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News

08 March 2019
International Women's Day 2019
Exclusive interview with Medical Director Dr Hilary Allan

27 February 2019
How to keep your skin looking and feeling hydrated
Top tips to retain moisture and prevent dryness

01 February 2019
Epionce Winter Skin Tips
Epionce recommendations for treating skin during the winter

Blog

We are delighted that our doctors, Dr Hilary Allan and Dr Mervyn Patterson, are regularly featured for their expert advice in the national press and glossy magazines. We also have regular blog posts here from the doctors discussing anything that may be affecting you, information on treatments and conditions plus any topics that have been discussed in the media. 

International Women's Day 2019

08 March 2019

International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th every year and is the focal point in the movement of women’s rights. It is a day to celebrate and commemorate the countless achievements of women all around the globe and talk about what we can do to create a fair and balanced world. It is also a time to acknowledge the fantastic contribution that women make in the workplace despite some areas being traditionally male dominated.

With this in mind it seemed appropriate timing to ask Medical Director Dr Hilary Allan of Woodford Medical about her work, her challenges and how her role has developed as a Doctor as well as an Aesthetic Practitioner in the 30 years since she qualified.

Why did you choose to become a doctor?

I have always been a caring, nurturing sort of person wanting to look after everyone and the fascination of illness and disease and how the body worked meant that a career in medicine would tick both of those boxes. I really never thought of any other pathway to take so decisions along the way re subject choices and exams were straightforward.

What made you decide to diversify in Medical Aesthetics?

I almost stumbled by accident into a career in medical aesthetics. I was very happy with a career in General Practice although needed an added interest to focus on. A patient had suggested being trained in the process of sclerotherapy and this was where my career in aesthetics all started. I liked being hands on with performing treatments and used to undertake as many minor ops as I could in my GP surgery. This I felt was an extension of that. A concern that someone had with how they looked meant I could help them by removing or improving that issue.

What advice did you receive early in your career that has stayed with you?

Best advice I ever received was to remember that each patient was a whole person not just a disease or illness. They all have lives outside of your consulting room with families, friends, occupations and interests. These factors are all intertwined and play a major part in any illness or health issue that someone has.

Do you consider that you face more challenges than a man in your profession and if so, how have you overcome them?

I trained at St Bartholomew’s hospital in London in the early 80s. They were proud of the fact that they had 50% women and 50% men as medical students. Work as a hospital Doctor was no more challenging as a woman; it was busy and pressurised but you operated in a team environment and everyone played their part. I was not a shrinking violet and was always prepared to stand up for myself and what I believed was right.
I received the biggest negative and overtly sexist comment when I left my GP training practice. When I expressed my ambition to become a full time GP partner in a practice the then senior partner told me I would be unlikely ever to achieve this position as I would never be appointed over a man. Needless to say I took no notice and went straight into General Practice as a partner and worked thus for the next 10 years.
So did I have more challenges? No not really; medicine has evolved and sees the need for Doctors of both sexes equally. Is there still discrimination and sexist comments towards women? Yes most definitely. I was asked on more than one occasion "nurse could you get me a bed pan" or "oh you’re a woman" despite the white coat and stethoscope.
 

What challenges do you face in your role as a Medical Director of a very successful business?

In my current role in Aesthetics my gender is an absolute bonus! 80% of my patients are women and they love that I understand exactly how they feel. 

What motivates you to continue to deliver excellence at work?

I feel very strongly that I always want to do the best for my patients in whatever field I am working. Their pleasure and delight at their treatment outcomes and their improved confidence and self-esteem are enough motivation for me.

What advice would you give to someone wishing to start a career in Aesthetics?

I came into Aesthetic medicine later in my career but I have never lost touch with the reason I became a Doctor in the first place. My customers are still my patients that I will strive to look after and help to the best of my ability.

How to keep your skin looking and feeling hydrated

27 February 2019

Our clients at Woodford Medical range from 30’s upwards and many of them face the same challenge of trying to get their skin to retain moisture and prevent dryness. So here are some facts from Dr Patterson on how best to keep the moisture content at the optimum level in your skin.

The surface level of twelve to fifteen skin cells and the lipids that lie between them are referred to as the external skin barrier and are vital to help protect us from the environment and to prevent water being lost from the skin.

A large number of issues can affect this ratio and hence the skin's ability to protect itself and to retain water. With increasing age, the skin’s ability to maintain lipid production and therefore barrier function declines. Excessive amounts of UV exposure and extremes of climate be they humidity or heat will all effect the skin barrier.

In the winter we come in from the cold outdoors to a sudden change of heat and drier atmosphere, something that is very challenging for the skin to cope with. Excessive use of physical exfoliation particularly the more harsh forms can remove surface skin cells and the precious lipid that the skin has spent the last month building up.

