ASkinSolutions Chemical and Physical exfoliators



Enter the exfoliator…the essential skin care weapon!

When it comes to radiant glowing skin I want ‘The Exfoliator’ amoungst my skincare arsenal.

I share the love, no bias here…I love them all!

AHA’s ,BHA’s, microdermabrasion…industrial sanders….if it removes dry skin and accelerates cell renewal – I want it!

I absolutely cannot live without exfoliators in my skin care routine. I rank them, up there, top shelf, sitting competitvely along side my retinoids.

I  love both chemical and physical exfoliating products ,buffing and polishing my dull lifeless skin back giving it an healthy glow.


ASkinSolutions Chemical and Physical exfoliators

8 reasons to love an Exfoliator!

  1. Exfoliators remove the accumulation of dead skin cells
  2. Reduces fine lines, revealing a more youthful complexion more able to reflect light
  3. Creates greater hydration by allowing product to be more easily accepted into the skin
  4. Reduces the appearance of pigmentation and photodamage, creating a more even skin tone
  5. Reduces congestion and blackhead formation which helps prevent breakouts
  6. Accelerates cellular renewal
  7. Assists in treating skin conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis, acne, and keratoses
  8. Provides a great base for makeup application

Part of my skill set as a dermal clinician is tailoring skin care for clients and addressing individual skincare needs. In my experience most skin types benefit when using an exfoliator 2-4 times a week with few, if any adverse reactions.

What and How …

Chemical Exfoliators

Alpha hydroxy acids( AHA) and beta hydroxy acids( BHA) are the most commonly recognised acids in skincare.Their mechanism of action differs slightly from each other.

Lactic, malic and glycolic acids are AHA’s and act by dissolving the ‘glue’ which binds the skin cells together. Some studies suggest there are also some stimulating effects on the dermis – an increase in collagen synthesis and glycosaminoglycans, both help in maintaining skin hydration.

Concentrations of up to 10% acids are used for in-home skincare products.

The most common BHA used in skin care is salicylic acid derived from the bark of the willow tree. Salicylic acid has keratolytic properties, meaning it dissolves keratin. Lipophilic or fat loving , it attaches itself to the oils in the skin helping it to penetrate further than it’s AHA cousins. Salicylic’s greatest properties are functioning as an anti-inflammatory/antibacterial, making it ideal when treating acne.

Concentrations of .05-2% are used in skin care.

By comparison in-clinic peels using  AHA’s And BHA’s are in concentrations of 20% or higher for greater exfoliation.

Enzyme exfoliation is also popular amoungst skincare companies including bromelain, derived from pineapples, and papain derived from papaya-allergies from papain are very common so a patch test is recommended prior to use.



Physical Exfoliators

Physical or mechanical exfoliation refers to products containing small granules suspended in a gel, foam or cream formula, which gently buff or sand away dead cells. Ideally scrubs should contain small uniform shaped grains, with no sharp edges such as magnesium oxide crystals.

Throw away the ‘Aapri’ scrub and steer away from products containing walnut/apricot shell or peach pits as their irregular shape could potentially cause micro-tears in the skin or worse, even infection.

Dont forget your body; mitts/ loofahs/brushes are great body exfoliators. They can be used wet or dry and are an excellent way of increasing circulation bringing nutrients to the skin.

Ensure they are cleaned after each use or sun dried to reduce bacterial contamination.

Some cosmetic companies have cleverly combined both chemical and physical exfoliators  = accelerating cell renewal whilst sloughing off the old cells. This is a great combination for acne sufferers but for some skins it maybe too irritating.

Tip: Why not use a cleanser/moisturiser containing AHA’s or BHAs in the morning then add a scrub in the evening where needed.

Is there a downside?

Well there could be….If you’re the overzealous kind, be careful, your enthusiasm might see you over exfoliating! Over treating with chemical exfoliators might irritate your skin resulting in dry, red and flaky skin, whereas over abrading with a scrub, may result in small microtears, leaving your skin vulnerable to infection.

Some skin conditions may also be exacerbated such as Rosacea, when using scrubs or chemical exfoliators . If irritation occurs, discontinue use until redness subsides.If redness persists and over the counter cortisone may benefit. Rule of thumb……  moderation! If you’re the ‘blushing sensitive‘ type, introduce slowly, gradually increasing your exfoliating frequency to 2-4 times a week.

What is key is choosing the correct exfoliator for your skin type.This may be a little trial and error in the beginning, don’t despair! A consultation with your skin therapist will save you time, money and potentially a skin irritation – it’s far better to be safe than sorry, or worse, frustrated!.

With correct skin diagnosis, pairing exfoliator with skin type will have you radiating healthy skin.

How often do you use an exfoliator?

Drop me a line, I’d love to hear from you

Susan x






12 Skin Care Tips to manage ‘Winters Itch’

It’s difficult for people not living in Noosa to picture us who do live here shivering by the fire in winter. I can assure you us ‘SunnyCoasters‘ feel the cold when the seasons turn!


 With Winter on our doorstep, shorter days mean less sun and longer nights with temperatures sometimes plummeting to a chilly 0 degrees celsius…cold enough for us Sunnycoasters to break out the bedsocks.

 Daytime peaks of 15 degrees celsius at 2pm, together with a formidable  Westlerly wind has us beach babes layering up, replacing the cotton throw for a feather doona and cranking up the open fire…. pity worthy…maybe not!

I’m no ‘Winter Virgin’…I’ve served a ‘chilly apprenticeship’ living through Melbourne’s extreme weather patterns.

Melbourne see’s Mother Nature in her foulest of moods… I’ve served my time and have enjoyed the seasonal changes!

Winter also marks opportunities for skin care companies to spruik their ‘winter range’, anticipating perceived changes in skincare needs by consumers during the colder months but is skin care really seasonal or a clever marketing tool in order to sell more product ?

The answer is not necessarily! Not everyone needs to adapt his or her skin care routine because the colours of the leaves have changed.Certainly skin’s demands may vary slightly, or for some lucky ones not at all.

 When it comes to skin care, you will know from my other posts, I like to take a KISS (keeping it simple stupid) approach.

 ASkinSolutions’ 1. 2. 3 steps of skin care –

  • Cleanse
  • Treat/Manage
  • Protect

 How do weather patterns influence the way our skin functions ?

Background…a tiny bit of A and P…

 Skin functions as a Thermo Regulator and houses it’s very own climate control panel called the Hypothalamus situated in base of the brain. It’s job is to respond to the environment, cooling us in summer whilst retaining heat in winter.

 In hot conditions the skin responds by initiating it’s cooling processes, stimulating the sweat glands to secrete fluid on the surface of the skin, cooling the skin when air passes over. Similarly when it’s cold, ‘goosebumps’ appear trapping warm air, keeping us warm – revision over!

 Predictably, lets reason, less sweat and oil secretions occur in winter meaning less lubrication for your skin. With this in mind your skin appears drier, flakier or might even be predisposed to dry skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis commonly triggered by seasonal changes.

 Winter skin 101 out of the way….

Artificial heating/cooling have little or no humidity further contributing to a drying effect on the skin.

  Tip; A good idea is to place a bowl of water in a corner of the room to try and combat the drying effect when using artificial heating/cooling.

 The moisturising process sometimes  gets overlooked as we hastily scramble into our clothes post shower in an effort to keep warm.

  Tip; Why not take warm oil baths to help lubricate the skin

 Excess and restrictive clothing worn in winter can also irritate the skin. Synthetic fibres may contribute to irritation by not allowing airflow and providing a moist environment for bacteria to flourish.

 Tip; Why not try under garments made of natural fibres such as merino wool.

 Should we change our skin care according to the seasons?

Whilst it’s not necessary to change your whole routine, a few minor adjustments or tweaking is all that might be needed. Maintain your routine and make adjustments to your cleanser and treat/manage for a drier skin type if needed.

TIP : If it’s Wet Dry it, If it’s Dry Wet it !

12 Skin Care Tips to Manage ‘Winter’s Itch’

1. Foaming cleansers can dry the skin with their foaming properties, substitute with an oil based cleanser. They cleanse the skin without stripping it of it’s protective acid mantle.

2. When I refer to Treating/Managing, I mean to address any concerns or changes you may have noticed  due to the change in seasons. Layering serums containing antioxidants underneath your moisturizer are a great way to treat specific skin concerns.

3. An emollient-based moisturizer; a formulation or ‘oil in water’ will keep the skin feeling lubricated. For some it may be a  period of  adjustment to an heavier cream.

4. When purchasing products include the ‘skin vitamins ADCEK ’ in the list of ingredients.. The B group vitamins are also great in helping to reduce an irritated skin.

 5. Avoid super hot baths and showers. In an effort to keep warm we tend to lengthen the time of showers and increase the temp -don’t!

6. Exfoliate 2-3 times a week allowing for better penetration of moisturises and products whilst removing flakiness.

7.  To get the maximum benefit from your product apply to  damp skin enabling better penetration.

8.  Up your intake of oily fish containing essential fatty acids omega 3s and 6’s such as nuts and whole grains flaxseed oil –these are a great resource help reduce the symptoms of a stressed skin.

9. If you suffer from winter triggered Eczema, try a topical occlusive  (heavier oil in water ) cream with antin flammatory properties. If the symptoms persist ,over the counter hydrocortisone cream .05% is available off prescription and may be of benefit until the symptoms are relieved.

10. Psoriasis  can be particularly troublesome in the winter months and treatment should be carried out in consultation with your Dr.

11. Allergy face (dry puffy eyes, blotchy skin),the fault of the seasonal winds blowing irritants such as pollens around. An anti -histamine is the best way combat allergens, or  cool compresses to reduce allergy symptoms. Dr William Goldstein discusses ways in which you can reduce puffy eyes safely.

12. Maintaing hydration in the winter months is  often overlooked in favour of warm drinks. Consider drinking herbal teas alternating with water at room temperature.

Visit the Hydration Calculator to assess if you are drinking  enough water based on your activity levels .

Further reading Associate Professor Greg Goodman says “Vitamin A is still the most important repair mechanism to use at night”!Don’t forget  ASkinSolution’s most valuable foundation of skin care – PROTECT !

Further reading Healing Foods 

 ASkinSolutions x



Tattoos today are seen as cutting edge fashionable, especially amongst the Millennial Generation . Sporting a full sleeve tattoo peeking unapologetically beneath a well cut business suit doesn’t attract the gasps it once would.

Confession…As a child my family’s attititude to tattoos were… well…they were worn by undesirables.

So how did Popeye become my afternoon tea hero when he wore the mark of the undesirables ?

In spite of his ink I stayed true, seeing Popeye for what he was ” I am what I am!” A true Hero!

Not sure how I reconciled in my young mind that it was ok for Popeye, to wear a tattoo ?

I wonder if I  would have tolerated Olive Oil sporting a sneaky butterfly escaping from underneath her sundress? My childhood affections may not have been so loyal.


Thankfully maturity has diminished these long held misconceptions and I conclude ‘Nice’ people like and get  tattoos!


Confession – I still reach for my gun when I see a badass neck tattoo.


A Change of Heart ?

Everyday I see beautiful artworks (and duds) adorning nice normal employed people who happen to like tattoos. I see these walking, talking art installations and I love some of what I see and some are owners whom I love!


A favourite actor of mine, Johnny Depp says ,“My body is my journal, and my tattoos are my story.”


What if Johnny’s story included a few typos, I wonder how he would feel then, or if he wanted to rewrite his history…..that journal is beginning to look a little busy!


Another unknown author wrote in praise of tattoos – “Your body is a temple!”


But how long can you live in the same ‘temple’ before you feel the need to redecorate?


Taking this a bit further… to me it’s like wearing the same clothes day in day out, at some stage those clothes might seem a little dated.


