12 posts
  • New Stem Cells Overview

    Jul 8 2014 7:18 AM

    Symphytum Stem Cells - stimulate epidermal Stem Cells

    An active extracted from the roots of comfrey. Symphytum Officinale has been used as a medicinal plant for many centuries. The name Symphytum derives from the Greek word Symphyo which means to “grow together” and Phyton which means plant. An ancient Greek physician used Symphytum to treat bone fractures and accelerate wound healing as well as inflammatory and traumatic lesions of muscles and joints. Scientific studies have proven that the aging of skin epidermal stem cells can be prevented. In an invitro test, isolated human epidermal stem cells were cultured in a “normal” cell culture medium that was rich in nutritional and growth factors and which imitated the environment in young skin. These stem cells were able to form a nicely stratified epidermis with high Hyaluronic Acid (HA) content. The test result was then compared to epidermal stem cells cultivated in a specifically designed cell culture medium which mimicked the environment in aging skin (“pro-aging medium”). Epidermal stem cells that grew in this medium showed a reduced ability to proliferate. The epidermis grown in the proaging medium was much thinner and contained a lower Hyaluronic Acid content and less cell layers. 


    Symphytum Stem Cells tested and proven effective

    However, epidermal stem cells that were cultivated in the pro-aging medium treated with Symphytum stem cell extract were able to form a thicker and more compact epidermis with an increased Hyaluronic Acid content as compared to the pro-aging control. This test demonstrated that the Symphytum stem cell extract helped the epidermal stem cells in the pro-aging environment maintain their ability to build new tissues even during the aging process. 


    Increased smoothness and renewal time

    Scientists also measured the effect of Symphytum Stem Cells on the renewal time of the epidermis. Twenty women aged between 40 and 60 applied a cream that contained Symphytum Stem Cells twice daily over a period of 56 days. The results revealed a reduction in skin renewal time by a remarkable 8% as compared to the placebo and this was accompanied by an improvement in skin smoothness of approximately 12%. Symphytum works to rejuvenate the epidermis from the innermost layer ensuring that the skin appears smoother and more even. 


    Argan Stem Cells - stimulate dermal Stem Cells

    An active extracted from the Argan Tree, the oldest tree species in the world. The Argan Tree is indigenous to the arid southwest of Morocco and has adapted perfectly to intense drought and extremely high temperatures which are typical of the region. 


    Argan Stem Cells protect and normalize human dermal stem cells

    The activity of Stem Cells is regulated by specific epigenetic factors. Plant Stem Cells also have such epigenetic factors. In-vitro studies demonstrate that an extract made of Argan Stem Cells had a positive influence on the activity of human dermal Stem Cells. In order to evaluate the activity of Argan Stem Cells on human dermal Stem Cells, a stable human dermal Stem Cell line was used as a new test system: Stem Cell activity is assessed based on the expression of the Stem Cell marker SOX2 (a key regulator of pluripotency in dermal Stem Cells). Dermal Stem Cells which are cultivated in the presence of the Argan Stem Cell extract show enhanced SOX2 expression compared to the untreated culture. When seeded on a culture dish, these aged Stem Cells exhibited a better ability to form 3D spheres than the untreated control. Argan Stem Cells helped the dermal Stem Cells maintain their “Stemness” even after long-term cultivation. 


    Argan Stem Cells tested and proven effective

    To test the ability of Argan Stem Cells to reduce wrinkle depth and improve the extra cellular matrix structure, dermal tissue from volunteers was visualized by ultra sonography before and after treatment with Argan Stem Cells. Test results confirmed that a 56 day treatment reduced the SLEB (Sub epidermal Low Echogenic Band). SLEB is the result of disrupted architecture of the dermis and commonly found in aged and photo-aged skin. An additional in-vitro test with Argan Stem Cells confirmed a tightening of the dermal tissue leading to a much smoother dermal/hypodermal junction after 56 days. This test also showed the reorganizing of the irregular dermis/hypodermis caused by adipose tissue protruding in the lower dermis. This resulted in a much smoother skin surface. Anti-Wrinkle Effect – A clinical test on 21 female volunteers average age 49 utilized the topical application of a cream containing 0.4% Argan Stem Cells. The product was applied to the crow’s feet around the eye contour during a 56 day period. Test results revealed a remarkable 26% reduction in wrinkle depth. BEFORE AFTER  

    Category: Anti-Aging

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  • Top 5 Ingredients to Correct Dark Spots and Hyperpigmentation

    May 6 2014 12:13 PM

    Dark spots and hyperpigmentation can be difficult to treat, however there are key ingredients that effectively lighten the skin.  The best lightening ingredients address the key causes of hyperpigmentation: excessive pigment production and concentration, inflammation and free radical damage.  This includes Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Licorice, Undaria and Sea Buckthorn.  Read on to learn about these Top 5 Ingredients:


    Vitamin C, the most well-known antioxidant, inhibits production of the enzyme responsible for producing pigment, fights free radicals and exfoliates dull skin to effectively lighten the skin.  While L-ascorbic acid is the vitamin C used in most skincare it is unstable, oxidizes quickly, loses effectiveness plus and can cause irritation.  The best forms of Vitamin C are stable, skin-friendly and have unique properties, such as the following:


    ·      Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, also known as MAP C, is Vitamin C that is stabilized, making it the most skin-friendly and effective form of Vitamin C, suitable for even sensitive skin types.  Encapsulation technologies such as Pevonia’s oxyzome make it even more effective and gentle.

    ·      Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, THDA for short, is the latest, most bioavailable form of Vitamin C as it is fat-soluble which allows it to penetrate deeply and immediately.

    ·      Ascorbyl Glucoside is Vitamin C bonded with glucose for significant skin lightening.  It actively inhibits the enzyme that produces pigment and alters pigment synthesis.


    Vitamin A is one of the best ingredients for skin lightening as it actually alters the transfer of pigment, reduces and guides pigment production, fights free radicals, exfoliates, stimulates cellular turnover and new cell growth, brightens and repairs sun (UV) damage. Micro-Retinol is the best, most skin friendly, stable and effective form, with Retinol being second best, as they do not cause the redness, flaking, skin thinning, irritation and sensitivity associated with prescription retinoids (e.g. Retin-A)  Bonus: Since Vitamin A also treats acne it can help prevent post inflammatory hyperpigmentation from breakouts.


