neurotoxin; Botox and Dysport both have protein additives which are designed to protect the toxin molecules and prolong their effect, whereas Xeomin injections contain just the Botulinum toxin. The lack of protein additives means that Xeomin carries a much lower risk of allergic reaction. As this material is the ‘lightest’ of the three treatments, it has the quickest action the most potent muscle-relaxing affect. However the results of the procedure are thought to wear off a little faster.
Who should use it?
Xeomin is a good choice for anybody who may have built up a resistance to Botox or Dysport. It’s purer form may also make it less likely that new patients build up a resistance than they would with Botox or Dysport.
Neuromodulator ‘Pros’ and ‘Cons’
· Pro: Injectable neuromodulators are a great treatment option for those aging ‘crow’s feet’ and ‘frown lines’.
· Pro: One treatment can last up to six months.
· Pro: Treatments become more effective with regular injections.
· Con: Not suitable for the treatment of established wrinkles (visible when the face is at rest).
· Con: Not suitable for treating hyperpigmentation, skin tone, or other blemishes.
Mesotherapy, Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP), Stem Cell Facelifts
Mesotherapy was pioneered by a French doctor called Michael Pistor in 1952. The name describes a range of medical procedures which involve injecting therapeutic agents (e.g. pharmaceuticals, vitamins and natural extracts) underneath the skin. This treatment can be used for a range of effects, including reducing cellulite, encouraging weight loss and reducing the signs of aging in the skin.
Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP) “The Vampire Facelift” (Average cost $900)Platelet rich plasma therapy is a type of mesotherapeutic injection, with a number of beneficial medical and cosmetic applications. Normal blood is made up of around 93% red blood cells, 1% white blood cells and 6% platelets. In platelet rich plasma, the red blood cell count is lowered to 5% while the platelets, with their powerful healing properties, are increased to 94%. This procedure is autologous, meaning that the blood is taken from the patient’s own body. PRP initiates soft tissue healing by boosting cell-division, supressing inflammation, supporting tissue regeneration and the formation of new blood vessels. It can be used in the following ways
Facial rejuvenation: PRP can be used to reduce wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, sagging skin, scarring and photo-damage.
Promoting hair-growth: It has been shown to stimulate inactive hair follicles and promote new hair growth.
Platelet Rich Plasma FAQ
Are platelet rich plasma injections safe? Yes, as the material is taken from the patient’s own body there is no risk of rejection or allergic reaction.
How quickly will I see results? You will start to see improvements between two to six weeks after treatment.
Is the procedure painful? Most people find the pain level perfectly tolerable. You will experience some swelling and soreness for approximately 48 hours after treatment.
How long will the effects last? From 12 months to two years, depending on the individual and the severity of the ailment being treated.
How much will the procedure cost? Around $800 to $1500, depending on where you have it done.
LaViv’: “The Fibroblast Filler” (Average cost of treatment $5000)
LaViv is a dermal filler developed by a company called Fibrocell. Fibroblast skin cells (responsible for synthesising the structural components of skin) are taken from behind the patient’s ear; they are then grown in a laboratory in preparation for the treatment. Patients usually require a course of three or four injections, several weeks apart. The full benefit of the therapy becomes visible after the final treatment. Fibroblast fillers have the following cosmetic applications:
The treatment is currently approved for the reduction of nasolabial creases and lines, commonly called ‘smile lines’ or ‘laughter lines’.It is currently being tested for use in the treatment of scars, hyperpigmentation, acne and skin tone imperfections.
Fibroblast Filler FAQ
Are there any risks associated with LaViv? As it is an autologous filler, there is no risk of rejection or allergic reaction. Mild side effects may be experienced during the healing process, similar to that of other dermal fillers.
How does it compare to other dermal fillers? Studies suggest that the effects are more natural looking and longer lasting than other synthetic or animal sourced dermal fillers.
Stem Cell Facelifts (Average cost of treatment $4000-$8000)
Stem cells are ‘raw’ cells which have the potential to be developed into any type of cell. In stem cell therapy, human stem cells are extracted from the blood or fat of the patient (bone marrow can also be used, but this is incredibly invasive and not cost-effective). These cells have huge potential in anti-aging therapy as they can encourage brand new skin tissue to develop. The harvested stem-cells are injected into the affected area, with fat tissue to aid with filling and re-contouring.
