The largest organ of the body, the skin is responsible for not merely protecting us from our environment, but is also a highly effective eliminator of toxins. Our skin is also an indicator of our internal health. A skin system in peak health and healthy blood flow can greatly benefit the appearance of our skin.
So it’s easy to see why it’s so important that we take good care of our skin, not only for cosmetic reasons, but as is the case for so many Irish, that we guard ourselves against our harsh environment. Continue reading for the best advice from Castleknock Cosmetic Clinic Dublin.
Skin analysis involves a careful assessment of our skin’s condition, and takes into account any determining factors that may be damaging to our skin’s health, such as underlying medical conditions, skin type, history of sun exposure and the products used in your daily skin care routine.
What is involved with skin analysis?
The process of skin analysis begins with the taking of your medical history. If you have asthma, psoriasis, eczema, liver problems, rosacea or other conditions, these could be related to any redness, broken capillaries, yellow appearance or dry skin patches. Often skin analysis will pick up underlying conditions you might not have known you had, and for this reason alone can be extremely useful.
Another important part of skin analysis is to assess how much sun exposure you’ve had. You’ll be asked about your use of sunscreen, whether you play a lot of outdoor sports and other questions that will help the analyst gauge how much UV exposure you’ve had.
In addition, your skin type will also be determined. This is an important part of assessing whether or not your skin care regime is appropriate for you. Oily skin, for instance, can appear dry, as the oil can create extra layers of dead skin, through which moisturisers can’t penetrate.
A UV camera will be used to take a snapshot of the underlying condition of your skin, allowing the analyst to see what the naked eye can’t. Pigmentation, underlying oil deposits and other anomalies can be seen, and importantly, if there are any more serious concerns, such as possible skin cancers, these can be referred on to your doctor.
Manual checks include checking the moisture levels of your skin, as well as the pH balance, both of which play a big role in the health of your skin.
How can skin Analysis help?
Prevention is always better than a cure, but if your skin analysis does show damage to your skin, in many cases it is reversible with various treatments. What’s important about skin analysis is that it gives you a clear picture of the current state of your skin, from which a treatment plan can be made. In many cases, skin analysis allows people to take control of their skin care in the right way, and by detecting any possible issues early, can reduce the amount of treatments that might be needed, and the costs involved.
Normal skin is generally the healthiest type of skin, with a good balance between oil and moisture. Pores are small and barely visible, and the skin has few breakouts, while the texture is smooth, supple and neither oily nor dry to the touch.
Normal skin needs little treatment, but a daily routine is important for maintaining overall skin health. At Castleknock Cosmetic Clinic Dublin we see the following skin types:
If you have oily skin, it’s probably due to an over secretion of sebum – that is, the oil that is produced in the subcutaneous glands of the skin. Sebum is important to all mammals as a protective covering for the skin, but unfortunately it can wreak havoc if it’s overproduced, as is often the case with teenagers reaching puberty.
Unfortunately, oily skin can not only block the pores of the skin, leading to blackeads, whiteheads, pimples or acne, but also attracts dust and dirt from the environment. It’s important that oily skin is thoroughly cleaned every day with a good cleanser, and a toner is used to help reduce the size of pores.
In some cases, excessive oil can build up in the subcutaneous glands, leading to small cysts. Although these are not usually dangerous, they can be painful if they become enlarged.
Unlike oily skin, dry skin is often the result of a low production of sebum, and often fails to retain moisture as a result. Dry skin also ages faster than other skin types because the dehydration it suffers can more easily lead to fine lines and wrinkles.
If you have dry skin, it’s not enough to only moisturise once a day. Make sure you use a good day cream in the morning and a deep hydrating night cream as well. Drinking a lot of water can also help, as this increases the overall hydration level of the body.
Combination skin consists of both dry and oily skin. Usually the ‘T-zone’, or the area of the chin, nose and forehead, are oilier than the cheeks, eyes and mouth, which tend to be the dry areas.
It’s important that skin care products especially designed for combination skin are used in this case, because each zone requires different treatment.
Sensitive skin is possibly the most difficult to maintain of all the skin types, due to the reactions it often has to skin care products, environmental factors such as harsh weather, excessive sun exposure and other treatments such as waxing.
For people with sensitive skin, it helps if products are used that do not contain any perfumes, dyes or chemicals. Be sure to choose a range of skin care products that are designed for sensitive skin, ad protect your skin as much as possible for the weather, particularly wind and sun.
Regardless of skin type, it’s important that as much as you can, your skin is protected daily from UV exposure. Buy the best sunscreen that you can and apply it every day. I you know you’re going to be out in the sun for more than 10 minutes, make sure you also wear a hat and UV rated sunglasses.
