Courtney Love(Rex Features)
Ditch the evil weed
Partaking in the evil weed is one of the quickest routes to a wrinkly, prematurely aged complexion and rock chick Courtney Love is a classic example of how smoking can take its toll on the skin. "Smoking causes premature ageing by damaging the collagen matrix of the skin and dehydrating skin, which leads to a loss of elasticity," says Shabir Daya at "Nicotine content restricts blood flow to the skin causing loss of radiance and resulting in a lacklustre skin. One of the other problems with smoking is that the whole action of smoking can cause deep wrinkles, exaggerating frown lines and wrinkles around the lips."

Kate Moss (Rex Features)
As the face of countless brands, good skin was a must for Kate Moss, but years later, now it appears years of piling on various lotions and potions for make-up shoots has taken its toll on the supermodel's skin. "The most common mistake people make is over treating their skin on their quest for perfect skin," says celebrity facialist Ole Henriksen. "Additionally, when using moisturisers, cleansers or exfoliants you don't want to rub too vigorously - you don't want to overtreat or oversensitise your skin. It's important to recognise that by gently slipping the product across your face in upward circular motions, you're stimulating the granular ingredients to do the work for you, as they were designed to do."

Geri Halliwell (Rex Features)
We all love a healthy glow, but spending too long in the sun doesn't just increase the risk of cancer. Donatella Versace is a classic example of the effects of sun damage, while sun-loving Geri Halliwell looks set to follow in the same footsteps. "Sun exposure is the cause of up to 80% of premature ageing," says Katherine Bell, senior therapist at The Sanctuary Spa in Covent Garden. "Whilst we often see the effects of the UVB rays through reddening on the skin, the UVA rays often don't show themselves until later in life. These rays have an effect on the deeper layers of our skin where our collagen and elastin are found, and it's collagen and elastin that help to keep our skin firm and plump." If you've spent too long soaking up those rays in the past, look for products that contain phytoestrogens - which are derived from the plants Pueraria Lobata and Pelvetia and can help stimulate the production of collagen - such as Clarins' Super Restorative Day Cream (

Cameron Diaz (Rex Features)
While film star Cameron Diaz probably has access to some of the best facialists around, her hectic lifestyle could well be the cause of her acne - finding time to enjoy a balanced nutritional diet is key to maintaining a healthy complexion. "Poor diet can have a detrimental effect on the skin, so it's very important to maintain a nutritional diet rich in fruits and vegetables which will maximise antioxidant levels in the skin and body to help to fight free radicals," advises Amanda Watson, brand manager for Neal's Yard Remedies.

Nicola Roberts (Rex Features)
Although we love Nicola Roberts for the fact she's finally embraced her naturally pale complexion, the often flaky appearance of her skin suggests she could well be skimping on the moisturiser. "The average person doesn't apply enough moisturiser because they're afraid of clogging the pores and causing blackhead pimples," says Ole Henriksen. "But most formulations today are non-comedogenic - they won't clog your pores. By not applying enough moisturiser, your skin won't bounce back easily; it may become dry and flaky, or prone to broken capillaries. Moisturiser acts as a protective shield." Ole Henriksen's Herbal Day Cream ( instantly infuses skin with long-lasting moisture without clogging pores.

Jessica Simpson (Rex Features)
California girl Jessica Simpson has admitted she struggles with her weight, but a healthy diet and regular exercise isn't just essential for when it comes to squeezing into those tiny dresses. "Exercise is essential for good skin because it improves circulation, boosts metabolism, and helps maintain muscle mass, all of which contribute to a healthy, youthful appearance," explains Clinique's guiding dermatologist, Dr David Orentreich.

Amy Winehouse (Rex Features)
While we're not advocating that overly whitened, Hollywood smile, neglecting your oral hygiene can have a serious effect on your appearance, due to the fact your teeth have a large part to play when it comes to supporting your skin. "Proper oral hygiene reduces tooth loss and helps to prevent facial bone atrophy which leads to wrinkles and sagging of facial skin," warns David Orentreich. "Prevention of periodontal disease and gum loss maintains a youthful appearance."

