Help Centre

We have collated most commonly asked questions around skincare and our therapists have answered these questions for you.

Exfoliation

Both physical and chemical exfoliants work to remove dulling surface cells for a brighter, smoother surface.

Physical exfoliants use friction together with grains or particles to mechanically remove dead skin cells. This can be achieved through a brush or gentle abrasive ingredients such as Corn Cob Meal, Rice Bran or Oatmeal. Depending on the amount of friction or massage over the skin and the nature of the abrasive, results may vary. Steer clear of scrubs made from ground-up fruit pits or nut shells, which actually scratch and irritate skin.

 

Chemical exfoliants smooth skin by dissolving the intercellular “glue” that attach skin cells to the skin’s surface. Chemical exfoliants can also digest the cells as well. Hydroxy acids like Lactic and Salicylic Acid, Retinol, and enzymes are a few examples of chemical exfoliants.

Professional exfoliation treatments are a great way to resurface, smooth, and brighten skin. They can help diminish the appearance of fine lines and hyperpigmentation, all while improving elasticity.

Before: Professional exfoliation treatments will begin with a professional double cleansing to remove all traces of oil, make-up and debris. 

 

During: Based upon the results of your skin analysis, your professional skin therapist will choose chemical or physical exfoliants, or both, to deliver the desired result. If you experience any discomfort (burning, stinging) during the treatment, alert your professional skin therapist immediately. Professional exfoliation uses stronger higher activity products, so some tingling is often expected.

 

After: Exfoliation, especially exfoliation with hydroxy acids, may increase your sensitivity to the sun as little as 13% and up to 50%. For this reason, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) requires an application of SPF after any Hydroxy Acid treatment – good advice for your home care regimen as well.

 

Your professional skin therapist will also prescribe an at-home regimen to help you maintain the results.

While exfoliation is recommended for almost every skin condition, there are times when you shouldn't exfoliate.

Skin that has been recently sunburned or waxed should not be exfoliated. Never exfoliate over open wounds or cuts. 

 

If you have a sensitised skin condition, exfoliation may further compromise your skin’s natural protective barrier. It is important to follow the advice of your skin therapist when exfoliation is a part of your professional treatment and home care regimen.

Adult Acne

There are many causes behind the formation of breakouts.

Stress, excess oil, excess skin cells, bacteria, hormonal fluctuations, and genetics are all factors that can contribute to acne.

 

Working with your professional skin therapist, you can help control the factors that contribute to acne. Through your skin analysis and professional treatment and prescription, your professional skin therapist can help regulate sebaceous glands, promote exfoliation to help shed skin cells to prevent clogging of the follicle, kill acne-causing bacteria, reduce stress, and help soothe inflammation associated with breakouts.

This is another misinterpretation: milk doesn't trigger acne or breakouts. It's the hormones produced by cows that are found in milk that can actually overstimulate oil glands and cause overproduction of oil.

As cows that give milk are pregnant most of their lives, the natural hormones that occur during pregnancy are found in the milk you drink. The reason that milk products cause acne is because milk contains hormones that "turn on" oil glands. It is not yet known if hormones injected into cows cause any difference in the level of natural hormones in milk.

Quite the contrary.

New information actually reveals that toothpaste can stimulate breakouts on your chin and around the mouth. Dermatologists say that heavily flavoured toothpaste, or toothpaste with high levels of fluoride, can cause breakouts to arise.

Moisturisers are vital to every skin care regimen, regardless of skin condition.

Oily skin can be dehydrated, and will need hydration from a moisturiser: this is because dehydration is a lack of water in the skin layers, not a lack of oil. The activity of oil glands can still be normal, or even overactive, in a dehydrated skin. Often times, dehydration in an oily skin can also lead to higher production of oil, so keeping skin hydrated with an oil-free moisturiser can help control overactive sebaceous glands.

Breakouts always tend to "pop up" when we need to put our best face forward.

