Changing and Maintaining our Body Shape

I was asked to write on the process of autophagy and how it might help clients who are considering cryolipolysis treatment.  This is a treatment that is offered in my clinic and I have to admit to struggling with carrying out the treatment on clients who are not using the procedure as a catalyst for change.   Yes, the treatment is clinically proven, but at best 25-40% of the fat cells in the area will be affected, the other 60-75% still have the ability to grow in size.

Combined with lifestyle changes I think treatments are in investment but otherwise I feel they are a waste of hard-earned cash.

I have recently had a client go through a fasting mimicking diet alongside her cryolipolysis – we combine this with 8 x sessions of lipolaser and cavitation ultrasound massage – she is absolutely delighted, has dropped 2-3kg and more importantly more than a dress size.   What excites me about her is that she learned about fasting, about ketogenic diets, and autophagy.  She turned up ready for change.  The world of quantum physics would have us believe matter follows consciousness and we really are what we think as well as what we eat.

It’s no secret that my age group (I’m literally squeezing into the 46-55 year range) has suffered most from misinformation in relation to eating for health, and has spent a lifetime with a health service designed to treat symptoms and ignore the cause of illness.  But I’m not going to write about being a pawn in the nasty game of perpetuating ill-health, I want to touch on the processes of autophagy and apoptosis as it relates to achieving the body shape we desire.

The Nobel Prize in Medicine 2016 was awarded to Yoshinori Ohsumi for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy; a fundamental process for degrading and recycling cellular components.  The word autophagy originates from Greek and means self-eating; researchers in the 1960s first observed that the cell could destroy its own contents, however Ohsumi devoted his life to experiments that elucidated the process.

Autophagy works and the great thing is it’s FREE, doesn’t involve too much change, and can rid you of the pain of calorie counting.  It removes debris found inside cells; debris that if we’re smokers, suffering heart disease, or are overweight has probably been present for years.

Apoptosis (pre-programmed death) is triggered when cells become old and worn down. Different cells in the body live longer than others, but they all have an end date.  Apoptosis is also what happens when we carry out cryolipolysis* instead of being pre-programmed we are encouraging fat cells into the process of cell death.

On the subcellular level; instead of throwing out the whole cell via apoptosis, autophagy gets rid of the debris, recycling these parts as fuel.  Cells clean up the old or defective proteins inside themselves by feeding them to the mitochondria (the powerhouse within the cell).

This is helpful for those of us who are afraid of loose skin following weight loss or the cryolipolysis procedure.  If you lose weight/change shape while stimulating autophagy, your body will ‘eat’ the cells/components responsible for lax skin and the results will be tighter, toned skin.

While a truly awful example of autophagy, it is one we will all recognise; when human beings are held captive for long periods and food restricted, no matter how much body fat that person started off with he is never left with curtains of loose skin.  The reason for this is intermittent fasting; many would also have been a state of ketosis for the duration of their confinement.

Low calorie diets do not stimulate autophagy because the body is always working, always digesting food; the weight may come off but the skin will be still be there.

With intermittent fasting (eating in an 8-10 hour window) without calorie restriction a mild state of autophagy can be achieved.  Occasional OMAD (one meal a day), 24 hour water fasts, and longer water fasts result in greater levels and effects of autophagy.  The body experiencing weight loss with autophagy is absorbing the flabby skin cells and using the cellular parts as fuel.    During the fasting period, if ketosis is achieved, the body switches circuits to use stored body fat for fuel.  Most of us have enough stored fat to supply the mitochondria (the cellular powerhouse) with energy for all the tasks we normally undertake in a day, including going to work and exercising.

Traditional low-calorie weight loss programmes leave so many people exposed to the need for surgery to remove the curtains of skin from the arms, abdomen and butt.  What was once hidden for being too fat is now hidden because there are track lines of ugly scar tissue.

So what is happening during fasting?   Basically an enhanced version of your biochemistry when you’re not fasting.  By starting on a ketogenic diet you prepare the body for fasting states.  It is so much easier to fast when your body has gotten used to using its fat stores for energy, as opposed to living off glucose (carbs) and storing fat.   A keto-adapted person will achieve autophagy much quicker (as little as 12 hours from the start of the fast) than someone who is not, for whom it could be several days.

