Absorbency, medication and inflammation... a request from Twitter...and how to make the perfect cup of tea.

I've had a few questions on Twitter this week that take more than 140 characters to respond to!


Firstly, medication and the effects on the body and skin - meds can affect the skin in all sorts of ways - but the most common reaction is inflammation in one way or another. Just a reminder that I am under no illusions that I am a GP! - this is just my training, experience and reactions from customers and clients.

Antibiotics tend to dry you out and can cause either redness and/or rashes or, as in my case, you go 'grey' and lose colour in your face. This usually leads to people saying 'You look really rough!' Um thanks.

Ditto most other meds. And I'm talking about prescribed medication - not over the counter paracetamol.

The thing that's best for skin that is under the influence of any medication? Just go down the anti-inflammatory route. Cut out sugar, alcohol, smoking (don't get me started), lower dairy intake and be careful using really active ingredients in products - your skin is trying to cope with enough without making it work harder.

Use a soft cleanser - preferably a balm or oil (as always non mineral oil based), find a nice cooling spray toner/tonic such as Avene, and a really hydrating moisturiser. Water based is safe all round. If you're particularly oily or dry supplement with a suitable oil in the evenings.

Cleanse, spray, moisturise, spray again. Think of your routine as 'putting out the fire'.

Absorbency. I was tweeted by the lovely Liloo this evening to ask my opinion on a particular new launch claiming to be 300% stronger than other antioxidants used in products. Or summin.

My concern with brands that talk the talk about miracle ingredients is the delivery system.

Let me set the scene: When you make a cup of tea in a cup - why do you not add the milk to the mug first?

Because the fat molecules in the milk are bigger than the holes in the teabag. If you add the milk first the tea stops brewing and you get a cup of cat pee. No matter how hard you squeeze it against the side of the cup with that teaspoon.

Your skin, like a teabag, is not designed to just absorb willy-nilly. If it did - you wouldn't be able to take a bath - you'd drown.

You can have the best ingredients available on the market but if they're not in a specialised delivery system - such as a nicotine or HRT patch, they will just sit on the surface of the skin - or evaporate off. Take retinol. When it first came on to the market, the delivery system was sub-standard and the product sat on the surface of the skin - causing irritation and in some cases burning people who then went out in to the sun unknowingly. Most people would return their products saying 'I've had an allergic reaction'. Then came micro technology and THEN came nano technology. Which basically means the molecules of the ingredient in the formulation are smaller than the entry points on the epidermis.

So when you're about to buy an expensive face cream, don't worry so much about the ingredients - its bound to have some excellent ones. Ask how they plan to penetrate you. You know you want to.

That's all. Remember this though:


  • In-vitro and in-utero testing is fabulous - but how do they intend to get it INTO your cells?
  • Whatever you use, whatever they tell you, nothing, NOTHING penetrates further than the dermis that is NOT IN A NEEDLE.

Now. Someone put the kettle on. And do it properly please.


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