    Licorice (Glycyrrhiza Glabra) is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that reduces hyperpigmentation by preventing the inflammation, free radical damage and chain reaction, which can trigger overproduction of pigment.


    Undaria and Sea Buckthorn are the latest ingredients proven to lighten dark spots.

    Undaria Pinnatifida is a peptide from brown macro-algae that inhibits production of the enzyme responsible for dark spots, reduces inflammation, and prevents oxidation.


    Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae Rhamnoides Fruit Extract) has one of the highest concentrations of Vitamin C content plus Vitamin E, Amino Acids, Minerals and Flavonoids, which work together to lighten the skin.

    Click here to see all Dark Spot and Hyperpigmentation solutions >>

    Category: Hyperpigmentation

    Learning Center Category: Hyperpigmentation

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  • Aging, Hormones and the Skin

    Mar 20 2014 12:44 PM

    By Kendall Weatherman, Licensed Esthetician

    While there are many types of hormones, sex steroid hormones (estrogen and testosterone), thyroid hormones and stress hormones are the main hormones that affect the skin.  Normally, hormones help govern growth, hunger, immunity, metabolism, reproduction and stress.  However, as hormone levels decrease as we age, these processes are adversely affected. 

    Estrogen strongly influences the skin and wards off aging a number of ways. Estrogen promotes cell turnover (division), ideal fluid balance and production of collagen, elastin, hyaluronic acid and other vital skin components.  Thus, estrogen encourages structural integrity of the skin, maintains the thickness of the outermost layer (epidermis) and keeps skin hydrated and youthful.

    When estrogen declines naturally with age, production of collagen, elastin, hyaluronic acid, and other skin components decreases which leads to lines, wrinkles, sagging, skin thinning and fragility, visible dryness, dehydration, and itching.  Loss of estrogen’s regulatory function over skin pigment and loss of melanocytes that make pigment can also cause uneven skin tone, dark spots, or hyperpigmentation as we age.

    Estrogen loss also causes a reduction in blood vessels, which causes paleness and less nutrition, which further contributes to signs of aging.

    While menopause is a natural transition process involved with aging for females, as the loss of estrogen is faster than the loss of testosterone it causes increased oiliness, enlarged pores, facial hair and acne.  Insomnia that results also induce a less than rested aged appearance.

     Estrogen is anti-inflammatory so as it declines with age and menopause, inflammatory skin conditions like rosacea and acne may cause blotchiness, flushing and redness.  Low estrogen causes an overactive sympathetic nervous system, which along with fluctuating luteinizing hormones cause hot flashes, which further contribute to facial redness.

    Estrogen is mostly made in the ovaries and therefore more prevalent in women.  Estrone, is the form of estrogen that is that primary hormone during menopause.  Men also experience a decrease in their primary hormone, testosterone, due to aging, which causes their skin to become dry.

    Thyroid hormones also affect skin function and hydration and play a role in aging.  Too little of thyroid hormones decreases sweating and causes skin to become coarse, dry, and thick, signs of aging.  Too much of thyroid hormones causes skin to become warm, sweaty and flushed, symptoms that are linked with rosacea.  

    Stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline along with progesterone are also linked with aging.

    While the causes of aging may vary, the symptoms and solutions to combat dryness, lines and wrinkles, sagging, hyperpigmentation, paleness and visible blood vessels are largely the same.

    Category: Anti-Aging

    Learning Center Category: Anti-Aging, Skincare Products

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  • Under Eye Circles

    Mar 18 2014 2:48 PM

    Undereye circles are simply dark shadows beneath the eye, usually with a reddish-bluish tint. Dark circles are caused by a number of factors such as genetics, aging, dehydration, allergies and lifestyle factors.

    Genetics plays a role in dark circles, with some ethnicities being more prone to them than others.

    Thinning skin, loss of fat and collagen commonly seen with aging skin can make the skin more translucent making vessels underneath more obvious.

    Dehydration also causes skin to thin which makes the area beneath the eye appear bluer/darker.

    Allergies are a known cause of dark circles as well. They are known as allergic shiners and result when nasal congestion has dilated and darkened the veins that drain from your eyes to your nose.

    Iron oxide and byproducts from red blood cells accumulate underneath the eye. Lifestyle factors such as stress, smoking, chronic alcohol use and lack of sleep or exercise are big contributors to undereye circles. All these factors and ensuing fatigue causes skin paleness making blood beneath more apparent.

    Sun exposure prompts production of more pigment underneath the eye, but this is different than under eye circles.

    To correct undereye circles, use an eye cream or serum that will hydrate the skin, improve blood flow and strengthen the capillaries beneath the eye. For stubborn under eye circles, you must use a product that will actually and break down the iron oxides and clear them away to effectively eliminate the appearance of dark circles.

    Lifestyle modifications can definitely improve under eye circles. Reducing stress and getting plenty of rest is key as is drinking plenty of water to increase hydration. Becoming more active will also help improve circulation and blood flow and help minimize these dark shadows.

    Category: Eye Area

    Learning Center Category: Anti-Aging, Eye Area

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  • Teen Acne - An Overview

    Mar 18 2014 2:44 PM

    Preteens and teens are the age group primarily affected by acne, which is the most common skin disorder in the U.S. according to the American Academy of Dermatology. While acne causes visible symptoms that can adversely affect self esteem, the good news is that you are not alone. Understanding the symptoms, causes, and applying the solutions can make this troubling disorder quite manageable.

    Most teen acne sufferers experience breakouts on the face and neck, but especially the t-zone, which includes the forehead, nose and chin. The chest, and shoulders are also frequently affected. Teen acne on the upper part of the face is usually more on the surface. Teen breakouts are mainly blackheads and whiteheads except in more advanced stages, which includes larger pimples called papules and pustules or even cysts.

    Puberty and Acne

    Puberty or adolescence, from age eight to preteen, is the most common age group that is affected by acne. The AAD (American Academy of Dermatology) indicates that over 40% of adolescents get acne and or acne scarring that requires treatment.

    Teens and Acne

    Approximately 87% of teens aged 15 to 18 years experience acne.