Victoria Beckham (Rex Features)
Victoria Beckham has fought a much publicised battle with acne since she hit the limelight as a Spice Girl, which wasn't helped by the thick layers of foundation she piled on. "One of the worst things you can do is simply not looking after your skin correctly," says Caroline Frazer, skincare expert at "We only have one, so it's important to notice what's happening and listen to it. Is it dry, greasy or combination? Are the products and routines used working for your skin? Cleansing, toning and moisturising every morning and every evening with gentle products without perfume is one of the best gifts that you can give your skin and ensure that your skin looks its best for years."

Amy Winehouse (Rex Features)
We all love a tipple, but as Amy Winehouse's complexion shows, excessive consumption of alcohol can play havoc with your skin. "Chronic alcohol consumption can increase formation of small red facial veins and contributes to other changes in the skin's appearance," warns Dr David Orentreich at Clinique.

Madonna (Rex Features)
Too many sleepless nights and it's only a matter of time before your skin starts to suffer. "A lack of sleep reduces the regenerative process and toxin removal from the skin resulting in lacklustre skin and especially affecting the eyes causing dark circles and bags under the eyes, and can also affect the hair," says Shabir Daya at "Use a good multitasking mask on the face to plump up the skin and restore a dewy complexion and perhaps a caffeine-rich eye cream to minimise eye puffiness and dark circles." Neal's Yard Remedies' Power Berry Facial Mask ( helps revitalise and refine the skin with a potent blend of antioxidant-rich acai, cranberry and grape.

Amy Winehouse (Rex Features)
As we get older, fine lines start to appear, and while we're certainly not a fan of that over-botoxed, caught-in-a-wind-tunnel look, the way we move our face can play a huge part in the development of wrinkles. "Avoid exaggerated facial expressions," suggests David Orentreich at Clinique. "Always wear sunglasses when outside to avoid squinting, which causes crow's feet around the eyes." If you've got a hectic schedule, invest in a portable eye care product, such as Clinique's All About Eyes Serum De-Puffing Eye Massage pen (

Kate Beckinsale (Rex Features)
Kate Beckinsale might well hate the hordes of paparazzi that follow her around, but losing her temper with the paps could have some surprising consequences. "Stress can cause numerous and varying effects on the skin and causes the release of cortisol - the stress hormone," says Shabir Daya. "Cortisol causes excessive sebum production as well as causing a thickening of the cells lining the sebum-producing glands resulting in acne, blackheads and other similar concerns. Cortisol also causes a lack of essential fatty acid utilisation by the body and these fatty acids help to maintain elasticity of the skin as well as maintaining the oils within the skin - causing a lack of radiance and vitality of skin." If a packed schedule has left you with dull, tired skin, make time for a weekly radiance-boosting facial mask, such as A'Kin's Multi Fruit & Willow Bark Instant Radiance Facial Masque (

Tamara Hinson
Tamara Hinson, contributor, MSN Life & Style, Updated: 15/04/2011 16:57





Under the 'Stress section' I talked about how stress hormones such as Adrenalin and Cortisone affect the skin, if you recall Adrenalin reduces the nourishment delivered by the blood stream by directing the blood flow away from the extremities to the heart, lungs and muscles, so the skin and hair wont be so well nourished. Cortisone damages the fibrocytes, these are specialised cells within the Dermis that produce collagen and elastin and it is collagen and elastin that provides support and elasticity within the skin, akin to the foam and springs in a mattress. When we are young our skin is plump and elastic but through use from normal facial movements, the downward pull of gravity, the collagen and elastin tends to bunch together just like the stuffing in a well used mattress. Now if we undergo stress for a considerable period as these fibrocytes become damaged due to the action of Cortisol so the skin will loose its support structure, its elasticity will suffer and it wont spring back to shape like it used to, like spent elastic. Cell renewal will suffer due to the reduced blood supply there wont be adequate nourishment and the skin will take on a greyer pallor and it will loose its healthy rosy glow.

