<![CDATA[www.sarahbirkett.com - Sarah\'s MUA Blog]]>Mon, 18 Apr 2022 10:45:30 +0000Weebly<![CDATA[UV- How to Take Care of Your Precious Skin in the Sun (updated)]]>Sat, 16 Apr 2022 15:30:41 GMThttp://sarahbirkett.com/wwwsarahbirkettcom-815662/uv-how-to-take-care-of-your-precious-skin-in-the-sun-updated
Here we are in Spring 2022! All raring to go as we reclaim normality- the sun is shining and we are absolutely more than ready to make the most of our time in the sun!  So, I thought I would update a previous blog about how it works and some ideas about managing this double edged sword.

Why double-edged sword? 
One minute we are being told to' Slap on the sun cream! It causes premature ageing and skin cancer!' The next article says ' Get out in the sun! Lack of vitamin D is causing rickets, depression and immune deficiency!' 


​​
How does UV affect us?

UV rays emitted by the sun come in 3 lengths and strengths with different harms and benefits.

UVC is the shortest, these rays are used in sterilisation units as they kill micro-organisms. These rays are mostly absorbed by the ozone layer and don't generally reach us here on the ground. Unless you're underneath the bit with the hole in it!

UVB rays are active in the epidermis (the top layer of our skin) and are responsible for causing sunburn.  UVB is  also linked with skin cancer. B rays cannot penetrate through glass.

UVA are the longest and they penetrate into the dermis (the second layer of our skin) they give us a more immediate tan and are also associated with premature ageing. A rays can penetrate glass.

Cells in the epidermis called melanocytes make a substance called melanin when the skin is exposed to UV rays, this is the bodies way of defending itself against UV and is what gives us our tanned colour!

Vitamin D is generated in the skins epidermis then transported and stored in the liver after exposure to `UVB rays. Vitamin D is thought to be involved in the transport of information between cells. Deficiency in vitamin D is on the rise and affects bone strength, muscles, hair growth, mood, energy levels and the immune system.

How do I make sure I'm getting enough Vitamin D?
Advice given by the NHS is to avoid direct sun exposure between 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its strongest which is sensible given the risk of skin cancer but, how can you balance the scales between limiting the long and short term risks posed by UV and the benefits naturally generated vitamin d give us? 
Vitamin D which is made naturally through UV exposure stays in the blood longer than synthetic substitutes thus enabling the body to maximise the take up of this biological bounty. Just 13 minutes of exposure to midday sun  3 times a week is enough to keep levels good. My suggestion to get the balance right is.... set a timer for 13 minutes on your phone and when it pings really slap on that sun cream and head to the shade  for a big glass of something cool and hydrating! 
The medical profession also advises that vitamin D supplements should be taken during winter as there is very little available UVB and less opportunity for exposure during these months.
www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-from-sun#time-of-day
www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-d/

Seven British organisations are concerned with safety in the sun; British Association of Dermatologists, Cancer Research UK, Diabetes UK, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, the National Heart Forum, the National Osteoporosis Society and the Primary Care Dermatology Society and regularly update advice  regarding UV exposure, safety and vitamin D production, here are a few tips and recommendations.

Advice given by Cancer Research UK
  • Spend time in the shade - under an umbrella, tree, or head inside for a break.
  • Cover up - wear loose clothing with a wide brimmed hat and UV protection sunglasses.
  • Use Sunscreen - on areas that you can’t cover with clothes or shade. Use plenty with at least SPF15 and 4 or 5 stars, and reapply regularly. The UV index tells us how strong the sun’s UV rays are and when we might be at risk of burning. The higher the value, the greater the risk of sunburn and the less time it takes to damage your skin.

