'adult acne' Category Archives

Our Essex skin expert shines a ‘spot’light on acne myths

Young woman looks at a river. Suffering with acne? Call Sue Ibrahim at Elan Medical Skin Clinic in Essex for help and advice.

Suffering with acne? Call Sue Ibrahim at Elan Medical Skin Clinic in Essex for help and advice.

Despite being one of the most widespread skin conditions affecting teenagers AND adult men and women, acne is one of the most poorly understood. There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding acne and its causes. In this month’s blog, our skin expert and nurse consultant in dermatology, Sue Ibrahim, helps separate fact from fiction.

Myth: A poor diet high in fat and dairy causes acne

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Essex skin expert reveals the fads not back up by evidence

A girl drinks a sports drink - Essex skin expert from Elan Medical Skin Clinic in Rayleigh debunks the myths not based on scientific evidence

Essex skin expert from Elan Medical Skin Clinic in Rayleigh debunks the myths not based on scientific evidence

Before you reach for yet another glass of water, Essex skin expert, Sue Ibrahim would like to shed some light on some of the skin fads out there.

At Elan Medical Skin Clinic in Rayleigh we do not offer new technology or recommend certain skin care regimes until there is a wealth of clinical evidence to show they are safe and the results are clinically proven. Here are some myths that have no evidence base behind the advice.

Skin fad no.1 – drink 2 litres of water a day

It is claimed that drinking two litres of water a day is the amount we should drink for optimal health. This much water is said to benefit us in many ways from flushing away harmful toxins from our bodies, reducing lines and wrinkles, clearing acne, to helping us lose weight and fighting infections, among others.

But according to American paediatrician Aaron E. Caroll from Indiana University, there’s absolutely no science to back up the idea that we should be drinking eight glasses of water a day, and there never was.

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Skin changes during pregnancy

Pregnancy is normally a time when you are radiating with excitement, yes? But when your pregnancy complexion doesn’t always reflect that inner joy it can dampen your spirits.

Worry not, for most you will find that these skin issues resolve themselves following the birth of your baby.  Here are some of the most common skin problems women encounter during pregnancy—and what you can do about them.

skinproblems

Pregnancy should be a time of excitement

Skin Sensitivity

Go easier on your skin now that you’re pregnant. You might get red more easily if you use a facial scrub, your normal facial might verge on painful, and the perfumed lotion you wear might irritate your skin (and make you nauseated, but that’s a different story). That’s why many mums-to-be switch to unscented products and start choosing products that do not contain harsh chemicals, preservatives and fragrances. “You certainly don’t want anything causing micro-tears on your skin,” says Sue Ibrahim, our dermatology nurse consultant.  “The more cuts and wounds on your skin, the easier it is for chemicals to be absorbed into your bloodstream. Ingredients to stay away from in soaps and body washes include sodium laureth sulphate, parabens and fragrance.” These ingredients aren’t just potential irritants—some say they could pose health risks to baby. We say believe it, because (not surprisingly) a lot of products aren’t tested directly on pregnant women. If you are using prescription topicals on your face you need to tell your doctor that you are pregnant as most prescription creams are not licensed for use during pregnancy either. At Elan Medical Skin Clinic we advise our patients to use our Elan Medical DermaCalm range during pregnancy, because they are free from fragrances and preservatives. They also contain mild anti-inflammatory ingredients that can soothe irritated skin.

Acne breakouts during pregnancy

During pregnancy your hormones are all over the place, and that might mean pimples like you had when you were a teenager. The cruel joke, of course, is that many of the treatments that are prescribed for acne cannot be used during pregnancy. Prescription medications like Tetracyclines, Isotretinoin (Roacutane(R)) and the anti-androgen hormone therapies are definite no-nos. And the jury’s out on over-the-counter creams, since they haven’t been tested specifically on pregnant women (yup, you find that a lot with products). Ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid can be absorbed into the bloodstream, so they’re not worth the risk either. “You can safely use lactic acid and biosulfur to treat acne,” Sue Ibrahim says. Don’t touch, pick or squeeze pimples— just wash with a mild cleanser twice a day. “A lot of women find Acne Phototherapy beneficial during pregnancy and it is perfectly safe for both you and the baby.

