Scars are about Silence and Disconnection

By |2020-04-30T18:13:39+01:00April 30th, 2020|Uncategorised|

I am pleased to see the first book I have contributed to come to life - Scars, Adhesions and the Biotensegral Body is edited by Jan Threwartha and Sharon Wheeler, and published by Handspring Publishing. Books feel somehow more permanent than articles, which I have been writing for more than a decade now. New approaches to the Stratum Corneum, the top layer of the skin, have been an essential part of my work in recent years – a research interest and in practical observation of my clients in the clinics. Advanced science can shed new light and expand the ‘raison d’etre’ for this fragile and hard-working layer every day. It serves us by protecting, sensing and cocooning our emotional self. We care to see, touch and treat the envelope every day aiming at smooth, even and dewy complexion and its quality often makes us loved and secure in the society. More so, an imperfection – from skin conditions to scars – causes alert and distress that we are constantly reminded of. Scarring is hard to resolve; a permanent mark of a disease or injury. As I work with people’s faces, I see surgical scars, scars from injuries, burns and acne scarring. They all tell a story of a change, a dent in

Feeling Your Way Through Skincare

By |2020-04-17T14:34:08+01:00April 16th, 2020|Facial Massage, Skincare Tips, Uncategorised, Wellbeing|

I have been quiet of late – with social media overwhelmed with the virus emergency and beauty experts offering elaborate skincare facial tutorials and workouts as self-care, these can feel like an additional chore – I feel I have a different contribution to make to help you look after your facial complexion. In 10 years of my scientific writing, some things never change: that is the daily routines ‘evoking the right emotion’. The French have skincare rituals to feel alluring, dignified and alive; these are also physiologically right for the fragile self-renewing top layer of our body. In the current difficult times when emotions such as fear, grief, loneliness, lack of joy and a great deal of uncertainty are running high, we often guard ourselves ‘against people’ and retreat in defence. These stressful internal battles show up as aggravated skin conditions; my clients have reported flares in eczema and acne, making them aware of and obsessing over the visibility of blemishes. As we are instructed not to touch our faces and to repetitively over-wash our hands, we have also learnt to obsessively monitor our environment to avoid viral infection. No caring contact, we are keeping our distance – just the opposite to what we, as humans, physiologically crave (need) and what sustains

Biofilm: Potential For Groundbreaking Innovation

By |2019-07-19T12:23:51+01:00July 19th, 2019|Uncategorised|

Even if you are not familiar with the term “biofilm”, you have encountered it on a regular basis: the plaque that forms on your teeth and causes tooth decay, the “gunk” that clogs your drains or the slippery biofilm-coated rocks in a river. Biofilm forms when bacteria adhere to surfaces in moist environments by excreting a slimy, glue-like substance. A biofilm community can be formed by a single or number of species of bacteria, fungi, yeasts and other micro-organisms, as well as debris and metabolites. Skin-associated bacteria grow on specific skin niches, such as the sebaceous gland, scalp or the axilla. Their mechanisms of attachment, survival, and propagation depend on the particular environment. Although the focus of the Personal Care industry is on healthy skin, prevention of acne and eczema are amongst top consumer concerns. Research into skin microbiome – the bacteria which live all over our bodies – and biofilms represent two microbial disciplines that converge in skin conditions, e.g. acne and atopic dermatitis. This convergence evolved from the early evidence of specific microbes linked to disease states and comprehensive, intricate understanding of biofilms brought on by research. But there are clear implications – and opportunities – for the skincare industry and many brands are developing or have already developed products which harness this

Anti-ageing: Should the term be banned?

By |2019-07-12T13:34:14+01:00July 12th, 2019|Uncategorised|

For a few years now, the beauty lobby and the press have been working against the tide of ageism in skin care. But, as some campaigns suggest, should the term anti-ageing be banned? As a scientist, as well as an educated consumer, I felt compelled to examine the issue. Industry voices argue that, nowadays, only a minority of consumers are looking for immediate, quick-fix results provided by aesthetic medicine or surgery. Their claim is that the out-and-out youth-cultivating era is over and that most women seek natural alternatives. Acceptance of greying hair, illness and the menopause has become less of a taboo in our modern society, and a large number of French people, for example, are now interested in learning to age well. While older women have always been cherished in France, the glamour and style of Brigitte Macron, the wife of the French President, might have contributed to the new way we look at women of this age. Even if the ‘cult of appearance’ is still present in the media, it is said to be declining, and people are moving towards what the Americans call a ‘life enhancing’ approach. The representation of women in beauty and brands’ focuses have changed: there is more scope for women in the 50 and 60+