What of the parents who involve their children in the process, not only in the application of the tattoos but in tattooing  their children’s doodles indelibly on their bodies. I can’t imagine tattooing myself with my children’s uncomplimentary kindy drawings of oversized head, huge eyes and stick figure….ok maybe the stick figure!


1 in 4 of people in Australia under the age of 30 are on tattoo trend; it’s fashionable to have a tattoo!


Motivations for getting a tattoo range from personal statement pieces, an act of rebellion or simply a fashion accessory and as my views on tattoos have changed so do some of the Inkster’s motivations.

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Unfortunately 1/3 of Inksters suffer Tattoo Regret and seek removal options .


Thankfully what is done can be undone! Although in the case of tattoo removal it’s not without considerable cost and sometimes at the consequence of incomplete removal or scarring.


If the initial motivation of inking yourself has faded and your tattoo hasn’t, and you are part of the collective 1/3 of Inksters suffering from tattoo regret and considering rewriting history, then laser tattoo removal may be worth considering.


Or if you’re considering becoming an Inkster and you’re in the habit of changing your mind-Think before you Ink and head to Askinsolutions where I’ve compiled a complete guide to the latest, best and most successful tattoo removal options.


I’d love to know how you feel about neck tattoos?

S x



Does the Devil wear Botox?


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Injecting Botox is one the most common anti-aging procedures performed today and it never fails to provoke animated robust debate as to whether you should or shouldn’t use Botox.

 The childhood vaccination debate is tame by comparison!

I’ll leave the vaccination debate to the immunologists.

Medically speaking Botox is a relatively safe non -surgical procedure performed in office in less than 20 minutes with few, if any side effects. It’s less controversial uses are for medical conditions such as Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), Chronic Migraines and Cerebral Palsy.

 Despite these medical indications nothing divides the sisterhood like the Grand Canyon at the mention of Botox! There are three sides to this passionate debate.

 Team Botox. Those who offer full disclosure about their Botox use.  These are loud and proud users and who will not be shamed into being quiet!

 Love her loathe her look, Dolly Parton is one of few who are open about her use of Botox and we love Dolly for her frankness.

Dolly says ‘Thanks to Botox and fillers, as well as the work that I’ve already had, my face pretty much maintains itself.’

 Not everyone has the confidence of Dolly but she confesses it makes her feel good about herself -‘She’s standing by her Man’!.

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The Clusers (closet users) . They keep their youthful ‘beauty secret’ close to their chests. The ‘Clusers’ are completely unaware (or seem oblivious to the stares) a furrowed free brow over the age of 30 might signal a relationship with the pointy end of a botox filled syringe.

Not wanting to ‘dis’ our Aussie Nicole but she was a famous’ Cluser’ attributing her stunning, frozen, peaches and cream appearance to healthy eating and exercise… later ‘fessing’ up about her Botox use…mmmmmm!


The strident Nay Sayers. This group would rather stab themselves in their own eye with a fork, rather than  ‘poison’ their bodies that are a temple! These vocalists opine loudly preferring instead to stave off the markers of time with rosehip oil, shaming the ‘Clusers’ back into the closet firmly slamming the door behind themselves, for fear of being labeled vain, self absorbed, frivolous or worse, not blessed with youthful genes! Gasp! Gwyneth Paltrow is their team captain!

 Fuel for the Nay Sayers…

A recent study by the University of Toronto found women who used botox were perceived to be ‘more vain and colder’ than those who used less extreme anti-aging measures such as skin care. Ouch !

But if it makes you happy…

Dr Michael Lewis at the University of Cardiff performed a study where 12/25 people were injected with Botox and the remaining were injected with fillers. The 12 who were injected with Botox were found to be significantly less depressed, anxious and irritable than those who did not.

So exactly what is Botox?

Botox is a purified form of Botulinum toxin type A and is a muscle relaxant. We know it by its registered trade name Botox. Botox is a therapeutic protein and when injected in small quantities into the muscle works to interrupt the nerve signals being sent to the muscles telling them to contract.

Acetylcholine is the neurotransmitter released by nerves attaching it to muscle cells, which tell the muscle to contract. Botox blocks this process. It paralyses the muscles at the site of injection temporarily as the nerve fibers are able to regenerate themselves after a couple of months.

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 How is it performed?

An experienced Doctor or a cosmetic nurse under Doctors supervision performs Botox.

Botox is first diluted with saline before being injected into the muscle. It usually takes 24-72 hours to take effect and lasts up to 12 weeks.

 What are the costs?

Depending on the areas being treated costs range between $360-$770 varying with the amount being used. Botox is usually measured in units with a forehead typically using up to 30 units for desired results.

What are the risks?

Eyelid droop (Ptosis)

Asymmetrical eyebrows

Bruising and redness at injection site

Infection at injection site

Flu like symptoms lasting a couple of days


Pregnant or lactating

Known allergies to Botox

What about long term?

A long term study performed on identical twins by Dr W Binder found the twin who had regularly used Botox over a period of 13 years had less visible facial lines with no adverse effects.

 Realistically we live in a world of ageism where youth rules supreme! We live longer, working longer and lead active lives for longer. Is it wrong to want a youthful mindset to be reflected in the mirror?

 Heated debate will rage on but ultimately the decision is yours! Finding an experienced practioner to guide you through the decision making process will help you make an informed choice. The decision remains yours and not because a genetically blessed celebrity tells you the secret to a wrinkle free face is through contentment and a smile!

S x



Christmas is a time for all things sparkly – Lorna’s, Champagne, flashing Christmas tree lights and if you’re lucky one carat diamonds for each ear, boxed in blue and tied with a gorgeous white satin ribbon in the perfect bow – too obvious ?

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My ‘Fit Foodie’ tennis mate Lorna Garden, sparkles with good health, wellness, vitality and a carotene tinged complexion attributed to a love of carrots !

‘Lornatic’, as she is known in our tennis group, is a registered Dietitian with an impressive professional pedigree. Lorna believes being creative with fresh ingredients will help curb our predilection to overindulge during the silly season ,reducing post Christmas damage control. I’ve enlisted her to help us through the season of excess with some healthy eating tips.

Lorna says…

fit festive food

 One of the wonderful things about Christmas is that people get together and prepare and share special foods and dishes with friends and family.  Choosing fresh ingredients and being creative with nibbles and desserts can turn your festive season into a fit and fun time, rather than a time of overindulgence that you spend weeks working off.


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Here’s my favourite fit, festive food suggestions this Christmas:

  • Berries & cherries.  Not only are they packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibre but raspberries, blueberries, gooseberries, loganberries, strawberries and cherries are all available fresh now and are low in kilojoules and have virtually no fat.  Frozen berries are awesome blended with natural or coconut yoghurt as an ice cream alternative, and a huge bowl of juicy cherries is a must for the Christmas table.
  • Go nuts.   One of the best options is to buy fresh nuts in their shell – walnuts, pecans, peanuts, brazil nuts, almonds, or pistachios and have fun cracking them open and making a big mess.  It is much more difficult to over eat them this way!  Always buy nuts raw and unsalted, and dry roast them yourself if you prefer them crunchier.
  • Vietnamese rice paper rolls.   Fresh vegetables & herbs, with bean shoots & rice noodles, and  chicken, prawns, marinated tofu or lean pork, (use up those leftovers!),  these are a fun food to have as an easy family meal on a hot day, or as an elegant appetiser with cocktails.
  • Minted watermelon.  This is too easy!  Toss chunks of fresh watermelon with fresh, chopped mint and keep chilled.  Keep a container full in the fridge for a quick snack, puree for a refreshing drink or serve with natural yogurt for an easy dessert.
  • Chocolate coated strawberries and banana.  I might be stretching the meaning of  ‘fit food’ here, but if you are going to indulge in a little chocolate I always think it is better if it’s dark and wrapped around some fruit like fresh strawberries or banana (then frozen – yum!).
  • Roast Turkey.  Turkey is low in fat and high in protein, and a good source of iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium and B vitamins.  Cook it with minimum fat added, remove the skin and visible fat and enjoy it with a little cranberry sauce and a plate load of fresh vegetables or salad.
  • Beetroot. Not only a potential ergogenic aid but this vibrant vegetable is also an excellent source of phytochemicals and antioxidants.  Wonderful roasted in a rocket salad or raw with grated carrot, orange and mint, or in a fresh juice. The perfect color for the Christmas table.
  • Mineral water.  Add a dash of lime or cranberry juice and mint leaves for a refreshing & rehydrating drink without excessive sugar.
  • Mango.  It’s not an Australian summer without fresh mango.  Enjoy slurped straight off the skin, or add to fruit platters, fruit salad, smoothies, and even salads (with raw macadamia nuts of course!).
  • Dips.  Fill a platter with grissini sticks, carrot & zucchini pieces & watercrackers and serve with a selection of fresh, low fat dips like tzatziki, hummus, creamed corn or beetroot, and dip away.   A much healthier option to crisps & pastries.

 Remember, keep the indulgences to just a couple of days and fill up on fresh, healthy food and drinks the rest of the time, for a fit, fun festive season

 For related reading visit

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Lorna Garden is an Accredited Practising Dietitian with over 20 years experience .


Lenny Kravitz loved his Mum sooo much he named an album after her…Mama SaidTrue / False ?

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For Lenny lovers,we all know this to be False. ‘Mama Said’ wasn’t an album filled with helpful tips like – don’t pick your face or always take a jumper with you just in case the weather changes. It was an album he made after his divorce from actress Lisa Bonet in 1993 .

Spanning  cultures, over centuries, Mothers have been dispensing skin care advice.

Like generational recipes, our first initiation into the world of skin care and cosmetics is commonly by our mothers, whose mother’s before them, have dispensed the same advice; sound or otherwise.

My Mother Val was a vast consumer of skin care products, with a bathroom cabinet rivalling any major city department store beauty counter. Mum introduced me to the importance of caring for your skin and developing healthy skin care habits. However she may have been a little too relaxed when it came to sunscreen!

 Researching this blog ( coffee with girlfriends ), I discovered overwhelmingly, the most common skin care tip given by the wise sages that are our Mothers, was to always take your makeup off before going to bed – sound advice  !

 Rate or Slate – Ten skin care tips our Mothers shared.  Have they survived the test of time and what, if any, do they still rate in today’s age of innovative and active skin care ?

1 . Aerin Lauder-Granddaughter of Estee Lauder – My Grandmother always said “You only have one face; take care of it. No matter how tired you are, cleanse and moisturise , stay out of the sun and drink water”

✔ Rate – aside from the excellent  skin care pedigree, Estee’s advice covers all of the fundamentals of good skin care- Cleanse /Treat /Protect and Hydration!


2. Veronica – It wasn’t the best advice I got from my Grandma…she used to tell me to pinch my cheeks to add colour to them (talk about broken capillaries which I have a few) , then she said bite, pinch & lick my lips to add colour & shine to them………….

 ✗ Slate The repetitive injury of pinching the cheeks would certainly have caused the diffuse redness or telangiectasia you mention, especially susceptible in a fragile skin. A less injurious method of creating an healthy glow might have been the application of good ole fashioned rouge! The continual licking of the lips to add shine creates a drying environment…nothing a slick of lipstick wouldn’t fix!


3. Nicole – The best beauty advice my Mum gave me is to be sun smart and protect my skin by wearing a broad spectrum moisturiser or sunscreen, hat and covering up at the beach!

✔ Rate – can’t argue with this advice. Nicole’s Mum is super sunsmart!


4. Rebecca Judd, Television personality / Blogger – The best beauty advice my mum stressed was to be wary of wasting money on expensive ‘wonder’ products and instead invest in quality skin treatments from time-to-time. Our family favourites include QV Skincare’s Cream and Musq Cosmetics Clay and Rice face scrub.”

