'skin expertise Essex and London' Category Archives

Botox, what is it and is it safe for me?

What are BOTOX ® injections?

BOTOX ® is the brand name of a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. In large amounts, this toxin can cause a form of muscle paralysis known as botulism, which is usually associated with food poisoning. Even though one of the most serious complications of botulism is paralysis, scientists have discovered a way to use it to human advantage. Small, diluted (weakened) amounts can be directly injected into specific muscles, causing controlled relaxation of the muscles.

Frown lines? What frown lines?

The FDA approved such usage in the late 1980s when it was discovered that BOTOX® could stop ailments such as blepharospasm (uncontrolled blinking) and strabismus (lazy eye). Cosmetic doctors and cosmetic nurses have been using BOTOX® for years to successfully treat wrinkles and facial creases. BOTOX ® is approved for treatment of frown lines on the forehead, crow’s feet (lines around the eye), and axillary hyperhidrosis (increased sweating of the armpits). Within the past few years, new products that have similar preparations have been introduced into the UK market and have been well-received by patients.

We will refer to the toxin as BOTOX® from here on out, but please know that this includes all of the formulations that we use at Elan Medical Skin Clinic in Essex :

How does BOTOX ® work?

BOTOX ® blocks the signal from the nerve to the muscles. The injected muscle can no longer contract (tighten) as forcefully, which causes the wrinkles to relax and soften.

BOTOX ® can be used on the forehead lines, frown lines, crow’s feet, bunny lines (lines in the nose), chin (for dimpling), skin bands on the neck, and around the mouth (for smoker’s lines and down-turned corners of the mouth). Wrinkles caused by sun damage and gravity often will not respond to BOTOX®. It is important to re-emphasise that BOTOX® is NOT a facial filler (that is, it does not fill existing wrinkles) – it merely relaxes the muscles that are creating those wrinkles.

Platelet Rich Plasma skin therapy available now at Elan Medical Skin Clinics

Platelet Rich Plasma skin therapy is now available at Elan Medical Skin Clinics in Rayleigh, Essex and central London.

Platelet Rich Plasma skin therapy is now available at Elan Medical Skin Clinics in Rayleigh, Essex and central London.

Soften wrinkles, smooth your skin’s texture and tone, and promote the growth of collagen with Platelet Rich Plasma skin therapy at Elan Medical Skin Clinics in Rayleigh, Essex and central London.

PRP skin therapy is the latest rejuvenation technique to be added to our comprehensive list of facial treatments. As well as skin rejuvenation, PRP stem cell injection therapy is ideal for curbing hair loss and treating osteoarthritis of the shoulder, knee and ankle joints.

We are delighted to introduce our experienced, award-winning practitioner who will be performing PRP therapy at Elan Medical Skin Clinic. Dr Alex Tran has been a GP for 17 years and over the last five years he has developed a keen interest in aesthetic medicine.

Read More…

Sunburn increases risks of skin cancer

Are you aware that sunburn in childhood or adolescence can double the risk of developing melanoma, a lethal form of skin cancer in later life?

So how should you deal with sunburn if you have been burnt over the weekend? Our Dermatology Nurse Consultant, Sue Ibrahim, explains the immediate first aid steps you need to take….

Sunburn increases risks of skin cancer in later life

1. Act quickly and get out of the sun

Cover up the affected areas and stay in the shade until your sunburn has healed. Wear loose cotton clothing that allows your skin to breathe over the sunburnt areas.

2. Take over-the-counter pain relief

Analgesia or painkillers can help relieve the pain and reduce inflammation caused by sunburn. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen are ideal and should be continued for a period of at least 48 hours if there are no contraindications. Paracetamol will help with pain but has little effect on inflammation.

3. Cool the skin

Apply a cool compress to the skin such as a towel dampened with cool water for 15 minutes, or take a cool bath or shower. Aim to keep the temperature just below lukewarm. Make sure the shower has a gentle flow of water rather than being on full power.

If blisters are starting to develop, then a bath is preferable. Do not rub your skin with a towel, but gently pat it dry when you get out.

4. Moisturise

After a bath or shower, use an unperfumed cream or lotion to soothe the skin. Repeated applications of this are necessary to reduce the appearance of peeling and this may need to be continued for several weeks.

Aloe vera or soy-containing gels or lotions can be beneficial in soothing the skin. Aloe vera not only has a cooling effect on the skin but also acts as an anti-inflammatory.

Be wary of using creams or lotions that contain petroleum, benzocaine, or lidocaine. These can either trap heat in the skin or cause local skin irritation.

5. Stay hydrated

Sunburn can encourage fluid loss through the skin. Drinking plenty of water will prevent dehydration and help your body recover. Alcohol should ideally be avoided during this time as it will make dehydration worse.