Understanding and Using the UV Index
The UV Index is a guide to help us managed  our sun exposure and tells us when the UV rays are strong and there is a risk of burning. 
When the UV Index is 3 or more, the sun is strong enough to cause damage for some skin types so take care and protect your skin, especially if you burn easily. 
Use this link to find out todays forecast:
www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/uv-index-forecast/#?tab=map&map=MaxUVIndex&zoom=5&lon=-4.00&lat=55.71&fcTime=1650067200



The British Association of Dermatologists
The BAD website is an absolute gold mine for anyone looking for skin facts, I found a particularly useful quick snippet of info about SPF:
The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is commonly interpreted as how much longer skin covered with sunscreen takes to burn compared with unprotected skin. So, if you burn after 10 minutes in the sun, then using a sunscreen labelled with, say, SPF15, is taken to mean that you can safely remain in the sun for 10 x 15 = 150 minutes, or 2½ hours, before burning.
This definition focuses on extending time in the sun but a better way of thinking about the SPF is that if you spend a certain time in the sun, then wearing a sunscreen with a given SPF reduces the UV dose to 1/SPF of that which you would have received by spending the same time in the sun but with no sunscreen applied. For example, applying an SPF15 sunscreen results in a UV exposure to the skin of one-fifteenth of that which you would have received if you had not applied any sunscreen. However, this statement is only true if the sunscreen is providing protection equivalent to the SPF, this rarely happens and most people who apply sunscreen are protected to a much lesser extent than they realise.

www.skinhealthinfo.org.uk/sun-awareness/

Diabetes and Sun Exposure 
Those living with Diabetes should be aware that some medication they may take can make them more sensitive and susceptible to burning, special care should be taken to protect the feet from damage as healing is slow. Sun exposure to the point of sunburn can, like any form of stress, can increase stress hormones and in turn affect blood sugar, therefore people with diabetes should take special care when in the sun.
www.diabetes.co.uk/diabetes-and-sun-protection.html#:~:text=The%20medication%20we%20can%20take,medications%20to%20become%20too%20warm.

Ageing- how does UV accelerate ageing?
Aside from the real risks around skin cancer many of us are aware that UV exposure damages the skin and makes us age faster, this is another very valid reason to use a high SPF not just in the summer but all year round.
The skin is supported by a matrix of proteins called elastin and collagen and a substance called MMP breaks down old proteins to maintain healthy skin. UV exposure causes an over-production of MMP therefore increasing the breakdown. Exposure also causes higher levels of free radicals which attack the matrix, combined with lower levels of anti-oxidants which neutralise free radicals this all spells disaster for thespian in terms of ageing.
A good balanced diet consisting of fresh fruit, vegetables, vegetable oils and low meat consumption is high on the list of importance when it comes to safeguarding your skin. I'm planning a blog on this subject so watch this space!

So, how do we achieve a balance?
​We have established that we need to have a little UV exposure to help with Vitamin D production and it is clear how important vitamin d is in terms of physical development and also helping us feel better, more energised and fight off bugs.
Sitting out in the sun for a short time enjoying a summer cocktail or iced coffee hanging out with friends or family is certainly something not to avoid BUT beware of the time and your orientation to the sun!
Consider the time of day... the sun is so much stronger at midday and your skin will burn faster than you think. Also the burning effects of UVB aren't apparent until a few hours later when its too late and very painful!
Don't loose track of the time... follow the guide lines and only expose unprotected skin to the sun for 10-15 minutes after which time apply a good layer of sun cream.

Which sun cream?
My personal sun product of choice at the moment is Nivea. The range is wide in terms of application method and product and also their products contain both UVA and B protection which is important considering what we now know.
One very important thing to note about Nivea is that as a brand they are highly environmentally aware, using renewable and responsibly sourced ingredients and packaging. A blog about sustainability is in the beauty pipeline so keep watching.
Find out more here: www.nivea.co.uk/about-us/sustainability-at-nivea/world-is-our-skin

I really recommend adding anti-age sun protection into your everyday routine from March to November. Being a regular user of Nivea anti-age face sun cream it comes in a very handy portable size and doesn't sting  or irritate your eyes. The product is now only available in SPF 50, which I think, demonstrates how important it is to protect your skin- no messing around with SPF 30 on your beautiful, precious face! 
 https://www.nivea.co.uk/shop/anti-age-protection-face-sun-cream-40059000607610045.html 

I often mix and match my skin protection applying 50+ on my shoulders, chest, back and arms and then applying 30 on my legs and tummy. I wear 30-50 on my face and a hat when possible especially when sunbathing or on the beach. A key thing is remember to top up regularly!