✔ Rate Rebecca’s Mum is spot on! A cream doesn’t have to be expensive to be efficacious, it just needs to have ingredients that work!


5. Melanie – My mother taught me not to squeeze pimples instead steam face and put a hot face cloth on it to bring it to a head and then apply toothpaste to dry it out.

✗ Slate This at-home method is one to avoid! Toothpaste can contain ingredients such as Triclosan, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol and menthol, which can inflame, irritate and sensitise the skin. Steaming the face when there is active infection and inflammation further exacerbates an already irritated skin. Stick instead to anti inflammatory/antibacterial products containing Salicylic acid.

Dr Nina Wines of Northern Sydney Dermatology says. “Don’t pick or squeeze!“

Our hands and nails carry millions of bugs – some good, some bad,” dermatologist “When the skin is touched, scratched or picked constantly, these are transmitted to the face and usually makes acne worse.” Mum was also right about not squeezing, as it will cause scarring. “Squeezing causes the debris in the already inflamed follicle to penetrate even deeper into the dermis,” Dr Wines says. This can lead to permanent scarring.

✔ Rate Go with the advice of Dr Wines and your Mum on this one!


6. Simone My Mum taught me to use lemons for their bleaching effect – for the dark skin on your elbows, on freckles and sunspots on your face, – add lemon in your hair and the sun will give you that bleached sunkissed look.

✗ Slate Whilst lemons have long been known to have lightening properties, some people may develop a condition known as phytophotodermatitis after lemon juice has been applied to the skin and exposed to the sun. Explore other treatment options such as lPL which are more effective in the removal of brown spots and ephilides (freckles).


7. Sam – Eating chocolate gives you pimples!

✗ Slate Scientists and researchers have tried to find a link between breakouts and eating chocolate, but there’s no evidence to support the claim. Some studies have shown diets high in protein, fat, sugar and dairy have an adverse effect and since chocolate contains all of these ingredients,it’s best to avoid but it’s not the only factor in contributing to pimples.
8. Carolyn – Mum always said that cucumber is great for puffy or sore eyes

✔ Rate  Chilled cucumber is a great natural way to treat puffy and swollen eyes. The enzymes and astringent properties contained in cucumber helps to reduce inflammation. Cucumbers contain  vitamins A,C,K and Pantothenic acid which helps your skin retain moisture.


9. Camilla – My mum says “why spend all your money on those expensive products, all you need is a bath and soap”!

✗  Slate  Good hygiene is important.Using a soap which is not PH balanced can be very drying to the skin. Skin’s surface has a naturally acidic nature balanced between 4.5 – 5.5 where soap is very alkaline upsetting the acid mantle of skin which has a natural protective flora preventing infection.This flora is stripped by soap exposing it to infection. It’s best to stick to a cleanser that is slightly acidic maintaining the protective acid mantle of the skin.


10. Kate – My Nan told me to rub Vaseline on my eyelashes to make them grow.

✗  Slate Sorry Kate your Nan did get this one wrong.There is no benefit in rubbing any kind of lubricant into the eyelashes for accelerating growth!

Finally I asked my daughters what skin care tips they have absorbed from me?

A resounding and unanimous ‘sunscreen Mum’……a proud moment!

ASkinSolutions x


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First a few questions….

Does your skin have more in common with Spot the Dog than Nicole Kidman perfect?

 Are you wearing a Butterfly pattern of pigmentation on your face?

 In the summer months do you find yourself wearing more and more makeup to disguise those patchy brown spots on your cheeks,chin and forehead?

 Are you of child bearing age and someone in your family bears the similar markings on their face?

 Yes to any of these questions means you’re probably suffering from a common skin condition called Melasma

 The ‘Mask of Pregnancy’ is the common name for this facial pigmentary disorder affecting predominantly females in the 20-50 years age group with olive skin complexions, presenting in a symmetric butterfly pattern.

 Melasma ranges in colour from dark brown-grey patches according to the depth of where the pigment lies in the skin. Practising as a Dermal Clinician I see the anxiety and concern these sufferers experience and the lengths thay will go to in order to rid themselves of these sometimes psychosocially damaging patches.

 Mohammed Ali said…”Floats like a butterfly but stings like a bee”. Was he wondering how to treat Melasma?

 Ali won his bouts with a combination approach of an uppercut and a left and right jab.Treating Melasma needs to be approached with same determination and with a combination of therapies.


Glove up and lets get in the Ring….Melasma needs to be disposed of !

Unfortunately there are no quick fixes and it is possible you will never be free of the condition but with some patience and professional guidance from your health care provider, sufferers will be rewarded with eventual fading of pigmentation, keeping the condition in check.

 Fight to the Death!

 ASkinSolutions x



As a Dermal Clinician I’m not wanting to wage a one women crusade targeting cosmetic companies, preferring instead to provide information for consumers allowing them to make informed choices when purchasing skin care.

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Recently on Facebook a friend posted her new range of recently purchased, beautifully wrapped ,psuedo medically labeled skin care with the caption #illgiveitago, which got me thinking…… consumers really have an understanding of ingredients in skin care and what they can expect to achieve from using them,and /or their limitations……….or just throwing the dice with every purchase ?

 “If it’s wet dry it…….if it’s dry wet it’!  is the ‘catch cry’ for those of us who deal in skin.

Skin defines who we are and how other people perceive us so little wonder Aussies hand over in excess of 60 million of hard earned $$$$$ a year in cold hard cash in order to present the best possible us –  but are these $$$$$ well invested ?

In our society beauty and youth reign supreme, so no surprises when we’re seduced by clever marketing campains and find ourselves clamouring for products claiming to be the elixir of youth, hoping to find our spent youth in the next jar!

Skin’s demands are simple. It doesn’t like to be stressed and it loves to be cared for.

Skin wears it’s badge of irritation, showing it’s displeasure by getting all rashy and cloaking you in red. Apply something it loves and be rewarded with glowing ,dewy skin free of irritation and imperfection. However, if – like many of us, you are part of the unfortunate collective who suffer from chronic skin disorders then management isn’t always so simple.


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“She works hard for her money” ….thanks Donna Summer.

Skin works tirelessly 24 hrs a day functioning as a barrier to the environment and infection.  If compromised by excessive cleaning or injury it is unable to perform its job as a gatekeeper. In order for the skin to perform optimally it must maintain an acid mantle of 4.5-5.5 and maintain lubrication by secreting sweat and oil through our skin glands This oil also acts as a waterproofing agent on the surface of the skin.

Great Expectations…..

 There is no quick fix!

The science of skin care is ever evolving and has led to the rebranding of skin care as ‘cosmeceuticals’  with names such as Medik8, Cosmedix, Skin Physics, MD Formulations, DNA Reset and Photon to name a few. Such medicalised name branding is a deliberate strategy to insinuate confidence in their brand, subtly leading consumers to believe their product is medically endorsed.

Truth in aging published a review describing the the term Cosmeceutical as  being misleading and stating under US law to have no meaning. Further in the article it describes there is a record number of warning letters to Cosmeceutical companies for making misleading claims.

 Even with my background, at times I find it  hard not to be seduced by all this colour & movement and “freegift with purchase”  marketing, but can they deliver on  their claims, or will it only end in empty wallets and dissappointment for the consumer?

Skin functioning as a barrier frequently means that absorption of many of  these ‘super duper and innovative’ ingredients is prevented – they are unable to be absorbed due to their large molecular size so will stay exactly where you applied them.


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For the most part it will be tears for the consumer…..but there are some ingredients in skin care that will benefit your skin.

Tis not all acne & age spots doom and gloom……….

 What does work? What should we be looking for?

Retinoids and Retinoic acids

  • Vitamin A derivative known to  increase epithelial turnover
  • Used in the treatment of  fine lines, acne and pigmetation changes
  • Retinoids are available by prescipton only and are available in greater strengths
  • Retinols may be purchased over the counter in skin care formulations
  • Degraded by light so best used at night
  • May increase photosensitivity so sunscreen is vital
  • Introduce slowly as may cause irritation
  • Not to be used by lactating or pregnant women


Vitamin C or L-Ascorbic acid

  • Anitoxidant and essential part of skin health
  • Essential for collagen formation
  • When used in conjunction with Vitamin E and Zinc plays an important role in wound healing

 Vitamin E

  • Antioxidant and found naturally occuring in  sebum which lubricates the skin
  • Absorption is limited to the epidermis

Vitamin D

  • Synthesised in the skin and benefits those suffering from psoriasis
  • Assists in the  wound healing process

 Vitamin K

  • May be used topically in the treatment of bruising,spider veins ,stretch marks,burns and inflammation
  • Used in the treatment of Rosacea

 Vitamin B complex

  • Helps maintain skin hydration
  • Assists with pigmentary changes
  • Reduces inflammation

 Alpha Lipoic Acid

  • fatty acid and powerful antioxidant
  • Facilitates the properties of Vit C and E

 Hyaluronic Acid

  • Naturally occurring in the skin
  • Attracts water and able to absorb 1000 x it body weight
  • Used in fillers due to it’s water loving properties


Gold in them thar hills……

Minerals for the skin


  • works together with Vit C to form elastin,a supporting structure of the skin improving elasticity and thickness


  • Healing properties
  • Regulates oil production
  • Benefits an Acne skin


If you want a shared loving relationship with your skin, include some of these ingredients in your skin care  and remember ‘if it’s wet dry it, if it’s dry wet it!

Rome wasn’t built in a day, so allow 6-8 weeks for visible signs of improvement and to include these Vitamins in an healthy diet whilst maintaining good hydration with lots of water…..your skin will love you for it!


ASkinSolutions is happy to answer any skin care questions you might have.





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To squeeze or not to squeeze………………..or pick,or prick,or pop,or scratch-that is  the question?

The birthing of a pimple is no cause for celebration and there will be no naming ceremony at my house. We’ve all played host to these nasty, painful, unsighly, throbbing, mind of their own insidious beasts.

They choose their host indiscriminately but not their position, placing themselves front and centre like  Ricky Martin on stage and never never never discreetly behind your ear,or in your hair line kinda place.

The Third Eye-unseeing but not unseen!

Aways in a place where random strangers are immediately confused as to which head they should be talking to, coinciding with the day you’ve booked the family photo shoot in preparation for the xmas card mail out, thats our beast!

A BCF ( best concealer friend) became my 11th finger during those times of torment. Armed with a ‘go hard or go home’ attititude and an inability to restrain myself, the creation af a green headed monster to embark on it’s own healing process never entered my mind. Immediate erradication was overiding. As a Dermal Cllinician I am now skilled in removal of my own Mt Etna’s but I’m not sure I would advise the same technique to fellow sufferers. Hypocritical I know but I want scar-free and complication-free outcomes for my clients.

Gotta getcha outta my life……….. 

Professionally I approach this delicate procedure glove,gowned with aseptic practice. Reducing the spread of infection is priority so keep those hands away from the area involved!

We all have a preferred method of strangulation……from the tea tree burn to the two finger vice grip.Some even suggest using a combination of rubbing alcohol and sea breeze……not sure how to capture and apply the sea breeze, despite my proximity to it. There is certainly a dearth of creative home remedies out there!

A good starting point is to include good cleansing hygiene ,which means using a gentle cleanser containing Salicylic Acid and a non oily Zinc based sunscreen or moisturiser. Salicylic acid acts as a keratolytic, bacteriocide and antinflammatory agent and  Zinc posesses the ability to help speed up the healing process. The regular changing of bedlinen and towels is also of benefit.