If you can, make an appointment ASAP with your professional skin therapist, who can determine if your breakout is a blackhead, and can subsequently extract it.  If you have a non-blackhead breakout, your professional skin therapist can treat it with professional treatment room tools.

 

If you can’t get to a professional, treat the breakout with a topical treatment product containing Benzoyl Peroxide. If you’re allergic or hypersensitive to Benzoyl Peroxide, try a product containing Sulfur. A product containing a natural tint will also help conceal the breakout as it heals.

Whiteheads and blackheads are considered non-inflammatory lesions when discussing the various stages of breakouts.

Speak with your professional skin therapist about a customised regimen to help control the signs of skin ageing. A blackhead is a clogged follicle opening containing oil and dead cells.

 

Second, blackheads are not a sign of dirty, or unclean, skin.

 

Blackheads are blocked follicles that have an opening to the skin’s surface, making them exposed to air, triggering oxidisation which makes it change in colour (think how an apple turns brown after it’s been cut/exposed to oxygen).

 

A whitehead, also known as a closed comedone, is not open and has barely any or no exposure to air. Because air cannot reach the follicle, the debris inside the pore does not oxidise and change colour.

Hear this loud and clear: tanning is never good for skin!

Baking in the sun to clear breakouts can worsen breakouts and intensify your chances of long-term scarring and hyperpigmentation (dark spots). They may clear momentarily, but there is an increase in cells when the skin is exposed to UV and this further clogs follicle openings.

Skin ageing

No matter what you hear, what you read, or what you want to believe, skin ageing cannot be reversed. But there are steps you can take to control the situation.

The appearance and signs of skin ageing can be minimised, and further skin ageing can be controlled. New scientific research has uncovered ingredients that work on a biochemical level to control skin ageing, all while minimising current signs of skin ageing. Some of these ingredients include antioxidant vitamins C and E, Glucosamine, peptides, Lactic Acid, Retinyl Palmitate, and of course, daily use of an SPF. Speak with your professional skin therapist about a customised regimen to help control the signs of skin ageing.

Free radicals are responsible for skin ageing in the form of wrinkles, breakdown in collagen and elastin, and inflammation.

Also known as Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), free radicals are highly reactive, unstable molecules that attack and steal from stable molecules. Unstable means the free radicals don’t have an even number of electrons, and are constantly in search of an extra electron to steal to become stable.  For every free radical that “steals” from a stable molecule, another free radical is formed, causing a cascade of free radical formation. 

 

Fortunately, antioxidants (Vitamins C and E) can help stop the free radical cascade and control this trigger of skin ageing.

Collagen is a protein produced in the body that connects, supports, and helps give firmness and strength to the body's tissues.

By the time we reach our 30th birthday, we will start to lose 1% of collagen with each subsequent birthday. Collagen production slows as we age, which impacts the skin’s ability to repair itself, triggering a loss of elasticity.  

 

Because of collagen’s role in firmer, taut skin, many skin ageing products include ingredients that help stimulate collagen production.

The signs of skin ageing are caused by intrinsic and extrinsic factors.

Intrinsic ageing is the normal, genetic process of physical change over time, and begins the minute we are born. 

 

Extrinsic ageing is ageing caused by external factors like our environment and lifestyle.

Dryness

Yes, it's true: your diet could be contributing to your dry skin.

The trend of low-fat or fat-free diets can deprive our bodies of skin-friendly Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). EFAs are critical to all parts of a healthy functioning body: they help move oxygen through the bloodstream, can help stave off early ageing, and keep skin healthy. They also protect against water loss within cells and throughout skin, helping to prevent dryness, keeping skin supple and hydrated.

 

An EFA deficiency can result in chronic itching, dryness, scaling, and thinning, and can lead to an imbalance in prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are chemical messengers that help control inflammation.

Dry skin refers to skin that's lacking in oil. Dehydrated skin is characterised by a lack of moisture in the Stratum corneum (the outermost layer of the epidermis).

Traditionally, the Stratum corneum cells are about 10% water. Anything below that is classified as a dehydrated skin condition.