On the kids I usually let them run around for a little while in the morning sun without protection, maybe about 15-30 mins and then hit them with 30 or 50 depending on the season and the time of day.
If we are at the beach and I make sure its the all-day protection or a waterproof product, and still regularly re-apply- especially on the back and shoulders. In fact, if the sun is particularly intense, I do have them swim in an old t-shirt, dark ones are the best as they offer the best protection against the rays. 

www.nhs.uk/live-well/seasonal-health/sunscreen-and-sun-safety/#:~:text=Sun%20safety%20tips&text=spend%20time%20in%20the%20shade%20between%2011am%20and%203pm,take%20extra%20care%20with%20children

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<![CDATA[UV- How to Take Care of Your Precious Skin in the Sun]]>Mon, 26 Mar 2018 11:20:46 GMThttp://sarahbirkett.com/wwwsarahbirkettcom-815662/uv-and-how-to-take-care-of-your-skin-in-the-sun Picture

Here we are in Spring 2022! All raring to go as we reclaim normality- the sun is shining and we are absolutely more than ready to make the most of our time in the sun!  So, I thought I would update a previous blog about how it works and some ideas about managing this double edged sword.

Why double edged sword? 
One minute we are being told to' Slap on the sun cream! It causes premature ageing and skin cancer!' The next article says ' Get out in the sun! Lack of vitamin D is causing rickets, depression and immune deficiency!' 

So, how does it work and what's the best approach?

UV rays emitted by the sun come in 3 lengths and strengths with different harms and benefits.

UVC is the shortest, these rays are used in sterilisation units as they kill micro-orgsnisms. These rays are mostly absorbed by the ozone layer and don't generally reach us here on the ground. Unless you're underneath the bit with the hole in it!

UVB rays are active in the epidermis (the top layer of our skin) and are responsible for causing sunburn.  UVB is  also linked with skin cancer. B rays cannot penetrate through glass.

UVA are the longest and they penetrate into the dermis (the second layer of our skin) they give us a more immediate tan and are also associated with premature ageing. A rays can penetrate glass.

Cells in the epidermis called melanocytes make a substance called melanin when the skin is exposed to UV rays, this is the bodies way of defending itself against UV and is what gives us our tanned colour!

Vitamin D is generated in the skins epidermis then transported and stored in the liver after exposure to `UVB rays. Vitamin D is thought to be involved in the transport of information between cells. Deficiency in vitamin D is on the rise and affects bone strength, muscles, hair growth, mood, energy levels and the immune system.

How do I make sure I'm getting enough Vitamin D?
Advice given by the NHS is to avoid direct sun exposure between 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its strongest which is sensible given the risk of skin cancer but, how can you balance the scales between limiting the long and short term risks posed by UV and the benefits naturally generated vitamin d give us? 
Vitamin D which is made naturally through UV exposure stays in the blood longer than synthetic substitutes thus enabling the body to maximise the take up of this biological bounty. Just 13 minutes of exposure to midday sun  3 times a week is enough to keep levels good. My suggestion to get the balance right is.... set a timer for 13 minutes on your phone and when it pings really slap on that sun cream and head to the shade  for a big glass of something cool and hydrating! 
The medical profession also advises that vitamin D supplements should be taken during winter as there is very little available UVB and less opportunity for exposure during these months.
www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-from-sun#time-of-day
www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-d/

Seven British organisations are concerned with safety in the sun; British Association of Dermatologists, Cancer Research UK, Diabetes UK, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, the National Heart Forum, the National Osteoporosis Society and the Primary Care Dermatology Society and regularly update advice  regarding UV exposure, safety and vitamin D production, here are a few tips and recommendations.