For more severe cases, in clinic treatments may include superficial peels and llight based therapies to assist in the reduction of lesions. The use of isotretinoins, oral/ topical antibiotics and retionoids may also be considered in difficult to manage cases,however this should be balanced with the risks and side effects associated with these treatment options.

Patience and compliance are your friends when tackling this condition and results may be prolonged taking as long as 8 weeks for results.

Acne Is a multlifactorial condition meaning there are a number of contributing factors including genetics, hormones, enviromental (humidity and skin care products),medication and diet.

Acne is diagnosed into three categories -mild, moderate and severe according to the number of lesions involved and these factors should be considered when investigating treatment options with your Dr or Dermal Clinician. It is also important to remembet to consider treatments  already tried.

The Triangle of Death, an urban myth….?

The Triangle of Death is no urban myth! The area spans from the corners of the mouth to the bridge of the nose. The potential exists for the spread of an infection to the brain from a pimple being squeezed in this triangle. This is possible due to the special nature of the venous supply to the nose and surrounding area and proximity to the meninges (the membrane protecting the brain), via the cavernous sinus, so best to avoid using the ‘vice grip’ here!

But it’s no myth Acne can be disfiguring and emotionally damaging. It is most prevalent during the angst ridden teenage years when the hormone Androgen is rampant. Androgen increases the production of oil in the sebaceous glands. Together a build up of epidermal cells (creating a plug), this increased oil production, bacteria and inflammation combine to form a pimple.

So lets have that funeral……

Plenty of treatment options are available depending on the severity of the condition……squeezing is not one of them! Heres some tips…….


  • gentle cleansing x 2 daily
  • non oily moisturisers/zinc base sunscreen
  • diet- there is some evidence to suggest a low GI diet may help with some Acne sufferers
  • Don’t battle the beast on your own seek help from your Dermal Clinician, Dr or Pharmacist


For more detailed professional advice and treatment options for Acne -or simply to ask me a question-please visit




Or do we?

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As the doting mother of 2 teenage tennis playing/surfing girls my neverending refrain of “hat and sunscreen”,  has finally been heard/understood/acknowledged  by my teenage daughters. I’ve also inadvertently serenaded the  neighbours with my suncreen rap. Proving more of a challenge is their non compliant , sun loving father who may  require more training or perhaps a cochlear implant!

 Many of us will be diagnosed with skin cancer in our lifetime, but there’s plenty we can do to lessen our risk.I’ll talk about that in a moment.

First some sobering stats…

 Australia has the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world despite  many successful sunsmart campaigns.

Are we desensitised, and is the message still seeing us remembering to lather up? As sunloving Aussies are we sticking our heads in the sand, and assuming the attitude of “it wont happen to me or anyone i know” and “She’ll be right mate“?

In reference to my Meatloaf loving friend,  two outta three ain’t bad………….

 Well maybe it was ok for Meatloaf but to think two out three  Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70 has me “crying icicles instead of tears“-urgh!. For many of us 70 may feel a long way off, as did turning 50 for me, but it crept up quick and fast, so it’s an accurate prediction a lot of us will be diagnosed with a potentially life threatening skin cancer.

 I’m part of this statistic after being diagnosed with a number of lesions including  squamous cell carcinoma and  basal cell carcinoma. Statistics show I’m not alone and this is not a group encouraging joiners. These lesions are a result of a childhood spent on  beaches and in backyard pools lathered in baby oil chasing the elusive deep rich golden tan which thanks to my Celtic forebears would always remain elusive. Dont get me wrong I still love a rich golden tan, and nothing screams “healthy ” louder than a tan, but I now safely  worship at the alter of a spray tan booth!

 Thankfully tanning beds have fallen foul of favour as the research shows the use of tanning beds prior to the age of 35 accelerates the risk of melanoma by a staggering 59%.

Over 2000 Australians are treated for skin cancer every day. Do these  mind boggling statistics shock us into  being smart when exposed to the sun ? The increase in rates of diagnosis of skin cancers  suggests not. If those statistics dont shock us into protecting our skins, the latest statistic including the under 25’s might.

Melanoma is the number one cancer killer of this group!

 What about Vitamin D?

Yes, vitamin D is important for overall health but for the majority of skins, walking to the car, or simply hanging the washing on the line can achieve the required exposure. Mental equation…..Susan x washing for a family of 4 = synthesising enough Vit D for South East Queensland!

Lets talk about sunscreens.

A physical sunscreen is one that contains zinc or titanium dioxide which  forms a barrier on top of the skin,which reflects and scatters UV rays  preventing it passing through to the deeper layers of our skin where it can cause damage. Activity and towelling off after swimming removes  sunblock so re-application is vital.

 A chemical sunscreen  interacts chemically  within the skin to form a protective barrier. Sunlight is deactivated and degraded after coming in contact with the chemicals in the sunscreen. A chemical  sunscreen must be applied 20 minutes prior to sun exposure for it to be effective and reapplied  throughout the day. Your skin has a natural SPF, partially determined by how much melanin your skin contains, that is, how darkly pigmented your skin is, but don’t rely upon this for protection from the sun. The SPF is a multiplication factor. If you can stay out in the sun 15 minutes before burning, using a sunscreen with an SPF of 10 would allow you to resist burning for 10x longer or the equivalent of  150 minutes.

“Sunscreens should be viewed as an add on to protective clothing not a substitute,” according to The Australasian College of Dermatologists .There is an armoury of suncreens out there and the decision between a physical and chemical suncreen really depends on your lifestyle.

 Broadspectrum sunscreen  contain a combination of both chemical and physical sun protection. These are your best bet as they cover all bases.

The best sunscreen is the sunscreen you will use!

If you would like further information on skin cancer or sunscreens please visit  under our Resource banner or direct a question under our Ask banner.


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I feel like Mark Webber in my very own F1 race car hurtling my way through middle age at what feels like break neck speed, simultaneously fumbling for the handbrake!

As a practising dermal clinician its vital I stay current and up to date with new technologies in the treatment of photo-aging not to mention my personal interest! Whilst not necessarily wanting to return to my teens prior to the sun damage, I’d like to maintain a face that doesn’t misrepresent how I feel inside this 50 something lived in skin!

If you, like me, wear the mask of photo-aging (sun spots,fine lines and broken capillaries), as a result of a misspent youth on Australian beaches then you will appreciate the benefits of Intense Pulsed Light.

 Jump in the passenger seat , I don’t want you falling asleep at the wheel but this is the information you will need to assess your candidacy for IPL.

“IPL” has  been used in non medical settings for 17 years with some mixed results ,which has a lot to do with operator/experience and machine, so choose your driver wisely!

 IPL works in the same principle as lasers in that they emit a light energy through a specialised hand piece targeting pigment or chromophores in the skin. This light energy is converted into heat, absorbed by the target, in turn obliterating the target. The difference between Laser and IPL is a broad spectrum wavelength (light) as a opposed to a single wavelength emitted from a Laser.

  IPL’s capabilities don’t stop at photo-aged skin, it  is a multipurpose machine able to treat hair removal and rejuvenation. IPL is a method of permanent hair reduction, requiring occasional maintenance and does fall short when treating fair hair as the light requires a chromophore/pigment in order to be targeted. When treating photo-aged skin,between 3-8 treatments are needed to  be effective, depending on area/condition being treated. Hair reduction usually requires 6-8 treatments for optimal results.

 The beauty of IPL is minimal down time and being able to return to work straight away.

 What to expect when being treated– a cooling gel is applied to your skin which helps conduct the delivery of light through a handpiece with a glass head, which  has an integrated cooling system, and applied to the skin where a pulse of energy is delivered. It feels like and elastic band flicking the skin (tolerable), which for some may be uncomfortable and can be relieved with  an application of topical anaesthetic.

 Sun spots

A silvering and subsequent darkening of pigmented lesions. 10-12 days post treatment the darkened area is sloughed off with normal skin cleansing routine. If there is an abundance of pigmentation eg freckling you can expect to see what is referred to as a “milo” appearance .


May disappear immediately or fade over the following 2 weeks.


Swelling and tightening of the skin.

Hair removal

Hair needs to be treated in the growth phase to be effective, so treatments may needs to be spaced 6-8 weeks apart. Erythema (redness) surrounds the hair follicle as an end point.

Risks and side effects

  • Some pain during treatment
  • Erythema and a little soreness immediately post treatment-similar to sunburn-peeling,swelling
  • Blistering and crusting
  • Hyper/hypo pigmentation
  • Hair loss-important consideration when treating men.
  • Bruising- can affect 10% of clients

Contraindications to consider include herpes, skin trauma, skin lesions, keloid hypertrophic scarring, moles, skin cancer,sunburn, suntan,epilepsy, hyperthyroidism, breastfeeding, pregnancy, use of photosensitising medications or creams and those with Fitzpatrick V-V1 darker skin tones. Not all these conditions are absolute contraindications to IPL treatment but the consideration of these is an important role of a Dermal Clinician.

If this is sounds like you, jump back in the driver’s seat and drive towards the light full throttle!


If you require more detailed information you’re welcome to contact me via our ask banner at    



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We all remember SATC Samantha Jones’ untimely peel right before Carrie’s book launch……….”Honey I’ve had a little something done!’…….,as she presents in mourning garb including veil with a face rivaling any snake during shedding season! What we didn’t see was Samantha’s new fresh faced dewy complexion post peel which would have us sprinting to our nearest and trusted Dermal Clinician.

 Dispensing skin care advice on the sidelines of my children’s sporting events is where I find myself doing most and best consultations. Encouraged, I thought why not benefit others who need impartial practical advice in my field of expertise Dermal Science, instead of wading through the miasma of information which may not be relevant.

 This forum is the women’s equivalent of men’s Friday night drinks at the club, where secret men’s business is discussed but In my case it’s where the sorority feel free to discuss anything from minor skin conditions to recent advances in cosmetic surgery. The latter being a much more popular topic!

 Chemical peels have found their way to our ½ time discussion in amongst the quartered oranges, and are currently riding a wave of popularity due to their ability to deal with a multitude of common skin conditions ranging from acne, sun damage, pigmentation and fine lines. They provide a quick, efficient and cost effective treatment for those clients with these conditions, and when used progressively (that is more than once)  are much more efficacious than 6 months worth of over the counter creams.

They are commonly referred to as the lunchtime peels as they are able to be performed in under 1 hour with very little obvious signs of treatment albeit a little redness. The job of a chemical peel is to exfoliate by creating a controlled injury or burn to the skin resulting in peeling. By creating an injury to the skin, we kick start the body into repair response accelerating epidermal renewal and collagen formation. It’s important to remember the rule of thumb is the deeper the peel the greater the risk of complications and side effects.

 There are different types of peels classified by depth of penetration into the skin. In some peels the depth of peel can be controlled by the layering of the peel.

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Superficial – Gentlest form of peels which removes the top layer of the epidermis, recommended 6-10 treatments depending on desired results

  • AHA’s Glycolic Acid derived from sugar cane Lactic Acid derived from milk
  • BHA’S Salicylic Acid derived from Winter green
  • Jessner peel which contains AHA’s BHA’s and Resorcinol

Medium – TCA trichloracetic acid- penetrates the skin more deeply, delivering a much more dramatic result but requiring some down time with increased risk of side effects

Deep- Phenol-these peel are the strongest peels available and penetrate to the Dermis and can achieve complete resurfacing of the skin requiring months to heal. An experienced Dermatologist is recommended for this peel as sometimes some form of anesthesia is required. This form of peel may be a cost effective alternative to laser resurfacing.

 The determinants of a successful peel are client expectation/client compliance/skin diagnosis and a thorough history, so be honest with your practitoner.

 Clients with a lighter complexion have a greater success with less risk of complication than those clients with darker skin types which may result in pigmentary changes.