    Teen acne is usually seen on the upper part of the face in the T-zone, which includes the forehead, nose and chin, plus the cheeks. Teen breakouts are mostly on the surface in the form of blackheads and whiteheads except in more advanced stages. Another symptom is lack of confidence. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 77% of teens acknowledge that acne contributed to a lack of self-esteem. While acne affects both men and women, or boys and girls, the location of breakouts can be different between the sexes. Females often breakout around the mouth, on the chin and jawline, with deep under the skin pimples or cysts before they get their period. This telltale “hormone zone” is victim of the disruption that occurs with menstruation.

    Males often experience acne on the back, chest and upper shoulders. Male acne is more due to genetics and the fact that testosterone leads men to develop larger pores, more oil glands and thicker skin than women. Consequently, acne in males can respond quite well to conventional treatment since it is not primarily hormonally driven. Unfortunately, lack of compliance in males causes more inflammation, scarring and dark spots. It is not known while acne “ages out” for most male adults.

    Acne Types

    While pimple is the term popularly used to refer to acne, this is one of several types of acne, which includes blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pustules, nodules and cysts.

    Blackheads earned their name, as they are the result of pores becoming filled with dead skin, oil, makeup and debris that has oxidized and turned color. They can also be brownish or black in color.

    Whiteheads are the result of oil, dead skin and debris being trapped under the skin and have a whitish colored cap or head.

    Pimples are one of the main symptoms of mild acne occur when the oil and debris in the whitehead ruptures, and causes inflammation and redness. These start as papules, which are small, red, raised, swollen bumps that are sore to the touch. While papules are deeply seated under the skin they do not contain sebum or pus.

    When inflammation increases, this causes a pastule to rupture and become a pustule. Pustules are red, raised inflamed bumps with a white or yellow center containing pus, oil and dead skin cells and can be painful. As papules and pustules heal they may result in scarring.

    Nodules develop when inflammation increases. These swollen, tender masses can definitely lead to scarring. Seeing a dermatologist is highly recommended at this stage.

    Cysts and abscesses are in deeper tissues and even more severe and painful than nodules. Infection is present in these hard, red, pus-filled bumps. While squeezing is never recommended for acne, it is even more important not to squeeze cysts and abscesses, which can easily become more infected. Scarring and acne pits are the likely result of these painful conditions. It is strongly recommended to see a dermatologist for treatment with these severe forms of acne.

    Acne Causes

    Hormones, excess oil, accumulation of dead skin, bacteria and genetics are the main causes of acne.

    However, teen acne is primarily driven by the surge in hormones that occurs with the changing body chemistry involved in “growing up”. These higher than normal testosterone levels cause excess oil production and inflammation, which make acne worse.

    Acne sufferers produce more oil and skin cells than those who don’t breakout. Plus the oil and dead skin are stickier than normal. Also, the oil is thicker, and dead skin cells aren’t shed properly which combine to clog the pore. Acne sufferers have higher levels of bacteria than their blemish-free fellows, however, this creates a breeding ground for bacteria and causes pimples to form.

    Genetics play a big role in who develops acne and who doesn’t. There is an actual gene that predisposes certain people to develop acne. When those who have the gene hit puberty, acne rears its ugly head as the acne gene aggravates the increase in hormones. It is this “proneness” to acne that allows it to be triggered by foods and other acne triggers.

    Acne triggers include the following: stress, diet, pore clogging beauty products (makeup and hair products), sunscreen, lack of regular skincare routine, wearing hair long combined with infrequent washing, touching or picking blemishes, hair removal, tight clothing, and wearing helmets or shoulder pads for sports, can all trigger breakouts. Other triggers include pH or acidity, the environment, certain medical conditions and medications, yeast, and bacteria from contact with items we use on a daily basis (makeup brushes, phones or pillowcases) can increase the incidence of acne in those that are acne prone.

    Teen Acne Solutions

    Despite the old school philosophy that acne is a teenage problem to be outgrown, acne is actually a disease of the skin that must be addressed immediately and seriously to prevent scarring and negative psychological effects. Unfortunately, there is no “cure” for acne, but many things can be done to control breakouts. Once remedied, acne needs to be regularly treated to prevent a reoccurrence.

    Choosing and consistently using the right skincare products for teen acne is a must. Products need to prevent future breakouts and heal existing lesions. To do this, products must remove excess oil, exfoliate dead skin, fight bacteria, reduce inflammation, heal, calm, hydrate, reduce redness and prevent scarring.

    The best ingredients to do this include naturally sourced benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, lactic acid, and sulfur. Arnica, burdock root, chamomile, citrus oils, horse chestnut, kava, micronized walnut shell powder, panthenol, retinyl palmitate, turmeric and witch hazel bark are also beneficial for treating teen acne.

    Formulations that are better tolerated by the skin such as Pevonia’s uses naturally sourced ingredients in micro matrix delivery systems, allows for even dosing of ingredients for maximum bacteria fighting with minimal irritation.

    Using a simple regimen of products designed to work together is a must for controlling acne. Despite the desire to banish pimples yesterday, applying more products from different lines can expose your skin to too much of a single ingredient. Patience, time and hands off are essentials in battling acne. Allow four to six weeks for products to work.

    Note: Don’t think that if you wear mineral makeup you can skip cleansing. Even mineral makeup can mix with oils in your skin and cause breakouts.

    Seeing an esthetician is a great way to thoroughly unclog pores, kill bacteria and soothe inflammation. If your skin doesn't start to clear up after a month to six weeks of use, visit a dermatologist.

    Category: Acne

    Learning Center Category: Acne, Skincare Products

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  • Preventing Eye Wrinkles

    Mar 18 2014 2:42 PM

    Fine lines that start at the outer corners of the eyes are one of the first signs of aging and too much fun in the sun. These can become deep folds or creases over time, at which point they are true wrinkles or crow’s feet. Prevention is key for keeping the delicate skin around the eyes line and wrinkle-free.

    The main causes of fine lines around the eyes include aging, sun damage, repetitive facial expressions, and dehydration.

    Aging and sun damage cause collagen breakdown, which causes fine lines to form. Normally, collagen provides structure and plumpness to the skin. Facial expressions such as smiling or frowning along with squinting against sunlight causes further breakdown of collagen. Dehydration also plays a role.