Now there is another aspect to this equation, the action of Ultra Violet Light from the sun and of course sunbeds. The sun produces three types of UV Light UVA UVB and UVC. The Earth's ozone layer blocks 97-99% of this UV radiation from penetrating through the atmosphere. Of the ultraviolet radiation that reaches the Earth's surface, 98.7% is UVA  (UVC and more energetic radiation is responsible for the generation of the ozone layer, and formation of the ozone there). Now I don't want to get to technical here and want to focus on UVA and UVB. UVB can only penetrate down through the skin to the dermis and is responsible for burning but UVA is able to penetrate down through the dermis and like Cortisol damages the Fibrocytes, those little cells that plump up our skin and give it elasticity.

One of the best places on our bodies to see the affects of gravity and demishing collagen and elastin especially on women is on the thighs often referred to as 'Cellulite'.

Because we are composed of 70% water, water is an important component of the skin, therefore it important we drink adequate water to keep ourselves hydrated. Don't wait until you feel thirsty before you reach for that drink, it is much better to sip water at regular intervals as we are constantly loosing water through bodily processes.


Everything in moderation is something to bear in mind when it comes to food and drink and that includes alcohol, but alcohol is a toxin and the liver has to work hard to break it down. The occasional drink is not going to have too much effect on the skin but it does cause the peripheral circulation to dilate and one of the characteristic signs of too much alcohol is the appearance of broken capillaries across the face, There are other causes of broken capillaries, sometimes, it's hereditary but often caused by  sudden changes in temperature i.e. going from very warm central heated homes to going outdoors without protecting the skin or driving in cars with the heater blasting against the face. Squeezing spots is another cause. Too much alcohol is a depressant too, so you may feel rather jolly at the time but you are sure to come back down to earth with a bump.

Many common prescribed drugs have an effect on the skin its something to be aware of many drugs such as diuretics will cause a loss of moisture so forewarned you take extra care to apply a good moisturiser to help counteract this effect.

Recreational drugs obviously will have an effect on the skin too with many of them toxic to the body and anything that diverts the body to spend time detoxifying obviously takes energy away from repairing and maintaining the body. This is not a blog that discusses drugs I am sure readers will already know the dangers of such substances.


Smoking is one of the worst abuses you can do to your body, firstly because of its direct effect affect on the lungs, it impairs the uptake and absorption of oxygen and of course all cells in the body require oxygen in order to function normally. The nicotine  as well as being addictive is a powerful vasoconstrictor therefore it reduces blood flow to the peripheral circulation so the skin and hair are going to suffer. So as well as impairing oxygen uptake and reducing blood flow to the skin, the body is also having to use its resources dealing with all the toxins also inhaled. Poorly nourished skin means it cannot repair itself adequately. Smoking also leads to more wrinkling, those little purse string lines around the mouth and crows feet caused by the smoke further research has proven that smoking causes the skin to age ten years.

The lungs to the right here are really quite shocking and here you can see the effects of tar from the cigarettes.


Firstly please read the blogs and page on health as this will give an indication on a balanced diet.

If I were to ask you what is the largest organ in the body what would you say? It's not the liver or the intestines but the skin, it does a very important job for us and how many of us take it for granted and don't look after it.


The basics so you will understand how the skin works. The skin is comprised of 3 layers, the Epidermis the layer you can see, the Dermis the true skin and the subcutaneous. Cosmetics only work on the Epidermis and you can see how deep it is, if you have ever experienced a blister. A blister is caused when friction causes the Epidermis and the Dermis to separate and the fluid within the blister is lymph. The Epidermis has no nerve endings or blood supply that is why removing the top layer of a blister is not painful, not to be recommended though as it exposes the Dermis which is rich in nerves and a blood supply to infection.