Contraindications to having a peel include Eczema, Cold Sores, Rosacea, and Lupus. Accutane use within last 6 months, Severe Asthma ,Pregnancy, Abnormal Wound Healing and recent surgery just to name a few and are best discussed during the consultation process prior to peeling to determine your candidacy as a “peeler”.

Most importantly always consult your  Dr if you have a lesion on your face that you’re unsure about prior to having a peel. The use of a physical sunscreen is most crucial in optimising your outcome post peel and by physical I mean a zinc or titanium based sunscreen and hat when exposed to the sun.

Good planning will save you the post peel trauma and embarrassment Samantha Jones suffered, so try and schedule your peel midweek so the weekend can be spent snake like and facing the new week with your new face! Remember peels are a progressive treatment and anywhere from 2-6 peels are recommended to realise your desired result.

Finally throw away the veil, keep the hat on and enjoy your new face!

I hope this information finds you ‘Peeling Great’


– Susan Priestley BHSc-CDT is a practicing Dermal Clinician at Riverside Beauty

The BZZZZ around Vitamin B3 IN SKIN CARE!


If you suffer from sensitive skin, acne, rosacea, hyperpigmentation or photoaged skin you may want to find out what the’ BZZZZ is around Vitamin B3’ and “B3-friend” it quick smart!

Sitting snugly between Vitamins A and C, Vitamin B is no middle child in the alphabet of skin vitamins. The BZZZZ around this heavy hitter of skin health vitamin B3, has been created by a plethora of recent scientific studies attesting to it’s many benefits either when applied topically or taken by mouth.

Lets get down to B3 business!

B3 is a water-soluble vitamin, not stored in the body and acquired from our dietary intake. B3 containing foods include chicken, pork, beef, fish, legumes, nuts, grain products, mushrooms, yeast extracts and coffee…..yay bread and coffee !

Vitamin B3 has 3 subtypes, also known as nicotinamide, niacinamide and nicotinic acid, all forming part of the larger collective of essential B complex vitamins, which play a number of key roles in the metabolic processes within our body which are essential for skin health.

Niacinamide and /nicotinamide’s low molecular weight allows it to easily makes it easy to penetrate the skin and are the most efficacious of the B vitamins. Together with B3’s beneficial skin health properties, it’s a popular cosmeceutical ingredient.

One of niacinamide and /nicotinamide properties is their ability to restore barrier function in the skin by increasing synthesis of keratinocytes and ceramides. Ceramides make up the protective skin lipids aiding in lubrication, maintaining hydration and together protect against irritants, helping to reduce redness.

Note that of all the B3 vitamin types nicotinic acid has a vasodilatory effect, which can cause flushing, and itching in the skin, and for this reason is not generally included in skin care.

This skincare ‘Swiss Army’ knife of skin vitamins is a multi- tool able to effectively manage multiple skin conditions including hyperpigmentation, acne, rosacea wrinkling and photo-aging simultaneously, making it essential in any skin care routine specifically targeting these conditions. B3 vitamins can be used in formulations up to 5% niacinamide with a low incidence of irritation and is a great wingman to the Retinols, helping to increase the tolerability of topical Vitamin A.

The Bzzz around B3!

The ‘B3-Hive’ of Skin Benefits at a glance…..

  • Has a broad anti-inflammatory activity
  • Assists in wound healing
  • Assists in post inflammatory hyperpigmentation by acting as a tyrosinase inhibitor interrupting melanin production
  • Helps to regulate sebum production
  • Reduces pore size
  • Effective skin lightening properties.
  • Acts as a tyrosinase inhibitor preventing the transfer of melanosomes to keratinocytes,
  • Safe for use whilst pregnant/breastfeeding including as treatment for pigmentation brought on by hormonal changes during pregnancy referred to as Melasma or the Mask of Pregnancy
  • Benefits are temporary and hyerpigmentation if use is discontinued.
Fine lines/Wrinkling
  • Increases collagen production
  • Decreases excess glycosaminoglycan (GAG) production in the upper layers of the skin (we need GAGS to act as part of the supporting structure of the dermis but too much results in a poor skin appearance)
  • Inhibits protein glycation helping to prevent the degradation of collagen
Skin Sallowness/yellowing
  • Skin sallowness seen in actinically damaged skin is believed to be a result of glycated cross-linked yellow-brown proteins that accumulate in the skin after sun exposure – photoaging. Vit B3 helps to repair the DNA damage in keratinocytes caused by UV exposure.
Atopic dermatitis and Rosacea
  • Maintains hydration
  • Restores barrier function which is disrupted by these conditions.
  • Anti inflammatory.
  • Assists in wound healing.
Non-melanoma skin cancer
  • Topically applied niacinamide has been shown to help reduce and prevent erythema induced by solar stimulated light.
  • Oral niacinamide reduces the onset of non-melanoma skin cancer

Vitamin B3 is More than a pretty face…..!

Vitamin B3’s skin health properties extend beyond it’s cosmeceutical uses. Studies show that people who had previously been diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancers and who supplemented their intake with an additional 500mg nicotinamide twice a day, over a period of one year found a 23% reduction in new diagnosis of non-melanoma skin cancers.

Dr Gary Halliday, a dermatologist from the University of Sydney, states “Niacinimide plays an important role in the prevention of non-melanoma skin cancers and is ‘now widely prescribed by Dermatologists in Australia”, confirming it’s beneficial role in skin health

Side effects from the topical application of nicotinamide are minor and rare and include: mild burning, itching and redness and resolve quickly with discontinued use.

Cross pollination and patents pending!

During my research for this blogpost I stumbled across a patent pending with Proctor and Gamble for formulation of a new product containing both vitamin A and nicotinamide…………definitely something to watch out for!

The BZZZZ around Vit B3 – particularly in its Niacinamide form – whether taken orally or as a cosmeceutical ingredient make it a popular choice due to it’s ablility to treat a wide variety of skin conditions and for it’s ability to be well tolerated with little or no side effects.

In my opinion the skin alphabet would be lost without it!













LOOK SHARP! Dermaplaning the new ‘IT GIRL’ or just an expensive shave?

I confess, I have been a slow adopter of this new technique in exfoliation; and yes, cynicism may have gotten in the way of my adoption ! Though not for my colleagues however, who have always maintained Dermaplaning’s benefits…. but for me it’s been a challenging sell.

Anytime a murderously sharp scalpel blade is proximal to my face or body’s main blood supply, in the absence of MBBS or Bachelor of Surgery, is always a good time to question….then client feedback stepped in!

A returning parade of happy, glowing skinned clients convinced me: maybe Dermaplaning is more than just an expensive shave after all !

Are you ready to go under the knife?

Dermaplaning aka Epiblading or Epidermal Levelling is a painless process using a scalpel blade and a gentle back and forth motion, scraping the uppermost epidermal layers of the skin and vellus hair of the face. Essentially it’s a mechanical form of exfoliation and leaves the skin feeling instantly smooth and dewy, allowing for greater penetration of skin care products and a flawless finish when applying makeup.

As a stand alone treatment it has its merits and  combined with other cosmetic procedures such as chemical peels or light based therapies, it’s ability to enhance penetration of both peeling agents and  light absorption increases the benefits of cosmetic outcomes.

Who is a candidate

Dermaplaning’s suitability for all skin types is what makes this treatment so popular. However, I would always recommend steering an active acneic skin away from derma planing until breakouts have healed to reduce the risk of spreading infection.

Skin TYPES suitable for Dermaplaning-
  • Skin with fine downy/vellus hair
  • Thickened skin types
  • Fine lines and hyperpigmentation
  • Enlarged or keratinised pores
  • Milia
  • Flaking/dry skin
  • Pregnant or lactating clients
Unsuitable skin conditions
  • Active acne or infections
  • Sensitive/broken skin
  • Skins with thick coarse hair

Will the hair grow back thicker?

Nooooooo is the simple answer! The pattern and rate of hair growth is not affected. The vellus hair is cut at a 45% angle at the skin’s surface ensuring when it does grows back it doesn’t have the stubble feel of post shaving.

Whats the ‘downy’ side?

An inexperienced operator may cause small nicks in the skin. Avoid this by choosing a clinician who demonstrates exceptional knife skills!

There is no ‘downy time’ however you may experience some redness and a little sensitivity. Ensure sunscreen is applied post treatment.

Treatment recommendations

At the clinic we recommend every three to four weeks between treatments for optimal results.

The beauty of Dermaplaning is the instant results it is able to achieve and to quote Shark Tank ‘for this reason I’m in’ and you’ll find me wielding my scalpel like a Samurai for an inexpensive shave!









Warning this post contains biased content!

 If you’re considering using Black Salve as a ‘natural’ alternative skin cancer….think again! Back up on the Black Salve!

As more and more people access Dr Google as their primary health care provider, the potential for misdiagnosis and mistreatment with potentially disastrous consequences looms large, – especially where the controversial Black Salve is concerned.

Skin cancers come in many shapes, sizes and colours and are not always able to be seen with the naked eye. They are sometimes very tricky to diagnose even for a skilled professional, which is why a thorough medical history, skin examination using specialised equipment, biopsy and the skill set of a specialised health professional all contribute to definitively diagnose skin cancer…… even then, some slip through to the gatekeeper.

 Don’t believe everything you read on the net!

Living in Queensland, the skin cancer capital of Australia, I see many clients who have successfully sought medical intervention for the removal of their skin cancers with great cosmetic and clinical outcomes but increasingly – and thanks to Dr Google, growing numbers of clients present who have already self diagnosed and initiated treatment of their ‘skin cancers’ with what they have been encouraged to consider to be a more natural treatment option – Black Salve.

Sadly, I have seen first hand the disastrous cosmetic results of this potentially dangerous practice, which often includes hypo-pigmentation, tissue destruction (and deep, permanent scarring needing surgical revision.

(A quick search on the internet will reveal horrific examples of people with  large areas of noses missing after using  Black Salve!! – go on I dare you to look.)

Slack jawed I read testimonials on many of Facebook’s Black Salve’s discussion group pages from people offering up well meaning advice on how to treat these strange spots which have recently appeared – ‘what have you got to lose’, or ‘just use it’ are some of the comments which may turn out to be the most terminal advice ever given.

A case study describing Black Salve causality published in 2014 was of a woman diagnosed with melanoma who declined to undergo surgical removal – instead preferring to purchase black salve over the internet – and returning 5 years later with the tragic outcome of metastatic melanoma cancer throughout her body.

What is it and how black salve works…?

 Black Salve, Red salve Cansema, blood root, Herbveil8, Can-X, CentreForce ,Curaderm, Hoxsey’s dark red paste, Mexican black salve, and PureCents are all common names and derivatives of   Sanguinaria Canadensis (an ammonium salt and alkaloid) derived from the botanical bloodroot, described on the internet as a safe and effective way of treating anything from moles, warts, skin tags to skin cancers.

 When mixed with zinc chloride into a paste, and used topically, it creates what is called an eschar. This paste has been described as possessing properties that preferentially targets and kills cancer-affected cells, leaving behind healthy tissues. Most sadly this claim is unfounded in evidence. Its mechanism of action is still unclear but it is thought the bloodroot causes widespread cell death by apoptosis whilst the zinc chloride corrodes the tissue when applied topically. Black salve is like a nuclear missile, indiscriminately, destroying it’s target and everything in it’s path.

An eschar (/ˈɛskɑːr/; Greek: eschara) is a slough or piece of dead tissue that is cast off from the surface of the skin, particularly after a burn injury, but also seen in gangrene, ulcer, fungal infections, necrotizing spider bite wounds, spotted fevers and exposure to cutaneous anthrax.

mmmmm….Not so natural….

