Tattoo Regret: A Growing Trend

As tattoo regret rises in popularity alongside tattoos themselves, many people are getting their tattoos removed.

Tattoo removal uses laser equipment which ‘shatters’ the tattoo’s ink. The body’s lymph system then carries it away gradually. Heavy smokers will need more treatments due to their poor circulation which removes the ink less effectively.

Skin colour, skin type, any scarring, medical history and the tattoo site are all discussed in a 30-minute consultation.

Reasons for removal vary, according to Sue Salmon of Wollongong Tattoo Removal Service. Most of her clients are women between 25 and 40. Some want to join the army, she said. Others have moved on from a relationship. Others have simply outgrown their tattoos and say they are no longer that person  anymore.

Salmon recommended using a medical laser clinic. Practitioners should be trained to use the laser equipment, or be a nurse or doctor. Only WA and QLD currently regulate tattoo removal practitioners.


Food Allergies Start in the Skin, not the Gut

It seems food allergies may be the effect, rather than the cause, of eczema.

Scientists have long believed that food allergies in the gut trigger eczema in the skin. However, a new analysis in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology suggests that eczema is allowing food allergens to enter the body via broken skin and triggering food allergies, thus reversing the cause-and-effect chain.

Children with eczema are six times more likely to develop a food allergy than children free of the troublesome skin condition. Egg whites, peanuts and cow’s milk are the most common offenders.

The skin surface protects the body from bacteria, chemicals and allergens. It is becoming increasingly understood that it is important to keep eczema-affected skin protected from penetration by bacteria and other substances. Allergens that penetrate the skin can alert immune cells in the skin, which then set off various allergic reactions.

A proprietary product, Silver Serum, has been developed to overlay weak and broken eczema-affected skin with an antibacterial film. It is suitable for both adults and children.


Organic and Natural Skincare: Is There a Difference?

It is important to understand the difference between ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ skincare products.

Organic ranges consist of ingredients that have been subject to stringent growing, harvesting and processing techniques overseen by an independent certification organisation.

Ingredients are grown without pesticides or chemical fertilisers. That not only makes them good for the environment but more likely to contain anti-oxidants which head off the ageing process in your skin.  Actress Gwyneth Paltrow has long been a fan of organic skincare.

Luckily for Australian consumers, Australia has come of the world’s strictest certification regimes. Looking for the Australian Certified Organic (ACO) logo will ensure you are buying a genuinely organic product.

A product can be ‘natural’ without being ‘organic’, however. As more manufacturers try to ride the wave of environmental and health awareness among consumers, products labeled ‘natural’ may still carry ingredients grown outside the organic certification process using chemical fertilisers or pesticides.


Fast Track to Fixing Age-Damaged Skin

Some skin damage is extrinsic – think sunlight, poor diet and smoking – while other damage is intrinsic as skin cell turnover naturally winds down. However, there are plenty of quick fixes!

For line-free skin, use moisturisers or purpose treatments containing retinol to boost collagen production which fills out lines, and sun-filters that keep line-causing UVA rays at bay. An alternative to the well-known Botox is Fraxel lasering, which evens out fine lines.

For well-hydrated skin, exfoliate to allow moisturisers to penetrate, and then choose products containing glycerine, dimethicone or hyaluronic acid to boost moisture retention. Your dermatologist can recommend prescription creams containing ceramides for really dry skin.

To banish mid-age break-outs, choose anti-acne products designed for mature skin. Your dermatologist can prescribe antibiotics, the contraceptive pill, or the drug spironolactone, and apply laser treatment or phototherapy.

To lighten age spots and freckles which are all caused by sun damage, specific beauty products are available that lighten them. Continue to keep spots at bay with a 30 SPF sunscreen.

One dermatologist claims there is no better treatment for age spots than the Q-switch Ruby laser. One treatment is all it takes to rid your skin of these unwanted marks.


Light Treatments: Where Science and Beauty Meets

A range of hi-tech, non-invasive light therapies are now treating skin conditions like hyperpigmentation, fine lines and acne scarring.

Among the most often-used therapies are lasers, a beam of intense single-wavelength light purer than the multi-wavelength lights found in sunlight or an electric globe.

One of the most popular of the many laser treatments available is Fraxel laser, especially effective for pitted acne scars. It combines the best of ablative lasers which vaporise pits at high temperatures but require months of healing and come with substantial side-effects, and non-ablative treatments with few side-effects and no healing period, but which take months of repeated treatments.

Other methods like the CO2 laser treat deep wrinkles and strong sun damage. A pulsed dye laser treats port-wine stains.

Unlike lasers’ single light wavelength, intense pulsed light (IPL) uses a range of light wavelengths to treat less serious skin conditions like freckles, spider veins, rosacea, mottling and broken capillaries.

Yet another treatment is Omnilux, a handheld LED emitter that targets the cells that rejuvenate the skin’s supportive tissue.

When having any treatment that affects the skin, eat zinc. This mineral aids in the healing process by forming collagen. Also eat lots of anti-inflammatory foods, such as those which are high in Omega-3s. Arnica, a herb, can also speed up healing time.