Stem Cell Facelift FAQ
What is the initial recovery time? Redness and swelling is worst in the first 48 hours after treatment. Discomfort should have subsided by day 10.
Are they as effective as surgical face-lifts? Sadly not. While the injections are effective filling agents and there is evidence to support the use of stem-cells as a rejuvenation therapy, surgical face-lifts involve a physical re-draping of the skin, which cannot be surpassed in terms of smoothing and firming.
As fat already contains stem cells, are all autologous fat injections the same as stem cell lifts? No, though many of them are unfairly marketed as such. Stem cells need to be extracted and activated to have any therapeutic effect. Genuine stem cell facelifts will be considerably more expensive than a standard dermal filler treatment.
Micro-needling (Treatment Cost: $250-$500)
Micro-needling (also referred to as Collagen Induction Therapy or CIT) is a minimally invasive, skin-rejuvenation procedure; it involves making microscopic holes in the skin’s surface, using a device fitted with very fine needles. This can be performed with a needling machine by a qualified dermatologist, or with any of the at-home derma-rollers on the market.
In the 1990’s a plastic surgeon named Andre Camirand began testing a new procedure to treat scarring, using a tattoo gun without ink to stimulate skin healing. The founder of Environ Skin Care, Des Fernandes was the first to introduce micro-needling as treatment option for wrinkles; he presented this idea at a plastic surgery convention in 1996.
Can improve skin texture
Increases skin firmness
Decreases pore size
Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
How does it work?
By creating microscopic skin punctures, micro-needling activates the body’s own repair mechanisms. This causes a boost in collagen production and other skin components to ‘fill in’ or repair the holes
Are there any side-effects? No, the worst you can expect is some temporary redness and soreness after a professional treatment. You should not experience any heightened sun-sensitivity afterwards.
Is this procedure suitable for all skin types? Absolutely. Though it may not be appropriate for people with skin conditions such as eczema. Always see a professional if you are considering treatment.
Does the treatment hurt? More intensive micro-needling (performed by a dermatologist) can cause some discomfort, but you should be given the option of having a local anesthetic.
A word from the experts
Philadelphia plastic surgeon, Louis Bucky MD has advised that at-home derma-rollers are largely ineffective, offering little more than light exfoliation. He states that these devices cannot equal the needle penetration that is achieved during a professional treatment. For professional treatments, there is some promising scientific data suggesting that micro-needling could live up to its reputation as an effective, chemical-free, rejuvenating treatment.
Photo-rejuvenation is a therapeutic procedure which involves using lasers or light pulses to treat the effects of photo-aging; namely, wrinkles, age spots and problems with skin texture. This technique was developed in the 1990’s by a physician called Thomas L Roberts III, using carbon dioxide lasers.
Improves skin texture
Heals broken capillaries
Reduces pore size
How does it work?
Photo-rejuvenation works inn one of two ways: by creating controlled damage to the skin to stimulate the body’s own healing mechanisms, causing an increase in production of collagen and other skin constituents; or in more invasive treatments, by removing the outermost layers of skin, making way for the newer, smoother skin underneath.
Laser Resurfacing (Average Treatment Cost $2300)
This Photo-rejuvenation technique uses a laser to direct short beams or pulses of light at the specific area of skin which requires treatment. Laser treatments can be either ablative or non-ablative. Ablative laser treatments use either erbium or carbon monoxide lasers; the laser removes the outer layers of skin, encouraging newer and healthier skin to develop in its place as the body heals. Non-ablative lasers are less invasive and do not actually remove the top layer of skin. Instead, they use heat to stimulate collagen production in the deeper skin cells without damaging the epidermis. Consequently, the results are less dramatic. However, non-ablative treatments can still effectively improve skin tone and elasticity.
Erbium vs Carbon Dioxide Ablative Laser Treatments
Carbon dioxide laser rejuvenation has been used for many years to treat a whole host of skin problems including warts and tumors. Modern CO2 lasers are far less damaging than they once were; they are designed to remove only very thin layers of skin, though the recovery time is still around two weeks after treatment. Side effects include redness, swelling and bruising.
