Category Archives: Beauty From Within

The Lymphatic System and Your Skin

The lymphatic system: likely one of the most undervalued and misunderstood systems in the entire human body.

A portion of our immune system, the lymphatic system is a web of organs and tissues that help to rid the body of toxins and waste. The main functions of the lymphatic system are to absorb lipids (fat) from the intestine and to effectively circulate lymph—a fluid containing white blood cells—throughout the body. As an example, our tonsils, spleen, and thymus are all part of the lymphatic system.

“Marie,” I can hear you say, “this is good info, but why should I care?” SkinScience Clinic will tell you why: because your lymphatic system working improperly may be what’s standing between the figure (and skin!) you’ve been working towards.

Why You Want Your Lymphatic System to Be Firing on All Cylinders

We’ve all experienced our lymph working: for example, if you have ever had a sore throat during flu season and felt that your throat was tender, that means that your lymph was swollen due to cleaning up a virus within our body. Our autonomous nervous system regulates our lymph daily without any conscious thought.

Because the lymphatic system helps to protect against infection and disease by both absorbing and metabolizing waste, when it becomes inefficient it becomes the equivalent of a backed-up pipe: waste clogs within the body and, in turn, triggers inflammation. If uncorrected, inflammation will morph into chronic inflammation, which includes:

·        Acne

·        Eczema or psoriasis

·        Weight gain and/or fat around the waist

·        Food allergies

·        Diabetes

·        Arthritis

·        Digestive complications

·        Heart disease

·        Fatigue

·        and High Blood Pressure

We treat many clients every day who are unknowingly dealing with the ramifications of a slow or ineffective lymphatic system: whether it be acne clients, clients who are unhappy with their premature and/or visible signs of aging, or clients who are struggling to eliminate stubborn fat, the impact when your lymphatic system is lagging is enormous.

“How Do I Keep My Lymphatic System Healthy?”

Now that we have all this lymphatic system-oriented info, what do we do? We take action, that’s what!

Our SkinScience Clinic-approved methods for bolstering your lymphatic systems’ function are:

·        Stay hydrated: the best water to drink is, in order, clean water, alkaline water, and distilled water; while distilled water does lack those beneficial electrolytes, staying adequately hydrated throughout the day should be your top priority when looking to get your lymphatic system back on track.

·        Eat a nutritious diet: consuming a diet rich in alkaline foods will ensure that you are provided a full range of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.

·        Don’t skimp on the fat: incorporating avocado, cheese, fish, chia seeds, and olive oil will give your diet the dose of healthy fats that your body needs to be functioning its best.

·        Exercise daily: including both aerobic and anaerobic physical activity daily will help you control your weight, manage your blood sugar levels, improve your brain function, and improve your sleep—as well as many other things!

·        Manage your stress: stress can be an inflammation trigger, so learning how to mitigate your stress will be beneficial. Our favourite stress-relieving techniques are yoga, meditation, and breathwork.

·        Conduct a lymphatic drainage massage: using gentle pressure on non-inflamed areas of the body, massage areas of your body with relaxed hands in gentle upwards motions. These repeated motions will help your body drain excess fluid that your lymphatic system is having difficulty eliminating completely.

Still Struggling With Your Lymphatic System?

During our initial consultations here at SkinScience Clinic, we ensure that we verify that your lymphatic system is working correctly before performing any Fractora, laser skin resurfacing, or radiofrequency treatments, as your body’s ability to flush excess fluid is essential for optimum results after these treatments.

If you are having difficulty managing the toll a slow or ineffective lymphatic system is having on your body, book your Body Positive Program consultation for when this period of self-isolation is over: this limited-time program assigns one of our experienced skin specialists to you, who will build you a 100% personalized home care and in-clinic treatment plan based on your genetics, lifestyle, diet, and health history. Get in touch today to get your lymphatic system back on track!

The Surprising Truth About Inflammation and Your Skin

Curious? We thought so! Here at SkinScience Clinic in downtown Calgary, it’s our aim to both educate and deliver above-and-beyond results. And what’s one of the most common misconceptions we hear from clients here in the clinic? That inflammation is an inherently bad thing.