The skin  has several functions to secrete sebum that oily substance on your skin, this is to help keep the skin moisturised by trapping moisture and forming a barrier together with sweat known as the 'Acid Mantle' The Acid Mantle is slightly acidic and acts as a Bacteriastat to inhibit bacteria. The skin secretes sebum via the sebaceous glands within the hair follicles and sweat via the Endocrine glands (there are another type of sweat glands know as Apocrine glands these are found in the axillary and pubic regions unlike Endocrine sweat bacteria act on Apocrine sweat quickly and this causes the characteristic Body Odour, these glands only become active after puberty and have a role to play in pheromones)

Our body temperature is regulated by the skin this is due to the  peripheral circulation either dilating to bring blood to the extremities of the body like the skin causing flushing to help loose some of the heat and also by sweating for as the sweat evaporates heat rises with it. The opposite happens when its cold the body conserves heat to vital organs more important than the skin, giving a more white/bluish appearance and may even induce shivering. At the base of every hair follicle there is a tiny cilary muscle when its cold and we start to shiver this muscle contracts causing the hair to stand up trapping a layer of air next to the skin, giving the appearance of goosebumps. Within the Dermis there are sensory nerves that detect temperature. We also have an insulatory layer of fat in the subcutaneous.

Our skin is waterproof so absorbs very little, the only things that can permeate the skin are medications, this includes patches such as Nicotine  and HRT and Essential oils (see Aromatherapy articles on Blog) COSMETICS CAN NOT. Do not believe the hype and sales talk ladies if it could be absorbed by the skin you you have to go to your Doctor for it and it would need to be licensed as a Medicine.

Our Skin is protected by sensory nerves that alert us to pain, pressure, touch, heat and cold, it is waterproof largely impermeable except to the substances above, fairly tough and it with its layer of fat below the dermis in the subcutaneous layer keeps us warm, protects our organs and bones, gives us shape. As fore mentioned the Acid Mantle helps protect from bacteria as bacterial growth is inhibited in its slightly acid environment. Melanocytes special little cells in the dermis increase as a result of UV light and give us tanning, the epidermis also thickens to help protect our skin. Also in the skin are mast cells and when they are damaged, they produce histomine, it gives the characteristic itching a weals associated by allergies, its function is to stimulate blood to the skin to repair and maintain it. However with allergies the body is hypersensitive producing this effect.

The skin also excretes some toxins through sweat but this is very very minimal, so do not believe the hype of some sales people who will suggest you have a detoxifying foot bath that will rid you of toxins as it changes the water to a dirty brown colour. Again this is sheer hype and nonsense for if ridding the body of toxins was that easy we wouldn't have a need for Dialysis Machines for those suffering kidney failure. It is the Liver, Kidneys and large Intestine that detoxify us.

Vitamin D is also formed in the skin as a result of the action of UV light acting on 7-dehydrocholesterol present in the skin, so everything in moderation we do need some sunlight.


So you know know how the skin works and it's functions  and that's great when everything is in balance. However skin is a very sensitive organ but as far as the body is concerned it is a lesser important organ that the heart, lungs, liver etc, so priority is given to important organs at times of stress, whether that is emotional stress i.e. worry etc. or physical stress such as extremes of temperature and its very cold.

What we put on the skin can throw it off balance, many people use soap and water, well thats fine for your body, but our face has more sebaceous glands, is more exposed to the elements and more open to micro-organisms. Why not soap and water? well soap is alkaline  and remember the acid mantle is slightly acidic, this maintains an environment where micro-organisms are less likely to multiply and if you use an alkaline product you will strip away this protective layer, making the skin more susceptible to infection. Because our sebaceous glands tend to be more active on the face, and this increase of sebum in nature's moisturiser, there may be more of a tendency for them to become blocked, if infection enters the blocked pores the result it a spot. There are a number of cleansing bars on the market and water activated cleansers around for those of you who like the feel of water on your face.