6. Leave blisters alone

Try not to pop blisters as this can lead to infection and scarring. They will settle by themselves after a few days. In the meantime, treat the skin gently.

Remember sunburn can cause long-term damage to the skin and prevention should be the key.

For further information about skin cancer and its prevention, make an appointment to see our nurse consultant in dermatology who can discuss sun-protection and mole monitoring with you in detail.

In Restylane We Trust

Restylane is a range of dermal skin fillers designed to refresh, restore and enhance the youthful appearance of your skin, offering definition, firmness and deep hydration. The broad range of Restylane products used by aesthetic healthcare professionals helps to provide a treatment programme tailored to your individual needs.

Skin Fillers

We recommend Restylane Skin Fillers at Elan Medical Skin Clinic.

With established safety profiles, long-lasting results and high patient satisfaction, the Restylane range of dermal fillers now includes a wide range of gel textures, from firm gels that offer volume and lift, to soft gels that distribute more evenly to smooth the skin, as well as products specifically designed to offer skin hydration. This means that we can now tailor your Restylane treatment to suit your individual needs.

Sue Ibrahim was originally trained in Restylane dermal skin fillers around 17 years ago and has continued to use this brand over the years because of it’s high patient safety record and long lasting results. “When you find a winning product you stick with it” Sue says, “and our clients love the way Restylane skin fillers sit naturally in the deeper layers of the skin, enhancing the profile of the face and lubricating the skin.

There are cheaper products around but when it comes to dermal skin fillers, you definitely want to be safe, not sorry. And because Sue Ibrahim has years of experience behind her, your face will be safe in her hands.

Sue Ibrahim also recommends Restylane in the lips too. Not only do lips look more defined following treatment, the lips feel more hydrated.  Your Restylane Lip Treatment begins with a thorough Consultation prior to treatment. We are an ethical clinic and you will never be urged to proceed with treatment during your consultation. We do not offer promotions or incentives to encourage you to make snap decisions. We will just provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision. We also encourage clients to take their time to reflect on whether to go ahead with treatment or not. And this is the reason our clients return to us time and time again.

Lip fillers from Elan Medical Skin Clinic in central London restore appearances

Lip fillers from Sue Ibrahim at Elan Medical Skin Clinics.

Age Spots and what to do about them

Age spots, often known as liver spots, are an all too visible reminder of the passing of time. They appear in people over 40 although younger people can be affected as well. If you have noticed several flat brown or black spots on your face, hands, arms and shoulders then these are likely to be age spots. 

Age Spots can be removed using Plasma Soft surgery

Causes of age spots

The ageing process is the main reason hence the name. But they also occur from years of exposure to direct sunlight, often as a result of sunbathing or heavy use of sunbeds. Constant exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays changes the colour of skin, turning it to a light or dark brown colour.

This is fine when you are young but as you get older your skin is less effective at regeneration as a result of sun exposure which leads to the formation of age spots. Plus your skin is thinner and more fragile as you age which increases this risk.

Genetics also plays a part. If your parents or a close family member has age spots then you will have inherited this condition.

Apart from genetic factors; if you have fair skin or are a keen sun worshipper then you are more likely to develop this condition. But statistically, anyone can get age spots.

Age spots do not determine your age: what they are is the consequences of years of exposure to the sun, i.e. tanning. So think carefully the next time you decide to bag some rays whilst on holiday.

Symptoms of age spots

These spots are flat, oval shaped objects which are brown, black or even grey in colour. They vary in size and develop in areas which are most exposed to the sun, e.g. hands. They develop on the arms, shoulders, back, chest and neck as single spots or in groups. They are diagnosed during a dermatology consultation using an instrument called a dermatoscope. There are other skin conditions which display symptoms that are very similar to age spots. These include seborrheic keratosis (benign skin growths) and moles. But an examination will rule these out.

Treatment for age spots

These are often an inevitable part of growing older but if you find these unsightly to live with then there are remedies for dealing with these spots. One of the most revolutionary ways of removing these spots is by a dermatology procedure called Plasma Soft Surgery

Can you prevent age spots?

If there is a genetic tendency then no but many cases are caused by prolonged exposure to the sun. So reduce your exposure and use a suncream with a high sun protection factor (SPF). Wear a hat and loose, long sleeved tops and trousers to protect your skin from the sun.

Think pale and interesting rather than bronzed and beautiful.

What are Xanthomas?

xanthomas are yellowish deposits of fat and cholesterol found under the skin that’s around or on the eyelids.  Xanthomas are not harmful, nor do they cause any pain, but most people do not care for the appearance of these yellow growths around the eyes and often contact us to have them removed.

Xanthomas are harmless but cosmetically unacceptable to many people

Xanthomas – How can they be removed?

