Friday, 27 April 2018

Wednesday, 25th April 2018

The Rise of Problem Skin

When looking at skin concerns, it appears that overall, both men and women are paying more attention to the ‘what’ and the ‘how to resolve it’. A recent study of 92 dermatology clinics found a 200% rise in the number of adults seeking specialist acne treatment (
Skin conditions on the rise include rosacea and pigmentation. Rosacea treatment enquiries are up by 92%, double compared to the year before. Hyperpigmentation, caused by the overproduction of the pigment Melanin, resulting in darker patches on the skin, makes the skin look uneven and ages the skin.
60% of British people currently suffer from or have suffered from a skin condition at some point during their lifetime.


So, what has caused this rise in skin concerns?

DIET sugar and processed foods
Diets high in sugar, lacking nutrients and full of processed foods, can lead to a host of adverse health issues, including heart disease, weight gain and skin problems. Yet, as a nation, we are consuming more sugar and processed foods than ever before. The World Health Organisation has stated that people should aim to get just 5% of their daily calories from sugary goods. However, the average is 12.3% for adults under 65 according to the national diet and nutrition survey (NDNS). Sugar can trigger a spike in blood sugar levels. This increases levels of insulin that can cause skin problems such as acne and rosacea. In fact, an overview of research carried out over the past 50 years has found that eating foods with a high glycaemic index (GI) not only aggravated acne, but in some cases triggered it too. (Acne: The Role of Medical Nutritional Therapy – Journal of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics)

HORMONES and stress factors

A survey carried out by AXA Insurance of 4000 people found that 4 out of 5 adults feel stressed during a typical week, while almost 1 in 10 were stressed all the time. There is now a greater understanding of the link between stress and adverse effects on skin health. For example, stress hormones trigger overproduction of sebum that can create or worsen acne. Raised levels of stress hormones promote the loss of water from the skin (Transepidermal Water Loss – TEWL) resulting in dry and dull skin. And hormonal imbalances such as PMS, pregnancy, puberty and menopause equally cause havoc to the skin.


Daily exposure to free radicals, including pollution, UVA/UVB rays can also lead to various skin issues. UV damage is the number 1 cause of disturbed functioning skin. Some damaging results are not seen on the surface until years later e.g. pigmentation marks, excessive wrinkles, leathery texture. Although more than eight out of ten people are worried about skin cancer, 72% have been sunburnt in the past year (British Association of Dermatologists).
Air pollution leads to premature ageing by accelerating wrinkles and age spots according to emerging scientific research (Journal of Investigative Dermatology: Traffic Related Air Pollution Contributes to Development of Facial Lentigines)
These situations and conditions can be helped and improved with the support of a Skin Aesthetician and a personalised programme of skin repair and rejuvenation.

If you have any concerns about skin problems or skin irritations, please give me a call on 01748 889350 or send me an email at, I have invested in the latest advanced skincare equipment and can offer specialised treatments and that can be tailor made to help. 

Thank You,

Kathy x

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Sleep, Stress & Your Skin

Tuesday 10th April 2018

Sleep, Stress and Your Skin
A Vital Link to Skin Health

Stress, depression, anxiety, looking after family or sick family member, all lead to a lack of sleep, which in turn affects our skin health.

Stress generates free radical damage leading to oxidative stress (click here for more information on antioxidants) which causes our cells to be deprived of essential nutrients like Oxygen. Without oxygen our cells can’t rebuild, regenerate or heal leading to cellular damage, early cell death, causing skin complaints and premature ageing on the skin.

In a stressed state our bodies produce steroid hormones and adrenalin which make the skin’s capillaries dilate (Vasodilation) which can lead to broken capillaries (otherwise known as Telangiectasia) with constant dilation and constriction, oedema or puffiness in the tissues and extreme sensitisation. This is called the inflammation cascade.
This same cascade mechanism causes androgenic hormones to be produced which cause spots and breakouts. As the androgen hormones have a link with our sebaceous glands in the skin and start to produce too much sebum. In women, this will often show as breakouts around the lower jawline.

Adrenalin production causes our bodies to be in a state of fight or flight and when the adrenalin “on” button is permanently switched on, this is exhausting and adds to the fatigue and sluggishness we see in stressed skin. Adrenalin puts us on a high state of alert and our sensory nerve endings become over stimulated leading to the over reactive, sensitized and possible inflamed skins we see when clients are experiencing stress and lack of sleep.