The trouble and risk of blocked pores is magnified if there is also a build up of dead skin cells. Now it takes roughly 28 days for new cells in the basal layer of the epidermis to form and be shed, this time span increases with age, as we get older our skin becomes more sluggish, if we don't cleanse our skin adequately enough a layer of dead cells sit on the surface making our complexion dull, combined with sebum these dead cells can block pores causing blackheads. Inncidently blackheads are not dirt but sebum and dead cells form a plug and oxidise  causing this this discolouration. In order to keep our complexions fresh and depending on the type of skin you have exfoliation should be carried out once to twice a week, with oily skin generally twice. There are various products on the market but avoid those exfoliators that are made from ground up nutshells and husks as these can be quite scratchy and can damage the surface of the skin leading to possible infection. Rather choose a product with fine micro beads. Some exfoliators work by dissolving dead skin cells and are often fruit based containing fruit acids or enzymes, these may irritate sensitive skin so its a good idea to patch test an area  before proceeding.

But before choosing what cleanser to use on your skin, you need to know what type of skin you have. Firstly normal skin is a rarity, normal skin is like the skin children have, its neither dry or oily, theres no visible pores nor shine, it has a good texture and colour, no spots, blackheads and is plump and has good elasticity. Now how many of us can say we have normal skin? Oily skin often has visible pores particularly down the 'T zone' of our faces, it becomes shiny very quickly, it is prone to blackheads and spots, its doesn't have dry, flaky patches and often has a sallow colour about it and make up slides of the face quite quickly. Dry skin, has no obvious pores, doesn't have a tendency to blackheads or spots, can have flaky itchy areas, often feels tight after cleansing and a tendency to line and can often be more highly coloured. Combination skin is by far the most common type of skin, it often has an oil 'T zone' with normal, if your lucky outer areas or dry cheeks. It is a combination of either of the aforementioned types. So you have 4 skin types. Now if only it was that simple but the skin has different conditions that affect it. Firstly moisture, it may surprise you to know that even oily skin can become dehydrated as this is down to moisture content in the skin and not oil. Central heating, changes in temperatures, windy weather and not drinking enough water, too much coffee, tea and cola drinks and alcohol all affect our skin and can lead to dehydration. Oily skin favours better than most as sebum can trap some moisture but not enough to prevent moisture loss. So its important you keep yourself hydrated and drink plenty of water to start with and use the correct moisturiser for your skin type. Moisturiser does what it says, its job is to trap moisture in the skin, with dry skin moisturisers, they generally are more oil based than one designed for oily skin and so on.

Cleansing is a matter of preference but your skin type will guide you as I mentioned early, some people prefer the feel of water on their skin so a rinse off type of cleanser will suit them. But whatever way you cleanse your skin, cleanse it twice once to remove make up and the grime from the day and second to deep cleanse the skin. Which leads me on to eye make up remover. The skin around the eyes is very delicate and is the thinest skin thickness on our bodies so treat it with care. Do not treat it roughly or rub cleanser harshly around the eyes as this will stretch this delicate skin. Eye make up is designed for this sensitive area and not all facial cleansers suitable, check the packaging. Which leads on to all in one cleansers and wipes, these are fine short term but not ideal in the long term. Many of the wipes contain alcohol and irritate sensitive eye tissue and certainly the same wipe should not be used for both eyes due to the risk of cross infection, the same goes for cotton wool pads and tissues.

Toners do we need them? well if you use a water based rinse of cleanser no you don't as the water is suffice to tone and freshen the skin, but if you use a tissue off cleanser yes you do to remove any residue of cleanser and grime. These vary from hydrasols (i.e. rose water) to witch hazel, avoid alcohol on the face as it will remove the acid mantle.

It may surprise you to know that skin after the age of 25 is considered mature but after the age of 25 ageing signs start becoming apparent. Prevention is better than cure and a lot easier. We know from Part 1 how UV light contributes to ageing so be sure your moisturiser contains a sun protection level of at least 15 thats the first thing to be aware of. Drink plenty of water to maintain moisture levels and avoid caffeinated drinks as they are diuretics as encourage the kidneys to excrete more urine and can lead to dehydration. A good balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables to give the cells the right nutrients. Avoid smoking I explained in an earlier article how this ages the skin and does so by ten years. And there is stress, now that is difficult to avoid but there are things you can do, you can lessen its affects by relaxation and I will be giving tips to avoid the damaging effects due to stress later.

