Learn more: skin and hair
Healthy skin and hair
We hope you enjoyed the Sunday night Feel Good Forum with Boots on Real and Smooth Radio. Our presenter (and proud mum of DS aged 4) Kate Thornton, was joined by renowned dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting and hair expert Trevor Sorbie to discuss the best advice for a top-to-toe MOT. Let’s look in more detail at some of the main issues that were discussed.
Do you know what the body’s biggest organ is? It’s not the heart or the lungs. And it’s not the liver or the brain. It’s your skin: an incredibly complex organ that manages to be delicate and tender in parts and incredibly tough and resilient in others. And yet although we bombard our skin with pollution, a lack of sleep, a busy lifestyle and make up, we still feel let down when it has an off day.
Apparently 36% of women between the ages of 20 and 40 still suffer from the onset of sudden, localised and recurrent skin imperfections. (Usually on the morning of an important meeting or a hot date.) And dermatologists report that whilst teenage acne has long been a well-known issue, blemishes have become an increasingly frequent reason for consultation in this age group.
The skin conditions they see at this age can be different from those seen during adolescence (and unconnected to previous history) but can range from sensitivity or redness of the skin to blackheads, dilated pores, or oily skin. So on those days when it feels like your skin is waging war on you, it pays to have some serious backup in your skincare arsenal.
There are several options for tackling skin problems. Three cleansing product ranges you might want to consider (and we’re far from alone here) are La Roche-Posay, Vichy and Nelsons. The entire La Roche-Posay Effaclar range contains Thermal Spring Water, which is kinder to sensitive skin and has a high concentration of Selenium (big thumbs up from dermatolgists).
The Vichy Normaderme range is designed specifically for spot-prone skin. It has a full range of cleansers and targeted treatments, all of which help give purer, healthier-looking skin quickly.
Nelsons Pure and Clear is a three-step skincare regime that helps cleanse, calm and moisturise blemish-prone skin. The products contain tea tree oil, arnica, calendula and hypericum, which work together to help you tackle the appearance of blemishes.
Of course, the right solution depends on your skin type; products such as Neutrogena Visibly Clear facial wash, as well as Boots Teatree and Witchhazel, can be just as effective at reducing oily skin and targeting spots.
A new range at Boots is the FaceB4 cleansing range, it provides a gentle formula suitable for all skin types and is enriched in vitamin A, B, B5 and E to moisturise, soothe and protect skin.
Like many of the other strands of our modern lives, technology also offers an option to help leave your skin clean, soft, and radiant. The Philips Visapure Cleansing Brush rotates and vibrates the skin, gently breaking up surface impurities including dirt, dead skin cells and make-up residues. As well as cleansing, it also exfoliates and improves the absorption of your other skin care products.
If your skin worries are a bit more serious than blemishes, you might want to try HoMedics Tanda ZAP skin acne treatment, which combines the same powerful blue light technology used by dermatologists alongside sonic vibration and gentle warming to help clear spot prone skin. It’s one of the few devices that puts the power of three proven technologies into the palm of your hand.
If you’re 16 or over and have a mild to moderate case of acne there is the Boots acne service, which allows you to access a prescription-only medicine after a consultation online. If it’s suitable for you, a clinician will prescribe it and you can have it delivered or collect in selected stores. It is a private service so there will be a charge.
Dermatologist Sam Bunting focuses on one ingredient to look out for:
“Niacinamide is a great ingredient for those looking to tackle spots and dryness at the same time-it helps boost skin barrier function whilst also having anti-blemish action.”
Some of the products in the Freederm cleansing range, such as Freederm Exfoliating Facial Wash, contain this very ingredient.
Dry skin and Eczema
Another relatively common complaint is psoriasis and eczema. If you do have eczema then you must see your GP, but our pharmacists can definitely help between flare-ups. They’ll be able to advise you on emollients, creams and bathing techniques, as well as working with our skincare advisors to offer suggestions on skincare to compliment your prescribed medication, and make up that will suit your skin type.
Another product range available is the new Dermalex range which is clinically proven to help treat Psoriasis, Eczema, and Rosacea. The Dermalex Eczema cream is a breakthrough treatment for atopic eczema in adults and children from six years old. It effectively treats typical eczema symptoms such as itching, red spots and dry skin without the use of steroids. There’s also a version available for babies and children from eight weeks of age.
Like our skin, our hair is a good indicator of how well we’re looking after ourselves and can give us a huge beauty boost on a good day. To make sure you’re having as many good hair days as possible, we recommend three great haircare ranges.
After hearing from our expert Trevor Sorbie, it’s clear he knows a thing or two about hair care - and he’s put all of that expertise into his haircare range. Specifically, we love Beautiful Curl Cream – a leave-in styling cream for well-defined bouncy curls – and his Volume Booster Moose for body and root lift.
FAST shampoo and conditioner is also worth a look if you’re trying to grow out a bad haircut or just want a change of styles. Its blend of natural herbs, vitamins and amino acids fortifies the hair and reduces breakages.
Another great range targeted at rescuing damaged hair and protecting it in the future is the Tresemme Platinum Strength range. This repairs up to two years of damage in just five uses and reinforces your hair's naturally protective layer, restoring it and protecting against future damage.
And for recreating that salon feeling at home, look no further than the Bumble and Bumble & Ojon’s range, a leading authority in treatment-based haircare, they’re at the forefront of the premium hair category. Bumble and Bumble's Hairdresser's Invisible Oil, for example, is a blend of nourishing oils that vanish into hair, leaving it feeling smooth, soft and with a subtle suggestion of shine.
For some people, hair loss is far more of a worry than damaged hair. But it’s actually incredibly common, as Boots hair care expert Suzanne Antropik describes: “There are several factors which can cause it, such as post-pregnancy, poor diet and stress, but also remember that it’s important to cleanse the scalp with a gentle shampoo and take care not to over style your hair. If you’re concerned about hair loss speak to your local pharmacist.”
If you do want a bit of help, then supplements such as Nourkrin can maintain healthy hair growth and support the hair you have. Also products like Nanogen Fibers are more focused on camouflaging the problem areas.
Some women may suffer from hereditary hair loss, which is a type of alopecia - this should be diagnosed by your GP. Products containing Minoxidil such as Regain (always read the label) can help with this as it increases blood supply to hair follicles to strengthen existing hair and encourage new hair to grow. Used regularly you’ll see results over time and the sooner you start the more effective it is.
Finally, Suzanne has one final piece of advice:
“Female thinning hair and hair loss is one of the last taboo’s in our society. It is estimated that we lose around 100 hairs a day through natural hair shedding. So please don’t suffer in silence- there are treatments available!”
If you missed the show and want to listen to the questions posed by Mumsnetters, it's available now on the pop-out player.
Last updated: 5 months ago