The classic dark circles, which can have other causes, but in stress/sleep deprivation case, it is because the skin’s blood circulation has become sluggish so the blood flow in the particularly immobile area under the eye comes to a virtual standstill and the dark pigment in the deoxygenated blood, called Bilirubin, leaks from the capillaries and into the surrounding tissue space. Plus, the under-eye skin is much thinner, so this condition is very visible.

The characteristics of stressed skin are:
·         Tired looking, lifeless
·         Slow to heal
·         Inflamed
·         Potential Acne Rosacea
·         Puffiness
·         Acne Vulgaris
·         Under eye circles

When we lack sleep, we have been unable to regenerate our mind, body and emotions and in turn can further increase anxiety or frustration levels and becomes a vicious cycle.

To heal the skin in this situation we need to identify what can be done to manage the situation (i.e. if you have a young baby then normal sleep patterns are not possible to restore), improve the situation (i.e. can we change our mental approach to a problem that will allow us to sleep during the night), recognise the need to make some lifestyle changes (i.e. diet, drinking patterns, social habits).

On top of this there are some mechanical and topical skin specific actions we can take:

·         Start to use a good quality eye serum designed specifically for this delicate area with active ingredients to increase circulation e.g. Vitamin A in its Retinol forms

·         Manual or mechanical facial massage which stimulates lymphatic drainage around the eye

·         Use cooling eye masks to soothe and stimulate after a long day at work

·         Adapt your night skincare routine to include products designed to increase cellular renewal e.g. Alpha Hydroxy Acids

·         Have a warm bath with aromatic oils and scents
·         Avoid using computers 90 minutes before sleep
·         Vaporise your favourite relaxing essential oils in your bedroom
·         Spritz your pillow with sleep formula flower waters and essential oils
·         Don’t drink or eat stimulating foods or liquids after 6-7pm
·         Book a massage or reflexology treatment
·         Listen to relaxation audios, specifically designed to help you sleep

If you’re stressed and you’re not sleeping, ‘you deprive your brain, body, and skin of nourishment. Sleep is food for your brain, body, and skin, and if you don't get enough, you deprive each of its nourishment. "During a good night's rest, your body works to remove dead blood cells and dead brain cells, and clears the pathways for new synapses to take place so that new blood and brain cells can replace old ones," says sleep expert Rebecca S. Robbins, M.D., Ph.D., researcher at Cornell University, and author of Sleep for Success!. Your brain also gets rid of 60 percent more toxins when you get the proper amount of sleep, she adds. Overall, this helps you feel more refreshed when you get up, able to think more clearly, and gives your skin that I-woke-up-like-this glowing look.’ (a quote from an article in Cosmopolitan magazine)

Make sure you look after yourself and get all the sleep you need, if you have any stress related skin problems, please give me a call on 01748 889350 or send me an email at I have lots of treatments to help.

Thank You,

Kathy x

Thursday, 22 March 2018

12th March 2018

Thank you to IIAA Ltd, Yeheudi Gordon, Consultant Gynacologist and Lorraine Perretta Founder and Development Director of The Advanced Nutrition Programme for this invaluable look at Hormones

Hormones are chemical messengers that send messages to the cells that they interact with. They can affect several processes in the body including growth, reproduction and metabolism. Hormones can also influence the immune system as well as our mood, causing changes in behaviour. Unsurprisingly, during the average life journey, numerous hormonal changes can reflect in various ways on our skin’s appearance and condition. For example, skin conditions commonly associated with puberty includes acne, while dryness, loss of collagen and elasticity, reduced volume are noted during menopause and surprisingly skin that suffers from breakouts is also common. The bad news is that, as we age these skin changes are inevitable. The good news is that by understanding why and what steps to take, each of us can stay in control.
Although acne can start at any age, hormonal changes during puberty may trigger acne flare ups. According to the British Skin Foundation, acne affects around 80% of adolescents aged 13-18 years. Why is this? During puberty, hormones that promote natural development, will raise testosterone levels in boys and girls. A side effect of this can be the overproduction of sebum which in turn can cause acne. Stress is also a contributory factor. Exams, social pressures and dealing with puberty itself can lead to a rise in the adrenal hormones, again causing the sebaceous glands to overproduce sebum.
·     Avoid harsh scrubs or cleansers
·     Use mineral based make-up to avoid artificial chemicals that will clog the skin further
·     Use vitamin A orally and topically to help normalise sebum production. 