If you choose to remain keto-adapted and eat within a fasting window of 8-12 hours you should be triggering autophagy daily.   If I haven’t intrigued you enough there is the ageing benefits to consider.   The second reaction that fasting triggers is the release of growth hormone.  Human growth hormone promotes muscle and bone growth, and pushes the body to empty its fat cells.

The minute you introduce glucose in food, insulin production is triggered and insulin puts the breaks on the process of autophagy.

Fasting is not for everyone and it’s difficult to change overnight how we have always eaten; Dr. Valter Longo** has devoted his life to understanding ageing and the relationship between food and health – you may recall him as an expert consulted by Dr Michael Moseley when he was investigating fasting, prior to the launch of the 5:2 diet.  Dr. Longo’s team at the California Health and Longevity Institute have developed Prolon, a fasting mimicking diet that may provide the springboard for change that willpower alone will not.

I have only touched the surface of a subject that fascinates me enough to devote hours of study to it every week; there’s an abundance of great information available but if it’s overwhelming a good place to start is the Bulletproof Road Map, stick to the foods in the green category and choose a window for eating of 8-10 hours. ***


Good luck and great health




*Cryolipolysis is based on the principle that fat cells are more vulnerable to cold than surrounding tissues; the cooled fat cells undergo apoptosis (cell death) and are gradually eliminated through the body’s normal metabolic processes.

**The inventor of ProLon, Dr. Valter Longo, generously donates all profits from his 60% share in L-Nutra to the Create Cures Foundation, whose mission is to help fund ways to prevent illness and promote longer, healthier lives.

***Please discuss a change in diet with your doctor or nutritionist if you are taking medication or have health concerns.


Winter Skin

I touched on the effects of winter on our skin when I wrote about using SPF this time of year.  You will now be experiencing first-hand how zero degrees makes your cheeks rosy and your nose red, how the heating in the car makes you flushed and dry, how itchy your skin is under all the layers of warm clothing, and those poor cracked lips!

At this time of year it’s tempting to layer on the thick moisturiser in an attempt to create some sort of barrier between you and the elements; thinking about the skin barrier function is correct but caking it in ingredients it doesn’t utilise in cellular renewal leads to clogged pores, milia and a very dull complexion.

Think of the surface of your face as a collection of dead cells all glued together, the last thing you want to do is to use products that encourage those cells to stay in place longer, we want to speed up the process that brings fresher cells to the surface and promotes density in skin cells.

So what can we do to make sure the only thing cracking this winter is the ice underfoot?  The simplest of effective routines can contain as little as 3 products per day; a cleanser, a protective day cream and a night cream.  Skin care can be as easy or as complex as you want it to be.

Let’s start with your cleanser, it’s got to be gentle, and soap-free, it should not alter the skin’s natural moisture balance.  Remember your cleanser can be part of your anti-ageing regime, it’s not only for removing grime and make-up. Look for active ingredients such as glycolic acid and gluconolactone to promote cellular turnover.  Try Exuviance Purifying Cleansing Gel, it goes a long way and feels amazing.

If you are a no-nonsense get out the door quickly sort of person then the perfect product to start your day with will renew your skin, spirit and senses with one wipe!  This powerful moisturising, antioxidant and anti-aging tonic contains a triple blend of Polyhydroxy Acids, a marine botanical, eucalyptus, cucumber and green tea extract… all in one small pad.  Hail SkinRise Bionic Tonic by Exuviance.

I’ve been trialling a new product from Iceland (not new on the market but new to Beautique Medispa) by BIOEFFECT.  The company behind the product formed in 2001 but it was in 2005 that they produced pure cellular activators in barley seeds.  The hero of the BIOEFFECT range is EGF (Epidermal Growth Factor), the discovery of which earned the scientists responsible the Nobel Prize in Medicine.  EGF is heralded for its ability to trigger cell renewal and initiate the production of collagen and elastin.