Erbium lasers are designed to be less invasive; they are even more precise than CO2 lasers, therefore cause minimal damage to surrounding tissues. This means the side effects of erbium treatment are usually far less severe. Recovery time is usually about one week after treatment.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Therapy (Average cost of treatment $475)
This procedure uses light flashes of various visible and infrared wavelengths to improve the appearance of hyperpigmentation, sun damage, acne, rosacea, blemishes and other skin discoloration. It is far less invasive (and less expensive) than laser resurfacing, but does little to affect the appearance wrinkles and lines. Side effects are minimal but patients will experience some redness, swelling and photo-sensitivity after the treatment. Full recovery takes about two weeks.
Photodynamic Therapy (PTD) (Average cost of treatment $450)
This technique was originally developed to treat cancerous skin legions; it involves pre-treating the skin with a photosensitizing topical agent, then exposing the affected area of skin to a red or blue light. PTD can also be used for cosmetic purposes; it encourages skin rejuvenation by eliminating damaged or poorly functioning skin cells, while stimulating healthy cells to promote healing and repair.
A word from the experts
These treatments appear to be very effective in the treatment of photo-aged skin. Which treatment you choose should depend on the nature and severity of the problems you want to remedy, your age, skin-type and other medical factors. You should always discuss your options with a dermatologist. Though undoubtedly effective, the risks associated with photo-rejuvenation are not yet fully understood – as more research has yet to be done on its cosmetic applications. World renowned dermatologist and author, Nick Lowe MD has spoken out about the dangers of photo treatments being administered by unqualified individuals, stating that he has treated many patients who have received treatment and ended up with severe burns or uneven coverage. It pays to deal with a professional, and always ask for a patch test before the full procedure is carried out.
Kim Kardashian recently revealed that her skin-rejuvenating treatment of choice is laser resurfacing. She regularly spends over $2500 a session to maintain her baby-faced look. She named Fraxel as her favorite laser treatment type
Body-Shaping, Cellulite and Fat-Removal
Laser Assisted Liposuction (LAL)
Laser assisted liposuction is a fat removal procedure which is designed to be less invasive than mechanical liposuction. Small incisions are made around the area being treated and very thin laser fibers are inserted into the body through a cannula. The lasers then use heat to break down the fat into liquid, which is then absorbed by the body. In some cases, suction is also used to remove the fat.
LAL is considered superior to mechanical liposuction as it is comparatively non-invasive; so there is less risk of infection. Furthermore, LAL is a very precise treatment; it allows surgeons to target very small pockets of fat, even in the face and other sensitive areas. It also has the advantage of ‘firming-up’ the skin around the treated area, so there is less change of developing unsightly sagging skin as you may expect with mechanical liposuction
There are a few different variations of laser assisted liposuction procedure:
SmartLipo: Uses a longer wavelength to help seal blood vessels and minimize bleeding.
Smooth Lipo: Uses a shorter wavelength which is believed to give a more even result and minimise the risk of burning.
Cool Lipo: Uses the longest wave length. It helps to tighten skin as well as eliminate fat. This LAL type is thought to produce the best results of the three procedures, though it does carry with it a greater risk of burning.
LAL ‘Pro’s and ‘Con’s
- Pro: Less risk of infection than mechanical liposuction.
- Pro: Little or no scarring due to small incision size.
- Pro: Can also be used for skin tightening
- Pro: Its precision means that it can be used to sculpt the body into a desired shape.
- Con: Painful recovery period; pain medication will likely be required.
Con: A risk of burning or heat damage to tissue surrounding the treatment site
Laser Assisted Liposuction FAQ
What is the recovery time? About three weeks. This may vary depending on the size of the area being treated.Will I need more than one treatment? It’s possible. Larger areas will usually be treated over several appointments to allow your body to recover.How much will the treatment cost? It is difficult to provide an estimated cost, as it can be affected by a number of factors including location, area being treated and your own health background. Prices range from around $600 to $8000.Who makes a suitable candidate for LAL? The recommendation is that candidates should have tried to lose fat through diet and exercise before considering the treatment. Patients should be within 20 pounds of their ideal body weight, and in good health generally.