Xanthomas can be removed at one of our minor surgery clinics using Plasma Soft Surgery. The procedure is normally carried out under a local anaesthetic to numb the area being treated, so the procedure is not painful but the eyes can be sore and slightly swollen for a few days following treatment. There will also be some crusting over the treated areas which can take around 7 days to subside. By 14 days, the skin has normally healed completely.

How much does Xanthoma removal cost?

You will first need a Dermatology Consultation in order to determine if you are a suitable candidate for treatment using Plasma Soft Surgery. Depending on the number of Xanthomas present treatment costs are from around £350.

Why Elan Medical Skin Clinic?

Elan Medical Skin Clinic is a registered medical clinic, inspected by The Care Quality Commission. We have been established since November 2000 and Sue Ibrahim is well respected in the aesthetic profession due to her 30 years experience in dermatology. Over the years she has won numerous awards for her work and she was one of the first dermatology nurses to train in minor skin surgery at Guys Hospital, some 10 years ago. Why not take a look at the reviews we receive on a daily basis at Elan Medical Skin Clinics.

If you suffer from Xanthomas, contact us today!

Registered Ear Piercing in Rayleigh

The families in Rayleigh, Hockley, Canvey and Southend  have been coming to our clinic for ear piercing for the past 20 years. Why? Because we only ever pierce with 9ct Gold earrings and we are a registered medical clinic. 

We always stock a wide range of 9ct yellow gold and white gold studs at our clinic in Rayleigh. We are happy to pierce children under the age of 18 providing they are accompanied by a parent. We cannot accept letters from parents I’m afraid, as the parent will need to sign the consent form.

There is no evidence behind the claims that ear piercing can help in the treatment of migraines.

There has been a of interest in ear cartilage piercing as a treatment for migraine. As elan Medical Skin clinic is registered medical clinic and there is no evidence that ear piercing works for the treatment of migraines, we do not offer this procedure. The Migraine Trust confirms this in a recent blog post. However, there is a lot of evidence behind Botox treatment for migraine sufferers.

Registered ear piercing in Rayleigh

We are also able to repair torn earlobes from previous piercings.

Torn ear lobes can occur if the earrings worn are too heavy, or have been pulled to hard. They also occur more frequently when ears are pierced too low down the ear lobe.
At our clinic in Rayleigh High Street, we can surgical repair these torn ear lobed at one of our weekly minor surgery clinics. The procedure takes around 45 minutes. You will leave the clinic with some tiny sutures in the ear and you will need to return to the clinic in Rayleigh approximately two weeks later to have your sutures removed.

Torn ear lobe repair

Once the ear lobe has been repaired, you are advised to leave it a year before having your ear pierced over the site of the scar. Although you can have your ear pierced adjacent to the scar within weeks of surgery. Most people return to the clinic in Rayleigh around six weeks following surgery to have their ear re-pierced.
If you would like your ears-pierced professionally, in a proper clinic environment or you have an ear-lobe tear that you would like repaired, then just give our clinic in Rayleigh a call on 01268 770660 or Contact Us via the website.

Plasma Soft Surgery

Do you have hooded eyelids or eye bags? At Elan Medical Skin Clinic we have the technology to treat these using Fractional Skin Resurfacing and next month we are launching our Plasma Soft Surgery Medical Device.

Plasma soft surgery can be used alongside other treatments at Elan Medical Skin Clinic

Plasma is a relatively new innovation in the aesthetic medical world. This extremely accurate instrument works by ionising the gas particles in the air between its tip and the skin to form plasma. An electrical arc is created, which turns a solid into gas. As no heat is transferred to the surrounding area, there is minimal damage to the surrounding skin. There is a small downtime following treatment but results should last as long as they would with invasive surgery. No cutting, no sutures.

At Elan Medical Skin Clinic we do not embark on new technology until there is a wealth of clinical evidence to show that the treatment is safe and that the results are clinically proven.

Plasma soft surgery is not just for eye bags and hooded eyelids, it can also treat other skin imperfections but our clinic director, Sue Ibrahim believes in offering our patients the best result and by specialising in the brow lift and non-surgical blepharoplasty, she can hone her skills and expertise in offering the safest and most effective results.

“I have worked in cosmetic dermatology for almost 20 years and during this time it is always eyebags and eyelid hoods that have been the most difficult areas to correct without going under the knife. We have had a lot of success with Fractional Skin Resurfacing with Radiofrequency but there are still some clients that are not suitable candidates for this treatment. Eyelid hood, for example are impossible to treat using this method. So we are delighted to be offering the the Plasma Soft Surgery Device into the clinic within the next few weeks”

 Sue Ibrahim

If you would like to discuss how Plasma Soft Surgery can help rejuvenate your eye area, then book your Consultation today.

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.