Sun Sensitivity

Sorry, mums-to-be, but “pregnancy glow” does not refer to a bronzed, sun-kissed complexion. You should actually try to stay out of the sun as much as you can while you’re pregnant. That’s because your surging hormones make you susceptible to dark patches on your skin—known as melasma, or the ‘mask of pregnancy’, which is triggered by sun exposure. So pull out the big floppy hat, find a beach umbrella and be diligent about wearing sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every day. If you are unlucky and do get Melasma during pregnancy it may resolve on its own following the birth of your baby, if not then you will need the help of a dermatologist I’m afraid.

Stretch marks

Now you’ve got another big skin concern: stretch marks. Anytime someone’s body grows quickly, they’re at risk for stretch marks, so the fact that baby is growing exponentially in there puts you right in the high-risk zone. Of course, not every mum-to-be gets stretch marks. “For most people, whether or not they get stretch marks has to do with genetic predisposition,” says Sue Ibrahim. But you can do your best to head them off by gently exfoliating and thoroughly moisturising your belly, boobs, stomach, hips and thighs as much as you can. As for what moisturizer to use, it’s hard to make a recommendation. “A lot of products make claims,” Sue Ibrahim says. “Some may help but aren’t really proven to prevent stretch marks.” If you are left with troublesome stretch marks following the birth of you baby, it is worth looking into the skin tightening treatments we offer at Elan Medical Skin Clinic.

Skin rashes during pregnancy

If you’ve got red, itchy skin, it’s important not to ignore it. Itchy feet and hands could be a sign of cholestasis of pregnancy, a scary complication that can cause liver problems for baby. Your doctor can do a simple blood test to make sure that’s not causing your rash. Another common pregnancy rash is PUPPP (pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy), which often starts in the abdomen and spreads from there. PUPPP is actually harmless to baby, but it will be completely aggravating for you. Book in for a Dermatology Consultation if you are concerned.

Acne, you don’t have to live with it!

Acne is a very common skin problem characterised by blackheads and whiteheads and pus-filled spots. Although we tend to associate acne as a teenage problem, here at Elan Medical Skin Clinic, we see acne in men and women of all ages.

Acne can vary in severity from a few spots on the face to quite a significant problem on the face, chest, shoulders and back.

It is not just the acne that can have a significant impact on self-confidence, the scarring and altered skin pigmentation that is left behind when the spots clear up can also cause a lot of distress.

Aacne treatments at Elan Medical Skin Clinics

Acne, you don’t have to live with it!

Unfortunately, many doctors can trivialise the effects acne can have on a person’s confidence, self-esteem and quality of life. Having spent over 30 years working within medical dermatology, Sue Ibrahim is passionate about treating acne early and effectively as she fully understands the consequences of living this spots on a daily basis. At Elan Medical Skin Clinic in Essex, we take the time to listen to your concerns and devise a management plan to get your skin looking great again!

What causes acne?

The oil-producing (sebaceous) glands are particularly sensitive to certain hormones present in both males and females. These hormones stimulate the production of excess oil. At the same time, the dead skin cells lining the pores clog up the follicles. As a result, there is a build up of oil, producing blackheads and whiteheads. Acne bacteria lives on everyone’s skin and in those prone to acne, the build up of oil creates an ideal environment in which the bacteria can multiply. This triggers inflammation and the formation of red, pus-filled spots that can be quite uncomfortable.

Some acne can be caused by medication given for other medical conditions or by certain contraceptive pills or injections. Some tablets taken by body-builders contain hormones that can trigger acne and other problems.

How will your acne be diagnosed?

There are several varieties of acne that Sue Ibrahim will be able to diagnose at your dermatology consultation. We have extensive experience in dealing with all types of acne. We will discuss the treatment options available to you that can be very effective in preventing the formation of new spots and scarring.

How can acne be treated?

Acne treatments fall into the following categories:

  • Treatment with topical creams (prescription and/or non-prescription)
  • Treatment with oral antibiotics alongside topical creams
  • Treatment with oral hormones that counteract the hormones that can trigger acne
  • Isotretinoin tablets (Often referred to by the trade name Roaccutane (R))

There are also a number of cosmetic dermatology treatments that can help, although these treatments are not usually offered on the NHS:

And there are treatments that can help with scarring:

Many thousands of people have been treated by Sue Ibrahim for their acne at Elan Medical Skin Clinic in Essex. It is our philosophy to work alongside your own GP, or a Consultant Dermatologist to provide the best possible outcome for our patients.