A word from the experts
There are differing opinions about LAL’s worth across the cosmetic surgery community. Many doctors claim it is just like mechanical liposuction, except with the added risk of heat-damage. Generally though, it is widely accepted that LAL has one huge advantage over its mechanical counterpart: its skin tightening effect. Researcher Barry DiBernado MD states that “skin loses elasticity, so for areas with lose skin, laser-lipo may be the way to go.” Indeed, one study in which patients underwent mechanical liposuction on one side of their abdomen and laser liposuction on the other, found that the laser-treated site was firmer and smoother three months after treatment.
Radio Frequency Assisted Liposuction (RFAL)
This is another fat-liquidising technique, in which electrodes emitting radio waves are inserted around the treatment site through a cannula. The radio waves are guided through the fatty tissue using another electrode; (which is placed on the outside of the body and also serves to measure skin temperature) the heat generated by the radio emissions will break down the fat. The liquidised fat can either be absorbed by the body or suctioned out, depending on the size of the treatment area.
Like Laser Assisted Liposuction, RFAL claims to be minimally invasive and therefore reduce the risk of scarring. It also stimulates collagen production, so has a skin-tightening effect which makes it advantages to mechanical liposuction. It claims to carry a lower risk of heat-damage than LAL, as skin temperature is monitored during the procedure and treatment is halted if the skin reaches a dangerous temperature. Like LAL, it can be used to target very small pockets of fat in sensitive areas.
RFAL ‘Pro’s and ‘Con’s
- Pro: Low risk of infection and scarring.
- Pro: Its precision means it can be used to sculpt the body to a desirable shape.
- Pro: Temperature regulation means that burn risk is reduced.
- Pro: Stimulates collagen production so will have a tightening effect.
- Con: RFAL requires slightly larger incisions than LAL and cannot seal blood-vessels.
Radio Frequency Assisted Liposuction FAQ
How much will the treatment cost? Average prices vary a lot depending on the size of the area being treated and the location of the clinic. The cost could be anything from around $600 to $9000.
How long is the recovery time? The recovery time is very short; most people can return to their normal routine within a few days.Who is a suitable candidate? Anybody who is in good health and is within 25 pounds of their ideal body weight
A word from the experts
One study into the effects of RFAL, conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School found that the procedure largely lives up to its body-sculpting promises, while presenting minimal risk. The authors concluded: “Significant volumes of fat can be removed safely and effectively with improved contour and clinically significant skin tightening.”
Ultrasonic Fat Cavitation
Fat cavitation is a completely non-invasive, fat-liquidising procedure in which a hand-held ultrasonic device is applied to the treatment area and emits low-level ultrasonic waves which emulsify fat. Unlike liposuction, no incisions are made during fat cavitation; the treatment is carried out over a number of sessions which allow time for the body to re-absorb the liquefied fat itself.
Ultrasonic fat cavitation is a ‘re-shaping’ treatment, rather than a fat loss procedure. It claims to effectively deal with stubborn areas such as love handles, while also eradicating cellulite.
Ultrasonic Fat Cavitation ‘Pro’s and ‘Con’s
- Pro: Completely non-invasive, no risk of infection or scarring.
- Pro: Gets rid of cellulite
- Pro: Re-shapes fatty areas rather than leaving sagging skin
- Pro: Minimal side effects and short recovery time
- Con: Not suitable for removing large amounts of fat
- Con: Takes a course of treatments to achieve desired results
- Ultrasonic Fat Cavitation FAQ
What happens to the fat when my body re-absorbs it? The liquid is expelled from the body naturally via the urinary and lymphatic systems.Who is a suitable candidate for treatment? Any healthy individual who has moderate fat-loss and body reshaping goals (i.e. 5 – 25 pounds fat loss).
How quickly will I see results? There will be a slight measurable difference immediately after treatment, with the most dramatic results being noticeable 72 hours after treatment.
How much does the procedure cost? This procedure is much more affordable than its more invasive counterparts: single treatment prices vary, ranging from $250 to $600.
How long does it take to recover and are there any side effects? No recovery time is required. Side effects are extremely rare but when they do occur they are very mild, possible effects include: mild headaches, increased thirst and temporary skin-redness.