 

Because dehydration is a lack of water in skin, dehydration can even be experienced by those with oily skin. Whether you're suffering from dryness or dehydration, a professional skin therapist can prescribe a regimen to help keep skin healthy.

The natural process of ageing, environment, and lifestyle choices can impact your skin's level of dryness.

As we age, the activity of sebaceous (oil) glands begins to slow, causing the skin’s natural hydrators to decline over the years.  Ageing may also cause blood flow to skin to decrease, causing a drop in oil production. 

 

Cold winds and cold temperatures can dry out skin, which is why you may notice “seasonal” dryness. This also applies to air conditioning and forced air heating.  Warm, dry air acts like a sponge, soaking up moisture from everything it touches.

Prolonged exposure to sun can also cause water evaporation from skin and contribute to dryness.

 One of the biggest consequences of dry skin is an increase in sensitivity, as dry skin is a precursor to sensitised skin.

When skin is dry, it’s depleted of its natural protective lipid barrier. This lowers skin’s defences against environmental assaults that can cause a sensitised response in skin, such as itching and redness

Oiliness

One word: genetics

Because you are genetically programmed to have larger and more productive sebaceous (oil) glands. Your skin may also be thicker in texture and not particularly sensitive.

Exfoliation can be especially helpful to those with oily skin.

In addition to smoothing, improving skin tone and enhancing skin’s receptiveness of oil-controlling ingredients, exfoliation helps rid oily skin of dulling skin cells to help keep skin clear.

Making a few adjustments to your skin care regimen can help control oil production from morning until night.

Try creating a “matte kit” that fits conveniently in your purse or backpack for mid-day touch-ups. Your kit should include oil-free lotions or sunscreens containing micro-sponges that help soak up excess oil. It can also contain wipes loaded with Salicylic Acid (not alcohol!) to help degrease skin, help prohibit acne bacteria, and keep skin feeling fresh.

Not necessarily.

While oily skin is a precursor to the cascade of events that lead to breakouts, it doesn’t mean that you will start experiencing breakouts.

Yes, your skin could become less oily over time.

Generally as you get older the oil glands shrink and produce less oil, so yes, your skin may become less oily.

Absolutely not. Sun exposure is never good for skin.

While it may seem the sun provides a temporary “drying” effect, sebaceous glands will fire into overdrive to help replace lost oil. The result: more oil on the surface than before. Shielding skin from sun exposure with an oil-controlling SPF such as Oil Free Matte Block SPF20 will actually help control oil production and maintain a matte finish.

 

Following a prescribed regimen that helps control oil production will help minimise your risk for breakouts.

Sensitised Skin

Sensitised skin exhibits the same symptoms and triggers as sensitive skin, so it's hard to distinguish between the two.

Sensitive skin is genetically determined and more commonly seen in those of Northern European ancestry. It could be caused by higher levels of histamine in the body and the lower amount of pigment and thinner epidermal layer which provides a less than optimum natural defence barrier against potentially irritating ingredients.

 

Sensitised skin can affect anyone of any age, skin condition and any race who has been exposed to environmental assault, chemicals, or product ingredients.

Environmental factors, ageing and lifestyle choices can all increase skin sensitisation.

Cold winds and low temperatures, sun exposure, pollution, and chemical exposure in cleaning and household products can irritate and dry out skin, depriving it of lipids and moisture between cells that keep the protective layer of the skin intact. Without these substances, skin is left unprotected from bacteria and irritant invasion and moisture is drawn out. Dry skin is a precursor to sensitised skin.

 

As we age, the activity of sebaceous (oil) glands begins to slow, causing the skin’s natural hydrators to decline over the years. Ageing may also cause blood flow to skin to decrease, causing a drop in oil production. 

 

Low-fat, no-fat diets can deprive our bodies of skin-friendly Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) that help protect against water loss within cells and can even help prevent dryness (remember, dryness is a precursor to sensitised skin).