Speaking of which, very quick recap on the science… collagen and elastin are proteins produced in fibroblasts – skin cells within the dermis.  Fibroblasts also produce GAGs (glucosaminoglycans), these keep the skin hydrated.  Enough! I hear you say, but if you were to realise that diminished production of these little anti-ageing stars is responsible for your lack lustre appearance would you be interested in recovering their activity levels?

One of the most common causes of reduced activity is UV exposure, however we’ve covered that topic and if you are still in doubt NeoStrata’s  Sheer Physical Protection is a day cream containing powerful antioxidants and anti-ageing ingredients and suits all skin types.  If you do nothing else for yourself pick up a bottle and hold back time!

I’ve suggested a few products that you can use on the outside but the real quantum leap product for me is one you can drink.  Aneva Derma is the market leader of collagen supplements as its absorption rate is 95% through the small intestine; I’m not one for trash talk but do your research on absorption rate before parting with your hard-earned cash for supplements that will pass through your system as waste.  Remember the 8 out of 10 cats approach to sales is not science.

The list of benefits of taking Aneva Derma is long and varies from person to person as the collagen is taken up by the body where it is needed, so along with improved looks, you will find that all over your body your skin is more hydrated.  Itchy legs are a thing of the past!   You could also be pleasantly surprised to find your joints don’t ache, your nails are growing quicker and stronger, your hair is growing quicker too (not always a great thing if you colour your roots!), and some menopausal sufferers of vaginal dryness are lets say not suffering anymore!  I hear often that ‘it’s not cheap!’, and it’s not but it’s the same price as the coffee you buy at lunchtime that doesn’t give you any benefits at all.

Aneva Derma is taken in the evening before sleep, but you may still be looking for a product for your skin at night and another great one from NeoStrata is Cellular Restoration from the Skin Active range.   Its potent

formula contains Apple Stem Cell Extract, Glycolic Acid, Peptides, and a whole host of powerful antioxidants; it takes a multi-mechanistic approach to rejuvenating cellular function and strengthening the skin’s underlying structure with collagen and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs).

I will no doubt recognise my readers from their flawless, hydrated complexions, and bounce in their step.

Wishing you all skin health this winter.

Nourish or Neglect?

Winter is round the corner and most of us have already turned the heating on.  If you have, you are probably noticing the drying effect it is having on your skin… and it will only get worse as we reach for more layers of clothes.

Colder air outside, warmer air inside, lack of ventilation all contribute to dehydrated skin and a compromised skin barrier.  Among the tell-tale signs are a dull complexion, excess redness due to the blood vessels reacting to extremes of temperature, chapped lips, and itchiness in the lower legs.

Dry skin on the face and body is aggravated by harsh products such as soap and detergent, and hot water, yet we long to lie in a hot bath when we get in from the cold.  We are more likely to reach for a cup of tea or coffee as we seek comfort on a wintery night in front of the TV, or a nice glass of wine as the thought of going out to meet friends doesn’t appeal so much.  All of the aforementioned are horribly dehydrating and we compound the weather/central heating problem further by indulging in them.

The benefits of AHAs (alphahydroxy acids) in skin care were introduced to us by Drs Van Scott and Yu in the early 1970s, but more recently a new generation of PHAs (polyhydroxy acids) were found to have similar effects on the skin and have the additional benefit of providing humectant and moisturisation properties.  PHAs such as gluconolactone and lactobionic acid are potent antioxidants that scavenge harmful free radicals as well as strengthen the skin’s protective barrier.

It is widely accepted that a build up of dry flaky skin is preventing the normal function of the skin barrier and while it may sound radical, further exfoliation can help.  When Drs Van Scott and Yu carried out their original research it was to treat dry-skin conditions, which they did very successfully by proving that AHAs maintain the skin’s proper moisture level.

My tips for achieving a winter glow

The two renowned scientists I spoke of earlier are still developing products for NeoStrata and Exuviance and so it is that I turn to the experts for my recommendation.

