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 !

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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!









We Aussies love our sunburnt country! Many Australians will have experienced a ‘Sunburnt Sunday’. Unfortunately, those lazy Sundays  spent in the sun can manifest in pigmentary dischromias in the skin. These pigmentary dischromias are  caused by the  accumulation  of UV exposure and referred to as photoaging. Unwanted dark spots, uneven skin tone, solar lentigines (brown age spots) and even Melasma-a condition which can be triggered by the sun, hormones or have a genetic influence are a visible reminder of our fun in the sun.

Thankfully, there are a number of treatment options available to reduce the appearance of pigmentation, all involving persistence, patience and a little light based intervention. Depending on the type and severity of pigmenation treatment options can be tailored to skin type with great outcomes and happy campers!

When 2 tribes go to war- Hyper vs Hypopigmentation

Hypopigmentation is the absence of melanin and is caused by sun damage, seen in conditions such as Idiopathic  Guttate  Hypomelanosis and Vitligo. Idiopathic Guttate Hypomelanosis appears as ‘white spots’ in sun exposed extremities like arms and legs. Vtiligo includes larger areas of depigmentation and may be caused by an autoimmune disorder, triggered by sunburn, stress, genetics, viral infections or even physical trauma to the skin. In a recent blog I’ve detailed  available treatments options – From Valentino to Vitligo for further reading. Fungal infections such as Tinea Versicolour or Pityriasis Alba may also temporarily cause hypopigmentation and are successfully treated with anti-fungal or over the counter steroidal creams.

Hyperpigmentation occurs when the cells, which produce pigment in our skin called melanocytes, are overactive and produce an excess of melanin, resulting in an uneven distribution of pigment.-the cause of which can be due to sun damage, hormones or disease-which in some cases are more difficult to treat.

Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with hyperpigmentation. I hate that hyperpigmentation is a visible sign of aging-photoaging. Conversely, I love the outdoorsy lifestyle which keeps me on the hyperpigmentation treadmill of triggering pigmentation and it’s subsequent removal! I also love the many treatment options available used to treat my hyperpigmentation .I’ve used them all……well most of them, to successfully fade and treat my pigmentation… are my tips!


Weapons of mass pigmentary destruction

Home care arsenal – ingredients to look for and include in your skin care!
  • Sunscreen – prevents the oxidative stress caused by UV rays leading to pigmentation
  • AHA’s BHA’s  and Exfoliators – shortens the cell cycle, removes superficial skin cells,  interferes with pigment transfer and allows deeper penetration of lightening agents
  • Vitaminc C- inhibits melanocyte proliferation
  • Licorice extract
  • Bleaching agents Hydroquinone, Kojic acid, Azealaic acid and Arbutin
  • Retinols accelerates cell turnover
  • Niacinamde/Nicotinic acid/ Soy acts as a skin lightener working by inhibiting melanosome transfer from melanocytes – keratinocytes in the production of melanin.

Tip; Allow 12 weeks to see an improvement. As a point of reference, take a photo so you have something with which to compare and track improvement.

Bring on the big guns !

  • Lasers/ IPL – treat pigmented lesions by selective photothermolysis, Heating the targeted tissue, effectively destroying the pigmented cells.
  • Chemical peels are another great treatment option to consider.They can vary in strength and depth of penetration and should be tailored to skin type. Combinations of Glycolic and Lactic acids have been found useful in treating pigmentary disorders by lifting and exfoliating the superficial pigmented layers of the skin.
  • Kligmans formula – a combination topical therapy containing Vitamin A, Hydroquinone and a corticosteroid-prescription only and not advised for long term use.
  • Transexamic Acid an oral treatment used as a treatment for heavy periods it has been found to inhibit tyrosinase activity aiding in prevention of melanin production.

Understanding the types and causes of pigmentation will contraindicaciones del viagra en adultos mayores determine which treatment options will  achieve the best outcome. Together with a tailored home care program  ‘Winning the War’ against pigmentation has never been clearer!

Need some help with diagnosing what type of pigmentation you have, drop me a line?

Susan x






It seems that everybody is looking for the new miracle cure to ageing. This search for the “elixir of life” is not a new concept. The high dose antioxidant supplements are yet another attempt to slow the ageing process and prevent the negative outcomes and chronic diseases that accompany it. But are they doing your body more harm than good?

 Ever since the idea of reactive oxygen species (ROS) within the body and the harmful effects they cause, ways to counteract and neutralise them have flooded the market. ROS are electron seeking free radicals that break down proteins and cell membranes within the body. This cell and DNA damage is directly linked to the ageing process. Oxidative damage has links to things like skim damage and degeneration, degenerative disorders and some cancers. ROS are produced both by the body and from external stimulants. The most common forms of free radical production are metabolism, inflammation (most commonly from excess body fat), air pollution, smoking, UV light and radiation.

 The high dose antioxidant theory is a theory based on using high dose antioxidant supplements, as opposed to dietary dose in food, to scavenge all the free radicals in the body produced from both endogenous and exogenous sources. These supplements are an attempt to avoid or slow the ageing process and the associated chronic diseases. The power of antioxidants has been at the base of the supplement, neutraceutical and anti-ageing industry for the last 30 years. This is not to say that antioxidants themselves are not beneficial in slowing the ageing process, it is just in the supplement form that one must be cautious. The high doses that antioxidants are being marketed and sold to consumers can be more than 1000X more than one person needs.