Did you know that from 26’ish women will see a different type of hormonal acne—deep, cystic bumps in the chin and jawline area and products won't work as well on these hormonal breakouts? Other female-only hormonal changes include pregnancy, the contraceptive pill and PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). Many women experience acne or skin breakouts just before ‘that time of the month’ as when hormonal levels fluctuate this in turn, stimulates the sebaceous glands. The contraceptive pill, that contains artificial hormones oestrogen and progesterone, may cause photo-sensitivity in some women and result in pigmentation. The onset of pregnancy, is another trigger for hormonal changes that may lead to pigmentation and sometimes acne. Managing skin concerns, whilst pregnant can be very difficult as some treatments/remedies may have to be avoided.
Lines - What Lines?
Wrinkles and pigmentation usually start to appear as a result of damage done to skin in teens. The skin will start to appear dull as already skin cell turnover will be slowing down. Now is the time to start investing in active products and treatments to ensure firmer, younger looking skin. Having regular vitamin A based treatments and gradually increasing the dosage can help encourage healthy cell production. Using vitamin A and C orally can also enhance collagen synthesis.
·     Use a mild oil-based cleanser and avoid scrubs 
·     Start to introduce vitamin C orally and topically for strong healthy collagen formation 
·     Get your skin analysed and follow with a tailored skincare programme 
·     Introduce vitamin A orally and topically to help keep skin looking healthy (skin care expert to advise during pregnancy). 
·     Protect the skin from the sun at all times and use an antioxidant-based sunscreen. 

The lead up to the menopause can be a tricky time. Perimenopause is the phase before menopause actually takes place and normally lasts between 3 – 4 years. During this phase, hormone production begins to decline and fluctuate.
Declining oestrogen levels mean skin becomes thinner with more pronounced wrinkles such as those on the upper lip. Loss of collagen and elastin combined with reduced volume (subcutaneous fat) and bone shrinkage results in loss of structural integrity and the face literally sliding south. The severity of these symptoms will depend on UV exposure from childhood, genetics, lifestyle as well as medication which will each have an impact on the quality of skin.
The hormones that help regulate the sebaceous glands, such as oestrogen also start to decline, leading to stubborn breakouts or acne in some women. This is further aggravated by the slowing-down of the skins cell renewal process in more mature skin. As excess skin cells build up, blocked pores already clogged with sebum, are further irritated causing inflammation.
Steps to take
Balance from within
Look at your diet. Balance blood sugar levels with a combination of vegetables, wholegrains with lean protein foods including meat, fish, eggs, nuts, lentils and fibre. Cut down on caffeine, sugar and alcohol. Smoking is a no no.
Get physical
The decrease of hormonal levels means increased risk of osteoporosis so keep moving with daily exercise such as walking daily for at least 30 minutes. Building in weight bearing exercise is essential to help strengthen bones. Exercise is also great for beating depression and anxiety and boosting your libido.
Supplement your diet
Introduce a good multivitamin to ensure appropriate levels of magnesium, vitamin D to channel calcium to the core of the bones and ensure daily essential Omega 3 to help with dry skin, low mood and depression

