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Human skin is a complex biological organ straddling the junction between beauty, health and disease. Rightly or wrongly, good skin, particularly of the face, has long been considered a marker of attractiveness. It is closely linked not just to the visual aesthetic, but also to self-esteem, confidence and how we view ourselves.
The Skincare Bible PDF Book by Anjali Mahto
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Skin, however, is more than just skin-deep. Our skin has a number of important physiological roles in maintaining health: it provides a physical and biochemical barrier to the outside world, simultaneously protecting us from ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun, preventing water loss and blocking the entry of unwanted microbes and chemicals.
Cells of the immune system are ubiquitous in the skin, preventing infection. Body temperature is regulated by blood vessels in the skin. Skin is a vital sensory organ and site of vitamin D production. We can become so obsessed with making our skin look good that we forget to thank it for all the amazing things it does for us every day.
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To put all this into perspective, the effects of sunlight are thought to contribute a whopping 80 to 90 per cent of the visible signs associated with ageing. These include wrinkles, pigmentation, sunspots and reduced skin elasticity. Compare the skin on your buttocks or upper inner forearms to the skin on your face or hands.
The latter are subject to chronic sun exposure and are much more likely than the former two sites to show, with age, features such as wrinkles or pigmentation. Scientific research on sets of identical twins confirms that the twin with more sun exposure shows features of skin ageing much earlier. As they are genetically identical, we can be confident that the difference was due to the environmental factor.
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The sun exposure. So let’s look at ultraviolet light in a bit more detail, seeing as it’s the cause of many of our ageing woes. UVA is the predominant ray and the ratio of UVA to UVB rays is on average 20:1. This may come as a surprise, but UVA has the ability to penetrate clouds and window glass, causing damage to the skin. This is something to think about if you spend a lot of time driving or near windows.
The proportion of UVA reaching the earth’s surface is relatively constant throughout the year, but due to environmental factors such as cloud cover, the proportion of UVB reaching the earth’s surface peaks in the summer months. In the UK, due to our latitude, there is very little UVB in the winter months.
Essences are now also commonly available in the Western world. They were borrowed from the Far East where they have been used for decades. Essences and serums are very similar. They both contain active ingredients but essences tend to be more watery in consistency. Do you need to use both? Probably not. Much of it has become about marketing. Stick to a serum and you should be fine. The Skincare Bible PDF Book
Serums and essences usually tend to be relatively expensive due to their quantity of active ingredients. As they are concentrated, only a few drops or a dollop less than the size of a pea should be required. Use your fingertips to apply and press the serum or essence into the skin. Let it fully absorb and wait at least five minutes before going on to the next step – moisturizing.
This literally means ‘will not block pores’ and is often found on the label of skincare for those with acne or oily skin. If an ingredient is comedogenic, it will encourage blocked pores and the formation of blackheads. Traditional gold-standard testing for comedogenicity was carried out on rabbit ears.
Chemical ingredients were simply applied to the rabbit ears and scientists would look to see if comedones or blackheads developed. Although this method was commonly used, many cosmetic scientists and dermatologists felt it was inaccurate and misleading and many influential dermatologists later discredited its use. The Skincare Bible PDF Book
The EU has now banned animal testing and comedogenicity tests commonly take place on humans. Test ingredients are usually applied to the backs of human volunteers under occlusion for several weeks. Skin samples are then taken and analysed for blackheads. The main problem with products labelled as ‘non-comedogenic’ is that, yet again, there are no industry standards or regulation.
Generally speaking, those prone to breaking out are still better off looking for a light-textured non-comedogenic product BUT be aware that, despite the label, it can still clog pores. Fragrance free should mean exactly what it says on the tin but this is not always the case. The only way to be entirely certain that a product is really fragrance free is to check the ingredients list.
Fragrance can cause allergies in susceptible individuals and irritation in those with sensitive skin. It is often marked as ‘parfum’ or ‘fragrance’ and is usually a blend of many agents. In the EU, there are twenty-six additional fragrance ingredients that by law also need to be declared separately from these if their concentration is above 0.001 per cent for products left on the skin (e.g. moisturizers, sunscreen. The Skincare Bible PDF Book Download
And 0.01 per cent for those that are washed off (e.g. face wash, shampoo). If your skin is sensitive to fragrance, or you otherwise choose to avoid it, these are the additional twenty-six ingredients to look out for. Teenagers with acne should be offered support as it is recognized that the condition can lead to altered body image and low self-esteem.
This can often be overlooked by both family and health professionals alike. There are good over-the-counter and prescription medications to treat this condition and acne should never be dismissed as a cosmetic problem. Teens are often told they will ‘grow out of it’, almost as though acne is an insignificant phase or even some peculiar rite of passage.
