What To Look For In A Good Face Cream


Face cream is one of those beauty products that you can find in almost every bathroom cabinet. In fact, three quarters of British women and at least half of the male population use a moisturiser every day. With endless products on the market, each with its own enticing promise of better-looking skin, finding the right face cream for you is no mean feat. 

Why should you use a face cream?

There are more than a handful of buzz ingredients that brands highlight on their labels that promise to transform your skin. While smoothing out lines and brightening your complexion are attractive claims, what you really want your cream to do is strengthen your skin’s barrier. Read More…

Beauty supplements to boost your skin


Skin ageing is a multi-faceted process, which is impacted by lifestyle, dietary choices and genetics. As the skincare and wellness industries become more and more intertwined, we have seen a rise in beauty supplements or ingestible beauty products. In America, the industry was thought to be worth $13.1 million and one in five supplement takers do so for skin benefits. Yet with so many options available, promising everything from improving the quality of your skin to preventing lines and wrinkles, it can be a minefield. Here is a guide to help you make the decision…

How does skin age?

Skin is like any other organ in the body and it ages over a period of time. Unlike the liver, kidneys and other organs, skin actually ages more rapidly because it is not only exposed to internal aggressors and toxins, but it also has to cope with the external pollutants, radiation et cetera.

In order to understand the ageing of skin, we need to look at the outermost layer, the stratum corneum. It is composed of flattened, hard, dead skin cells that resemble overlapping bricks. These start as living cells in the lower skin layer,  but as they are pushed closer to the surface, they flatten out and die, forming in a thin but very tough barrier. Read More…

Eye Floaters And Flashes


Most of us, at some point in our lives, will probably experience the mild symptoms of seeing tiny spots floating around in our vision. These tiny spots are called floaters and are defined as small specks or clouds that drift in the field of vision. Floaters can be any shape including tiny dots, circles, cobwebs or clouds and are generally harmless.

To understand what causes floaters, we need to look at the structure of the eye. The eye is filled with a gel-like liquid called the vitreous humour, which is made primarily of hyaluronic acid. During youth, the vitreous humour has a gel-like consistency, but as we begin to age, it becomes more watery, especially around the middle of the eye, whilst the outer parts begin to get more solid. Read More…

Skin Problems


Every spring, readers ask how to solve skin problems before the start of summer revelries. So I asked leading facialist Sarah Chapman and clinical pharmacist Shabir Daya, who has a special interest in skin, to suggest simple ways to get the glow back. Often, you will see a difference within days but skin cell turnover takes about four weeks so keep on with the TLC. In fact, make it a daily habit: look after your skin and it will reward you bountifully.

To sparkle like a summer day, try Gwyneth Paltrow’s favourite Altrient Vitamin C gel (£22.95, victoriahealth. com), with Teapigs Organic Matcha Green Tea powder (£26.60, teapigs.co.uk) in a little apple juice.

Problem: Breakouts, oily or combination skin
Solution: Focus on deep cleansing and decongesting

  • Use gentle exfoliants or peeling pads to reveal a fresher, brighter complexion. Avoid products containing benzoyl peroxide or mineral oil (paraffinum liquidum), which will clog pores, dry skin, then send it into oily overdrive.
  • Twice a week, steam your face over a bowl of very hot water with a towel over your head to draw out toxins.
  • Massage breakout-prone areas daily, working out towards the lymph nodes and down the sides of the face – use fingertips or a facial massager.
  • Apply a clay-based mask twice weekly to help draw out blockages and blackheads and absorb excess oil production. Read More…

Anti-Ageing: The Inside View


Q: I’ve read about taking anti-ageing supplements for the skin but can anything really stop sags, bags and wrinkles?

A: In brief, yes! But this depends on the state of your skin, and also your lifestyle (diet, sleep, exercise, water consumption), as well as your genes. Moisturisers are vital but they only penetrate the top skin layer (dermis), so feeding the skin from inside with a targeted ‘nutricosmetic’ or ‘nutriceutical’ may help overcome some of the effects of ageing. Read More…

Hyaluronic Acid – The Anti-Ageing Nutrient?