There is little clinical evidence for efficacy of these supplements and in some cases toxicity is a very real risk. In smokers, beta-carotene supplementation showed an increase in risk of lung cancer. The body has its own pathways in place to cope with antioxidants. We need some levels of ROS in order to activate these pathways and it is possible that the high levels of antioxidants in supplements reduces the activation of these very effective pathways. It is possible that in high doses antioxidants can actually allow ROS levels to increase.


 So how do you get these antioxidants in healthy levels? Whole foods are the safest and most balanced way to obtain antioxidants in your diet. The compounds in food are multi-targets for multi factorial diseases. The combination of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals in the food also allow for better absorption and eliminates the risk of toxicity. A diet rich in a variety of food allows for synergy of constituents as opposed to the isolation in high dose supplements. Being able to substitute a healthy diet for a pill is still a fantasy with no real clinical efficacy or substantiated claims.

Antioxidants are in lots of delicious and easy to access foods. Almost all plant foods (whole grains included) contain an assortment of antioxidants; berries, apples, green leafy vegetables… the list goes on. As a general rule deeper and more varied fruit and vegetables tend to have a higher level of antioxidants.

Although not a quick fix pill, the safest and most effective way to get these anti-ageing antioxidants is through a balanced and healthy diet.

Ellen Foster has a Bachelor of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences from the University of Queensland. Ellen is passionate about health and wellness and is focussed on furthering her academic studies in Medicine.

Ellen Foster has a Bachelor of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences from the University of Queensland. Ellen is passionate about health and wellness and is focussed on furthering her academic studies in Medicine.



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 The Greeks have been getting a bum rap of late. I may not engage them for financial advice but when it comes to Souvlaki, Zorba the Greek and Demis Roussos, no one does it better!

They also gave us ‘Kolla’ the Greek word for glue which gives Collagen it’s name.

 Recently my social media feeds have been inundated with manufacturers of nutritional and cosmetic products marketing collagen supplements with claims of ‘healthier, younger skin, hair and nails’, #antiaging  #beauty.

These  expensive products are flying off the shelves in the same time it takes to whip out that plastic and pay wave!

 In a previous blog ‘Hope in a Jar’ I discuss the large molecular size of collagen preventing it being absorbed by the skin. This means any topical application of collagen stays exactly where it’s applied; on the skin until it’s either rubbed or washed off! Whilst it can’t be absorbed by the skin, what about in the intestine?

 Skin School!

 Collagen is a protein made up of amino acids which helps give structure to the skin. Collagen makes up 30% of our body’s protein content and is found not only in skin but in bones, tendons and muscles.

Collagen together with elastin and keratin provide a strong elastic envelope for our bodies but as we age we see a slowing of metabolic processes including the synthesis of collagen. This decrease in collagen creates a loss of elasticity and firmness resulting in fine lines and wrinkles.


Commensurate with an increase in age is a decline in collagen with  a rate of 1% per year for women; this means by the time we reach 50 we’ve already lost 50% of our natural collagen.

 Our environment plays a significant role in maintaining our collagen deposition. Stresses such as sun exposure, nutrition and pollutants all hastening the degradation of our collagen levels contributing to fine lines, sagging skin and loss of elasticity.

 ‘I am too much of a sceptic to deny the possibility of anything’Thomas Henry Huxley

 I, like a lot of consumers are sceptical (another Greek gift) as to, if any, the benefits of including supplemental collagen in our diets. Can drinking or eating hydrolysed collagen in addition to our normal dietary intake of protein, accelerate collagen synthesis within our bodies, enough to see a change in our skins? This is the hope of many consumers.

 With an open mind, a capsule of scepticism and access to a medical library I’m ‘Sherlocking’ for some evidence-based studies in support of this #antiagingmiracle !

 The premise of the manufacturers is these expensive collagen supplements are absorbed and broken down in the gut,transported via the bloodstream to the cells where they are used to synthesis collagen = bioavailability.

 ‘Bio availability is the degree to which a drug or other substance becomes available to the target tissue after administration.’


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What are they?

 Hydrolysed collagen forms the basis of the supplements and is created via the decomposition of collagen by a reaction with water molecules.

Collagen supplements are marketed in either tablet or powder, derived from the cartilage or scales from either marine or bovine sources and includes various combinations of vitamins and minerals. Vitamins C is often used as it is a cofactor in the synthesis of collagen and also for it’s anti-oxidant properties, The hydroxylation process breaks down the protein into amino acids which can be reassembled and used by the body.

 Almost convinced but….

 As often happens with skin care it’s difficult to find studies, without bias, supporting the claims of collagen supplement manufacturers.

 I found a recent 2014 study suggesting ‘Pure Gold Collagen can turn back the hands of time’ with some convincing results, however this study was engaged by Minerva, the manufacturer of the supplement. The study suggests the increase in collagen is due to its ability to inhibit degradation of existing collagen whilst promoting new collagen –resulting in increased density.

 Other studies have not been so favourable, questioning the bioavailability of supplements when compared to a diet rich in the nine amino acids needed by the body to synthesis collagen.

 Side effects –

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 I was a little disappointed to learn there is little evidence supporting collagen supplements and their marketed role in anti-aging. I’ve learnt a more affordable, efficacious and healthier source of  amino acids needed for collagen synthesis, is a diet rich in animal products such as cheese fish eggs milk and poultry, save your money and head for the ‘Department of Youth’ at your local market…Alice Cooper had the answer all along!

 Retinoids and sunscreen remain the gold stamp in anti-aging skincare. Their ability to retard the degradation of collagen whilst increasing collagen production is well supported in evidence-based studies.

Have you tried Collagen Supplements, I’d love to hear from you?

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