If you are fed up with suffering from acne or any other skin condition, why not book your dermatology consultation now!

 

Show yourself some love in 2018

Woman hugs herself. If you have a skin condition that is causing you distress, talk to Sue from Elan Medical Skin Clinic in Rayleigh, Essex.

Fit your own oxygen mask first in 2018. If you have a skin condition that is causing you distress, talk to Sue from Elan Medical Skin Clinic in Rayleigh, Essex.

In a mid-air emergency, we are always told to fit our own oxygen mask first. This is to ensure we are able to help our loved ones in a calm, considerate and efficient manner – whilst being able to breathe ourselves!

It may sound selfish but it is absolutely essential – and not just in a life or death situation. If our own wellbeing isn’t being cared for, our ability to give our love to others is diminished, says nurse consultant in dermatology, Sue Ibrahim.

If we are dealing with a skin condition on top of all of life’s other stresses and strains, chances are the skin condition will worsen if it is ignored or put to the bottom of our list of things to sort. Does this sound familiar?

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London skin expert soothes your skin this summer

A woman touches her smooth skin - London skin expert, Sue Ibrahim from Elan Medical Skin Clinics in central London and Essex, soothes your skin this summer

London skin expert, Sue Ibrahim from Elan Medical Skin Clinics in central London and Essex, soothes your skin this summer

Skin rashes, itchy skin and general lumps and bumps seem all the more noticeable and irritating during the summer when our skin is bared to the world.

The team at Elan Medical Skin Clinics in Rayleigh, Essex and central London is led by Sue Ibrahim, a consultant nurse with more than 30 years’ dermatology experience. Sue knows skin, simple as that. She understands how certain health and skin problems can make you feel unhappy and self-conscious and what can be done to help alleviate your symptoms.

From acne, acne scarring, rosacea, melasma and psoriasis, to mole and cyst removal and treatments for dealing with excessive sweating, Sue uses the latest technology and up-to-date approaches to ensure the best results.

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Sugar and The Skin

The Science behind the sugar debate

Sugar has no essential nutrients and simply contributes kilojoules.  Dietary Guidelines from the NHS Choices website recommends we limit sugar from our diet as it adds unnecessary calories, and like refined starches, it increases dental decay. However, there is no evidence that a totally sugar-free diet is needed. The World Health Organization advises limiting added sugars to less than 10% of total energy to prevent dental caries, obesity, and chronic disease. NHS Choices recommends that added sugars should be limited to less than 5% of total energy intake as a strategy for preventing excess weight (which is a risk factor for heart disease).

Sugar is the enemy of the skin

There is no scientific support for avoiding fruits and vegetables because of their natural sugar content. These foods also provide dietary fibre (which is nature’s obstacle to over consumption) as well as minerals and vitamins. Research also shows that consumption of fruit and vegetables helps control weight.

Research shows that fructose is problematic only in excess, and the basic problem in most cases is simply the extra kilojoules from a high intake of fructose. Research also shows that anyone who exercises regularly and pre-menopausal women, will be unlikely to have problems with fructose.

Sugar does not fulfil any official definition of ‘addictive’, although once our taste buds become used to sweetness, some people will overindulge in sweet foods.

Sugar or high-glycemic foods quickly convert to sugar. This in turn raises insulin levels and puts unnatural demands on your body to deal with the food you just ate.  Simple carbohydrates, like refined sugar, white bread and soda, cause your insulin levels to spike, which leads to what our skin expert, Sue Ibrahim, states as “Inflammatory responses in the skin”. Inflammation produces enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, resulting in sagging skin and wrinkles. Digested sugar permanently attaches to the collagen in your skin through a process known as glycation. 

Sugars – Acne, insulin resistance, pigmentation and facial hair growth

Aside from increasing the effects of aging, glycation can also exacerbate skin conditions like acne and rosacea. Plus, the more sugar you eat, the more likely it is you’ll develop insulin resistance, which can manifest as excess hair growth (hirsutism) and dark patches on the face, neck and in body creases.

Should I eliminate sugar from my diet altogether?

The most extreme form of a sugar-free diet restricts all foods that contain added sugars as well as fruit and any vegetables that contain natural sugars such as peas, carrots and parsnips. The less extreme form of the diet permits fruit (but not juices) and vegetables and restricts all added sugars, honey and processed foods that contain sugars such as sugar-sweetened drinks, confectionery, sweet snacks, biscuits, cakes, pastries, ice cream and desserts, sweetened yoghurt, most breakfast cereals, sauces, soups and marinades.