Hyaluronic acid, also known as hyaluronan or hyaluronate, is now widely available in capsules, skin creams and even injectables. But, is it the magical ingredient that appears to be on every skin manufacturers list and on every practitioner’s list of must have supplements?

What is Hyaluronic Acid?

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a gel-like water holding molecule that is the space filler and cushioning agent in all mammals. HA cushions joints, nerves, hydrates skin and hair, and fills the eye. Although originally discovered in 1934 by Karl Meyer, HA gained momentum only after a visit by a reporter to a Japanese village of Yuzuri Hara to find out why both men and women in their 80’s and 90’s had smooth wrinkle free skin, flexible joints, full heads of hair and activity levels that defied their age. This was eventually found to be related to oestrogen-like molecules in their diet from soya and tofu, which sent signals to the cells to make more hyaluronic acid.

Our bodies roughly contain 15 grams of HA and it is found in virtually every part of the body. With such a widespread occurrence, it is logical that HA also has multiple functions. Scientific studies have shown that HA improves skin hydration, stimulates production of collagen in skin, works as an antioxidant and free radical scavenger, maintains skin elasticity, cushions joints and nerve tissues, has an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activity and maintains the fluid in the eye tissues, which may help to protect against numerous possible eye concerns.

The average human body contains roughly 15 grams of HA, one third of which is degraded and synthesized on a daily basis. This is where the problems arise! The manufacture of every single protective agent in the body declines with age and HA is no exception to this rule. Decreasing levels of hyaluronic acid are known to accompany the ageing process and it is estimated that by the time we reach our mid-40’s, the synthesis of HA is roughly half that required by the body.

Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid

Skin: Almost half of the body’s HA is located in the collagen of skin and it is logical that HA plays a vital role here. Hyaluronic acid helps to retain over a 1000 times its weight in water within the cells of skin, making it an excellent moisturizer. In fact, no other biological substance can retain as much water as HA resulting in increased smoothness, softening and decreased wrinkles. Equally important is its ability to remove waste matter from cells including those where there is little blood circulation.

Today, hyaluronic acid is considered equally important, if not more important, than Collagen. The most common application for hyaluronic acid is in anti-ageing therapy, particularly with cosmetic procedures such as the elimination of skin imperfections and wrinkles, but these are not without problems and since HA is destroyed by the body, they need to be repeated regularly and are often expensive.

Joints: Most of us have heard of glucosamine supplements used for the treatment of arthritic conditions. Glucosamine belongs to a group of compounds known as glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). These compounds help you build stronger, healthier and more flexible joints. Hyaluronic acid is the most active form of GAG’s and it works as a shock absorber lubricating the fluid in the joint tissues as well as stabilising its breakdown. It also works to remove the waste products, often acidic in nature, that arise from the destruction of the cartilage matrix and hence eases joint pain. As an antioxidant, it further supports joint health by protecting joint destruction due to free radicals. Hyaluronic acid can be administered by way of injections directly into the knees, although treatment can be very expensive and often needs to be repeated due to its natural breakdown.

Eyes: Hyaluronic acid is found in the vitreous fluid in the eyes and gives them their shape and characteristics. The first hyaluronic acid medical product was intended for use in eye surgery specifically for cataract surgery and glaucoma and was used to hasten the healing process following surgery. Since hyaluronic acid lubricates the eye tissues, it is of great benefit for people suffering from dry eyes. Oral supplements of HA may also help your eyesight. The reason for this is that as we age, less HA is found in the eye tissues and it is required to help support the eye structures.

Gum Disease: Gum disease is a common problem in the UK affecting 3 out of 4 adults over the age of 35. Gum disease, and not tooth decay, is the single biggest cause of tooth loss. Hyaluronic acid is an important connective tissue component in the gums helping with the regeneration of fresh healthy gum tissue as well as reducing any inflammation that leads to bleeding gums. Several studies indicate that applying hyaluronic acid as a gel (Gengigel) helps to reduce gum disease and bleeding gums.

There are many additional benefits reported with the use of hyaluronic acid and these include faster wound healing, increased energy, dry skin relief, improved muscular strength and increased mental alertness. Can we really afford not to take hyaluronic acid supplements?

At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions with the use of Hyaluronic Acid capsules.