We are delighted that this year for Science Week we will be introducing specialist Dermatology nurse, Fidelma O’ Dowd who is a co-founder of The Healthy Skin Clinic based in Dublin and also the Midlands. When it comes to our skincare products, it can often be difficult to understand what is actually in them and whether the more expensive products are really better for our skin or not. We will be talking to Fidelma all around the topic of the science of skin and some of the most common issues that she encounters in her day to day work. Meanwhile, we caught up with Fidelma to find out more about what she does..
What inspired you to choose a career in the skincare industry?
It was an easy progression for me as I work as a Dermatology Advance Nurse Practitioner in large teaching hospital in Dublin, which I manage a caseload of skin conditions: chronic skin disease clinics (psoriasis, acne, eczema, rosacea), skin cancer diagnostic procedure (minor skin surgery).
Three years ago I expanded my skill set into the field of aesthetic and opened The Healthy Skin Clinic with clinics in Blanchardstown, Dublin and Ballymahon, Longford. Providing treatments for hyperpigmentation/ melasma, photo aging, anti-aging, acne, rosacea. The Healthy Skin clinic also provides a full range of medical aesthetic treatments such as mesotherapy, profhilio, micro needling, multideminsional de-pigmentation solutions, acne treatments, removal of benign skin lesions (skin tags)
At ‘The Healthy Skin Clinic’, all patients undertake a full skin/medical consultation prior to any treatment, to ensure all skincare treatment programmes are tailored and personalised to the client’s specific needs.
The Healthy Skin Clinic are stockists to some of the world’s leading medical skin care brands some are Obagi, Mesoestetic, Mc Cosmetics, so patients can enhance their skin treatments with the most suitable home care products under expert advice and consultation.
Our Skin Team
Lead Clinician Fidelma ODowd, our team of healthcare professionals consists solely of Registered nurses and Medical Doctors, providing medical skin treatment expertise.
- Fidelma ODowd: Dermatology Advance Nurse Practitioner/Lead Clinician.
- Meave OSullivan: Registered Nurse/Clinician
- Dr Lylas Aljohmani (B.A;M.B;B.Ch;B.A.O;MCh)Medical Practitioner/ Botox clinics
- Fidelma ODowd: Dermatology Advanced Nurse Practitioner/Lead clinician
- Joan Naughton: Registered Nurse/ Clinician
- Dr Lylas Aljohmani (B.A;M.B;B.Ch;B.A.O;MCh): Medical Practitioner/Botox Clinics
Mr Stephen Kelly: Emergency Department Advance Nurse Practitioner/ Operational Manager
What are the most common issues that patients present with in your clinic?
Dark Spots/age spots/premature aging: you don’t get to choose where it appears. Somehow it just finds a home for itself, right there on the tip of your nose, your cheek, or somewhere else on your face. It’s a dark spot or age spot. Unfortunately, these unwanted spots aren’t likely to go away on their own.
So how does it happen?
Melanin is what gives colour to your skin. Light from the sun actually speeds up the production of melanin. Being exposed to the sun over long periods of time can cause a cluster of melanin to appear-this is how a dark spot occurs
Tanning is also caused by reaction to sun’s rays. That golden skin tone may look desirable, but is actually a sign of skin damage. Over the long term, this damage can lead to premature aging or even cancer
But sun exposure isn’t the only reason dark spots pop up. Sometimes its just part of aging. Genetics also plays a role. If you have light-coloured or fair skin, you are more likely to develop dark spots.
How can we prevent them?
The best way to help keep those pesky spots from appearing is to limit sun exposure.
We’re not saying you shouldn’t enjoy outdoors, but be aware of when the sun’s rays can cause the most damage. Between 10.00am and 2pm is when the sun is at its greatest strength. Limit your sun exposure during these hours if you can.
Also, as much as possible, wear long sleeve shirts, pants, and put on a hat to provide shade for your face. This applies for those times when you’re behind the wheel as well. Harmful rays can even penetrate through car windows(tinted windows offer some additional protection). As a general rule, if your going to be exposed to sunlight, wear a high-quality broad spectrum sunscreen with a UVA star rating 4-5, or
Logo on SPF, UVB 30-50.
What can I do to treat them?
If you want to help reduce the appearance of dark spots, practitioners frequently recommend products like Obagi Nu-Derm system. Obagi Nu-Derm includes Prescription 4% hydroquinone, which is considered by many to be the gold standard in the treatment of dark spots. Ask your skin Practitioner if Obagi Nu-Derm may be right for you.
Did You Know…….
- A degree of acne affects nearly everyone between ages of 15-17
- 15-20% of young people will experience moderate-severe acne
- 85% prevalence rate in 12-24 year age group
- 78% of girls between 8-12 have acne
- 64% of 20-29 and 43% of 30-39 have visible acne
- 3% of men and 5% of women with still had a degree of acne aged 40-49
Psychological Factors & Acne
Appearance has huge role in social communication and functioning. This effect is reinforced by media, industry and celebrity culture
Acne suffers experience:
- Loss of confidence-67%
- Impaired social contact-57%
Puberty, premenstrual flare, disorders with high testosterone levels, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, anabolic steroids and oral steroids
Contact with the skin through occupation or cosmetics
Increase in sebum glands activity during period of stress
What do they say?
A topical retinoid alone or in combination with Benzoyly Peroxide (BPO)
A topical Antibiotic (1% Clindamycin) – oral antibiotics should always be prescribed alongside a BPO to prevent development of antibiotic resistance
Azelaic Acid 20%
Creams or gels
If irritation occurs lower frequency or concentration
Frequency of application can be gradually increased to daily if tolerated
Obagi CLENZIderm M.D system
Obagi Nu-Derm System
What is a good routine for someone who really, just wants to start taking better care of their skin perhaps after years of not doing so?