Anti-wrinkle cremes, well if you read the earlier article in Part 1 no cosmetic can penetrate the epidermis, so I have to say ladies expensive skin cremes are a total waste of money. The only thing I would say is that avoid products with mineral oil as this oil sits on the surface of the skin, yes it traps the evaporation of moisture but it can block the pores but its fine to use on the body, instead use a vegetable oil based product and by that I don't mean 'Crisp and Dry' some examples are Almond oil, Jojoba oil, Olive oil. With expensive cremes you are paying for the packaging and nice jar. There are temporary anti-wrinkle fixers that work by temporarily tightening up the skin or have fillers and light reflective powders that soften the appearance of lines. Simple things like avoiding squinting in the sun or getting your eyes checked if you have difficulty in reading will prevent many a line forming around the eyes

Aromatherapy cremes and face masks I will cover in a later article



The effects of ultra-violet on the skin are a mixed blessing!

Some is beneficial, necessary for the formation of vitamin D, some is harmful. Much of what happens to the skin as a result of ultra-violet light is the result of the skin trying to protect itself and the body inside from the harmful effects of an excess of the rays; the skin is quite effective at preventing the rays penetrating deeply into the body.

The Stratum Corneum is a major factor in this prevention (see diagram below)

Reflection of rays by layers of the Stratum Corneum

The Stratum Corneum is maintained at such a thickness that with the ‘usual’ intensity of ultra-violet falling on it, very little passes through and no damage is caused to the live cells beneath. The Stratum Corneum of exposed parts of skin such as the face, neck and hands will be thicker than those parts normally covered by clothing.

However, exposure to higher than normal intensities of ultra-violet will allow sufficient rays to pass through the epidermis possibly to cause damage to the living cells underneath.

Penetration of Ultra-Violet Rays into the Skin

In a skin, which has active melanocytes producing melanin pigment granules, this extra ultra-violet will develop the colour of this melanin, resulting in a Tan.

But not everyone’s skin is in such a state of readiness; their melanocytes may be inactive, as a result damage will be caused to the live cells. The result reddening, discomfort, may be even blisters and peeling i.e. Sunburn.

Regardless, more UVB rays will penetrate to the Stratum Germinativum to stimulate its dividing cells into greater activity, this will produce new epidermal cells at a more rapid rate and this will eventually thicken the Stratum Corneum, thus helping to reflect UV rays.

The general increase in the skin’s metabolism reflects throughout the body in creating ‘a feeling of well-being’.
The physical, physiological and psychological effects of Ultra-Violet

Beneficial effects:
  • Vitamin D production
  • Stimulation of Metabolism
  • Tonic Effect
  • Has slight Germicidal effect on the skin
  • Causes hyperkeratinisation (thickening described as above), which is thought to help with some skin conditions such as Acne Vulgaris and Psoriasis.

Screening responses against excess:
  • Suntanning
  • The irritant effect of sunburn
  • The thickening effect of the Stratum Corneum

Damaging effects:

  • Short term – Sunburn
  • ***Long term – Premature aging, thickens the epidermis giving a ‘leathery’ appearance, irreversibly damages Collagen and Elastin fibres, causes dehydration, can cause allergic reactions, can produce dark pigmentation patches; Skin Cancer.

Vitamin D Production

A normal varied diet including dairy produce will supply all the vitamin D required; however through sunshine the vitamin may be made in the body with the help of ultra-violet.

In the body there are two substances, which can be converted into vitamin D, these precursor substances are 7-dehydrocholesterol and ergosterol. When vitamin D is required these substances are moved to exposed skin where using ultra-violet energy these substances are converted to Vitamin D.

The potential for making vitamin d in the skin is so enormous that merely exposing the face for less than an hour on an overcast December day will make all that is required for the day, the body is able to regulate this however so a days long sunbathing will not cause over production.

***How too much sun and UV light damages and ages the skin