    To prevent and correct fine lines around the eyes, it is important to use a repairing eye cream that will nourish, hydrate, renew and smooth the skin surface with ingredients that will take care with this most delicate and sensitive area. The best ingredients to do this are naturally sourced Vitamins A, C, D and E, Hyaluronic Acid, and Glycolic Acid. Squalane and superoxide dismutase are also great ingredients for preventing and correcting those first signs of aging.

    About these key wrinkle fighting ingredients:

    • Vitamin A (Retinyl Palmitate) - combats atrophy and hydrates
    • Hyaluronic Acid - bonds moisture
    • Squalane - nourishes and protects
    • Vitamin D - regulates cell turnover and firms the skin
    • Vitamin E (Tocopherol) - heals and fights free radicals
    • Superoxide Dismutase - fights free radicals
    • Glycolic Acid - prevents accumulation of dead cells and stimulates cell turnover
    • Vitamin C - smoothes wrinkles and rejuvenates the skin.

    Aside from good products, the best way to keep fine lines at bay is to limit sun exposure to prevent damage caused by UV rays. When outdoors, wear sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat to protect the delicate eye area and prevent squinting. Also, to beat dehydration, and plump fine lines from within, consume more water and water rich foods and beverages.

    If you want fine lines gone yesterday, schedule Pevonia’s De-Stress Eye Treatment - Eye Wrinkles or Pevoreclaim Polypeptide Treatment to plump and smooth the appearance of fine lines, reduce crepiness and rejuvenate the eye contour.

    Pevonia Botanica’s Evolutive Eye Cream is an ideal choice for those who are who are under 30 years of age, those just seeing fine lines appear or who want to prevent them from appearing. This product is ideal for all skin types, including sensitive, combination and oily.

    Category: Eye Area

    Learning Center Category: Anti-Aging, Eye Area

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  • About Oily Skin

    Mar 18 2014 2:38 PM

    Oily skin is a skin type with higher than normal oil production all over the face. Oily skin appears shiny or greasy and pores appear enlarged, and visible, especially on the forehead, nose and chin. Skin thickening, clogged pores, blackheads and blemishes may also be present. Additionally, makeup tends to “melt” off or disappear and hair around the face tends to look dull and stringy.

    Oily skin is caused by overactive oil (sebaceous) glands that produce excess oil (sebum). This can be due to genetics, stress, hormones, medications, climate, and improper skincare.

    Heredity plays a role in the size of the oil glands and the amount of oil an individual makes. The good news is that the genetic tendency towards larger oil glands and higher than normal oil production also helps keep the skin hydrated and locks in moisture which tends to make oily skin age more slowly than dry skin types.

    Stress causes a surge in hormones like cortisol and testosterone, which stimulate the oil glands to increase oil production. Additional hormonal fluctuations that occur with during puberty, menstrual cycles, pregnancy, or with the onset of menopause can also trigger the oil glands to pump out more oil.

    Oil production increases when humidity and temperatures climb in the spring and summer or when living in or travelling to tropical climates. Dry winter air can also cause an increase in oil as the skin tries to compensate for getting dehydrated.

    While many causes of oily skin are outside our control, factors within our control include the products we choose and how we use them. Mineral oil based skincare products, such as moisturizers, or makeup (foundation and powder too!) aggravate oily skin, clog pores and create blemishes. Harsh soaps or cleansers that contain sodium lauryl or laureth sulfate further irritate and strip the skin of natural oils. Product misuse such as excessive washing, overzealous scrubbing, use of hot water or simply inadequate use of moisturizers can further dry out the surface of the skin. All of these scenarios trigger the skin to produce more oil in an effort to compensate in a process called rebound oil production.

    To control oily skin, it is important to choose skincare products designed to minimize oil, refine pores and hydrate the skin. Being consistent and gentle with the appropriate regimen is equally vital for treating oily skin. At minimum, cleanse, tone and use an oil-controlling moisturizer twice daily.

    Additional ways to control oily skin include exfoliation, masking and face oils. Use a gentle exfoliating cleanser three to four times per week and along with an enzyme peeling cream once or twice a week will remove the excess dead skin cells that tend to accumulate with oily skin and clog the pores. Incorporate a clay-based mask once or twice a week to further absorb excess oil and control the symptoms of oily skin. A professional deep cleansing facial treatment is also highly recommended.

    Added to Cleanser

    A skincare regimen for oily skin needs to start with a sulfate-free cleanser that will normalize and control oil production. Look for a cleanser that contains burdock, which normalizes the oil glands. Other great ingredients for oily skin include ivy, lemon, watercress, basil and pine.

    Added to Toner

    Oily skin types should always use an alcohol-free toner after they cleanse. The right toner will complete the cleanse by further removing excess oil without drying the skin. It will also remove irritating hard water deposits that can leave a residue on the skin as well. Great toner ingredients for oily skin include aloe and lactic acid to increase moisture and geranium to prevent excessive oil.

    Added to Moisturizer

    Oily skin types tend to avoid moisturizer, thinking that it will make their skin even oilier. While this is true for heavy, mineral oil based moisturizers, moisturizers that are noncomedogenic and refrain from mineral oil are an important final step in a regimen for oily skin. A lightweight, oil-controlling moisturizer will increase hydration without clogging pores, and can actually slow down oil production.

    (I had to omit the “a professional deep cleansing facial treatment is also highly recommended” on the moisturizer page.

    Oily Skin Rules

    Be consistent with your skincare regimen Avoid harsh cleansers and excessive washing Use warm water to cleanse your face Avoid Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, artificial fragrances, mineral oil and petroleum. Use water-based, non-comedogenic cosmetics.

    Category: Oily Skin

    Learning Center Category: Oily Skin, Skincare Products

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  • Aging - A Normal Process

    Mar 18 2014 2:35 PM

    As we age, there are several normal processes that occur that manifest in visible signs of aging in the skin. We lose vital skin components such as collagen, elastin, fat, saccharides and fibroblasts and the basic processes of the skin slow down which results in the appearance of lines and wrinkles and loose, sagging skin and other signs of aging.

    Collagen, elastin, saccharides, and fibroblasts are the main structural components of the skin that give the skin its support, structure, elasticity, hydration and plumpness.

    Collagen is the structural protein that provides support and strength to the skin. As we age, collagen is damaged by processes called glycation and cross linking which are the main culprits in visible signs of aging like lines and wrinkles, and loose sagging skin.