In clinical testing, Ultrasonic Fat Cavitation appeared to perform well against abdominal fat. However, there is some concern among the medical community that this procedure claims more dramatic results than it can deliver on. Laura A. Sudarsky, MD states, “Ultrasonic cavitation damages the fat cells, but does not remove them…You have multiple treatments, and will see minimal results.” It seems that ultrasonic cavitation can produce results, if the patient has low amounts of excess fat to begin with, meaning that light ‘shaping’ rather than extreme fat loss is required. Unfortunately, the results will be relatively short lived unless diet and exercise are utilised to maintain the new body shape.
Hills star Heidi Montag confessed to having liposuction on her hips and inner thighs to achieve her enviable beach-body. Farah Abraham from Teen Mom has also admitted getting SmartLipo to tone up her body in preparation for the show. Hollywood actress Tara Reid is a well-known example of what can happen when mechanical liposuction goes wrong; her stomach remains permanently scarred as a result of a botched procedure.
Fat-freezing procedure, Brazilian Butt (Fat is carefully removed from problem areas via minimally invasive laser liposuction).
Advanced fat grafting techniques are used to transfer fat to the Buttocks. The same Fat Transfer techniques are used for natural breast enlargement or face fillers). Kybella©: is deoxycholic acid. When deoxycholic acid is injected into the fat beneath your chin, it destroys fat cells. Solution for double chin too.
At-Home Beauty Devices
There are a huge variety of at-home microdermabrasion kits on the market to suit every budget, with prices ranging from about $30 to over $200. Which is fairly reasonable considering the average cost of one profession treatment is $100. Most at-home kits come with an abrasive cream similar to your basic exfoliation scrub, and a tool to gently massage away your dead skin cells. The abrasive crystals are the same as you would get in a professional treatment, but the other ingredients will vary a bit and are usually not as potent in the at-home formulas. There are some diamond-tip machines for at-home treatments which are more effective, but they will be substantially more expensive than the ‘scrub’ treatments. While there is no denying that at-home kits offer convenient and often more affordable microdermabrasion, professional treatments always come out on top with regards to over-all experience and beautifying effect on your skin.
Professional needling treatment prices range from $250 to $500 per session; for a fraction of that cost you can purchase an at-home device called a derma-roller or micro-needler. Unfortunately, the at-home devices are designed to be less invasive so they are safe for personal use; this means having much smaller needles than would be used in a professional treatment and less dramatic results.
Galvanic technology uses a positive to draw impurities out from the deeper layers of skin; it also uses negative electrons to increase the penetration of vital nutrients from skin care products. Its benefits are:
Ultrasound devices are used to created minor heat-damage deep beneath the skin’s surface. This kick-starts the body’s repair own mechanisms, causing an increase in collagen production which rejuvenates the skin. Its benefits are:
Devices which use this technology create minor heat-damage beneath the skin, in a similar way to ultrasound devices. This stimulates collagen production, leading to:
Reduction in fine lines and blemishes
Lifted and tightened skin
Infrared Light and Phototherapy
These devices penetrate the skin with colored light, which stimulates tissue regeneration, calms inflammation and boosts collagen production. Blue light treatments are particularly beneficial for acne-prone skin. These treatments can be used to:
Reduce the appearance of scars and fine lines
Treat acne and other skin problems such as rosacea
Create firmer skin
Create smoother skin texture
This technology uses electrical impulses to stimulate skin rejuvenation, cleansing and repair. Most at-home devices have a variety of settings to suit every aspect of your skin care regime, from deep cleansing to anti-aging. The benefits include:
Reduction of fine lines and wrinkles
Smoother skin texture
Firmer, ‘thickened’ skin
Laser Hair Removal
This technology works by targeting hair follicles with concentrated beams of light, damaging it enough to prevent future growth. This technique can be used on any unwanted body hair. It works best on lighter skin though there are some at-home devices which claim to be suitable for darker skin tone
Cosmetic surgery refers to any elective surgical procedure which is designed to improve the aesthetic appearance of the body or face.
Surgical facelifts are the most dramatic (and invasive) way of achieving a more youthful facial appearance. A typical procedure involves the removal of excess facial skin, followed by a re-draping of the remaining skin, to create a smoother, tighter and more lifted look. It is performed under a general anesthetic. There are a variety of different procedures which fall under the ‘facelift’ umbrella; book a consultation to discuss your options.
