Min's Beauty Equipment: June 2013

Monday, 24 June 2013

Skin Deteriorates Fast After 50 - Can Hormone Replacement Therapy Help?

We would all like to maintain our beautiful looks as we age, but what do we do when our skin starts deteriorating at an increased rate?

There are many factors influencing our skin's ageing process.  Some of them are called intrinsic, or factors that are time related and independent of person's behavior.  They include hydration, transepidermal water loss, oil secretion by sebum glands, gender, ethnicity, hormonal changes and some more. Factors that can be controlled to some extent by a person are called extrinsic. These include the effects of smoking on the skin, exposure to UV rays and others.

Intrinsic ageing in men is a smooth phenomenon: skin quality declines gradually and smoothly with time.  It is not the case for women: there is a sharp increase in decline at around 50 to 60 years.  This acceleration of decline corresponds to the passage from pre to postmenopause.

Female hormones have some important effects on the skin.  Estrogen prevents or reverses skin atrophy, dryness, wrinkles associated with intrinsic ageing or photoageing (a process of skin ageing attributed to continuous long term exposure to UVA and UVB rays), enhances collagen synthesis, maintains skin thickness and moisture levels.  Progesterone increases oil (sebum) secretion.

At an age of around 45 to 55 every woman experiences transition from a potentially reproductive to non-reproductive state.  During menopause a woman's body slowly produces less of the hormones estrogen and progesterone which may negatively affect the skin.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help women deal with problems associated with menopause.  Women are given estrogen or estrogen and progestin (synthetic progestogen that has effects similar to progesterone) to help alleviate the physical symptoms associated with the change of life.  Women who begin HRT at the onset of menopause experience noticeable improvements; if a woman begins the therapy on average five years post-menopause, she experiences no significant improvement in her damaged skin.

Although HRT can improve skin's appearance if started early and has other positive impact on woman's life, it can also have negative effects such as increased risk of breast cancer or increased risk of thrombosis.  If a woman is on HRT for less than two years, which is standard, increased risk of breast cancer has not been observed.  Thrombosis is also a rare event, therefore, even if HRT increases the risk, its occurrence is still rare.

Monday, 17 June 2013

How to Shrink Large Pores, Can Use of Sunscreen Help?

Adult's skin with large pores compared to a child's skin
Some lucky ladies may have beautiful skin, but even the ones who have skin like an angel have to be careful. Beauty does not last forever, and so we should do our best to avoid premature ageing.

Today I would like to talk about enlarged pores that can be a curse for a young person as well as an adult.

What Are Pores?

Pores are tiny openings in the skin that house a hair follicle and are a gateway for the skin's natural oil. Ideally, we do not notice them. However, some people have pores that are larger than they would like them to be. Large pores do not look nice and give the appearance of coarse skin.

What Causes Large Pores?

Some of you have large pores due to oily skin, but even if your skin is dry you may develop large pores due to exposure to the sun. Sun will make your skin lose collagen, elastin and water which means that the tissue beneath the skin will shrink pulling down the edges of the pore. Thus the pore will look enlarged.

How to Make Large Pores Smaller?

If you were born with large pores, then nothing you can do to make them smaller. Use sunscreen and exfoliate your skin to prevent them from getting even bigger.

If your pores are getting larger with age, you may still have a chance to reverse this process. Please read Large Pores Treatment Techniques below. Also, do exfoliate your skin and use sunscreen as prevention.

How to Improve the Appearance of Large Pores?

Although it is often difficult and sometimes impossible to reduce the size of pores, it is possible to improve their appearance.

Unclog the pores by exfoliation, which can be physical or chemical. Physical exfoliators are scrubs that unclog pores through friction. Chemical exfoliators dissolve dead cells and other stuff clogging those tiny openings. Retinoids and alpha hydroxy acids are some of the chemical exfoliators.

Use make-up primer to make your skin appear smoother, apply foundation on top of it.

Large Pores Treatment Techniques

There are various therapies for reducing pore size due to ageing or sun damage. Some therapies attempt to restore lost collagen and elastin which results in more even skin tone, others rub off the top layer of the skin to reveal a smoother texture. The techniques include chemical peels, microdermabrasion, LED light therapy, ultrasound, mesotherapy and laser.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Suntan Tips

Having too much exposure to the sun damages your skin, causes premature ageing and increases the risk of skin cancer. However, if all these things are not enough to put you off lying in the sun, then keep on reading.

I am in my early thirties and up until recently I was one of those sun lovers. No matter that my mom kept warning me about the increased risk of skin cancer and other damage to my skin, I was a regular user of sunbeds and, obviously, I liked to take advantage of beautiful summer weather with lots of sunshine.  I still like bronzed skin, but I am more prepared to compromise these days.

So, this is my recipe for an even beautiful tan:
  • Always use a sunscreen. If you don't, your skin is less likely to tan evenly. Also, there is an increased risk of getting burnt. If this happens then even with the best efforts it will be really difficult to get that beautiful glow.
  • If you have areas of your body that tan faster than others, use sunscreens with different SPFs for different body parts. For example, my nose is quite protruding and always tans a lot faster than the rest of the face, but it takes a lot more hours of suntanning to get some colour on my legs. I use sunscreen with SPF 50 or 30 on my nose and SPF 10 sunscreen on my legs. The rest of the body will have SPF 15.
  • If some part of your body seems to be lagging behind in getting a tan, cover the whole body up and leave only that part exposed to the sun. This will to give it a chance to catch up.
These are only a few simple tricks that I use, but usually they are enough to get that beautiful summer glow.

I wish you all the best of luck in getting that perfect tan!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Sun Damage And The Meaning Of SPF

Sun damaged skin. The red area is where the man did not
apply sunscreen
If you want a beautiful skin throughout life, wear sunscreen at all times when you go outside. Exposure to sun causes redness of skin and the production of sunburn cells, but most importantly it causes wrinkling and changes in the texture of your skin. The skin loses collagen which gives it its elasticity. The exposed areas of our bodies such as face, hands and arms become thin, wrinkled, dry and inelastic, show spotty pigmentation. Also, the relationship between sunlight and skin cancer can not be overlooked.

We can feel infra-red radiation through temperature sensors in the skin, but we cannot feel ultraviolet radiation that causes damage to our skin. Therefore, we have to protect our skin by using a sunscreen.

Often people believe that they do not need protection on a cloudy day, but a thin stratus of clouds does not stop ultraviolet radiation from reaching the earth surface. A thin cover of clouds may attenuate only about 20% of the light.

What Does Sun Protection Factor or SPF Mean?

The term Sun Protection Factor (SPF) describing sunscreens indicates the relative increase in time to burn. If a person takes 20 minutes to redden without sunscreen, it takes him 200 minutes to redden with the use of a sunscreen of SPF 10. Reapplying the sunscreen does not extend his time to redden to another 200 minutes.