    Glycation occurs through normal metabolism and aging as well as through a diet that includes foods heating or cooking sugars with proteins in the absence of water. Basically, browning of foods modifies the sugars and destroys enzymes. Normally, a small proportion of your blood sugar is glycated and forms Advanced Glycation End products, known as AGES. However, AGEs are highly destructive, causing sugars to clump up, absorb water and dry out collagen. This causes collagen fibers to be stiff and break, reducing the stability and structure of the skin. This leads to less blood flow getting to the skin, which inhibits skin nutrition.

    Crosslinking is simply the formation of chemical bridges between proteins that makes collagen become hard, less elastic and have a tendency to tear or crack. Fibers attempt to support one another by intertwining, but this forms bunches or “nuts” under the skin. Once cross linked there is no power to support the skin.

    Once AGEs bind to the collagen, the cross linking is irreversible, unresponsive to the skin’s natural enzymatic activity, will grow in size and number and cause deep wrinkles throughout the dermis. Essentially, this is like the scaffolding or columns that support a building having collapsed.

    Starting around mid 20s, each year we lose 1% of our collagen in the deeper layer of the skin called the dermis. When collagen in the dermis diminishes, this causes the capillaries to collapse, which impairs the nutrition of the skin. This sets up a chain reaction as less tissue nutrition leads to further breakdown of the skin’s vital components. This causes the dermis to thin or lose thickness.

    Elastin, another protein in our skin, is what gives our skin its ability to snap back. As we age, elastin stretches and begins to have less spring as we age. Due to collagen and elastin loss, our skin cannot withstand gravity.

    Structural sugars, are also called saccharides or glucosaminoglycans, the most well known being hyaluronic acid. These sugars keep young skin hydrated, flexible and plump are diminished with age. Saccharides also keep the outer layer of the skin (epidermis) intact with the deeper layer of the skin (dermis). As polysaccharide concentration decreases with aging, this causes moisture loss and contributes to the network collapsing, which creates dermal atrophy. This loss of saccharides causes a deficiency in nutritional exchange and slows biological processes of the skin resulting in visible signs of aging like lines and wrinkles and loose sagging skin. There is also reduction in the number of active fibroblasts, which are involved in producing collagen and the structural framework of the skin (extracellular matrix). As we age, the fat layer in the skin loses thickness, which causes a loss in facial volume which contributes to skin sagging, a prime sign of aging.

    Young skin repairs itself quickly and has a rapid cellular turnover rate. Aging causes the natural cellular turnover rate to slow down and the outer layer of the skin, the epidermis, slows its rate of exfoliation.

    The metabolism and energy of the skin also declines as we age.

    Category: Anti-Aging

    Learning Center Category: Anti-Aging

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  • Aging and Genetics

    Mar 18 2014 12:24 PM

    Genetics determines our skin, hair and eye color, amongst other physical attributes and is also an internal (intrinsic) source of aging.

    Ethnicities with very fair or fair complexions have less pigment in their skin, which is how the skin protects us from the sun’s damaging rays. This makes and are more vulnerable to the prime cause of aging - the sun.

    Thomas Fitzpatrick, a Harvard Dermatologist in 1975 developed the Fitzpatrick Scale, which measures the skin’s tolerance to UV light, genetic disposition and how skin reacts to sun exposure. There are six levels determined by the color of the skin, hair and eyes and the skin’s ability to tan or tendency to burn after UV exposure. The six types are as follows:

    Type I skin types are highly sensitive to the sun, always burn and never tan. making them the skin type most vulnerable to sun damage.

    Type I includes white or Caucasians with very fair skin color, possibly freckles, even albino skin. Type I’s have red or blond hair and blue eyes.

    Type 1 is high risk for skin cancer so while all types need sunscreen, Type 1 should never be without it. Type 1 may scar if slow to heal, and has higher potential for vascular damage which makes type 2 has higher potential for vascular damage and is therefore more inclined to get visible dilated capillaries typical of sun damage.

    Type II skin types are very sun sensitive, burn easily and tans minimally making this group the second most vulnerable skin type to sun damage (after Type I). Type II Includes white or Caucasians with fair skin, blond or red hair and blue, green or hazel eyes.

    Type 2 is high risk for skin cancer so while all skin types need sunscreen; Type 2 (like type 1) should never be without it. Type 2 may scar if slow to heal, and pigment with trauma. Type 2 has higher potential for vascular damage and is therefore more inclined to get visible dilated capillaries typical of sun damage.

    Type III skin types are sun sensitive, and burn sometimes, and gradually tans to light brown. Type III skin types have cream or beige skin color and are darker Caucasians; Type III is very common and may have any eye or hair color. Type III is high risk for pigmented conditions and moderate risk for skin cancer. There is high potential for scarring and moderate risk for vascular damage.

    Type IV skin types are minimally sun sensitive, rarely burn and tans with ease to a moderate brown. Skin tone is medium and beige with brown tint and is typical of mediterranean caucasian skin.

    Type IV has high risk for chemical, heat or trauma caused pigmentation and moderate risk for all other pigmented skin conditions.

    Also, Type IV are at high risk for scarring and moderate risk for visible vascular damage.

    Type V is rarely, if ever, sun sensitive skin that rarely burns and tans well. Type V skin types are dark brown and includes mid-eastern, some hispanics and some blacks.

    Type VI is sun insensitive, never burns and tans very easily. Type VI includes black or deeply pigmented skin seen in darker blacks.

    Fitzpatrick Scale I - III Are more inclined to solar burning and damage as the degree of sun damage is relative to the individual’s melanin in their skin.

    There is actually a gene that fails to function properly in Fitzpatrick 1 & 2 that leaves it unprotected and vulnerable to the sun’s rays. Scientifically speaking, this gene (P53 gene) is normally activated in response to UV damage to determine whether a cell should be damaged or repaired. However, in Fitzpatrick 1 & 2s, there is a deficiency in the DNA protection by the melanin cap.

    Category: Genetics

    Learning Center Category: Anti-Aging

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  • Acne Myths

    Mar 18 2014 12:19 PM

    Acne myths abound regarding the causes of acne, who gets it and treatments.

    What Are Common Myths About Acne?