Advice given by Cancer Research UK
  • Spend time in the shade - under an umbrella, tree, or head inside for a break.
  • Cover up - wear loose clothing with a wide brimmed hat and UV protection sunglasses.
  • Use Sunscreen - on areas that you can’t cover with clothes or shade. Use plenty with at least SPF15 and 4 or 5 stars, and reapply regularly. The UV index tells us how strong the sun’s UV rays are and when we might be at risk of burning. The higher the value, the greater the risk of sunburn and the less time it takes to damage your skin.

Understanding and Using the UV Index
The UV Index is a guide to help us managed  our sun exposure and tells us when the UV rays are strong and there is a risk of burning. 
When the UV Index is 3 or more, the sun is strong enough to cause damage for some skin types so take care and protect your skin, especially if you burn easily. 
Use this link to find out todays forecast:
www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/uv-index-forecast/#?tab=map&map=MaxUVIndex&zoom=5&lon=-4.00&lat=55.71&fcTime=1650067200

Ageing- how does UV accelerate ageing?
Aside from the real risks around skin cancer many of us are aware that UV exposure damages the skin and makes us age faster, this is another very valid reason to use a high SPF not just in the summer but all year round.
The skin is supported by a matrix of proteins called elastin and collagen and a substance called MMP breaks down old proteins to maintain healthy skin. UV exposure causes an over-production of MMP therefore increasing the breakdown. Exposure also causes higher levels of free radicals which attack the matrix, combined with lower levels of anti-oxidants which neutralise free radicals this all spells disaster for thespian in terms of ageing.
A good balanced diet consisting of fresh fruit, vegetables, vegetable oils and low meat consumption is high on the list of importance when it comes to safeguarding your skin. I'm planning a blog on this subject so watch this space!

So how do we achieve a balance?
​We have established that we need to have a little UV exposure to help with Vitamin D production and it is clear how important vitamin d is in terms of physical development and also helping us feel better, more energised and fight off bugs.
Sitting out in the sun for a short time enjoying a summer cocktail or iced coffee hanging out with friends or family is certainly something not to avoid BUT beware of the time!
Consider the time of day... the sun is so much stronger at midday and your skin will burn faster than you think. Also the burning effects of UVB aren't apparent until a few hours later when its too late and very painful!
Don't loose track of the time... follow the guide lines and only expose unprotected skin to the sun for 10-15 minutes after which time apply a good layer of sun cream.

Which sun cream?
My personal sun product of choice at the moment is Nivea. The range is wide in terms of application method and product and also their products contain both UVA and B protection which is important considering what we now know.
One very important thing to note about Nivea is that as a brand they are highly environmentally aware, using renewable and responsibly sourced ingredients and packaging. A blog about sustainability is in the beauty pipeline so keep watching.
Find out more here: www.nivea.co.uk/about-us/sustainability-at-nivea/world-is-our-skin

I really recommend adding anti-age sun protection into your everyday routine from March to November. Being a regular user of Nivea anti-age face sun cream it comes in a very handy portable size and doesn't sting  or irritate your eyes. The product is now only available in SPF 50, which I think, demonstrates how important it is to protect your skin- no messing around with SPF 30 on your beautiful, precious face! 
 https://www.nivea.co.uk/shop/anti-age-protection-face-sun-cream-40059000607610045.html 

I often mix and match my skin protection applying 50+ on my shoulders, chest, back and arms and then applying 30 on my legs and tummy. I wear 30-50 on my face and a hat when possible especially when sunbathing or on the beach. A key thing is remember to top up regularly!

On the kids I usually let them run around for a little while in the morning sun without protection, maybe about 15-30 mins and then hit them with 30 or 50 depending on the season and the time of day.
If we are at the beach and I make sure its the all-day protection or a waterproof product, and still regularly re-apply- especially on the back and shoulders. In fact, if the sun is particularly intense, I do have them swim in an old t-shirt, dark ones are the best as they offer the best protection against the rays. 

www.nhs.uk/live-well/seasonal-health/sunscreen-and-sun-safety/#:~:text=Sun%20safety%20tips&text=spend%20time%20in%20the%20shade%20between%2011am%20and%203pm,take%20extra%20care%20with%20children



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<![CDATA[Spots & Pustules- Behind the crime scene!]]>Sun, 14 Jan 2018 16:30:00 GMThttp://sarahbirkett.com/wwwsarahbirkettcom-815662/spots-pustules-behind-the-crime-sceneSpots!! You always get one right when you really don't need one....right on the end of your nose or middle of the chin and weddings are no exception.
So how do they happen and whats the best approach to dealing with them?