As a Microbiology and Immunology major of the University of Montreal, SkinScience Clinic’s founder, Marie Bertrand, knows a thing or two about inflammation… and that, despite common belief, inflammation can actually be a good thing.

“Inflammation? A Good Thing?”

While inconvenient, inflammation can actually be beneficial: after all, inflammation is the body’s natural protective response to injury and pathogens (such as bacteria or viruses). Because our bodies are so intelligently wired, they automatically know what to do when there is a disruption of the natural balance within your body; we can also commonly feel when our body may be inflamed, such as after too much alcohol or unhealthy foods.

When an inflammation trigger is registered by our body, our body’s defense systems initiate a flood of molecular action— multitudes of cells rush to the offending area to see what needs to be protected against. Once the trigger is determined, inflammatory mediators—known as “bradykinins” and “histamines”— cause blood vessels to open in order for an increased flow of blood and oxygen to the affected area.

Puffy cheeks post-wisdom teeth removal or a swollen wrist after a fracture are just two examples of our body’s protective responses firing correctly. So when can inflammation turn sour? Well, when our body is incapable or slow at cleaning up the residue of this inflammatory response we enter the drawbacks of inflammation: negative inflammation.

Chronic Inflammation and its Impact On Your Skin (and Overall Well-Being!)

Chronic inflammation—also referred to as long-term inflammation—is classified as inflammation that lasts for a long period of time (months or, in extreme cases, years). Chronic inflammation’s impact is so severe, in fact, that it is ranked by the World Heath Organization as “the greatest threat to human health”.

Telltale signs of chronic inflammation include:

·        High blood pressure

·        Eczema or psoriasis

·        Acne

·        Food allergies

·        Diabetes

·        Heart disease

·        Arthritis

·        Fatigue

·        Digestive problems

·        Unexplained weight gain and/or stubborn visceral fat

These conditions are serious not just due to their potential severity, but also because they can remain undetected in the body for long periods of time before being successfully diagnosed.

“I Think That I Have Chronic Inflammation! How Can I Mitigate It?”

While it may be tempting to sit and despondently ponder how your chronic inflammation came to be (genetics? Environmental factors? Poor nutrition choices? Stress? A sedentary lifestyle? Plain bad luck?) we here at SkinScience Clinic believe in solutions—especially for something such as chronic inflammation, which can be reversed.

We here at SkinScience Clinic advocate for the following in order to reduce and control chronic inflammation:

·        Making nutritious food choices (especially limiting the intake of sugar and refined carbs)

·        Taking a daily probiotic to balance your gut flora

·        Staying hydrated

·        Eliminating or reducing dairy, which, due to the hormones it contains, can cause inflammation

·        Improving your sleep schedule

·        Limiting your alcohol consumption

·        Getting active

·        Managing stress

While these may seem like large lifestyle changes when facing them head-on, educating yourself on your chronic inflammation triggers and slowly making healthy lifestyle adjustments to reduce its effects can eliminate chronic inflammation over time without medical intervention.

Are you struggling with chronic inflammation and its impact on your body and skin? Reach out today to learn how one of our skin specialists can provide you with customized home care and in-clinic treatments to rid you of chronic inflammation for good.

How Imbalanced Hormones are Affecting Your Skin, and What You Can Do About it

Here in Calgary, we at SkinScience Clinic make it our life’s mission to not only treat your skin, but educate you on it: after all, what is the point in treatment if it’s not conveyable, science-backed, and aiding you in your quest for long-term beautiful skin?

That’s why our treatments aren’t simply skin-deep—external treatments must work in conjunction with your efforts to balance your complexion from the inside-out, and internally combating imbalanced hormones is key to healthy, glowing skin.

How and Why Do Hormones Impact Your Skin?

Hormones are molecules produced in the endocrine glands and are transferred to the bloodstream in order to bind to cell sites called “receptors”. They are in charge of metabolizing food, managing inflammation, deciding your sleep cycle, controlling your reproductive functions, and your general body development. So what does this mean, and how do imbalanced hormones affect your skin?

Well, because balanced hormones are the deciding factor in our body’s performing their best, when they are imbalanced those functions begin to slow. Visceral fat, scarring even after minor injuries, high blood pressure, and chronic illness can all be signals that your hormones are not balanced. Know what else can signal that? When your post-treatment results from SkinScience Clinic weren’t as visible as you’d hoped for.

