'British Association of Dermatologists' Category Archives

News update: Elan Medical Clinic in London

Some of you regular clients will already be aware that Sue Ibrahim, our Dermatology Nurse Consultant is going to be become a grandmother in March. This is very exciting news for her. A a result, Sue has decided to cut out her weekly clinics in London, in order to spend more time with her daughter and grandchild. For this reason we will be taking on no more dermatology patients at the clinic in Whitecross Street, central London. Existing patients will be either transferred over to the clinic in Rayleigh, Essex or will be handed over to another dermatologist based in London. Sue’s decision to cut her hours will not affect her availability at the Rayleigh Clinic.

With a Dermatology Nurse Consultant you know your face is in a safe pair of hands.




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.


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.

Ageing Skin, Turning Back The Clock

Ageing skin is one of the most common concerns that we see at Elan Medical Skin Clinic. If all those expensive serums and cosmetic creams did what they claim to do then why do the women that use these products still complain that their skin is dry, dull, blotchy and wrinkled?

Let’s understand what causes ageing skin

Many things cause our skin to age. Some things we cannot do anything about; others we can influence. One thing that we cannot change is the natural ageing process. It plays a key role. With time, we all get visible lines on our face. It is natural for our face to lose some of its youthful fullness. We notice our skin becoming thinner and drier. Our genes largely control when these changes occur. The medical term for this type of ageing is “intrinsic ageing.”

Reverse the signs of ageing

Let’s look good for our age

We can influence another type of ageing that affects our skin. Our environment and lifestyle choices can cause our skin to age prematurely. The medical term for this type of ageing is “extrinsic ageing.”

  • The sun – UVA and UVB rays are present 365 days per year. USA rays can penetrate through four inches of glass. So think about this when you are sitting next to a window in the office or driving in your car.
  • Smoking –  I know, we are all told how smoking is bad for your health but smoking greatly speeds up how quickly skin ages. It causes wrinkles and a dull, sallow complexion. Why, because the toxins in cigarette smoke replace the oxygen content of your blood.
  • Alcohol – Alcohol is rough on the skin. It dehydrates the skin, and in time, damages the skin. This can make us look older. So drink alcohol in moderation and for every alcoholic drink, drink two glasses of water. This will help to re-hydrate you.
  • Unhealthy diet – Findings from a few studies suggest that eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables may help prevent damage that leads to premature skin ageing. Findings from research studies also suggest that a diet containing lots of sugar or other refined carbohydrates can accelerate ageing.
  • Lack of exercise – Findings from a few studies suggest that moderate exercise can improve circulation and boost the immune system. This, in turn, may give the skin a more-youthful appearance.
  • Over Moisturising – Believe it or not, over moisturising the skin will send your skin cells to sleep. When your skin is slightly dry, your skin cells react by producing more collagen. If you over moisturise the skin, you will be inhibiting your own collagen production. Use a sunscreen in the morning instead! Mind you, it needs to be a UVB and UVA Sunscreen of at least factor 30 for it to really protect your skin.
  • Skin Scrubs –  Scrubbing your skin clean can irritate your skin. Irritating your skin accelerates skin ageing process. Gentle washing helps to remove pollution, makeup, and other substances without irritating your skin. Some anti-ageing products prescribed by a dermatologist may burn or sting. When using a prescription anti-ageing product, this can be okay.

Even people who already have signs of premature skin ageing can benefit from making lifestyle changes. By protecting your skin from the sun, you give it a chance to repair some of the damage. Smokers who stop often notice that their skin looks healthier. By taking some preventive actions, we can slow the effects that this type of ageing has on our skin.

There is so much conflicting advice out there

If signs of ageing skin bother you, you may ask a beauty therapist for advice. However, this may result in you spending a lot of money on treatments and cosmetic creams that make no difference to your skin at all.  Why not consult a dermatologist instead? Yes, you will have to pay for a consultation, but you may end up spending a lot less money in the long run. Why? Because prescription skincare contains the right amount of active ingredients that are designed to penetrate deeper into the skin. New treatments and less-invasive procedures for smoothing wrinkles, tightening skin, and improving one’s complexion are giving many people younger-looking skin.

This woman was treated with Restylane skin fillers by Sue Ibrahim. Photos taken 3 weeks apart

Treated by Sue Ibrahim, these photographs were taken four weeks apart.

If you are worried about the effects the ageing process is having on your skin, then why not book in to see Sue Ibrahim. With over thirty years working within the medical and cosmetic dermatology sector, Sue has helped thousands of women and men improve the texture and appearance of their skin. Her professional but friendly approach is well known throughout the industry. Sue will never sell you any treatment that you do not need. As a Nurse Consultant in Dermatology she has won a number of industry awards and constantly receives a string of positive reviews about the treatment and service she provides.

Book your consultation today!


London skin expert offers useful guidance on the acne drug Roaccutane

Sue Ibrahim, Elan Medical Skin Clinic’s nurse consultant in dermatology, is keen to outline the facts about the acne drug Roaccutane – and to dispel some of the myths.

Woman talks to skin experts at central London's Elan Medical Skin Clinic about Roaccutane

Woman talks to skin experts at central London’s Elan Medical Skin Clinic about Roaccutane

Roaccutane is a brand name for the oral drug Isotretinoin, which is closely related to vitamin A. Oral Isotretinoin works in a variety of ways, targeting several of the factors that cause acne and other skin conditions including the production of sebum (an oily substance produced by the skin) and the production of keratin (outer scales of skin) that block the pores of the hair follicle and cause acne.

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