The menopause usually occurs between 45 and 55 years of age. It follows the perimenopause stage and is when menstrual periods stop and fertility ends. Menopause symptoms include hot flushes, insomnia, and weight gain, loss of sex drive, mood swings, depression and changes to the appearance of the skin. A rather irritating symptom is also unwanted facial hair. Some women often find hairs appearing on their chin or jaw line, which is caused by a drop in oestrogen and rise in testosterone levels. It is also during this time that women may opt for treatment to relieve some of the many symptoms of the menopause such as BHRT (Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy.
“Bio-identical hormones are exactly similar in molecular structure (i.e. identical) to the hormones that your ovaries and adrenal glands secrete into your bloodstream. They are produced in the laboratory from plants, usually yam or soya"
Dr Yehudi Gordon (Consultant Gynaecologist)
What are typical Menopause Skin Changes?
1. Change in fat deposits
Oestrogen deficiency during menopause causes a change in body composition with an increase in abdominal fat. This contributes to metabolic syndrome which increases the risk of cardiac disease and diabetes. Facial fat becomes thinner resulting in loss of volume.
2. Wrinkles
Wrinkles will become more prominent as your skin begins to sag and lose its elasticity.
3. Hyperpigmentation/Age Spots
Melanocytes, which are the cells that manufacture the pigment melanin, are also controlled by oestrogens. As menopause kicks in, melanocytes levels decline. As melanin decreases, areas of the skin become lighter and therefore more susceptible to sun damage.
4. Sun Damage
Years of sun exposure can result in solar lentigines. These brown 'age spots' may start to appear on the face, neck, hands, arms and chest. Age spots can look flat with a black, brown or even grey colour. However, often at times these age spots may have a similar appearance to some skin cancers. Therefore, as a precaution, if your client is concerned with very dark spots or spots that one that looks blotchy or are increasing in size, it is best to advise them to visit their GP.
5. Dry Skin
Dry skin happens as your skin ages because it fails to produce natural oils partly due to a decrease in hormone production. Seasonal changes also affect menopause skin changes. However, on the contrary, some women may experience oily skin with the decline in oestrogen.

Useful Tips for coping with the menopause
1. Use SPF cream with antioxidants – a winning combination for menopausal skin changes.

2. Eliminate scrubs, harsh cleansers and facial brushes which strip the skin of natural oils and disrupt the stratum corneum promoting transepidermal water loss.

3. Use a hydrating oil based cleanser that removes environmental pollutants from the skin whilst maintaining the natural acid balance of the skin.

4. Introduce key active ingredients such as vitamin A and C orally and topically, along with antioxidants to protect the skin against the damaging effects of free radicals. Vitamin A thickens the skin, whilst stimulating natural moisturising factors. Vitamin C will support collagen production and help generate healthy skin cells.

5. Introduce a good quality omega 3 and 6 supplement to compensate for the decline in oils and nutrients.
6. Supplement with bio-identical hormones which will reduce or eliminate the symptoms of the menopause. Combined with lifestyle and dietary changes this can mean staying vital, strong and healthy (physically and mentally) as we go through the menopause and beyond.


1.                 Understand. Every cell in the body needs hormones to work optimally.
2.                 Nourish. Hormones cannot work in a stressed body – nutritious food, vitamins,   minerals, omega fish oils, vitamin D, sleep and exercise are like fertilised soil for the   hormones to do their job.
3.                 BHRT. Bio-identical hormones mimic the structure of your own hormones. They are   natural purified from plants and have not been manipulated for the purposes of   patent applications
4.                 Personalised. Your doctor will recommend a formula that is personally designed to   re-balance your hormone profile, depending on the results of a blood test.
5.                 Ageless. BHRT is beneficial during the peri -to post -menopause stages; it’s a myth   that once past menopause, women do not need hormones. Even 90 year old women   are using them.

For more information about how Ginger Tree can help you through the menopause and other hormonal skin conditions, contact Kathy on 01748 889350 or email

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Scrap The Yearly Detox

The new year is finally here; I hope you have all had a great Christmas and New Years and enjoyed the fantastic food and drink that comes along with it.

However, the seasonal celebrations can often leave us feeling jaded and overindulged. So it is no surprise that the word Detox can sound appealing, especially with big companies pushing a plethora of Detox practices such as fasts and crash diets.

These can be detrimental to your fitness as the majority are extremely low calorie and primarily liquids, in turn, these type of diets can cause severe health risks such as vitamin deficiencies, muscle breakdown, irritability and headaches. Depriving your body of these essential vitamins and minerals can be bad news for your body, and can often cause more harm than good. 

Ok, I know what you are thinking, ‘So what should I do instead?’ Well if you keep an eye on my social media this month I will be posting some top tips on how to stay healthy this year, such as keeping active and introducing a digital detox. You may also want to have a look at some of the holistic treatments I have on offer at the salon.