Excessive sebum, stubborn scarring, premature signs of aging, and inflammation are all telltale signs of imbalanced hormones affecting your skin, even after medical spa treatments. Acne is another common red flag: attributed to both teenage and adult breakouts, the term “hormonal acne” was coined to describe chronic acne linked to imbalanced hormones.

“Marie, That Sounds Like Me! How Can I Confirm if My Hormones are Imbalanced?”

Being aware of the state of your hormones is beneficial long-term, so being mindful of warning symptoms will help to alert you if your hormones are becoming imbalanced.

We recommend visiting your primary healthcare provider, naturopath doctor, or medicine doctor in order to undergo a physical and/or blood test in order to determine if your hormone levels are normal. Proactive testing can help to diagnose conditions that impact hormone levels, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome.

How SkinScience Recommends Keeping Your Hormones Balanced (and Minimizing Already-Imbalanced Hormones)

While we feature many services and products (both in our clinic and on our online store) that aim to reduce how deeply imbalanced hormones affect your skin, as we stated above, ensuring that you are treating your body right is half the battle. Science suggests that engaging in the following (in coordination with medical spa treatments and prescribed oral supplements) can combat the effects of imbalanced hormones:

·        Hydrate: Consuming the recommended intake of water (3.7 litres for men, 2.7 for women) works to lubricate your joints, circulate oxygen throughout the body, fight premature aging, flush bodily weight, and aid in overall body function.

·        Switch to a plant-based diet: If done correctly (as in, limiting processed foods and dairy—foods many scientists link to imbalanced hormones) a plant-based diet is suggested to balance hormones. However, regardless of your diet an emphasis on fibre, cruciferous vegetables, healthy fats, and a consistent eating schedule is ideal for managing imbalanced hormones.

·        A consistent sleep schedule: Because of stress and a lack of sleep being proven contributors to imbalanced hormones, a consistent sleep schedule can help train your body to mitigate stress, better retain information we have gathered throughout the day, and synthesize hormones.

·        Limit the intake of sugar, refined carbs, and alcohol: Linked closely to imbalanced hormones, both sugar and refined carbs cause insulin to spike, resulting in breakouts and inflammation. When our hormones are compromised, our ability to manage insulin decreases. The result? Consistent acne and inflammation if our hormones are imbalanced.

·        Exercise: Exercising increases our metabolism, decreases stress, and aids in a better sleep—all key components to balancing hormones!

·        Mitigate stress: Due to stress causing hormonal flare-ups, engaging in breathing exercise, meditation, or yoga can help to keep hormone-linked weight gain, breakouts, and fitful sleep at bay.

 The Bottom Line

At SkinScience, we pride ourselves on our customized skin care treatments that lead people to the skin of their dreams regardless of their pre-existing conditions. Each initial consultation includes an in-depth physical and computer image analysis of your skin, meaning that our experts can diagnose the underlying causes and remedies for your skin’s needs. We review your images for sun damage, pore size, pore visibility, elasticity, inflammation, sensitivity, and more.

Part of that customized skin care treatment includes home care routine, supplement, and treatment recommendations. Now that you know the bottom line of how and why hormones affect your skin, contact us today in order to get personalized recommendations that will work in tandem to help you achieve the beautiful skin you’ve been longing for. 

The SkinScience Overview: Your Lifestyle’s Impact on Your Complexion

The SkinScience Overview: Your Lifestyle’s Impact on Your Complexion

We’ve all heard the saying “You are what you eat”, but how aware were you that your lifestyle directly impacts your skin?

Marie Bertrand, founder of SkinScience Clinic, ensures that each and every one of our clients is aware not only of what our treatments can do for their skin, but also what they can change in their own day-to-day lives to benefit their skin long-term. We pride ourselves on being one of the few clinics in Calgary that base our operations around ethical, science-based, and personalized skin care procedures and recommendations, and as such focus on educating our clients above all else.

Today’s educational spotlight? Lifestyle, and how yours is directly impacting your skin!

What Classifies as “Lifestyle”?