What is the ideal age for a facelift? One patient satisfaction survey found that the ideal age for people undergoing this procedure is 50 or younger. Though it can be performed on a healthy person of any age.
What are the risks associated with surgical facelifts? The most common complication is persistent bleeding (which is easily fixed but would require going back under the knife). Less common (but far more dangerous) complications include nerve damage and infection.
How much does a facelift cost? This depends on the extent of the surgery you receive and where you have it done, as well as a number of other factors. You could spend as little as $7000 or as much as $15000.
How long does it take to recover from a facelift? Facelifts are incredibly invasive procedures. You will be able to resume something like normal day-to-day life after a few weeks. However it can take around a year for your body to heal completely and all residual signs of the surgery to disappear.
Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
This procedure involves cutting away excess fat and skin from the abdominal area. It is performed under a general anesthetic. You may either have a complete abdominoplasty, or a mini-abdominoplasty. The former will involve your belly-button being temporarily removed and excess tissue will be taken from the entire abdominal area from hip bone to hip bone; it is likely you will need drainage tubes to be inserted into your abdomen. The latter procedure is slightly less invasive and suitable for people who have more concentrate fat deposits in the lower abdomen; this will likely not involve your belly-button being removed and the recovery time is quicker.
Tummy Tuck FAQ
Who is an appropriate candidate for a tummy tuck? Any healthy man or woman can undergo this surgery. Ideally, candidates should have tried all other methods of weight loss prior to considering surgery. This procedure is also suitable for people who have lost a lot of abdominal fat by other means and are left with unsightly sagging skin in that region as a result.
What are the risks associated with this procedure? The rarer and more dangerous complications include infection, blood clots and cardiac complications. The most common complication is fluid accumulation underneath the skin; this can easily be drained by your doctor with a needle.
Will a tummy tuck leave a scar? Yes. The surgery will leave a very prominent scar spanning the width of your midriff. Your surgeon will usually try and place the scar so that it is obscured by the waist-band of your clothing.
What is the recovery time? All normal activities can usually be resumed after five to six weeks. The first three weeks should be spent fairly restfully, with the first five days spent in bed.
How much do tummy tucks cost? It depends on the extent of the surgery and where it is performed. You are likely to spend between $4000 and $15000.
Suction Assisted Liposuction
Liposuction is a fat removal, body-shaping procedure which can be performed under general or local anesthesia. It involves making an incision in the treatment area and then suctioning out pockets of fat. Liposuction can be an effective body-sculpting procedure but the results are not usually long-term, unless the patient embraces a healthy diet and lifestyle plan.
Who is an ideal candidate for liposuction? Any healthy person with a relatively normal body weight who has small areas of unwanted fat. This procedure is not suitable for people who are very overweight or obese, as it will result in sagging skin.
What are the risks associated with liposuction? Complications are relatively rare; however the chances increase with the size of the area being treated. Risks include: infection, friction burns, seromas (hard fat deposits under the skin), embolism and organ puncture.
What are the side effects? Common side effects include bruising and swelling around the treatment area, pain and temporary numbness.How much does Liposuction cost? This depends on the area being treated and where the procedure is being performed. You could spend between $2500 and $7000.How long does it take to recover from the procedure? Most patients will need to take about two weeks off work and wear a compression garment for around four weeks.
Hair Loss Prevention & Hair Restoration
Surgical Hair Transplantation
This procedure is primarily used to treat male pattern baldness. It involves taking functioning hair follicles from a ‘donor’ site on the patient’s body and implanting them in the scalp to replace dead hair follicles. This treatment can also be used to restore beard hair, chest hair, eyelashes, eyebrows, pubic hair and to fill in scars caused by accidents or surgery such as face-lifts.
Hair Transplantation FAQ
Are there any side effects of this treatment? Hair thinning around the transplant site is common, though usually temporary.How much does hair transplantation cost? The price depends largely on the size of the area being covered. You could spend as little as $4000 or as much as $15000 How long does the new hair take to grow in? The transplanted hair will fall out within a few weeks of treatment; new hair will then begin to grow in its place within a few months. Is the recovery painful? It is commonplace to experience some tenderness in the days following the procedure; this can be easily dealt with using pain medication.