 

Over-cleansing, over-exfoliation or shaving without a protective medium can also weaken skin’s barrier function, leading to skin sensitisation.

 

If you’ve recently switched skin care or make-up products, take note: they could contain artificial fragrances and colours known to aggravate and increase skin sensitisation. Speak with a professional skin therapist to find out if your current regimen is causing your sensitivity.

Only your professional skin therapist can determine if exfoliation is right for your skin condition through a skin analysis.

More than likely, gentle exfoliation will be beneficial to the health of skin.

Rosacea is reddened patches; or small or thick bumps on the skin.

It’s believed that rosacea is caused by an underlying genetic condition involving overactive blood vessels; however, the medical community remains unsure of its cause. Rosacea first shows on skin as reddened areas that come and go when a stimulus is present, but can progress into a permanently red condition with possible pimples and breakouts.

 

Only a skin care professional can tell you if you have rosacea, or are suffering with skin sensitivity/sensitisation.  However, there are steps you can take to help control flare-ups:

 

 - Take note of what stimulates flare-ups (extreme weather, stress, strenuous exercise, alcohol, and some foods).   

- Staying away from products with artificial fragrances or colours. 

- Wearing sunscreen anytime skin is exposed to daylight. 

- Keep alcohol intake to a minimum. 

- Don’t over-cleanse or excessively scrub skin.

Uneven skin tone

Hyperpigmentation is the result of an overproduction of melanin.

Melanin is what gives skin and hair its colour, and amongst other benefits, helps protect skin against damaging UV light and absorbs heat from the sun.  However, an overproduction of melanin leads to a mottled, uneven skin tone. Overproduction of melanin is stimulated by excessive sun exposure, hormones, or scarring. 

 

1)  Sun exposure: When skin is repeatedly exposed to UV light, sun damage occurs. Brown spots appear as a result of too much melanin being produced to help protect skin from UV light.

 

2) Hormones: Melasma is hormone-related hyperpigmentation caused by increased hormone stimulation.  It is most commonly experienced by women who are pregnant (which is why it’s also known as the “mask of pregnancy”) or taking contraceptives, but can also be a product of reactions to cosmetics or medications.

 

3) Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation: This is a darkening of skin that’s the result of acne scarring or skin injury due to inflammatory response in skin. The cells associated with melanin production are closely linked with the skin immune system cells; meaning you can’t stimulate one without stimulating the other.

Hydroquinone is a topical ingredient popular for skin lightening.

It’s classified as an over-the-counter drug in the United States and has been used in concentrations up to 2% within products designed to lighten skin.

 

While it is popular, there are many concerns regarding its safety. It is estimated that one-third of the population is allergic to Hydroquinone, and skin may become photosensitised with prolonged use, causing an actual darkening of skin.

 

Throughout the years, many highly respected administration agencies have recognised Hydroquinone as a potent cytotoxic (substances toxic to cells) agent with potential cancer-causing, DNA-altering properties.

When a hyper-pigmented area is exposed to UV light, more melanin production is triggered on a cellular level, causing further darkening.

Ironically, melanin production and further darkening of skin is just your skin trying to protect itself from UV light. But this can cause the strictest of brightening regimens to fail to produce results. Daily application of a minimum of SPF30 will help shield skin from UV light to control melanin production on a cellular level.

It's important to recognise that there is no quick-fix to hyperpigmentation. However, combining your at-home regimen with professional treatments can expedite the process.

It can take up to 50 days for existing hyperpigmentation to lessen in appearance even when skin is being actively treated. This is because hyperpigmentation takes place on a cellular level. It must be controlled before it can be reduced. In addition, if the pigment resides deeper in the skin it is very difficult to treat, and you may need to seek the advice of a physician for a more invasive treatment. If the hyperpigmentation is also being hormonally driven or stimulated, then the cause needs to be corrected.

 

It is possible to help expedite results. Speak with your professional skin therapist about pairing your at-home regimen with a series of professional skin brightening treatments, which can help you see results in as little as 30 days.