When people considering black salve as a natural treatment alternative for skin cancer they may be disappointed to learn Black Salve contains the chemical zinc chloride. Zinc chloride, a known skin irritant, is used in the industrial manufacturing of textiles and metal work and is added to help penetrate the epidermis. It’s a chemical synthesised from zinc and hydrochloric acid and does not generally occur naturally.

Know the Side effects and risks of Black salve

  •  Obscures tumour identification
  • Unconfirmed clearance of cancer cells
  • Increase of cancer recurrence or spread
  • Destruction and invasion of healthy tissue – imprecise anatamical application of paste resulting in larger than necessary wound and deformity
  • Poor cosmetic outcome
  • Slower healing
  • Greater risk of complications due to infection
  • Open wound
  • Hypopigmentation
  • Deficits- hollows in the skin due to dermal and subcutaneous tissue destruction

Tip: the longer a wound takes to heal the increased risk of scarring

What the authorities say….

Although our Therapeutic Goods Australia (TGA) regulatory body have not banned the use of Black Salve in Australia, they have strongly advised against the use of black salve or any of its derivatives.

 “The TGA is not aware of any credible, scientific evidence which shows that any black or red salve preparation is effective in treating cancer.”

We know early detection and accurate diagnosis goes a long way in reducing preventable deaths from skin cancer. The use of black salve may increase the risk of diagnostic delay by obscuring cancers and delaying appropriate treatment

As a skin health professional I always try to advocate for my readers and provide content enabling you to make informed decisions based on evidence-based research. Based on this philosophy, I unequivocally recommend against the use of Black Salve….the risks and side effects are not in favour of Black Salve when treating skin cancer!

Have you had any experience with Black Salve?

NO ONE PUTS BABY IN THE SUN || Sun Protection Tips for Babies!

‘No One Puts Baby in the Sun’, but many times it’s unavoidable. Many mothers have experienced the sickening feeling of realising their babies have been sunburnt. As you may have  recently read one of Australia’s most trusted sunscreen brands has come under fire after an horrified mother took to Facebook to show her gorgeous 3 month old baby suffering the effects of what she describes as a ‘rash/burn’ after using the Cancer Council Peppa Pig 50+ sunscreen to protect her baby whilst outdoors. This story unleashed a barrage of over 1600 comments initiating a dialogue amongst  parents, many of whom appeared to be unaware of how to adequately provide sun protection for their young babies.

The Cancer Council of Australia aren’t the only sunscreen manufacturers on the end of the ‘angry stick’ of unhappy parents who’ve applied sunscreen to their babies, assuming their babies are protected, only to have their children suffer nasty sunburn/rashes….. just the most recent.

Viewing the photos on Facebook it’s easy and understandable for us mothers to apportion blame  on  the sunscreen manufacturer. Its heart wrenching and very emotional to see your, or any baby, hospitalised with such a severe reaction to the sun, especially  as a parent  who is practising the Sunsmart message  of Slip Slop Slap; but for very young babies whose skin is skin is vulnerable to the absorption of chemicals and with no natural protection against the sun’s harmful rays, sunscreen may not be the most appropriate method of sun protection according to the American Academy of Paediatricians.

but first some background….

a melanoma lottery!

One lottery you don’t want to buy a ticket for….!

We now know skin cancer develops as a result of earlier sun exposure and just one blistering childhood sunburn can increase the risk of developing melanoma by up to 50% later in life according to authorities.

Should you apply sunscreen to babies?


Paediatricians recommend avoiding sun exposure altogether in the first 6 months of life. However where sun exposure  is unavoidable, an inorganic sunscreen such as zinc is preferred rather than a chemical sunscreen, on sun exposed areas, which may be less irritating to baby’s sensitive skin.

Why cant I use sunscreen on my baby?

Babies skin differs from adults in that it starts at birth with very little protection and  develops its protective barrier function throughout the first 33 months of life.

The higher skin-surface area to body-weight ratio, and thinner epidermis means greater absorption of chemicals in sunscreens through the skin,  increasing the risk of adverse skin reactions such as photo allergic rashes. These factors together with a lack of melanin (the pigment which gives skin it’s colour and which offers limited natural sun protection) make a baby’s skin far more vulnerable to the suns harmful rays when compared to adults or children.

Melanin offers natural but limited sun protection from the sun’s harsh rays and should not be relied upon for sun protection in adults or children.

Tips to protect babies from sunburn

   less than 6 months
  • Keep babies less than 6 months out of the sun and in the shade as much as possible
  • Use window shades for car windows
  • Choose a pram with a movable hood to provide screening
  • Purchase pram shade covers which are able to block 70% or more of the suns harmful UV rays. These are often a combination of densely woven fabric combined with a  mesh section to allow for air circulation and for baby to see.
  • Dress baby in lightweight protective clothing including hat and protective eyewear
  • Watch your baby carefully for signs of sunburn such as redness or fussiness- this may be a sign they’re uncomfortable with the heat and getting sunburned.

Tip; If you can see through the light weight fabric it probably doesn’t offer much sun protection. 

    Babies 6 -12months
  • Sunscreen may now be used but patch testing is advisable. Patch test using a small amount on the inside of the wrist over a 3 day period, checking for any irritation or redness prior to use.
  • Continue to dress baby in light weight sun protective clothing.
  • A broad spectrum sunscreen sensitive skin/tear free formula is advised to apply to exposed areas such as arms and legs
  • Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before venturing outside and reapply every 2 hours, or after excessive sweating or swimming.
  • Avoid aerosol sunscreens as they don’t provide a reliable coverage

When it comes to sun protection in babies prevention is always better than cure. Practise safe sun protection and if baby shows signs of becoming sunburnt, get out of the sun immediately and apply cool compresses, keep well hydrated with breast milk/ formula/water and see your Doctor.






SkinTipTuesdays || Tipping a Winner…or Not!


Well I never.…. who could have predicted America’s political #trumptastrophy…and I didn’t,  as didn’t a lot of other people?

Judging from my Instagram feed and the media fallout post election, most people are incredulous at the unexpected outcome of the American Presidential campaign.

I, alongside many other people, sit mouth agape, amongst  the campaign carnage, perplexed and amazed at how ‘the Donald’ actually ‘Trumped’ his way to victory?

In my mind, @HellYeahforHillary was going to romp it in, but now both Hill and I are having to ‘fall on our swords’ and, ‘concede defeat. Obvious now I  didn’t tip the winner and with the benefit of hindsight, I’m graciously withdrawing from my inaccurate forecasting  of American politics, taking a tip from the universe and sticking to what I do know. Skin!

Instagram users have an insatiable appetite for skin care  tips and like the American staple of buffalo wings with blue cheese dressing: one is never quite enough is it?  Bring on #SkinTipTuesdays!

Instagram SkinTipTuesdays are where I feed practical tips and science, evidenced based skin care advice, to those devoted to all things skin, on Instagram. Tips which deconstruct and demystify the ‘smoke and mirrors’ surrounding skincare, helping you get more bang from your skin care buck.

So ‘Skin Up’, back  away from those buffalo wings, and console yourself with a generous serving of  my  favourite  #SkinTipTuesdays Instagram posts…… reliable, winning tips with a ‘proven projected’ outcome !


16. 0f My Top #SkinTipTuesdays 2016!

 1. HYDRATE on repeat!

Hydration is what keeps the cellular processes in our body functioning optimally. For every alcoholic drink your body expels 4 glasses of water! Its recommended to alternate every 1-2 alcoholic drinks with a glass of water

2.Your lips are often a good indicator of when your skin needs more moisture.

If your lips are feeling a bit dry, humidity may have dropped and it might be time to add more moisture into your skincare routine.

3.Keep EYECREAMS in the fridge!

Not only does it extend the shelf life of the product, it is soothing whilst having a vasocontricting (tightening) effect on blood vessels helping to reduce redness and puffiness.

4. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, important for skin health.

Vitamin C is very unstable when exposed to air and light, turning a brown/orange colour. Any skin preparations containing Vitamin C or Ascorbic Acid which have discoloured should be discarded. This means they’ve oxidised and cannot provide any skin benefits! Tip;Use your vitamin C at night!

5.When performing your routine skin checks for skin cancer, Ensure the skin underneath TATTOOS are thoroughly checked as they can disguise new skin growths and moles especially if the ink is dark!
6.Avoid using over-the-counter skin care products containing RETINOL and prescription retinoids

Discontinue Vit A derivatives two to five days prior to waxing.Vit A increases photosensitivity  in the skin creating an increased risk of burning when exposed to UV light  and light based treatments, and also helps to reduce the risk of removing skin along with hair when waxing.

7. ACNE News

 Isotretinoin is still the gold standard when treating Acne Vulgaris. A new study shows the combination of isotretinoin together with antihistamines have a significant decrease in acne lesion counts, sebum, erythema and side effects such as dry skin and mucous membranes caused by isotretinoin.

8. To B3 or not to B3?

Cosmeceutical companies are taking advantage of the many benefits of Vitamin B3. In skincare products you’ll recognise it as niacinamide, nicotinic and nicotinate esters. Niacinamide is most commonly used as it’s able to penetrate the skin without causing irritation.Some of It’s many benefits include;• enhances barrier function • helps reduce sensitivity and irritation • acts as a skin lightener- preventing the transfer of melanin to skin cells • helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles • helps to reduce the onset of Actinic Keratosis We should definitely B3ing!

9.Get the best out of your products by knowing when to use them, it’s all in the timing!

✔️AM || use products containing sunscreen and antioxidants.

✔️PM || Retinols and richer more nourishing products.

10. Lets get Fruity

Fruit enzymes are used in ‘exfoliators’ to help remove superficial layers of the skin,improving texture, hydration, pigmentation and assisting in the absorption of companion skincare products. Types of enzymes used include bromelain- derived from pineapples, and papain – derived from papaya; allergies from papain are very common so it’s a good idea to patch test prior to use. Tip || Test on the inside of the forearm once a day for 3 days, checking for any redness or irritation….any irritation will be your stop light!

11.Get more out of your products by applying to damp skin-helps skin absorption and easier application.
12.October is breast cancer awareness month and a good time to remind us all to check our breasts regularly. Something else to look out for are changes in skin colour and texture.

When the lymph vessels that help our bodies fight infection become blocked by cancer cells, they can cause the breast skin to change in colour and texture. Redness, swelling, itching, scaling, dimpled or skin which becomes puckered are signs you need to get checked …just saying!

13. Retinols/Retinoids/Vitamin A are all degraded by light or when exposed to air.

In order to maintain product efficacy correct packaging is important, that is; a pump which reduces oxidation when exposed to air or metal packaging preventing light degradation. A shelf life of 6-9 mths can be expected.


A common misconception is that wounds should be air dried and a scab allowed to form. Recent studies now confirm that keeping wounds moist and covered with dressings not only reduces pain and the risk of infection but also results in faster healing times when compared to dry wound healing.’ ….busting a myth from my recent blog in SCAR FREE || TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR SCAR MINIMISATION EXPLAINED!

 15.  If your skin care products are packaged in a pot,,inhibit bacteria growth by using a spatula rather than fingers when applying to your face!

 Here’s one of my helpful tips from an older blog post – apply sunscreen 20-30 minutes before you go into the sun and then again 15-30 mins after sun exposure begins – this is the key to protection! Titanium and zinc based sunscreens offer immediate protection.

If you’ve developed an appetite for #SkinTipTuesday come join me on Instagram every Tuesday, I’d love to see you!

Susan x







Scar Free || Treatment options for scar minimisation explained!


It’s all fun and games until you end up over the handle bars of your bike….scenes of tears, scars or worse, Brad Pitt-less – that is if you’re Angelina! Unless you live in a bubble or are Teflon coated, chances are you won’t have a skin which is ‘Scar Free’.  Whether from surgery, pool dives gone wrong, cuts, stretchmarks or even acne; scars are an inevitable tracing of a life well lived. Wherever the skin has been broken and needs to repair itself, there will be a story to be told with a scar.

