The simple truth about HYPER-PIGMENTATION.

One of the most common skin care concerns for especially women are hyperpigmentation – or some refer to it as brown marks/patches on their skin (facial area).

What are the most common causes?

  1. Age (and sun exposure) – Due to years of sun damage you see sun spots/age spots/liver spots appear on sun exposed areas as you get older.
  2. Hormones (and sun exposure) – Many women develop a type of hyperpigmentation called chloasma during pregnancy but this can actually appear any time during a woman’s life.  It generally only appears during the late 20’s and can progressively get worse.
  3. Inflammation (and sun exposure) – Some people hyperpigment as part of the healing process (inflammation) after an injury.  You often see this in acne sufferers.
  4. Other – for example certain types of medication/diseases and chemicals (like certain perfumes) can cause hyperpigmentation.

You will see that all these factors go hand in hand with SUN EXPOSURE.  So sun exposure is the COMMON DENOMINATOR.

What can you do about it?

Let’s BE REAL about this before I get into who you can see and what you can potentially do…

Hyperpigmentation in MANY cases is something that you will struggle with to a certain extent for the rest of your life.  You might be able to lighten it when doing treatments/using products, but the chances of it disappearing completely and staying away is very RARE.

So you need to learn to manage it.  What I mean by this is that you learn to:

  1. Properly protect your skin from the SUN (An effective UVB/UVA + anti-oxidant sunscreen and things like a hat when outside).
  2. You might decide to regularly go for a skin treatment that treats hyperpigmentation
  3. Use a product for hyperpigmentation together with your other skin care products
  4. Get good quality make-up if you feel you would like to camouflage it a bit during the day.

Hyperpigmentation is a condition that is understood by the medical and skin care community to an extent, and there are many products and treatments that claim to be effective.

But I once had a chat with a renowned dermatologist (from Johannesburg) who did his thesis on hyperpigmentatoin – and he told me that he believed it is something that is not yet understood 100% and there is nothing yet on the market that can claim that it will work 100%!

So my suggestion:

USE SUNBLOCK EVERY DAY!

Chat to your dermatologist/skin care specialist about your treatment and product options – BUT BE REALISTIC IN YOUR EXPECTATIONS.

AND FINALLY… Love yourself and your skin… I can promise you that you are more aware and self-conscious about it than anyone else!  Take good care of your skin and do what you can, but don’t obsess about it… Because it IS a difficult one…and best made peace with to a certain extent…and managed well.

Love Helene xxx

PS.  I am not going to talk about product options in this blog… Will have to cover it in another blog – so much to say but I want to keep my blogs short(ish) 😉

 

Skincare must haves for a busy mom

You can spend 100’s of Rands on make up and still be frustrated with the end result if your canvass (your skin) isn’t in a good condition. Some lucky individuals are blessed with a genetically beautiful flawless skin, but most of us need to put in some work – and a couple of good quality products.

Below are my steps to the essential skin care – focussing on ANTI-AGEING.

Your products can look a little different if you are working towards targeting a more specific skin care concern like adult acne or hyperpigmentation for example. Check out my blogs about acne and pigmentation.

I am also just looking at the ESSENTIALS today – there are quite a bit more that you can do at home like exfoliators and masks – but more about that in another blog 😉

So here are my top skincare must haves for a busy mom!

Essential Morning routine:

Step 1: CLEANSE PROPERLY

Gentle Foaming Cleanser from Theravine

Make sure you cleanse your skin every morning and every evening with a MILD cleanser suitable to your PREFERENCE (gel/foam/cream/oil/liquid water based cleanser etc) and SKIN TYPE (oily/dry/combination). I currently use the Gentle Foaming Cleanser from Theravine (Available at salons or get in touch with me) retails for R298.  I also quite like the Loreal cleanser: Pure Clay detox face wash. R88

What do I look for in a cleanser? Not expensive (it really doesn’t have to be); gentle yet effective and I prefer a foamy gel in comparison to a cream.

Step 2: USE AN ANTIOXIDANT as your serum for the day.  Antioxidants have antiageing benefits as well as being super important to fight harmful free radicals during the day.  I am currently using the brilliant Phloretin CF from Skinceuticals. Thanks to my friend who was generous to give this as my 40th birthday present!

Step 3: USE A GOOD MOISTURISER on your face and neck.  I currently enjoy the Nourishing and Firming Day cream from Theravine for the DAY and the amazing moisturizer from Lamelle, Dermaheal Cellular Repair Cream.

Optional extra: Use an eye cream – check out my blog about eye creams here.

Step 4: USE A GOOD QUALITY sunblock every single day – check out my blog about sunscreen here and here.  My personal favourite is Heliocare. – either the SPF50 Gel or the SPF Tinted (this replaces my foundation on most days now because it is so quick and easy!)  Check out my blog on make-up tips for a busy mom HERE.

 

Essential Evening routine:

Step 1: CLEANSE PROPERLY

I start by cleansing off my eye make up. I love this water based cleanser from Garnier – retails for R80. Bioderma also has one, but is more expensive – retails for R230. Then I cleanse as in the morning routine.

Optional extra: Tone if necessary (not essential), sometimes necessary if you wear a lot of make up to ensure your skin is squaky.clean! You want it to be clean for your evening serum/cream to penetrate.