“Lifestyle” collectively refers to opinions, behaviours, and interests—which is why positive changes to yours can, in turn, yield beneficial changes to your skin! In fact, some scientific studies have claimed that following the four healthy lifestyle habits below can lengthen your lifespan by more than a decade (as well as ensure that your skin is combating premature aging, inflammation, and acne):

·        Being consistent in your exercise routine: A consistent exercising routine can aid in mitigating your risk of a heart attack, lowering cholesterol, strengthen your bones, bolster your energy levels—as well as keeping your skin healthier due to the myokines that consistent exercise produces. Exercise also works to regulate the second bullet on this list, which is…

·        Maintaining a healthy weight: Going hand-in-hand with exercise, adjusting your lifestyle to include maintaining a healthy weight is beneficial not just for a healthy complexion, but better health long-term. A healthy weight drastically lowers the risk of non-insulin related diabetes, back and joint tension, a compromised immune system, heart disease, and stroke.

·        Focusing on a nutritious diet: Sensing a pattern yet? Proven to reduce the duration and severity of acne and inflammation, limiting your red meat, sugar, refined carbs, alcohol, and dairy intake (especially chocolate milk!) is a lifestyle change that will be beneficial not only for your waistline, but your skin as well. Plus, while reaching for that tub of ice cream after a long day at work may release endorphins in the short-term, focusing a nutritious lifestyle is what ups your happiness long-term.

·        Stress less: Premature aging, irritation, excess sebum, thinning skin… leading a stressful lifestyle directly impacts your complexion, which is why we here at SkinScience urge you to take up yoga, meditation, reading, or any other stress-relieving practices that work within your day-to-day timeframe.  

Tips for Making Healthy Lifestyle Changes

Sure, we all know that leading a healthy lifestyle is vital for beautiful skin regardless of the season—however, making those changes can be daunting even for the most eager. Luckily, the definition of a healthy lifestyle will vary depending on the person: teenagers may indulge in sports for their daily dose of exercise; new parents might frequent the playground with their children; retirees could enjoy cooking, yoga, or gardening.

Making healthy, sustainable lifestyle changes that make you happy and fit in with your day-to-day are essential not only for your complexion, but for your overall well-being. Research has proven that leading a healthy lifestyle that focuses on de-stressing positively impacts both your complexion and the stability of your hormones.

SkinScience’s recommendations for how to start making these changes? One word: prioritizing. Starting out with something small, such as meeting your recommended daily water intake, can be the first step towards a healthy lifestyle without immediately overwhelming you. Adjusting your perspective from “I don’t have to” to “I choose to prioritize this” is key to turning your life (and complexion!) around for the better.

Why SkinScience Clinic Cannot Recommend a Healthy Lifestyle Enough—Especially in Regards for your Skin

Here at SkinScience, we consider the treatment of your skin to be a treatment of your overall health and well-being: our science-backed services work hand-in-hand with our personalized nutrition, supplement, and home care recommendations to ensure that  your radiant skin is the result of your entire body functioning at its best.

Whether you are grappling with acne, inflammation, melasma, premature aging, hirsutism, or other common skin conditions, treatment of your body from the inside-out is vital—and that starts with a healthy lifestyle. If you live here in Calgary, book a consultation at our downtown location to receive a thorough analysis of your skin that our experts will build their recommendations around. And if you don’t? Our online store features science-backed products tailored to all skin conditions categorized by brand and product type for your ease of shopping.

Be sure to comment below and let us know what lifestyle changes you have implemented—or are planning to implement!

SkinScience Clinic’s Guide to Detoxification—and What it Means (and Doesn’t Mean!) for You and Your Skin

Detoxification: it’s the word on everyone’s lips lately. Regardless of which corner of the Internet you frequent, the conflicting opinions of celebrities, health-oriented bloggers, and doctors of various practices about “detox” juices, supplements, diets, teas, and fasts have been inescapable. Even offline we have clients here in Calgary coming in asking for our opinions on what detoxing can do for their skin!

But what is detoxification, and why do people say that it aids in weight loss, skin clearing, and the maintenance of overall good health? Today, we here at SkinScience Clinic will be discussing the most popular current detoxification modalities, what the research has to say about detoxing, and, if you do want to detox your body, how to do it safely and properly—the science-backed way.

First Things First: What is Detoxification?