At what age did you first start to think about taking care of your skin more seriously? For most, it was sparked by a specific skin condition or concern like the first time you noticed fine lines around your eyes or maybe you experienced acne for the first time as an adult.
While there are two products I strongly recommend using every single day- a cleanser and a sunscreen with SPF 30-50 will help the overall health of your skin.
As always, the best thing you can do to achieve healthy skin is to meet with your skin care practitioner to determine which products are best for specific individual skin care needs
Do products used on your skin have to be very expensive to work well?
Anyone who has visited a professional skincare clinic seeking to improve the appearance of his or her skin has likely heard of or received a recommendation to use professional skin care products the price of the products may be surprising.
Why purchase skin care products from a skincare clinic than a drug store?
It’s a good question to ask, and the reason are worth understanding if you are serious about tackling issues such as melasma/dark spots or acne, as well as the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and the host of problems caused by photoaging.
Consider value in the decision to purchase topical skin care. Products containing greater than 2% Hydroquinone that are indicated to treat hyperpigmentation and melasma, for example, are available only with a prescription. Non-hydroquinone cosmetic alternatives may not work as well, and therefore, repeated purchases may end up costing more than a well-formulated product. Similary, this added value applies to clinically-tested practitioner-dispensed acne products and certain cosmetics.
The best practitioner-dispensed skin care is clinically tested for positive results, so you can be confident that such products are backed by real results. Before and after photos should give you an idea of typical results. Clinical study engagement is one cost in the development of good skin care products.
In-Depth Product Training/Education
Because the products are part of a skin care professional’s recommended regimen, practitioner training and instructional materials are provided by the manufacturer. Some professional skin care products may cause side effects in some patients; proper and continued education by the practitioner is critical for patients’ proper use and success. Skin care practitioners who recommend specific products will guide patients during their continued use to address any questions or concerns that may arise during the treatment course.
Consumers Be Cautious
Some may still wonder why purchase Practitioner-dispensed skin care products instead of those available through mass retail, which often advertise big promises. Products sold through mass retail skin care often make claims that haven’t been scientifically supported, so it’s often up to consumers to educate and protect themselves. Consider a quote from the FDA “if a product seems too good to be true, it probably is”
Some experts advise to drink three litres of water a day and others say it is more important to ‘eat our water’ through fruit and veg for better skin. It can be confusing. What is one of the biggest myths you have come across about how to look after your skin properly?
When it comes to taking care of your skin, it may be hard to separate fact from fiction, especially with so many skin care articles floating around.
Fortunately, we have put together five of the biggest myths that will help to make your skin care routine a little easier – and your skin a lot happier!
You don’t need sunscreen in winter
Whoever told you that sunscreen is only needed on sunny, summer days is either playing a prank on you or needs a lesson in skin care ASAP!
One of the main causes of premature skin aging is the UV rays of the sun, so your best defence is to slather on the SPF all year long. Just because it’s chilly or cloudy outside, that doesn’t mean the sun isn’t damaging to your skin, because UV rays can still pass through clouds. The biggest surprise of all though, is that you can still get sunburn when there’s snow on the ground! The reason for this is because the snow reflects light from the sun, meaning that your skin is getting double the exposure – from the sun and the snow. If you don’t believe us, then just go look at the incredible tans (and sunburns!) skiers and snowboarders get while out on the slopes
If your skin is oily, you should skip the moisturizer
We’ve heard this one often, but if you’re struggling with oily skin, then your skin may still be in need of a moisturizer.
By skipping the moisturizer, your skin may try to make up for the lack of moisture in the skin by creating its own, in the form of sebum, but unfortunately, the skin can over-compensate by producing too much. The end result is even oilier skin with an increased risk of breakouts.
If you’re using the right products for your skin, then you can’t go wrong. One of our favourite moisturizers for all skin types (dry or oily) is Obagi Hydrate®, which is non-comedogenic and provides 8-hour moisturization with innovative technology and naturally derived ingredients, including shea butter, mango butter, and avocado.
Diet doesn’t affect your skin
You certainly are what you eat – everything you put into your body will have an effect on your skin. A poor diet can not only affect your waistline and decrease your energy levels, but it can also show up on your face as a dull complexion. For example, sugar is known to change the collagen and elastin fibers in the skin, leaving you prone to skin that ages faster. And there’s no argument that alcohol and caffeine can dehydrate your body and skin.
The best diet is well-balanced with antioxidant-rich foods to help defend against free radicals, and foods rich in omega-3 to help maintain healthy and youthful-looking skin
You should start using skin care products when wrinkles appear
If you’re waiting for the signs of skin aging to appear before you invest in skin care products, please keep reading.
You may have heard that prevention is better than cure and this couldn’t be more accurate when it comes to your skin. By starting to use products targeted towards the appearance of lines and wrinkles in your twenties or even sooner, before the signs of skin aging have manifested, you set a great foundation to ensure your skin ages beautifully and gracefully with minimal lines and wrinkles.
Of course, harsher products are generally reserved for more mature skin, but it wouldn’t hurt to start using a good retinol cream and eye cream in your twenties or sooner. Also, be mindful that there are many factors that contribute to aging skin, and lifestyle factors along with healthy skin care rituals are your best defense in the fight against the signs of skin aging
Hot water is best for opening up the pores
Hot water may feel great in the shower, but unfortunately, it’s not so great for your skin. While hot water does open the pores, it’s recommended through steaming the skin, not putting hot water directly on your skin!
Hot water on the skin will dry the skin out by stripping it of beneficial oils, and no amount of product will make up for this lack of moisture. Always rinse your face with lukewarm water and pat dry before applying your products. Leave the steaming to the professionals at your next facial!