Step 2: USE AN ANTI-AGEING SERUM

So this might look different than your morning serum.  At night it is a good idea to introduce anti-ageing ingredients like Vitamin A (MY FIRM FAVOURITE – it is one of the most well researched and proven anti-ageing ingredients!) or anti-ageing PEPTIDES or GROWTH FACTORS or even exfoliating ingredients like alpha and beta hydroxy acids.  I currently use Retacnyl (on doctor prescription) but only one evening per week (Retinol is very active and the skin will initially peel upon starting usage).  On other nights I enjoy the Collagen M/P Serum from Matriskin for its amazing anti-ageing benefits due to anti-ageing peptides.

Option extra: Use an eye cream – check out my blog about eye creams here.

Step 3: USE A GOOD MOISTURISER – Same as morning routing.

Please feel free to email me your questions about your skin care routine!

Love Helene xxx

Sunblock – your cheapest anti-ageing skin product?

A respected medical doctor in the skin care industry recently made this comment, and it stuck with me.  He said that wearing a sunblock every day is your cheapest anti-ageing skin care product.  Some food for thought if you are interested in maintaining your skin health and youth.

Approximately 80% of the skin ageing that has happened in your skin is caused by UVR.  Physical signs of ageing – Facial lines, wrinkles, age spots, sagging and dull skin to name a few.  UVA and UVB are by far the biggest culprits when it comes to skin damage and ageing – so it is a VERY GOOD idea to wear a BROAD SPECTRUM sunblock.  See my post on this here.

Have a look at this shocking image of a truck driver exposed to the sun for years on end on the driver’s side.  It clearly shows how the exposure to UVR has AGED his skin significantly more than just chronological (genetic) skin ageing.

17ofktkxvteo8jpgSome practical tips:

  1.  Apply a liberal amount (some say at least a teaspoon!) every morning on the face and neck after applying your other skin care products.  Apply make-up over your sun protection product.
  2. Don’t fall in the trap of thinking that your make-up’s SPF is sufficient.
  3. If you have an outdoor lifestyle you might want to consider re-applying around midday.
  4. In general – try to stay out of direct sunlight between at least 11 and 3.
  5. Cover up with protective clothing, wear a hat when you can and put on those gorgeous big sun glasses for protection of your eyes and the delicate skin around the eyes.
  6. Don’t neglect your neck and décolleté as well as forearms and hands!

Have a look at this cool video showing how important wearing sunscreen is!

Love

Helene x x x

Why you need to wear SPF during winter – Yes you do…

         Why you need to wear SPF during winter – Yes you do…

In Cape Town the weather has turned from glorious summer to chilly autumn. In Cape Town, it is a change over which happens (which feels like) overnight. The scarves, boots and jackets come out and the good old faithful flip-flops get thrown to the back of the cupboard.

I have had the question from friends and clients many times in the past whether it is still necessary to apply a sunblock during the colder months. It kind of makes sense not to. There are no obvious scorching sun rays = no harmful rays getting to your skin so no sunblock needed…?

The quick answer:  YES you do need to continue wearing a BROAD SPECTRUM sunblock of at least SPF30 every single day.

Why?  UVA rays are constant during all daylight hours throughout the year and can reach your skin through clouds & glass.  UVB rays can also damage your skin year-round.

The ELECTROMAGNETIC (light) SPECTRUM SIMPLIFIED:

sun-effectsUVA: These guys have the longest wavelengths at 320 – 400 nanometers. They take up 95 % of the total UVR (Ultra Violet Radiation) reaching the earth’s surface! They are pretty much constant during all daylight hours throughout the year, and can penetrate clouds and glass.  EISH.

They also penetrate the skin a lot deeper than UVB and can cause major skin aging, wrinkling (photo aging) and can cause skin cancer.

UVB: They clock in at wavelengths of 290 – 320 nm. Remember when you used to look at the difference in skin color at your bikini line at the end of a day at the beach…? Well, you can thank UVB rays for all that skin reddening and sunburn, because UVB damages the more superficial skin layers.

Unfortunately it also causes skin cancer and once again that dreaded photo ageing. Its intensity varies by season, location, and time of day. However, UVB rays can burn and damage your skin year-round, especially at high altitudes and on reflective surfaces e.g snow or water.

UVC: Not to worry about for now – these guys are mostly absorbed by the ozone layer and do not reach the earth.

OK ENOUGH OF SCIENCE – WHAT DO I NEED TO APPLY EVERY DAY?

Your SPF should protect you from both harmful UVB and UVA rays. The new standard for FULL UVA protection is called BROAD SPECTRUM. So look out for this.

FYI in the not so distant past, they (who knows who THEY are…) used to think that UVA didn’t really matter – so most sun blocks were only tested in terms of their UVB protection (the term SPF relates only to UVB blocked).

THERE ARE TWO MAIN TYPES OF UV-SCREENING INGREDIENTS:

PHYSICAL (Titanium dioxide and Zinc oxide) – These reflect the UVR away from the skin.

CHEMICAL (all of the rest… e.g avobenzone, oxybenzone etc.) – These absorb the UVR.

WHICH IS BEST??

My personal rule of thumb is that Physical is better. BUT, most sunscreens have a combination of the two which is fine for most of us. If you have a super sensitive skin or even sensitive eyes, the chemical ingredients could irritate your skin. I would also NOT use a chemical based sunscreen POST-PROCEDURE (e.g. chemical peel and micro-needling).

2015-04-21 15.59.13These are a few of my tried and tested favourites.

All Heliocare (Will post a review on other ranges’ SPF’s soon!) – all prices are incl. VAT and are Recommended Prices:

1.Gel SPF50 (Oil-Free) – R307

2. XF Gel SPF50 – R336

3. Spray SPF50 – R412

4. 360 Gel Oil Free – R393

http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/uva-and-uvb/understanding-uva-and-uvb