  • Replace whatever you wash your face with for a cleanser containing AHAs or PHAs.  These can be found in NeoStrata’s Restore or Resurface ranges.
  • The other product I don’t think winter skin should be without, is a daytime protection cream, also containing AHAs or PHAs, and a sunscreen.
  • If you will do nothing else then wash your face at night with cleanser.  If you like a night cream then I suggest Restore’s Ultra Moisturising Face Cream.
  • For the body I recommend Exuviance Hydrating Hand and Body Lotion.
  • If you are looking to actively improve the barrier function of your skin then I would consider a course of chemical peels (chemical exfoliation) for the best looking winter skin you could hope for.

My male clients actively express a dislike for parabens as they apparently mimic oestrogen and lower testosterone; I’m no expert on this but am happy to confirm the products I recommend are paraben free.

Additional Tips

Being hydrated on the inside is a must throughout the year to give you that inner glow, warm water with a slice of lemon or a herbal tea will do the same job as a glass of water.

Switching the heating off at night will go a long way to helping sufferers of inflammatory skin conditions.

Up your intake of Omega 3 by eating more oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines and herring.

Increase the antioxidants in your diet by including more greens.

If your body suffers from winter aches and pains consider taking Aneva Derma, a collagen supplement that delivers collagen wherever it is needed in the body, that will also improve skin, hair, nails and a whole host of other conditions (for me personally, itchy skin).

Statement Lashes!

Healthy Brows & Lashes

Here at Beautique we practice what we preach and we trial products before they reach our shelves so we can answer your questions from the experience angle as well as giving you the scientific data from the manufacturer.  We are not fans of the 8 out of 10 cats approach to science, preferring clinical studies over the number of subject who ‘felt’ an improvement.

The most frequently asked questions relating to the eye area are:

  1. Will my over-plucked eyebrows grow back?
  2. Will I have to use growth serums forever if I want to maintain long, healthy lashes?

The hair growth cycle differs in different parts of the body but the phases remain the same, hairs are either growing, resting or shedding/regrowing.   Hair on the head can grow for as long as 7 years without taking a rest!  The hairs that come out easily are the ones being shed, e.g. on your hairbrush or if you tweeze a hair and it doesn’t hurt the chances are it is already being replaced by a new hair in the root.

The growth cycle for eyelashes can be as short as 6 weeks and for eyebrows around 8-10 weeks.

Each individual hair is formed inside a hair follicle and relies on nutrients to keep performing.  Does over plucking cause damage to follicles?  There’s no hard evidence to support this, just lots of women with very thin brows who enjoyed their tweezers a bit too much in the 80s!  It is believed that if you give the follicles some TLC you will experience regrowth… and that is also our own experience.

What happens when you stop using growth serums?  If you stop using serum, lashes and brows revert to their normal growth cycle, absolutely no harm done – apart from the fact you are going to seriously miss the glamour!

There’s more to lash health than growth though, the eyelash plays an important role in the body by preventing foreign bodies from entering the eye; they sense the approach that causes the eye to blink.  It’s well worth respecting them by ensuring they are free from bacteria.  Waterproof mascara can be particularly harsh on lashes so limit its use to ‘no other option’ occasions, e.g. weddings and funerals!  Sleeping in mascara should never happen, if you do nothing else after a night out reach for the cotton pads and a gentle remover.  Gentle action is also required, tugging with a baby wipe is a definite NO!  The lash root is delicate and lashes can break just with aggressive handling.

Eyelash curlers should be used with care as improper use could lead to lash breakage.  The latest curling treatment by LVL actually replaces the need for curlers and in many cases could satisfy the desire to go without mascara.

Falsies… you either love them or hate them but if you love them be very careful about the adhesive application and removal or in the case of extensions do not try to remove them by picking them off – you will end up with bald patches, guaranteed!

My recommendation for healthy brows and lashes is apply a serum, go the LVL route so that you can leave the mascara off at least a few days a week and remove make-up with a gentle cleanser.  Exuviance has a wonderful product, aptly named ‘Gentle Cleansing Cream’, it works a treat with eye make-up, and at the same time delivers a whole host of nutrients.


Gift Card Heaven!

Remember, we offer our fabulous Gift Cards for any occasion at both of our Clinics!

We can pre-load them with any amount!

Great for a treat for your favourite person, for any reason!