Below is a diagram of a cross section of the skin showing how a spot can develop in a hair follicle.

In the 1st diagram on the left you can see the follicle with the hair growing out and up through the surface of the skin. The two lumpy things on the side are the sebaceous glands, they produce sebum which is an oily substance. It's necessary to keep the skin supple and also mixes with sweat on the skin's surface to keep bacteria under control. 
In the 2nd diagram you can see a 'plug' forming which in blocking the pore, at this stage a blackhead could start to form which happens as the sebum reacts with the oxygen in the air and turns dark.
In the 3rd diagram there is no hair present and the 'plug' of sebum is getting bigger which is starting to form a papule  or small spot.
Most of the follicles on the face don't have hairs growing out of them so they are more likely to develop these blockages.
The 4th diagram shows the blockage getting bigger and inflammation builds in the area as the body's natural reactions agains infection kick in. 
The puss at the head of the spot is the natural 'debris'  created as the body deals with the bacterial infection.

So the ideal way to prevent this happening is to use a gentle face was or cleanser which effectively removes make up and rinse off or use a toner to remove all the cleansing product residue.
Using a deep cleansing mask weekly will help to keep the pores free of blockages or a dermabrasion facial (vacuum suction based) every 4-6 weeks will really help to blocked pores under control.

​If the spot has already arrived and is screaming at you in the mirror from the end of your nose then i suggest Lavender essential oil as a starting point, it's known for its anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antidepressant, antiseptic, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. It also has antispasmodic, analgesic, detoxifying and sedative effects. 

Its really tempting to try to squeeze out the puss but be patient, let the lavender work its magic and come back to it in 10 mins, apply another dab and repeat 3 or 4 times. 
If there is still a head on it, break the seal and let the liquid escape, apply little more lavender and then let it dry.
Don't give in to the temptation to squeeze and you risk damaging the already sensitive and inflamed skin around the spot.
Try to cover with concealer and remember that people will NOT be looking at your spot they'll be looking at you as a radiant bride and joining you in the best day possible to help you celebrate!

Scroll down for product recommendations.

Product recommendations:
Elizabeth's Daughter is fantastic, free form all the nasty chemicals and i have found the gel cleanser really effective on younger congested skin types.
http://www.myshowcase.com/shop/elizabeths_daughter/the-facial-gel-cleanser/ELZD103-01
Antonia Burrell's skin care range is fantastic for an older age group with congested a skin type.
http://www.myshowcase.com/shop/antonia_burrell/natural-glow-cleansing-oil/ABUR001-03

Aromatherapy Associates are the creme de la creme in my mind when it comes to essential oil and bare in mind you only need a drop of oil for a treatment. 
https://www.aromatherapyassociates.com/support-lavender-pure-essential-oil.html

Holland and Barrett also produce a fantastic range of essential oils.
http://www.hollandandbarrett.com/shop/product/miaroma-lavender-pure-essential-oil-60060115


Thanks for reading, please feel free to leave any comments below and ask any questions you may have!

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<![CDATA[The Big Day Skincare Prep]]>Fri, 12 Jan 2018 15:35:30 GMThttp://sarahbirkett.com/wwwsarahbirkettcom-815662/the-big-day-skincare-prep​Over the 16 years I have been working with brides I have found that one of the most important things for them in terms of their big day makeup look is the foundation and even though there are lots of amazing bases out there they aren’t a fix all product.
 
At the bridal trial I often spend some time discussing the bride-to-be’s skin care routine to see if there are any potential changes to be made to improve the condition of their skin rather than relying on foundation.
 