    Acne Myth # 1: Diet does not affect acne

    For many years, food was blamed on causing acne. Chocolate and French fries, a teen diet staple were considered prime culprits. Then, for many years the reigning acne theory was that diet does not affect acne. Acne sufferers rejoiced.

    It turns out that the original belief that diet does affect acne was correct. Research has shown that cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate, does not cause acne. Rather it is the other ingredients in the chocolate that may cause acne, like the refined sugar, and milk. Trans fats often used in French fries and other fast foods actually increase inflammation in the body. Acne is a disease of inflammation so consuming foods (See diet and acne for more information)

    Acne Myth # 2: Acne is caused by dirty skin

    If acne was simply due to being dirty, simple cleansing of the skin would eradicate this complex disorder. There is no question that bacteria is a big component of acne, but this is beyond the skin’s surface.

    Acne Myth # 3: Sun exposure helps acne and sunscreen causes it.

    Dermatologists used to condone this myth and prescribed sitting under a sun lamp as part of an acne treatment protocol. While sun exposure does promote production of vitamin D, excess UV exposure is not a solution for any skin condition.

    There is much debate over whether chemical sunscreens or physical sunscreens cause more breakouts. Synthetically sourced sunscreens are believed to cause irritation so all skin types would be wise to avoid them. A few sources indicated that physical sunscreens like zinc and titanium dioxide can sit on the surface, blocking sweat, which can cause acne. On the contrary, zinc and titanium dioxide are good ingredients for acne as zinc is healing and titanium dioxide is a natural antiseptic.

    Acne Myth # 4 Acne is just something that teens experience

    One of the biggest acne myths is that adolescent acne is normal part of being a teen and it is something you just outgrow.

    This is false on many levels. Acne is not exclusive to teenagers nor is it something that is simply outgrown. Practically all people will experience acne during their lifetime, up to 85%!

    Many who hold this false belief, disregard the impact acne can have and treat acne as a sort of hopeless cause and fail to seek out help. Immediate and consistent care must be taken to control acne so as to prevent the potential lifelong effects such as scarring and self esteem issues. More severe forms of acne must not be ignored and should be dealt with systemically through the help of a dermatologist.

    Acne Myth # 5 Makeup and Cleansing

    Some people think that they don’t have to cleanse if they don’t wear makeup. Others believe that they don’t have to cleanse if they wear mineral makeup since it is supposed to be good for their skin. With or without makeup, mineral or otherwise, your skin can get a build-up of oil and dirt that can cause breakouts.

    Category: Acne

    Learning Center Category: Acne

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  • Rosacea - An Overview

    Mar 14 2014 10:51 AM

    The word Rosacea is from the Latin rosaceus meaning “pink like”.

    Rosacea is a chronic microcirculation disorder that can be quite troubling for the sufferer. While there is currently no “cure” for rosacea, it can be treated with proper skincare, avoidance of triggers, professional treatments and lifestyle changes. Once under control, rosacea is considered to be in remission.

    Rosacea will most likely require continued treatment, as it can flare or relapse. Rosacea is progressive and without treatment may evolve into advanced stages and lead to permanent skin damage.

    Symptoms of Rosacea

    Symptoms of rosacea can include flushing or blushing or persistent redness and/or red patches, visible blood vessels (dilated capillaries), skin heat, red pimple-like bumps (papules and pustules) dryness, flakiness and roughness.

    Rosacea is usually seen in the center of the face - t-zone (nose, forehead, chin) and cheeks but can also affect the neck, upper chest, scalp, and ears.

    Skin affected by rosacea is generally hypersensitive with sensations of itching, burning, stinging, sensitivity, tightness, pain and tenderness. Skin can feel warm or hot to the touch, which increases when rosacea sufferers flush or blush.

    Red eyes and skin thickening, swelling and enlargement of nose from excess tissue are additional rosacea signs.

    If you are still having trouble picturing exactly what rosacea looks like just think of celebrities like Bill Clinton, Cameron Diaz, Cynthia Nixon, Princess Diana, Renee Zellweger, Rosie O’Donnell and newcomer Bruce from Swamp People.

    Who Suffers from Rosacea?
    Approximately 16 million Americans and 45 million people or almost 10% of people worldwide are afflicted with rosacea.

    Caucasians or people primarily descended from north Western Europe (Celtic descent) are genetically predisposed to rosacea. In general, fair skinned individuals are more likely to get rosacea than people with darker complexions.

    If your skin sunburns easily or you have a family member with rosacea, it is likely that you will develop rosacea.

    Symptoms may occur during teen years but most people experience the onset of rosacea in their 30s, 40s and 50s.

    Rosacea affects both men and women. Rosacea is about 3 times more frequent in women while the men who have this disorder experience more extreme symptoms.

    In women, rosacea is usually seen on their cheeks and chin, while men exhibit it more along with swelling on the nose. Rosacea can also affect the chest, ears, neck and scalp.

    Some sources say that the redness must be persistent and present for 3 months for it to be deemed rosacea.

    Some sources indicate that migraine sufferers are 3 times more likely to have rosacea.

    Grades of Rosacea

    Rosacea can be classified into 4 Rosacea Subtypes/Grades that can range from pre-rosacea with just redness and sensitivity to full blown rosacea with bumps, pimples, swelling, etc.

    Rosacea Grade 1 or Rosacea Subtype 1 or Prerosacea includes pink or red skin with flushing or blushing that comes and goes initially and becomes persistent as time goes on.

    Rosacea Grade 1 can include visible blood vessels that contribute to the appearance of redness along with stinging, burning, swelling and inflammation. Roughness, scaling or flaking, sensitivity and dryness of the skin may also occur with Rosacea Grade 1.

    Rosacea Grade 2 or Rosacea Subtype 2 is also called Acne Rosacea as redness is now persistent and accompanied by possible bumps and pimples in the nose and cheek area, red patches, roughness and/or scaling.

    Note: Even though this grade is frequently called Acne Rosacea, rosacea and acne are not the same disorder. However, someone may have both conditions. Rosacea does not include blackheads or whiteheads as a symptom while acne does.

    Rosacea Grade 3 or Rosacea Subtype 3 or Phymatous Rosacea manifests in thickening of the skin, irregular surface bumps on up to enlargement of the nose from excess tissue. Rosacea Grade 3 more often occurs in men but women can get this type of rosacea as well.