SPF in Winter

The harmful effects of UV rays are cumulative, you may not see them for many years but when they do show up they will greet you at best as loss of elasticity, wrinkles, pigmentation and sun spots, and at worse as moles. The ones you swear you didn’t have before that now seem to be changing shape!  You can skip ahead to tips in the last 2 paragraphs if you already appreciate the dangers.

Sunlight contains a spectrum of wavelengths including visible and invisible light; ultraviolet light forms part of the invisible spectrum of which UVA and UVB belong.

UVA light (think sunbeds) contributes to premature ageing and increases the risk of developing skin cancer as it penetrates deeper into the skin.  The intensity with which UV rays are emitted is consistent throughout the day, it penetrates cloud and passes through glass.

UVB light is more intense and we see its effect as sunburn.  Sunburn itself indicates damage to the skin and can be a trigger for genetic mutation.

Before I continue on winter sun, have a think about the other stress winter poses to our skin health.  We go from being outside where it can be cold and damp, bright but windy, frosty yet warm and then we go inside where the central heating is on full and the atmosphere is really dry.  We’re also missing the tan we had in the summer months where the added melanin produced offered us some protection.  Our skin is in a far more compromised state than in the fresh air of summer.

The SPF of sunscreens is measured using 2mg/cm2 but studies show we don’t use anything close to this amount.  Lorna Bowes of Aesthetic Source first introduced me to this fact by holding up a large bottle and asking how much would I return home with after a week in the sun. Like everyone else in the room the answer was at least half.  We should have been using a few of those bottles in a week.  By not using the correct amount and reapplying it we end up with an SPF of 5 instead of 25.

My advice this winter is check with your skin care provider that your current regime offers you everything you need to battle the anti-ageing effects of climate change and central heating, don’t skip the SPF even when it’s dull, and if you are taking a winter holiday, especially snow related, be aware that 80% of UV rays can be reflected off the snow and the higher altitude leads to higher exposure.

To finish on an inspirational note, now is the time to book in for the great treatments you put off all summer… if the shorts are packed away for next year it’s an ideal time to commence laser hair removal, or if you want the best skin possible for Christmas a course of chemical peels started In October will get the results you desire.  Winter is great for aesthetics as the chances are you are not going out straight after.  Make those long winter nights work in your favour – get party ready!

Prescribing skin care

I think it’s fair to say that in general we are ill-informed about topical agents suited to our skin type, and may be swayed by TV adverts, magazine advertorials, celebrity endorsements, alluring scent and funky packaging when it comes to choosing skin care products.

We are likely to have grown up in a household where there were products in the bathroom, mum’s dressing table, a basket with tubes and bottles not quite empty enough to throw away but no longer worthy of shelf space. In my own collection, at any one time, there would be at least four moisturisers.

Why moisturisers? Why did I think it helpful to suggest to my daughter in her late-teens that it was time to start using a moisturiser? What great ant-ageing skin care advice was I giving? None, in fact, now I know that I may have set her on a path to sensitised skin!

There are conditions under which the use of moisturisers are helpful, e.g. in someone whose barrier function is inherently compromised, or if we live in environmental conditions where we are exposed to extremes a moisturiser will prevent the skin from drying.

When we don’t have a skin condition requiring the use of a moisturiser but we apply it anyway we disrupt the skin barrier (water, lipid, protein) balance. Once disrupted we embark on a journey of trying this product and that product to recapture skin health. The thinning epidermis and the accumulation of surface dead cells makes that radiant glow all the more elusive.

If the barrier function in the epidermis is working properly it protects the dermis from dehydration; this barrier relies on the balance of water, lipid, and protein it contains. The external application of moisturisers, an unnatural source of water, lipid, protein disrupts the natural balance and the barrier is no longer as effective; this can lead to sensitivity and allow allergens to penetrate the skin. The artificial hydration also inhibits fibroblast activity.

It’s not all bad news though, there are products containing ingredients that will promote a return to naturally hydrated skin; to fully appreciate the properties of such products we must understand the functions responsible for skin hydration. Fibroblast cells produce collagen, elastin, glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and natural moisturising factors; the dermis is host to fibroblast cells and it is within this layer that they attract hydration.