I find that if a bride has oily and congested skin they will often over treat the problem by using strong cleansers, face washes and scrubs.
Our skin needs a certain amount of oil (sebum) to keep it supple and protect it from dehydration and bacteria and will naturally replace the oil that has been removed and sometimes more than necessary.
Using harsh cleansers can also irritate the skin causing mild inflammation making the problem worse.
The skin has a pH of 5.5 making it slightly acidic, this helps limit the growth of bacteria. Finding a pH balanced cleanser is essential and using soap which is usually alkaline is an absolute no-no as it will know the pH of the skin off balance.
 
Having a short facial course of some sort, maybe 2 or 3 treatments, is a great idea in the months leading up to the wedding.
There are several options including steaming, manual lymphatic drainage and dermabrasion treatments.
 
Steaming within a facial helps ‘open’ the pores and aids the removal of blackheads (comedones) and increases the circulation to the skin bringing nutrients and oxygen both of which will help a congested skin type.
 
MLD or Manual Lymphatic Drainage is a massage technique which doesn’t stimulate the skin but improves the lymph node activity and white blood cell production gradually improving the health of the skin.
 
There are two types of dermabrasion:
The Crystal Clear method sprays small crystals onto the skin and then gently sucks the crystals and debris away.
Vacuum suction method uses a gentle sucking motion with a diamond-encrusted tip to loosen dead skin cells and unblock pores.
Combined with using ultra sound treatment this method is very effective at clearing congestion, reducing inflammation and healing blemishes.
 
For minor blemishes and emerging spots (and even burns) I often use good old fashioned Lavender essential oil and its always in my kit! Its fantastic, its calming, mildly antiseptic and gentle and a great option to the more harsh tea tree oil.
 
For more extreme cases of congestion or acne niacinamide, zinc and salicylic acid are powerful remedies.
https://www.cultbeauty.co.uk/skin-care/the-ordinary-niacinamide-10-zinc-1.html
https://www.cultbeauty.co.uk/skin-care/the-ordinary-salicylic-acid-2-solution.html
 
 
Another really common problem is skin surface dehydration which is often not visible until foundation is applied.  It can affect the nose, forehead and around the eye area, it is easily treated on the forehead and nose area using a gentle facial peel and some hydrating mask treatments twice a week for a short time and a good moisturiser. Around the eye area you should be very gentle as its’ less supported by the skull and facial muscles. The skin around the eye is delicate and only specific eye products should be applied.
 
 
Having dry and sensitive skin myself I am cautious and tend to prefer a gentle, natural and gradual approach to skincare.
One of my favourite face peels is Doux Peeling by Clarins, it is a very gentle effective way to remove dead skin cells from the skin.
http://www.allbeauty.com/gb/en/83053-clarins-exfoliating-care-gentle-peeling-smooth-away-cream
 
And one of my favourite mask treatments is the vitality mask by S5 Skincare which gives a beauty flash of hydration using a lightweight formulation.
https://www.s5skincare.com/collections/treatments/products/vitality-mask
 
Cleansing is the first area I ask brides to consider because it’s really fundamental to good skin health.
Using a gentle cleanser which you can wash away with warm water is important because unless the product is rinsed away there will be a residue left behind on the skin.
This is is my top cleanser because its gently, light weight, effectively removes make up without leaving the skin feeling dry.
http://www.boots.com/avene/all-avene-products/avene-gentle-milk-cleanser-200ml-10083616
 
Using a muslin face cloth soaked in warm water is great because this will regularly desquamate the skin surface reducing the need for harsh (and polluting) scrubs.
My absolute faves are these bamboo muslins by Aurelia- they’re beautifully soft, wash really well and are made from a sustainable product.
https://www.aureliaskincare.com/products/monday-to-sunday-bamboo-muslins
 
Implementing small changes and treating the skin carefully can result in improvements in the skins texture and condition reducing the need for heavy bases to cover up imperfections.
 
I hope these tips have helped, visit my website at www.sarahbirkett.com for more info about bridal and event make-up.
 
 
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