    W.C. Fields was an actor from days of yore famous for his red, swollen nose. Former president Bill Clinton is a current notable with this type rosacea. Laser and plastic surgery are required to treat this grade of rosacea.

    Rosacea Grade 4 or Subtype 4 or Ocular Rosacea involves the eye area. All stages of rosacea may have eye involvement with about 50% of rosacea sufferers having eye symptoms.

    Rosacea triggers cause the blood vessels of the eye to dilate and the following symptoms:

    • Red or bloodshot eyes, dry or watery eyes prone to tearing
    • Swollen or chronically inflamed eyelids and styes
    • Sensitivity to light
    • Irritation, burning/stinging, gritty or scratching sensation on up to intense pain
    • Inflammation of the thin tissue that cover the whites of the eye and the front part of the eye (corneal ulceration)
    • In extreme cases, blood vessels may invade the colored part of the eye and see through covering over it and the pupil which causes scarring, blurry vision and potential vision loss from corneal damage.
    • Mucus with or without infection (conjunctivitis or ”pink” eye)

    Rare Forms of Rosacea

    Rare and severe complications of rosacea include facial abscesses and hard round bumps such as with rosacea conglobata and rosacea fulminans.

    Rosacea Conglobata is a disfiguring form of rosacea that includes tender, pink to deep red, swollen and bleeding pus filled sores, and hardened raised, solid flat-topped lesions. Rosacea conglobata occurs mainly in females and is progressive and chronic.

    Rosacea Fulminans is rare and mimics severe cystic acne with bumps and pimples that appear suddenly and develop into hard round bumps, draining tracks that connect the cysts, abscesses and ulcers. Facial swelling with a blue-red color and possible scarring are also symptoms of rosacea fulminans.

    Note, this is not acne rosacea and there is no flushing or eye involvement.

    Rosacea Fulminans affects the faces of women after adolescence between the ages of 20 and 40 who may have never had acne. Unlike acne, there are no comedones with this severe form of rosacea and it lasts about one year without recurring.

    The cause of both forms of rosacea is unknown but may be due to issues with the immune system, hormones or vascular system. Some sources link it with Crohn’s disease, Hepatitis C therapy and even high doses of vitamins B6 and B12.

    Some sources state that greasy scales with possible yellow patches and itching (seborrhea or seborrheic dermatitis) are present before this condition develops.

    Treatment of these rare forms of rosacea include 3-6 months of oral and or topical corticosteroids to calm the inflammation, Accutane (isotretinoin), oral antibiotics, and oral contraceptives with antiandrogens. Note: Accutane must be accompanied by birth control and may aggravate ocular rosacea. A doctor may perform cortisone injections into the bumps or cut them out.

    Some sources list yet another type of rosacea, “neck rosacea” which appears on the sides of the neck in a v shape and includes dilated capillaries with brownish/reddish color changes. It also exhibits a bumpy texture and appearance. This form of rosacea is a direct result of UV overexposure and accompanying damage to the outer and deeper layers of skin (epidermis and dermis) except the skin immediately around hair follicles.

    (For detailed scientific information see Grades of Rosacea Article)

    What Causes Rosacea?

    The exact cause of rosacea is unknown. While there is an ongoing debate over whether rosacea triggers actually cause rosacea, research has proven that there are many factors involved in the development or rosacea.

    High Levels of Microscopic Skin Mite Environmental Cumulative overexposure to the sun & repeated sunburns Abrupt Changes in Temperature - Extremes of heat or cold Vascular/Circulation System Disorder Medical Conditions Gastrointestinal Tract Disorders Endocrine/Hormonal Disorders (pregnancy, menstrual cycle, PCOS, menopause) Liver Disease Stress and Stress Related Conditions Topical irritants, medications and skin treatments Diet - Spicy foods Alcoholic beverages Hot Liquids - beverages and soup Caffeine Histamine and histamine producing foods Inflammation causing foods Acid forming foods High glycemic foods Trans fats Vitamin Deficiency Acidic blood Strenuous Exercise and Heavy Lifting Obesity Free Radical Damage Aging Inflammation and Overactive Immune System

    (For more details see Unraveling the Causes of Rosacea, Rosacea and Diet, and Inflammation and Rosacea)

    Treating Rosacea

    While rosacea can’t be cured, there are a number of ways to control flare-ups. Choosing and using the right skincare products and ingredients, avoiding sun exposure and dietary triggers, as well as managing stress are key ways to control rosacea. Seeing an esthetician, doctor or dermatologist for medications or light or laser treatments can be beneficial for treating rosacea as well.

    Ingredient and Product Solutions for Rosacea

    Rosacea sufferers should choose products that will cool and reduce skin heat, soothe, reduce redness, heal, hydrate, strengthen and constrict capillaries and even reduce allergies.

    Products that are gentle and free of irritating or controversial ingredients, like sulfates, alcohol and mineral oil are also key for controlling rosacea redness. The best ingredients to do this are green tea (camellia sinensis), chamomile (anthemis nobilis), frankincense (olibanum or boswellia carterii), licorice (dipotassium glycyrrhizate) French rose, guarana, allantoin and panthenol. In addition to the right ingredient, the concentration and formulation are what sets apart one product from another. Seek out products that contain high concentrations of the key active ingredients and that are formulated to penetrate deeply for maximum results. (For details see Best Ingredients to Treat Rosacea, Best Products to Treat Rosacea, Redness Relief Line)

    Follow an appropriate skincare regimen that includes a cleanser, toner, serum and moisturizer to be used morning and evening, daily. Treating your skin gently (no rubbing or scrubbing) and using lukewarm (not hot!) water are musts for rosacea skincare.

    Lifestyle Solutions for Rosacea:

    Consult a Doctor if you suspect you have rosacea. Dermatologists can diagnose rosacea and prescribe topical or oral medications like antibiotics, metronidazole, finacea, and skinoren, sulfacetamide sulfur or low doses of isotretinoin for persistent papules and pustules.

    *Note: References to medication in this article is not to be considered a recommendation of any of the above medications. It is vitally important to inform your doctor of all medical conditions before taking any medications and educate yourself on the contraindications before starting therapy.

    Laser, Intense Pulsed Light or Photorejuvenation Treatments might also be used to reduce facial redness and other rosacea symptoms. CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) resurfacing lasers is used to treat phymatous rosacea.