What I hope you take away from my no-tox tips, is that there is no need to go to extremes and deprive your body in the pursuit of weight loss, instead simple lifestyle adjustments and taking time to show your mind and body some love can make all the difference! Have a happy, healthy January and let me know if you try any of my ditch the detox tips.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Uh oh! I’ve had a bit too much to drink and now my skin is suffering!!

Whilst many of us just enjoy the occasional social drink throughout the year, Christmas with all the parties and extra celebrations that take place, often mean that alcohol consumption increases and quite dramatically.

So why does alcohol have such a bad effect on our skin?

Alcohol is a major cause of free radical formation, vascular damage (i.e. broken capillaries and redness), dehydration and premature ageing. But why?
  • Alcohol is toxic to the body and puts a strain on liver function (one function is to detoxify the body overnight) which can cause the skin to look sallow or even yellow
  • Toxins in the body affect the immunology of the skin and its general metabolism is impaired
  • This toxicity also causes inflammation which then increases free radical formation
  • Alcohol is highly dehydrating which compromises the protective barrier on the surface of our skin, one result is the skin doesn’t naturally exfoliate, or desquamate to use the technical term, giving matt, dull, flaky, rough, grey colour and accentuating fine lines all over the skin’s surface.
  • The loss of the protective barrier also leads to increased sensitivity and reactivity in the skin
  • Which also contributes to the creation of vaso-dilation damage on the skin, as the surface blood vessels expand with alcohol leading to broken capillaries, particularly on the cheeks and nose area
  • There is a known link between alcohol consumption and the development of acne rosacea, a persistent and difficult condition to treat and distressing to the individual
  • A general blemished appearance and the skin will look puffy due to the tissue fluid leakage from dilated blood vessels
  • Skin will be more photo sensitive, leaving the skin even more susceptible to UV Light damage, creating irregular pigmentation
  • In general, the skin will be more easily irritated with permanent or fluctuating diffused redness
  • Alcohol is a diuretic, so not only does it force more water out of the body, it also makes it difficult to rehydrate because alcohol hinders the production of the hormone Vasopressin and that’s the hormone that helps to reabsorb water
  • It decreases the single most important Vitamin to the skin and super antioxidant – Vitamin A. Vitamin A is key for cell renewal and cell turnover. This is where we get our glowing skin from. A lack of Vitamin A means it’s harder to protect yourself from free radicals.
  • The presence of sugar and salt in drink triggers the hormone IGF-1 which causes an over production of oil, again affecting the balance of the skin’s protective barrier
  • Sugar leads to inflammation
  • Salt leads to bloating and undereye bags
OK, doesn’t sound good does it? But, occasional excess is quickly repaired by rehydrating yourself.
So let’s think about how to minimise these and other effects during the party season……..
  • Increase hydration levels by drinking water in between glasses of alcohol, so reducing the alcohol consumption and helping to offset the dehydrating quality of alcohol
  • Eat while you drink as food will slow down the release of sugar
  • Low intensity exercise can help clear the head after a party
  • Walnuts are high in antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids. Antioxidants neutralise free radical damage caused by alcohol
  • Eating Avocados which are high in dietary fibre and good cholesterol, help to keep liver damage at bay
  • A supercharged apple and banana smoothie is classed a heart helper in a glass according to Men’s Health magazine and eating Tuna due to Vitamin D will help boost testosterone – alcohol does not improve your sex life!
  • Drink wine, spritzers rather than hard spirits and avoid sugar laden mixers, use soda water or tonic instead. Red wine does contain antioxidants in called Polyphenols
  • Dr Perricone suggests the following post indulgence routine;
    • 10-12 ounces glass of water
    • 1000 mg of Vitamin C
    • 1200 mg of n-acetyl cysteine, an amino acid
    • 100 mg of alpha lipoic acid, an antioxidant
    • 1000 mg glutamine, an amino acid
    • 500 mg of pantothenic acid, a B-complex capsule
  • At Ginger Tree we stock the Advanced Nutrition Programme and would recommend Skin Vit C Plus, Skin Complete (Vit A & Antioxidants) and Glutamine
  • Lastly, there is a homeopathic remedy called Nux-V and as a post party first aid rescue, a low dose can help clear the head and nausea. Available from Helios Homeopathic Pharmacy.
So you know what happens to your skin and you’ve got some tips to help you through the season…..everything in moderation.

Happy Christmas and a Wonderful New Year