 Defintion:Scar – a mark left on the skin or within body tissue where a wound, burn, or sore has not healed completely and fibrous connective tissue has developed.

 Any injury to our skin can result in a temporary or sometimes unwelcome permanent scar. If it’s not a conversation opener at a dinner party, we spend a lot of time disguising, covering or wanting to get rid of them.

 Unlike the gorgeous Kate Middleton, your scar isn’t hidden beneath your hairline, there are a number of scar minimisation treatment options available to help reduce the appearance of those unwanted scars.

Skin heals unpredictably and so it can tough to predict the nature and extent of scarring after an injury or operation. Multiple factors including skin type, age, health status and the depth and nature of the injury to the skin all contribute to how a scar heals and what residual signs or scars may be left. Different skin types also have an impact on how the skin heals For example, Asian or darker skin types have an increased risk of developing keloid, hypertrophic scarring or post inflammatory hyper pigmentation.


 First up….Types of scars

 Mature scars are scars which have completed the healing process. These types are definitely more challenging to treat.

Flat scars are scraped knees, abrasions or common superficial injuries.

 Atrophic scars are indented or depressed scars where and include the destruction of the supporting structure of the dermis- seen in post acne scarring.

 Keloid or Hypertrophic scars occur from superficial to deep injury of the skin and more commonly affect darker skin types or those with an Asian descent. They may undergo surgical revision with no guarantee of resolution. Keloid scars usually occur from the chest up, where scar tissue grows outside the borders or boundaries of the original scar or injury – seen in tribal markings or facial piercings.

 Hyper-pigmentation This is where there is a darkening of the skin caused by an increase in melanin production in the post inflammatory phase of a wound repair. Sun exposure during the healing process can exacerbate this.

Hypo-pigmentation is a loss of melanin to the site of injury and may be permanent or temporary depending on the depth of injury.

Early tip; Before that scar horse bolts…… Good wound care and scar prevention is always better than seeking scar minimisation treatment options.

 A quick tour on how the skin heals…

There are three phases in wound healing and they all overlap each other ultimately resulting in the healing of a wound-

Inflammatory phase the bodies first response, is to stop the bleeding and send in it’s army of protective cells to ward off infection as well as cells that will direct the healing process .

Proliferation phase– is the crucial rebuilding stage where epithelial cells (skin cells) resurface the wound — seen in a scab.

Maturation phase this is the final stage and the replacement of collagen from type III to type 1.During this phase erythema or redness decreases. This phase may take up to 2 years to complete.

Myth busting.A common misconception is that wounds should be air dried and a scab allowed to form. Recent studies now confirm that keeping wounds moist and covered with dressings not only reduces pain and the risk of infection but also results in faster healing times when compared to dry wound healing.


Tip; A quicker a wound heals the less of a scar it will form.

You’ve got that Scar now what?

Treatments explained….
  • Sunscreen –  Sun protection is vital for minimising the appearance of scars preventing hyper or hypo pigmentation – Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect against UVA and UVB rays.

Tip; the zinc in broad-spectrum sunscreens has great healing properties in addition to sun protection.

  • Massage the wound gently – this helps in breaking down and lessons the risk of thick scarring from forming. Massaging should only be performed during the maturation phase of healing.
  • Retinols – when applied topically these Vitamin A derivatives help to control hyperpigmentation whilst facilitating cell renewal.
  •  Silicon gel sheeting – Putting a sheet of silicon gel on a scar every day may help it fade or keep it from getting worse. The sheeting is available at pharmacies or from dermatologists and should be used for at least 3 months.
  • Concealer – A quick fix! Pick a shade that is waterproof and most effective with the colour of your scar and skin tone. For a pink scar use concealer with green undertones, for a brown scar, try a concealer with a yellow undertones.
  • Dermal fillers – Injecting substances such as collagen or fat can immediately raise sunken atrophic scars. However, this treatment isn’t permanent and may need to be repeated regularly to maintain benefit.
  • Steroid injections – These may help flatten raised scars, but a long-term course may be needed note-Long term use of steroids in the skin may also cause a thinning of the skin.
  • Dermabrasion – This procedure abrades the surface of the skin,helping to reduce the look of raised scars.
  • Laser resurfacing  – The skin surface is removed with lasers, or lasers are used to work on the collagen in the dermis without removing the upper layer of skin.
  • Micro-needling – Small needles are delivered into the dermal layers of the skin, to break down scar tissue and stimulate the formation of new collagen.
  • Subcision – The sharp edge of a hypodermic needle is used to break down fibrous connective strands underneath the scar to improve appearance .
  • Surgery – You can’t remove a scar entirely with surgery, but you can alter its size, depth, or colour. Surgery isn’t suggested for hypertrophic or keloid scars because it can make them worse.Consult with an experienced Plastic Surgeon or Cosmetic Surgeon prior to considering this option.

The good news is scars do resolve themselves significantly over time but some may never completely disappear.It’s good to know however, that for those people who can do without the permanent reminder of a life well lived, there are many scar minimisation treatment options available.

Have you had any success with removing scars?

Susan x

IN the BLINK of an EYE || Eye creams, are they worth it ?



Never trust the eyes with a secret! In the blink of an eye they’ll reveal all.Our emotions, our health and age, all without even batting an eyelid. Whilst dark circles and puffiness expose our lifestyle choices, fine or permanent lines become the barometer of our chronological age – all visible signs of ageing.

A 41 second Google search tells me 1,990,000 people are talking about, purchasing or searching for a miracle in the form of an eye cream, which will reduce these visible signs of aging. … quite a demand, with high expectations not always met.

 Hedging my bets…

 My Keeping Skin Care Simple and Sensible approach doesn’t always include an eye cream in my personal skin care arsenal. I do love the luxurious formulations of eye creams but I vacillate between essential and superfluous. As a Dermal Clinician, my philosophy is – if your skincare already contains cell communicating, active ingredients in an hydrating formulation, then eye creams may not always  be necessary. However, if the skin around your eyes differs significantly from the rest of your face and you have specific concerns for your skin around the eye area, then an eye cream may be of benefit!

 …..but first some Anatomy

 The skin around the peri-orbital (eye) area varies slightly from the rest of the skin on the face and body. It is the thinnest skin on our bodies, measuring a mere 0.04mm – 0.2mm thick, containing less appendageal glands (sweat and oil glands), resulting in a drier and potentially less supple skin.

 The Obicularis Oculi, the muscle surrounding the eye, sits directly below this thin skin and is responsible for the ‘crows feet’ that form at the sides of the eyes. We blink approximately 28,000 times a day. This repetitive movement, together with environmental exposure, drier and  thinner skin, makes this area more vulnerable to the visible signs of aging.

So why might I need an eyecream?

 Generally speaking most eye creams are made from heavier formulations designed to hydrate the area where there are less sweat and oil glands.

Being more fragile than the rest of the skin on the face means that this area is also quite vulnerable to textual/pigmentary changes.

Introducing scientifically proven cosmeceutical ingredients into an eye cream, together with careful and gentle application, is able to assist in addressing some of the most common peri- orbital concerns.


 Eyeing off ingredients in eye creams….

Unless those bags are Louis Vuitton,’check in’ that puffiness!

Puffiness can be due to a number of factors including a collection of fluid, a high salt dietary intake, allergies, not enough sleep, alcohol, eye irritation and poor elasticity of this fragile skin.

Establishing the cause goes a long way in addressing the concerns when choosing the correct eye cream.

  • Caffeine is an alkaloid extracted from the leaves and beans of the coffee tree, functioning as a diuretic helping to remove excess fluid build up around the eyes.
  • Neotensil is a contracting polymer product and when applied to the skin contracts, forming a ‘spanx’ type of effect, smoothing the skin underneath the eye. This effect can last up to 16 hours.
  • Manage allergens causing the puffiness.
  • Make lifestyle changes in either diet or sleep patterns.

Tip; refrigerate your eyecream to help reduce puffiness


 Dark circles …. ‘My, what beautiful dark bags you have ‘said no one ever unless you’re Nick cave!

 Dark circles or per-iorbital pigmentation occurs when there is a thinning of the skin, a loss of fat, venous stasis, medications, allergies, asthma, eczema, fatigue, genes and photo-aging.

 Skin lightening ingredients to include in eye creams
  • Licorice root is an anti-inflammatory with pigment lightening properties and may be helpful after establishing the cause of the pigmentation.
  • Vitamin C assists in skin tone texture and laxity and is an essential for the synthesis of collagen; increasing skin thickness.
  • Retinols are the cornerstone of anti-aging products with their abilities to reduce the appearance of fine lines, hype-rpigmentation and skin texture but in some individuals they can cause eye irritation and as a result are often avoided around the sensitive eye area. Include retinoid derivatives such as retinaldehyde rather than retinoic acid.
  • Niacinamide or Vitamin B3 is effective in skin lightening by interrupting the melanosome transfer to keratinocytes and has anti-inflammatory properties
  • Makeup concealer/highlighter are products containing mica or other tiny particulate light reflective particles to increase under-eye light reflection and optically decrease eye puffiness. 

Nothing to crow about!

‘Crows feet’ or laugh lines form due to accumulative UV exposure and repetitive muscle movement.

  • Niacinamide  Vitamin B3
  • Vitamin E functions as a protective agent for the cell membrane. Studies show improvements in wrinkling when applied topically and has shown to decrease UV induced photo damage
  • Peptides are short chain amino acids and the building blocks of proteins, instrumental in cell communication. Skin penetration is questionable due to the large molecular size but evolving technology in formulations means change is emerging.
  • Alphahydroxy acids such as glycolic, mandelic and lactic acid (AHA’s) all exfoliate the skin, increasing skin thickness. Improving synthesis of glycosaminoglycans (GAGS- help maintain hydration in the skin), collagen, and possibly elastic fibres.
  • Hyaluronic acid acts as an humectant able to bind to water 1000 times its own volume increasing hydration.
  • Ceramides help to maintain barrier function and reduce trans epidermal water loss (TEWL), improving skin hydration.
  • Vitamin C
  • Green tea exhibits anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic properties. The anti-aging benefits of green tea are postulated as a result of its anti oxidant properties mopping up the nasty free radicals which contribute to skin cell aging.
  • Resveratrol derived from the skin of grapes, blueberries, raspberries, mulberries is an antioxidant with photo-protective properties.
  • Dimethicone is a silicone based product which temporarily minimises fine lines by filling and hydrating the peri-orbital area prior to makeup application and is washed off with cleansing.
  • Retinols

 A common bond

An essential ingredient common to all treatment options is the number one anti-aging weapon…


Include sunscreen wherever possible in any skin care opportunity to help reduce the visible signs of aging and why not ‘Rock Star’ it and reduce squinting, with large framed protective eye wear.

Remember if irritation develops with any eye cream discontinue use immediately.

Susan X

Have you found your perfect eye cream….tell me about it?



SKIN-ERCISE – Exercising for Healthier Skin!


In an effort to reduce our rapidly expanding national girth, health professionals advise us to include exercise into our daily routines ensuring we are mind, body and soul healthy.

Recently researchers have discovered our hot and sweaty efforts may now have positive benefits for our skin’s health. If you’re less serious about exercise and more serious about skin care, I just may be able to provide that extra motivation you need to throw down that remote and leap off the lounge to engage in some Skin-Ercise; exercising for healthier skin!

 It appears the fountain of youth may just be as simple as whacking on some runners and ‘active wear’  and engaging in some moderate exercise!  (Surprise! Active wear can be worn outside the coffee shop!)