If it is severe, or mood-affecting, it should absolutely not be ignored and help should be sought. Having myself suffered between the ages of twelve and seventeen before finally going on a treatment that actually worked, starting university with clear skin was lifechanging. I only wish I’d received the help I needed sooner and been more open about how my skin made me feel. The Skincare Bible PDF Book Download
Aside from acne, raised androgen levels will also contribute to a number of other skin issues. These include increased sweating from the armpits, development of pubic and armpit hair, and an increase and darkening of moles on the body. The number of dermatology clinic visits for female adults over the age of twenty-five suffering with acne appears to have increased over the past decade.
It is not entirely clear why this is the case. Two distinct subtypes of adult female acne may be defined according to onset: ‘persistent’ and ‘late-onset’. Persistent acne is that which develops in the teenage years and fails to spontaneously resolve by the third decade of life. Patients who suffer from persistent acne have spots intermittently or continuously during this time.
They make up about 80 per cent of cases of female adult acne, and constitute the group of women that simply do not ‘grow out of’ their skin problem. In contrast, late-onset acne usually begins for the first time after the age of about twenty-five. Prior to this, there is usually no history of skin problems. Both types of acne are thought to develop due to androgen hormones causing overstimulation of the oil glands. The Skincare Bible PDF Book Download
Treatment strategies are broadly the same regardless of the age at which acne develops, although hormonal treatments vary between the sexes. So keep reading, as later in this chapter I’ll give my advice on how best to tackle acne, no matter how old you are! There was previously a question mark around the medication causing problems with depression.
And other mood problems but the most recent data suggests there is no link. The difficulty with acne is that it is well known to cause problems with mood and self-esteem. It can be quite hard to tease out whether it is the acne itself (which must be severe by definition to qualify for isotretinoin) that is causing low mood or the initiation of the drug.
For most, if anything, mood tends to improve with treatment – people feel better as their skin gets better. The majority of people tolerate the medication well and most side effects can be managed with the correct skincare or simply by reducing the dose. Isotretinoin has received bad press in the past which is a real shame as the drug is safe and effective in expert hands. The Skincare Bible PDF Book Free
And many people that would benefit from it have been poorly advised that the drug is dangerous. Melasma is a chronic acquired skin disorder characterized by symmetrical, brown pigmentation that usually affects the face. The majority of cases are seen in women and can result in considerable social and emotional stress to the sufferer.
It usually develops between the ages of twenty and forty, and is more common in olive tones or darker skin types. Affected areas typically include the forehead, cheeks and upper lip. There are a number of recognized triggers including sun exposure, pregnancy, hormonal treatments (combined oral contraceptive pill, intrauterine devices, implants, etc.), certain medications, and an underactive thyroid gland.
Melasma has a very typical appearance and does not require additional tests to make the diagnosis. Dense pigmentation deposits can lie in the epidermis (upper layer) or dermis (lower layer), but often both skin layers are affected. Dermatologists sometimes use a Wood lamp (a type of UV lamp) examination to try and determine in which layer the pigment lies. The Skincare Bible PDF Book Free
If melasma predominantly affects the upper layers of the skin, it is more likely to respond to cream treatments than if the melasma is deeper. Melasma can be recurrent and refractory (stubborn or poorly responsive to treatment), which makes it difficult to address. For most people, treatments can produce reasonable to good results but the condition is likely to come back over time. Sadly, there is no definitive cure.
When it comes to your skin, getting enough sleep is one of your basic beauty commandments. This has been echoed over the years by well meaning older relatives, magazines and bloggers. And they are all absolutely correct. Sleep is a fundamental human requirement. During my twenties, there is no doubt I abused my sleep–wake cycles. Now, closer to forty, I give myself eight hours of sleep most nights of the week.
I appreciate I am in a fortunate position to be able to do this; it would be much harder if I was still doing shift work, worked late into the evenings or had small children. The concept of ‘beauty sleep’ is not a new one. Experimental studies have demonstrated that lack of sleep can make individuals look less healthy, less attractive and more tired. The Skincare Bible PDF Book Free
Studies aside, it’s not rocket science to see that sleep deprivation can worsen under-eye circles and cause sallow, dull skin. Skin is a dynamic organ, and provides an interface between the body and external environment. What our skin endures during the day is very different from what it faces at night. Think about it.
We are at much higher risk of physical injury, exposure to ultraviolet radiation and microbes, as well as temperature extremes to name a few. So, naturally, it follows that the skin may work differently depending on the time of day. Sleep remains a fundamental requirement for us to function. It is not a state of being where everything ‘switches off’ and shuts down.
Rather, it is a highly active process with incredibly complex biological circuitry. Your skin relies on good-quality sleep to keep you looking rested and healthy, no matter what your age. So what should a healthy diet that has benefits for your skin look like? Well, the ideal diet aims to reduce inflammation and free radical damage in the skin. The Skincare Bible PDF Book Free
Antioxidants, minerals and other nutrients are needed to maintain skin integrity and act as co-factors to support biochemical processes in the body. Where possible, it is far better to get these from your diet in the form of whole foods than to take supplements. They should be consumed in moderation due to their high calorific content.