Non-Surgical Hair Restoration
Non-surgical hair restoration involves affixing real human or synthetic hair to your scalp, in order to thicken or fill in gaps in your existing hair. This can be done with a number of techniques using liquid or tape adhesives to anchor the new hair to your existing hair or scalp. These replacements are designed to remain in place 24 hours a day and withstand all of your normal day-to-day activities; they require no extra care than your normal hair.
Non-Surgical Hair Restoration FAQ
How much does this treatment cost? It varies quite a bit depending on the amount and type of hair replacement used. The average treatment cost is $1400 to $1800. Will my new hair look and feel like my normal hair? Most customers are very satisfied with the outcome of their treatment; if only a small area is being covered it is likely that the new hair will be completely indistinguishable from your own hair.
Is the treatment permanent? You may need to return to the clinic every few weeks to have the replacement hair removed, cleaned and refitted. Again, this depends on the size of the area being covered and how the replacement hair has been affixed.
Are there any side effects or risks associated with this procedure? No side effects or risks have been reported
Hair Cloning: The Future of Hair Loss Treatment
Hair cloning is a technique still very much in its experimental stages. The theory behind this procedure is that fully functioning follicle cells can be extracted from unaffected areas, they can then be cloned and the newly produced cells can be injected back in the bald area, where they would begin to grow new hair. Unfortunately, a lot more research needs to be done before this procedure can become widely available. Though, it shows a lot of promise for the treatment of conditions such as alopecia.
Which Skin Type are you?
Understanding your skin type will help you to choose appropriate skin care products and adapt your skincare regime to keep your skin in the best possible shape. What is right for one skin type could be completely wrong for another. Skin types can change over time; just because you had oily skin as a teenager does not mean that you have oily skin now. So, pay attention to changes in your skin throughout your life and adapt your skin care regime accordingly.
What is Your skin type?
Your skin type depends on three factors:
The amount of water held in your skin
The amount of oil produced by your skin
The way in which your skin reacts to different substances (i.e. your sensitivity level)
Normal skin is characterized by:
Few imperfection and blemishes
Small, not obviously visible pores
Clear, bright complexion
No serious allergies or sensitivities
If you have normal skin you are very lucky; this is your skin’s ideal state of being. Normal skin contains a healthy balance of water and oil.
Dry skin is characterized by;Small, nearly invisible pores
Dull skin tone.Rough texture of skin.Easily visible fine lines.Redness.Thin consistency
Dry skin can be caused by a genetic pre-disposition, or a hormone imbalance such as low estrogen. People with dry skin often find that their skin becomes itchy, flaky and sore when it is exposed to drying environmental factors such as very cold weather, harsh soaps and very hot showers.
Tips for Dry Skin Care
- Use a humidifier to prevent indoor heating from drying out the skin further.
- Take shorter showers and use cooler water.
- Choose cream moisturizers rather than lotions
Oily skin is characterized by:Large visible pores
Shiny complexion,Thick skin,Spots,Blackheads
This skin type occurs when glands in the skin over-produce oil. It commonly happens during puberty and can be caused by hormonal imbalances such as estrogen dominance. Stress and exposure to excessive humidity are also common causes.
Tips for Oily Skin Care
- Avoid overly cleansing the skin; this can result in the skin’s natural pH being lowered. When this happens your skin is actually encouraged to produce even more oil.
- Try using noncomedogneic skincare products; they are designed not to block pores.
A mixture of dry and oily areas.Visible pores and blackheads on the nose or forehead area.Areas of shiny skin.Some rough patches of skin
Hormonal imbalances are often responsible for combination skin, as they can affect the balance of lipid (oil) production in localised areas. People who have combination skin often find that it is aggravated by sudden changes in the weather.
Tips for Combination Skin Care
People with combination skin often struggle to find a suitable skin care regime as some products will improve the condition of certain skin areas but not others. The ideal situation would be to use products for both dry and oily skin on the appropriate areas. The initial expense will be higher; however both sets of products will last longer than usual as they will be used on smaller surface areas… and your combination skin will thank you!