Classified as either a single process or a multifaceted method, detox is, simply put, the progression of removing toxic qualities or substances from the body. This is done primarily via the liver, with aid from the lymphatic system.

If you have been part of the SkinScience Clinic family for a while, then you know how integral science is to the way we operate; in fact, our founder, Marie Bertrand, both graduated from the University of Montreal with a degree in Microbiology and Immunology and completed a research internship at the National Institute of Health in Washington, D.C… so you could say that being science-backed is our bread and butter!

Due to this, we wanted to weigh in on detoxification for those of you here in Calgary seeking detox-related for skin, weight, or general health reasons. We urge you to keep in mind that the majority of detoxification methods on the market may be considered unsafe depending on your current weight, medication, and existing health conditions, and to always verify your detox methods with your primary healthcare provider.

Detoxification: Fad, or Science-Backed Cure?

As of the time of publication, there have been only a minor number of human-trialed detoxification studies. As such, while they have trialed as positively impacting weight loss, blood pressure, chronic diseases, and insulin resistance, the studies themselves—as well as being few— have had their credibility questioned due to their lack of participants and peer review.

While detox methods are agreed-upon to have potential initial benefits (specifically, weight loss due to low caloric intake), there is currently no research surrounding the long-term effects of detoxification—and short-term research suggests that detoxification commonly leads to weight gain once people resume the intake of their regular calorie average.

“Marie,” you may be wondering, “does all fasting and juicing count as detoxing?” For those adhering to the ever-popular intermittent fasting, the above research will surely be ringing alarm bells; however, more research needs to be conducted to weigh in on the disease prevention, anti-aging, and weight management intermittent fasting claims. The bottom line? When done properly, fasting can be an effective fat loss method—but, when done improperly, commonly causes fainting, malnutrition, chronic headaches, and dehydration. Ensure that you consult your doctor before drastically changing your caloric intake.

Does that Mean that Detoxification is a Write-Off?

Yes and no! As with every methodology, some methods are more effective and sustainable than others; the nutrients you consume are vital for the maintenance of both your skin and long-term health, and so natural detoxes that bolster the body’s vitamin intake are not being ruled out by researchers at this point in time.

 This is especially true regarding the study of persistent toxins in the human body. In a study by the NCBI, researchers discuss the long half-lives of certain toxic compounds within the human body—such as the ones in processed foods, treated water, and cosmetic products. The study argues that these toxic compounds are transferred to fetuses in the utero when women become pregnant, and that science should conduct more research into how best eliminate these compounds so that they do not stack up multi-generationally.

“I’m Interested in Detoxification! How Do I Ensure that I’m Doing it Correctly?”

After consulting with your primary healthcare provider to ensure that you are a good candidate for detoxing, we here at SkinScience Clinic recommend remembering that detoxification entails many different methods: from fad diets, to laxative teas, to juices, to supplements, we prompt you to keep in mind that your body naturally detoxes itself via the liver. Therefore, detoxing should encompass aiding in what your liver already accomplishes for your body.

Our list of safe detoxification methods are as follows:

·        Remember you “are what you eat”: Staying hydrated, limiting your salt intake, partaking in antioxidant-rich foods, cutting down on processed foods and dairy, and limiting alcohol (as 90% of alcohol is metabolized in the liver!) are essential steps towards aiding your body’s natural detoxification and reaping anti-aging benefits.

·   Rest up: Improving your sleep duration and consistency is key to your body operating at its best.

·       Take a probiotic: Also beneficial in treating acne from the inside-out, taking a probiotic daily to stabilize your gut microflora will assist in both digestion and inflammation of the skin.

·       Get active!: If you’re seeking a metabolic boost, upping your exercise works both instead and in conjunction with standard detoxification methods; by starting to exercise and/or exercising regularly, your metabolic rate will stay higher even hours after your workout has ended. The result? More fat burned for longer!

·        Breathe: Last but not least, engaging in breathwork, meditation, and gratefulness can help reduce stress levels and, in turn, help your bodily processes function at their best.  

Want to Learn how Detoxification Can Work With YOUR Skin Care Routine?

Contact SkinScience Clinic today to hear what we recommend in terms of detoxing your skin. We look forward to hearing from you!