Researchers have found that exercise, in addition to all its other well-known health benefits, does indeed aid the skin and may well be able to keep your skin looking younger longer and that it’s never too late to turn back the hands of time!


Throw down that remote, throw on some Olivia and ‘Lets Get Skin-Ercising’….

Exercise aids in prevention of disease and maintaining our overall health but how does it benefit the skin?

 Regular, moderate exercise boosts circulation and helps to excrete toxins and wastes through sweating. When we exercise our blood vessels dilate, delivering a ‘double shot’ of nutrient rich, oxygenated blood to the skin, demonstrated in that post workout glow. Exercise also helps to produce collagen, the protein that provides structure to the skin, maintaining elasticity and firmness.

 Need some proof…..Antioxidant = Antiaging?

 A 2006 study Moderate exercise is an antioxidant: Upregulation of antioxidant genes by training discusses the production of antioxidant enzymes  during exercise and found they behave in a similar way as an antioxidant; mopping up the free radicals which contribute to ageing. The key word here is ‘moderate’. Conversely, strenuous exercise can have a negative impact on our bodies…no need to overdo it!


 Diabetics have impaired  blood flow to the skin  leading  to ulcers, blisters, skin infections and slow healing wounds.

 Reduced circulation is also responsible for a decrease in collagen formation.

 Exercise increases circulation to the skin and by promoting weight control contributing to the regulation of blood sugar levels which are abnormally elevated in diabetes.

 Obesity related skin conditions

 Obesity is responsible for an increase in sweating- responsible for drier skin due to an increase water loss across the skin barrier.

 Increased strain on vessels and veins can cause fluid retention-lymphodema.

 Skin folds harbour moisture – a perfect environment for bacterial and fungal growth leading to skin irritations. Skin conditions such as psoriasis and keratosis pilaris are more commonly seen.

 Exercise helps in weight control and can minimise the onset of skin conditions associated with obesity.


 Exercise helps to relieve the symptoms of stress by secreting the ‘feel good’ hormone seretonin in contrast to  stress which initiates the release of an hormone called cortisol. Excessive cortisol release  over long periods can trigger unfavourable skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, eczema, hair loss and even an autoimmune disease called vitiligo – where areas of the skin becomes depigmented in patches.


 In addition to providing nutrients and oxygen to the skin, exercise and sweating  can also help to propel toxins and dirt from the skin, preventing the follicles becoming blocked,  contributing to acne.

 Tips; Shower immediately after exercise to prevent bacterial growth found in acne.

 Lymphodema – a build up of excess fluid

 The lymphatic system is a highly specialised network of vessels which form part of the immune system and whose job it is to transport excess fluid and waste products to lymph nodes for filtering.

A build up of  lymph fluid can cause a thickening of the skin , slow healing ulcers, dry warty spots and infections such as cellulitis.

 Exercise and movement is crucial in propelling lymphatic fluid towards lymph nodes and avoiding a build up.

 Wait there’s more….

Don’t skip that post workout coffee…..a recent article in the Dermatology Times discusses caffeine, when combined with exercise, helps to reduce the incidence of non-melanoma skin cancers in mice…….C’mon ‘Tom and Jerry’ repurpose that activewear, lets Skin- ercise…… I’ll see you at the gym!

Susan- ASkinSolutions x

Have you noted any skin changes whilst Skin-Ercising?

SKIN DIARY OF A DERMAL CLINICIAN – what a skin professional uses on her own skin !

IMG_0586 (1)


This month I’m getting down, dirty and a little bit personal, opening my bathroom cabinet with a peek inside my personal skin care toolbox, with a little too revealing of my no fuss, no muss approach to skin care.

As a Dermal Clinician and skin health professional I’m sharing my daily skin care diary with a glimpse into what a skin health professional does (or rather doesn’t do) to keep her skin healthy and looking it’s best… may be surprised!

You won’t see a bathroom cabinet heaving with products. I maintain a simple skincare philosophy; combining ingredients that deliver results, backed up by scientific evidence. My message of Keeping Skincare Simple is what works best for my skin.

Acknowledged or otherwise,  being on the front line of skincare/skinhealth means there are pressures to maintain and present a happy, healthy skin…. after all,  you wouldn’t go to a dentist with bad teeth would you?

My minimalistic streamlined approach to skincare was born from lack of time with a splash of laziness – no Robinson Crusoe here – so what little I do do for my skin needs to be both effective and time efficient and able to treat the visible signs of ageing, of which there are a plenty….I’ll get to that!

You would expect and assume, with my background in skin sciences I’d have this ‘skin thing’ all sown up, with the perfect formula for radiant, glowing and youthful skin at my fingertips. As they say, ‘careful, assuming makes an ASS out of U and Me’ and it not  surprisingly, I don’t always have the perfect skin 100% of the time. Yes, being a Dermal Clinician means I have the skills and resources in my skin care arsenal to know what works and what doesn’t when treating my own skin, but there are times when my skin doesn’t always play nice!

Under the magnifying lamp…

With my Dermal Clinician  hat on, there’s no denying that this more than middle aged woman is suffering from the effects of the visible signs of ageing, due in part to a misspent youth on the beaches of Sydney. Pigmentation/ skin laxity/increasing dryness together with the occasional spot and ohh, my arch nemesis – fine lines and ‘wrinkles at rest’ all combine to produce the visible signs of ageing. They’re referred to as ‘wrinkles at rest’  because they remain permanently etched long after that last laugh… well, find a seat somewhere else!

Whats in that cabinet….

Morning routine
  • I use a gentle Cosmedix oil based cleanser –  Purity Solution morning and night as I find this to be the most efficient in removing makeup and dirt. I tend to steer away from foaming cleansers as the lauryl sulfates needed for foaming to occur are a bit drying on my skin.
  • 2-3 times a week and in the shower I exfoliate with Clinicians Complex Microdermabrasion Cream which contains fine magnesium oxide crystals helping to remove a buildup of dead skin cells.
  • You can never have enough sun protection so I use a broad spectrum UV sunscreen doubling as my daily moisturiser…..might be a little lazy but it does the job!
  •  Colour Science manufacture a ‘Sunforgettable’ mineral based powder with 50+sunscreen –  water resistant , great when exercising.
Night-time weapons
  •  I repeat my cleansing ritual using a face washer which helps to exfoliate.
  • Whilst my skin is still damp I apply SkinMedica Vitamin C+E Complex serum which I allow to absorb-approx 1 minute (taking up almost ½ of my allocated routine)
  • This is followed by a prescription strength 0.05% Vitamin A – commonly known as Retrieve

Tip; Vitamin A and Vitamin C are best used at night as they’re  oxidized by air and light.

  • If I extra moisture is needed i reach for Cosmedix Rescue Balm/Mask which can be left on overnight – this can be quite occlusive and not for everyone but I love the thick texture and how hydrated my skin feels in the morning!

Tip; Don’t forget your neck and décolletage – extend product onto these areas as they’re often exposed to the sun.



 And with a little help from my friends…

Bi-annually I enlist the help of my colleagues for some IPL keeping pigmentation and redness under control.

I’m a fan of medical grade peels which resurface the skin. Both these treatments involve a little downtime but are well worth it when chasing a more youthful even skin tone.

I’ve made friends with muscle relaxants and dermal fillers but less is definitely more, when it comes to muscle relaxants and dermal fillers.

What I should do more of…..

  1. Eat less sugar –sugar causes inflammaging –a low grade chronic inflammation at the cellular level and sits alongside the sun as one of the causes of aging and in the aggravation of acne.

2. Drink more water- this hydration calculator will help you assess if you’re drinking enough water

3. Exercise more- – exercise helps to reduce cortisol, the hormone released when we’re stressed.

I plan on ageing disgracefully …. those visible signs of ageing are in for quite a fight… glove up wrinkles and pigmentation – I will not go quietly!

Disclosure :Lastly I’d like to mention this post is my personal skin diary as a Dermal Clinician and I have  included products I have purchased and found to be effective…..also no animals were kicked or maimed in the writing of this post!






A BUMPY RIDE……Treatment Options for Keratosis Pilaris or Chicken Skin!

A BUMPY RIDE-Treatment options for keratosis pilaris!

 The warmer months are when we’re more likely to see and feel the dry bumpy, sandpaper-like skin that flags the skin condition keratosis pilaris. Summer can be an embarrassing time for sufferers, and is when we’re more likely to notice the dry, sometimes itchy and inflamed bumps that resemble chicken skin; although the colder, drier months are when the condition typically worsens in appearance.

 If you can answer yes to any of the following questions you’re probably suffering from this common, easily identified, benign skin condition called keratosis pilaris or ‘chicken skin’.

  • Do you have skin, which looks perpetually goose-bumped or cold?
  • Do you suffer from dry, bumpy skin on your upper arms, thighs or bottom?
  • Do the bumps tend to worsen during dry weather?

 Don’t get ‘cooped up’, Keratosis pilaris is not infectious or life threatening, just cosmetically displeasing. Whilst there’s no  ‘cure all’ for this chronic skin condition, thankfully, there are many treatment options which can relieve the symptoms and help to reduce the appearance.

For some, keratosis pilaris causes sufferers to become extremely self-conscious, continuing to wear winter clothing long into sweltering summer conditions for fear of exposing their chicken skinned bingo wings, to the queuing anonymous behind them at the local supermarket.


If teenage years aren’t difficult enough…..

 Keratosis pilaris affects 50-80% of adolescents and commonly presents in puberty, resolving for the majority of sufferers in adulthood. No need to cry ‘fowl’ of this embarrassing condition, ‘cluck’ into action; there are treatment options available!

 What is it?

Keratosis pilaris is a common skin condition characterised by rough, dry patches and tiny bumps on the upper arms thighs cheeks or bottom. Keratosis pilaris is a buildup of skin cells called keratin which form a plug, blocking the hair follicle, forming the bump.Sometimes a small hair may be coiled beneath the bump.

 Why do we get it?

The origin of keratosis pilaris is unknown but it more frequently affects people with dry skin or sufferers of other skin conditions. It may also be an inherited condition affecting more females than males.

 Although there is no known cause there appears to be  a strong genetic link; 30-50 % of sufferers have a family history of keratosis pilaris, also people who also suffer with atopic dermatitis, dry skin, asthma and allergies have an increased predisposition.

 What can be done-Scratching around for treatment options!
  • Avoid cleansers containing sodium lauryl sulfates which may irritate the skin, instead use mild, gentle, non-soap cleansers such as an oil based cleanser.
  • Moisturise daily and often where possible.
  • Include Alpha Hydroxy Acids in moisturisers to help exfoliate dry skin such as lactic and glycolic acid.
  • Use loofahs or mitts to gently exfoliate the affected areas during showering, avoiding if  bumps are inflamed.
  • If the affected area is inflamed, consider salicylic acid which will help with exfoliation in addition to helping to reduce inflammation – salicylic get levitra pills new is  commonly seen in formulation with Urea cream.
  • Urea cream is a keratolytic used in helping to breakdown  hard, scaly skin.
  • Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and Lasers have also been found to be helpful with improving the overall skin texture and in reducing redness.

Keratosis pilaris “don’ts”

  • Don’t use harsh soaps cialis vente libre pharmacie france or cleansers.
  • Don’t scrub harshly or try to scrape off the skin especially if the area is inflamed.
  • Don’t expect immediate results with topical creams; be patient, diligent and consistent!
  • Never give up hope.

 In-clinic, I always try to encourage my clients to begin with the ‘KISS’ approach before embarking on expensive alternative treatment options; often the simple treatments result in the best outcomes. Remember, keratosis pilaris is a chronic skin condition requiring patience and long term maintenance for optimal results.

ASkinSolutions x

Do you have any treatment options which have worked, I’d love to hear them?