Good products should enhance exfoliation, restore the balance between water, lipids and protein, stimulate collagen and elastin production, hydrate, minimise the production of free radicals and repair DNA. Treatments such as Collagen Induction Therapy, Chemical Peels and IPL/RF Photo Rejuvenation can be carried out alongside topical therapy to enhance results by stimulating an instant reaction from the body’s repair mechanism.

The ingredients we should be looking for in products have properties that trigger a response; the response may not be one you like immediately. I have had clients complain the products are drying their skin out but one month later, having been reassured that what they are experiencing is exfoliation, they are delighted with the results and won’t go back to moisturisers.

The short list of ingredients that follows, along with their properties, is an introduction to the science of skin care; rather than suggest you arm yourself with this and go off internet shopping (be very wary of fakes) think about the effects of misuse. These ingredients wrongly applied will be worse for you than years of misusing moisturiser because they are capable of changing the biology of the skin.

Skin care technicians have been trained to diagnose, will advise where to start and will be with you for the long haul. They can suggest complimentary therapies to fast track a response if you are desperate for change or help you to introduce a product to your regime every time you reach the bottom of an old one.  Be wary of anyone who wants to sell you 6 products at a time unless they have advised how to introduce them over a period of time.

If you can purchase a product off the shelf then it contains minute amounts of the active ingredients it claims to contain as it has to be safe in all hands and suit all skin types.

We can’t turn back the hands of time but we can increase our cell turnover rate to a youthful state.

Wishing you all good skin health,

Glycolic Acid, a natural constituent of sugar cane, exfoliates the skin by enhancing cell turnover, evens the distribution of pigmentation, refines the appearance of pore size and helps smooth the look of fine lines and wrinkles. Within the dermis, this Alpha Hydroxy Acid increases the synthesis of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and collagen fibres for skin that appears firmer.

Citric Acid, found naturally in citrus fruits, is a powerful Alpha/Beta Hydroxy Acid that has preventative antioxidant and corrective anti-ageing effects, helping to reverse signs of photo-damage and solar elastosis by improving the quality of elastic fibres and increasing the quantity of GAGs. Because it has both preventative antioxidant and corrective anti-ageing effects it is often used as a booster to target specific skin concerns.

Mandelic Acid, found naturally in almonds, is a lipophilic AHA, readily absorbed by oily skin, making its anti-ageing properties particularly effective in this skin type.  Mandelic Acid also has natural antibacterial benefits and reduces oiliness over time without over drying the skin.

Gluconolactone, a Poly Hydroxy Acid found naturally in the skin, provides full strength anti-ageing benefits without irritation, even for patients with clinically sensitive
skin or rosacea, or those who have had cosmetic procedures.  A powerful antioxidant, Gluconolactone inhibits elastase to preserve healthy tissue and maintain youthful elasticity, it also strengthens the skin’s barrier function, reducing sensitivity to irritants and skin redness over time.

Lactobionic Acid, a patented non-irritating ‘Bionic’ PHA derived from milk sugar, helps prevent and reverse the appearance of photo-ageing, including fine lines and wrinkles, uneven pigmentation, enlarged pores and roughness.  A potent antioxidant used to prevent oxidative damage to transplant organs, Lactobionic Acid promotes firmness by inhibiting the MMP enzyme responsible for degradation of collagen and consequent wrinkling and skin laxity.  A natural humectant, it binds water to create a moisturising barrier on skin.

NeoGlucosamineTM, is a patented non-acid amino sugar technology that will gently exfoliate the skin to promote cellular turnover, diminishes fine lines and wrinkles, and exfoliates hyper-pigmented spots and acne for a more even skin tone. NeoGlucosamine is also a building block of Hyaluronic Acid, skin’s natural filler, promoting a superior plumping of the skin, smoothing the appearance of lines and wrinkles from the inside and creating a firmer, more lifted look.

AminofilTM is a novel tyrosine amino acid derivative with a fast volume building effect in the deep skin matrix.  A targeted treatment to lift deep lines and wrinkles.