Some sugar-free diets claim that sugar is addictive and must be totally eliminated to ‘cure’ the addiction. However, there is no scientific support for avoiding fruits and vegetables because of their natural sugar content. These foods also provide dietary fibre (which is nature’s obstacle to over consumption) as well as minerals and vitamins. Research also shows that consumption of fruit and vegetables helps control weight.

Research shows that fructose is problematic only in excess, and the basic problem in most cases is simply the extra kilojoules from a high intake of fructose. Research also shows that anyone who exercises regularly and pre-menopausal women, will be unlikely to have problems with fructose.

How to cut down on sugar

  • Avoid foods that do not contain any necessary nutrients – for example, soft drinks and confectionery, biscuits and pastries.
  • Limit cakes and sugary desserts.
  • Read the ingredient list on breakfast cereals. Best sugar-free choices include oats or a quality muesli (check the ingredient list rather than the total sugars as this will include naturally occurring sugars in dried fruit), or any wholegrain product with less than 3% total sugars.
  • Read the ingredient list on products such as marinades and sauces. If sugar occurs as one of the first three ingredients, look for a healthier choice or make your own ‘from scratch’ using wine, different flavoured vinegars (for example cider or balsamic) plus extra virgin olive oil, any herbs or spices or garlic or onion.
  • Choose natural yoghurt and add your own fruit.

Watch out

Artificial sweeteners will also spike your insulin levels, so it is best to avoid them.

Sensible eating also involves long-term commitment so it’s usually best to avoid going to extremes as this can lead to feelings of deprivation. For example, it makes more sense to ask for a small serving of birthday cake or to share a small dessert with a friend rather than avoid all treats and then break out and binge.

Sugar isn’t just bad for your waistline warns London skin expert

As if it wasn’t looking bad enough for sugar, our London skin expert Sue Ibrahim from Elan Medical Skin Clinics is warning clients about the effects it can have on our skin.

From acne to ageing, wrinkles to blemishes, sugar has a lot to answer for. Sugar and high GI (glycemic index) foods lead to a spike in insulin levels and this causes inflammation throughout our bodies. Sugar also binds to collagen making the skin stiff. The technical term for this is a process called glycation. It’s simple really: less sugar equals better skin – and the results can very often be seen in just a week.

Insulin spikes are linked to acne breakouts and can cause the skin to appear red and inflamed. This is because inflammation produces enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, resulting in sagging skin and wrinkles.

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London skin expert can help reduce the appearance of acne scars

Beautif woman touches her smooth facial skin. If you have acne scars, speak to Sue Ibrahim, nurse consultant in dermatology at Elan Medical Skin Clinic to find out how she can help.

If you have acne scars, speak to Sue Ibrahim, nurse consultant in dermatology at Elan Medical Skin Clinic to find out how she can help.

As if having acne wasn’t bad enough, the scarring left behind can cause as much upset as the acne itself. The medical micro-needling and fractional skin resurfacing treatments at Elan Medical Skin Clinic will significantly improve the appearance of acne scars, allowing you to feel more confident and happy with your complexion.

Acne can lead to scarring when the most severe types of spots – nodules and cysts – burst and damage the overlying skin. Scarring can also occur if you pick or squeeze your spots, so it is important to avoid doing this.

Treatments for acne scars

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Do I need to have a regular facial?

A beautician will often recommend that you have a facial once a month, but this may not be a good idea for everyone, says our London and Essex skin expert, Sue Ibrahim.

A beauty salon facial may be relaxing but the benefits to the skin are usually only temporary and an worsen skin conditions such as dermatitis, acne and rosacea. Beauty Salon facials generally only offer short term hydration of the skin which products that contain a lot of pseudo scientific mumbo jumbo that has no evidence behind it.

What is a dermatology grade facial?

Facials that have been developed by dermatologists, on the other hand, may provide longer term improvements to the texture and clarity of your skin. A dermatology grade facial will contain evidence based ingredients that can slow down the ageing process at the cellular level of the skin. They help regenerate new, healthy skin.

Dermatology grade facials may not be as relaxing as a facial at a beauty salon, but they can significantly improve your skin.

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