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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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.

    Acne

    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

    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

    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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