    General Physicians can assess and treat any of the medical conditions associated with rosacea. To inhibit rosacea flushing they may prescribe oral medication such as clonidine, beta-blockers (nadolol and propranolol), mirtazapine (remeron), antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs, aspirin and antihistamines.

    Manage Stress - Since stress is a rosacea trigger, engaging in stress reducing activities like deep breathing, massage, yoga, meditation and walking (but not hot baths or jacuzzis!)

    Get your zzzs! Get plenty of sleep as poor sleep is linked with inflammation.

    Avoid sun exposure to prevent rosacea flares. When planning to be outdoors, apply a naturally sourced sunscreen with a SPF of 30 and reapply every two hours. Wear a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses (the bigger the better) and use an umbrella when possible.

    Avoid heat and abrupt temperature changes, key rosacea triggers

    Where possible, find alternatives to medications, which are known to trigger rosacea.

    For ocular or eye infections, some sources suggest cleansing the eyelids with diluted baby shampoo or eyelid cleaner and using warm compresses several times a day,

    Dietary Modifications for Rosacea

    Limit intake of rosacea dietary triggers: spicy foods, alcohol, hot and/or caffeinated beverages, foods that contain histamine or cause a histamine response, trans fats, foods with high glycemic index, foods and ingredients linked to obesity and acid forming foods.

    Consume Alkaline Foods and Beverages: alkaline water and most fruits and vegetables

    Choose foods that reduce inflammation to combat rosacea. Iced green tea is an ideal choice for rosacea sufferers.

    Increase intake of foods rich in the following or supplement (Consult a physician before taking supplements): Vitamins: A, B Complex, D3, E, and K Essential Fatty Acids (Omega 3s and Omega 6s) Minerals: calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, MSM, phosphorous, potassium chloride, silymarin, sodium chloride, selenium and zinc Digestive Aids: Enzymes, fiber and probiotics Exercise in moderation

    Category: Rosacea

    Learning Center Category: Rosacea

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  • What Rosacea Isn’t

    Mar 13 2014 3:52 PM

    There are a number of medical conditions and disorders that affect the skin with symptoms that are similar to the visible symptoms to rosacea. Not only are these other disorders unrelated to rosacea, some can be quite serious. This is why it is vital to consult a physician. A dermatologist or a doctor can analyze your skin, make a medical diagnosis and rule out other possibilities.

    Estheticians cannot officially diagnose rosacea and make it a practice to refer to dermatologists for confirmation or treatment of more advanced stages.

    However, estheticians are well versed in treating rosacea and recommending homecare that can complement dermatologist prescribed treatments as well.

    Note: the following discussions are not meant to diagnose nor rule out any skin condition. Pevonia Spa Clinica recommends that customers visit a physician for a medical diagnosis.

    Skin Disorders

    Sensitive Skin Sensitivity and redness are often associated with a condition known as rosacea. However, sensitive skin and skin affected by rosacea are not the same. They do have many similar symptoms and solutions.

    Not all fair skinned individuals with redness, itchiness, flaking and skin warmth have rosacea. These symptoms can be an indication of sensitive or sensitized skin as well.


    While both acne and rosacea have similar looking papules and pustules, it is the differences in terms of causes, other symptoms and age of onset that separates acne from rosacea.

    Acne begins in the hair follicle due to thick, sticky excessive sebum, accumulation of dead skin cells (retention hyperkeratosis) and p. acnes bacteria. These factors can result in comedones (whiteheads, blackheads) or papules or pustules. Acne usually has an adolescent onset and can include scarring.

    In contrast, rosacea is primarily a disease of inflammation that includes a microscopic skin mite or parasite and while it can also include papules and pustules it usually will not have the scarring associated with acne. Rosacea has a later onset usually appearing between ages 30 -50. Also, rosacea may have ocular involvement.

    In general, the presence of comedones, ocular involvement and scarring are the key ways to differentiate acne from rosacea. If there are no comedones present, it is most likely rosacea. (Note that acne and rosacea can coexist as well.)

    Unfortunately, people often misdiagnose or mistake rosacea papules or pustules with acne. They then become bewildered or frustrated after using acne products to treat what they believed to be “acne” which usually exacerbates rosacea.

    Perioral Dermatitis

    Perioral dermatitis with red papules usually seen around the nostrils and mouth, or the eyes in women aged 20-45 some might mistake for rosacea but it is actually related to acne vulgaris. Fluoride toothpastes or fluorinated topical glucocorticoid steroids cause it.


    Roseola may look or even sound a little like the word rosacea but is actually a viral infection seen in young children under age 3. Symptoms typically begin with high fever, fatigue and issues with respiration followed by pink or red rash with spots on the torso. It is caused by human herpes virus type 6 or 7.

    Mange (Demodicidosis)

    The fact that rosacea is associated with demodex folliculorum does not make it the same as demodicidosis (mange) which is a separate condition, albeit similar in appearance to rosacea.

    Seborrheic Dermatitis

    Seborrhea, or seborrheic dermatitis, is often seen with rosacea but is a separate condition. Symptoms include fine, white flakes like dandruff or thick, oily, yellow scales along with a red or yellow tone and are believed to precede Rosacea Fulminans.

    Other conditions of mistaken rosacea identity include staph infection, allergy or eczema.


    Poikiloderma can be mistaken for rosacea since it includes prominent blood vessels. The difference is that poikiloderma also includes both increased and decreased pigmentation as well as skin thinning.

    Systemic Disorders

    Lupus Erythematosus

    Lupus Erythematosus is similar in appearance with a rash of round or disk shaped bumps, red, raised patches with adherent scales that lend a whitish appearance. It is usually accompanied by plugged hair follicles and often occurs in a “butterfly rash” or malar rash. It also appears on the nose. Other common symptoms can include chest pain when taking a deep breath, fatigue, fever with no other cause, feeling of discomfort or malaise, hair loss, mouth sores, sensitivity to sunlight and swollen lymph nodes. Other symptoms like headaches, numbness, tingling, seizures, vision problems, personality changes, abdominal pain, nausea vomiting, abnormal heart rhythms, coughing up blood, difficulty breathing, patchy skin color, and fingers that change color when cold (Raynaud’s).

    Category: Rosacea

    Learning Center Category: Rosacea, Skincare Products

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