Many skin conditions are treatable, but it’s important that you first know what your skin type is, as this will help to determine what is the best course of action to take. A skin analysis consultation can determine if you have any skin conditions, what your skin type is, and check for excessive damage.
Excess oil in the skin is usually due to an overproduction of sebum, the oil produced in subcutaneous glands. Although sebum plays a vital role in protecting our skin from the environment around us, excessive production can lead to blocked pores, black heads, white heads, pustules, acne and in some cases subcutaneous cysts.
Unfortunately it is not only the feel of greasy skin that indicates excessive oil. In some cases extra build up of dead skin cells can give the appearance and feel of dry skin, but in fact locks oil under the skin, while moisturisers cannot get in. Skin analysis will be able to determine if this is the case for your skin.
The best treatment for excessive oil is to make sure you clean it thoroughly every day with a good cleanser, followed by a toner to treat pores. Regular exfoliation can rid your skin of dead skin cells that block pores, leading to blackheads and pimples.
Blemishes and acne
The odd blemish is not nearly as serious as a case of full-blown acne, but both have their roots in similar causes. Blemishes can be related to hormonal swings, particularly in women. Hormones can trigger the production of sebum, blocking pores and trapping in dirt and particles that can lead to infection of the pore. Blemishes can also be caused by a diet that consists of too much refined sugar. Usually blemishes clear themselves up within a few days to a week, but can leave scarring on the face. Try not to squeeze blemishes for this reason, but use a medicated soap that will help to dry them out instead.
Acne is a more problematic skin disorder and is harder to treat. Like blemishes, acne is often caused by a hormonal imbalance that triggers sebum production, blocking pores with oil, leading to infections. The most common victims of a bout of acne are teenage boys, but can just as equally affect girls and women. Some people can also develop adult acne later in life.
In the case of acne, the hair follicle becomes enlarged, and this, when combined with excessive sebum production, leads to a swelling of the pore, trapping in bacteria. While the most directly related effects of acne are relatively harmless to health, it all too often has a detrimental effect on self-esteem, which is particularly important during teenage years, in some cases leading to depression. Treating the acne is very important for this reason. Making sure the skin is washed twice a day with medicated soap and using a specially developed acne skin care range is essential.
Lesions and scarring
Lesions and scarring can be the result of blemishes or acne, as well as other skin conditions. They are made up of scar tissue, which differs form normal skin tissue in that it does not contain any blood or nerve supply. In most cases, the body produces more scar tissue than it needs as an overprotective way of healing the body, and it can continue to grow.
Some scarring can be reduced by the use of a good whitening cream, although be careful which one you choose. Some contain harsh bleaches that can react badly with your skin. Laser treatments are the most effective way of rejuvenating the skin, and is very effective for treating old scars and lesions.
Psoriasis, Eczema, and Rosacea
Psoriasis and eczema can be stubborn skin conditions to get rid of, and cause great discomfort for their sufferers. Flaking, itchy, inflamed and red patches of skin usually indicate the presence of either ailment, and a skin analysis consultation will help to determine which, if either, you may have.
Treatment for psoriasis and eczema varies a great deal, as do the underlying causes. Dietary restrictions and creams may help, and in some cases treatment with medicinal herbs and other natural remedies may prove effective. Interestingly, a German health retreat uses a pool of small fish that feed on the dead skin cells of psoriasis sufferers as one way of treating the ailment!
Rosacea is a more subtle and mysterious ailment. It causes the blood vessels to swell, producing what for most suffers is embarrassing redness of the nose, cheeks and chin. The causes of rosacea are debated. Some researchers believe that it is largely caused by a hereditary disposition or environmental factors, while more recent studies have proposed that a small mite clogs the oil gland, causing the inflammation. Other theories suggest that a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori, which is often the cause of intestinal infections, might also be connected. Treatment for rosacea is more problematic, but some success has been found in laser treatments for the skin.
Many Australians suffer from excessive pigmentation of the skin, usually because of overexposure to UV rays. Pigmentation in the skin is caused when excessive production of melanin is triggered, resulting in uneven skin tone, freckles, and sun or ‘liver’ spots.
The most effective treatment for uneven or excessive pigmentation is a series of laser treatments to resurface the skin. Microdermabrasion may also help, as with some lightening creams on the market.
Knowing what your skin condition is can go a long way in helping you to treating it, or at the very least managing the symptoms. Having your skin analysed sooner, rather than later, can not only save you money on treatment costs, but also help to prevent the development of skin conditions from the outset.