Personalized Lifestyle Medicine: Time To Pay Attention

By |2019-04-25T09:37:34+01:00April 24th, 2019|Uncategorised|

Personalized lifestyle medicine is a subject area I believe will play an important role in skincare in the future and I am very excited to be attending the Mastering the Implementation of Personalized Lifestyle Medicine conference in Chicago this week. The event is primarily for medical doctors practising holistic and functional medicine in the US but as skincare personalisation is a key theme of my research and the US provides an innovative environment for research, I am interested in learning more. The conference focus is on Synchronizing Metabolic Rhythms for Clinical Success. The successful clinical application of personalized lifestyle medicine requires an understanding of how alterations in physiological systems relate to the development of complex chronic disease. One of the factors that is starting to be recognized as highly significant is the time-dependent interaction of a person’s genetics with their lifestyle, diet and environment to create patterns of health or disease. Biorhythms regulate the way an individual’s body responds to their environment and lifestyle at any specific moment in time. These rhythms include the fluctuation of hormones, neurotransmitters, transcription factors that control genetic expression, inflammatory mediators, anabolic and catabolic metabolic functions, and stem cell-associated tissue regeneration. Clinically, they are connected to alterations in sleep cycles, function of the reproductive system, blood sugar

Skincare: Science-based or emotional choice?

By |2019-04-03T21:04:31+01:00April 2nd, 2019|Uncategorised|

Skincare science or emotion? This is a debate which will be discussed at the In-Cosmetics 2019 Exhibition in Paris, which I am going to this week. Overall, the event should reveal the new ingredients and trends we’ll be hearing more about in the coming months and years. I attend so that I can meet with old friends and colleagues, and to visit the Innovation Zone. But one interesting issue for debate is the suggestion by Dr Karl Lintner, in this workshop at the exhibition, that cosmetic science has reached a ceiling - I cannot help but agree.  The science of molecular biology and genetics or epigenetics has advanced our understanding of cellular mechanisms but consumers do not buy products only on the scientific evidence which emerges from such research. New concepts – blue light, anti-pollution protection, microbiome and new ingredients – cannot supersede the ‘human’ take on buying skincare, which is driven by pleasure and emotional choice. Some time ago, a study carried out by a large cosmetics company which looked at the "skincare science or emotion?" question concluded that approximately 95% of the purchase criteria for a cosmetic product is based on the texture. In my personalisation-based projects, I also consider skincare science or emotion and believe that achieving a great skin-feel

Personalisation in Skincare

By |2019-03-18T19:59:54+00:00March 20th, 2019|Facial Ageing, Skincare Tips, Uncategorised|

Personalisation in skincare is essential. As a clinician, I treat people from all walks of life – different ages, skin types and concerns – on a daily basis. There is a range of skin types but also motivation, compliance and budget amongst my clients. My role is to help them make an informed choice, to diagnose their skin type and make a product as well as lifestyle recommendations. The majority come back on a monthly basis and incorporate my recommendations into their routines at home. Skincare is a journey. I am honest with my clients in discussing what can and cannot be achieved in a month, a season or a year. Prevention is best for healthy, glowing and youthful skin. The younger generation are interested in health and prevention of premature ageing; in the older generation many people only address a concern once it becomes visible. Every face has individual facial structures that relate to the skin as well as the skeleton, facial muscles and the vascular and lymphatic systems. The facial tissues represent a dynamic system, influenced by health and lifestyle, responding to daily and monthly rhythms and ageing. The skincare industry approaches customisation on a macro level (skin type and concern, age groups) or micro-level (gene-analysis based skincare) but in the absence of large personal spending, clinically relevant solutions lie in understanding of individuals’ facial

The Science of Massage for Different Skin Types

By |2019-03-18T19:58:54+00:00March 18th, 2019|Facial Ageing, Uncategorised, Wellbeing|

Merck, as a large personal care ingredients manufacturer, aim to be at the forefront of innovation, debating scientific topics that are relevant and on trend. Their annual forum brings together primarily scientists from the German-speaking world carrying out research in microbiome, pollution and, in my case, touch. It is a privilege to be invited to Darmstadt, Germany, this Wednesday, to share my clinical expertise in a talk about “The Science of Massage for Different Skin Types”. We understand that sensory properties of skincare products – the texture, scent and skin feel – enhance the perceived wellbeing that results from their use. When developing new products, it is therefore important to understand how an individual’s skin type, age and ethnicity can affect their experience. Different application touch techniques can impact skin biology in different ways and this is where the science of massage is relevant. For example, the slow and deep techniques relax the brain, bring in more blood flow and stretch the collagen, producing dermal fibroblasts, collagen-making cells that get less active with ageing which leads to skin thinning, more wrinkles and sagging. By contrast, the light touch techniques refresh and drain the superficial lymphatic system, something which our bodies do less effectively as we get older, causing puffiness and sagging. Evidence-based

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