Forms of medication such as cholesterol lowering drugs can have a very drying effect on the skin as they switch off the production of cholesterol which is one of the key skin lipids.

With the menopause comes a decline in oestrogen levels which in turn decreases lipid production something that can be reversed by hormone replacement therapy.

So how does this loss of moisture present itself? Skin can start to look dull, scaly or flaky and take on a roughened or wrinkled appearance. The area may feel tight with an itch and in extreme cases the skin will be painful, start to crack and even peel. Dryness on the body is most likely on the lower legs and arms and often itching leads to the tendency to scratch the area which in turn makes the problem worse.

Hyaluronic acid is a key molecule in helping skin retain its natural moisture so let’s explore its role in the ageing process. Hyaluronic acid is a molecule with an intense affinity for water and thus is very important for ensuring the skin retains water levels. If you want a mental picture of HA molecules and how they work think of a sponge like material that is continually wanting to attract water. 

Hyaluronic levels, just like collagen levels start to deteriorate in our late twenties although changes may not actually become visible until the thirties. The richest levels of HA in the epidermis are to found in a layer just below the external skin barrier with water being drawn up from the dermis to hydrate the epidermis. The lipid nature of the external barrier just above this layer traps the moisture preventing it from escaping.

Excessive, externally derived HA may draw moisture from the deeper layers of the skin completely unbalancing water distribution. I appreciate it is an appealing sound bite - HA is an important molecule that controls water loss and hydration in the skin so just add lots of topical HA Serum but in reality, the skin doesn’t function on such a simplistic level.

 

We are often told that drinking water will help your skin glow but it's not as simple as drink lots of water = hydrated skin.

 

One of the commonest misconceptions in the beauty industry is the suggestion that if we drink more water our skin will look better. This is simply not true and is not supported by any evidence. The body has a very finely tuned excretion mechanism that senses when the system is even slightly over hydrated and immediately moves to adjust by simply excreting the excess through the kidneys.

 

In most healthy people thirst and a desire to drink set alongside normally functioning kidneys helps to keep us in perfect fluid balance and taking more than we need is pointless. Unless of course you need the exercise running to the toilet!

 

So, let’s look at other ways to increase the water content in our skin. At the end of a long winter the effects of all that I have described above will be at their worst. Like any organ in the body the skin depends on a good balanced intake to derive all of its requirements to function normally so eating sensibly is clearly important. If you live in a hard water area symptoms of dryness can be much more noticeable. Hard water contains higher levels of minerals such as calcium and magnesium so some individuals particularly if they have sensitive skin may feel that their skin is more uncomfortable and irritable. This may be in part due to soaps and cleansers not lathering as well and therefore reducing the effectiveness of the cleansing process. Others feel that the hard water affects the washing process and higher levels of residue detergents are left on clothing producing a greater risk of skin irritation. 

The best way to look after your skin is to help it to repair and make it healthy as healthy skin will always look best. The key pointers for making your skin look and feel it’s very best are:


Preserve a healthy skin barrier

Use cleansers and moisturisers that deliver a combination of occlusive agents and the physiological lipids to help the skin barrier to repair.

Dampen chronic inflammation

There are 7 pathways of chronic inflammation that lead to unwanted pigment, redness, wrinkling and skin cancers. Controlling all of these pathways with a wide raft of anti inflammatories will help make the skin healthier and more able to function normally. So choose moisturisers that have both barrier repair and a wide anti-inflammatory effect.

 

Smooth the surface of the skin and clear the pores

Avoid physical exfoliants that non-specifically trash and remove healthy skin cells and the lipid between them. Instead use gentle chemical exfoliants that have been specially formulated to avoid irritation. 

Deliver the correct vitamin nutrition

Try and avoid the marketing hype that surrounds adding excessive levels of vitamin c or vitamin a or for that matter high levels of any one vitamin. Think instead of balanced cell nutrition using the whole range of vitamins and components of vitamins that skin cells need to thrive. Vitamin A, B, C , D and E all in their correct proportions and levels in the forms that cells can utilise.

Protect from excessive UV damage

UV is damaging and gives the skin a monumental ongoing headache that is continually challenging its resources. Protect your skin with an SPF of at least 25 but preferably 50 on a daily basis and let the skin get on with being as healthy as it can.

By doing all of this the skin will be healthy and function naturally to retain normal moisture levels.

 

 

 

Epionce Winter Skin Tips

01 February 2019

 

Winter weather can take a toll on your skin. From dramatic changes in temperature to a decrease in 
humidity, it’s common for skin to experience uncomfortable dryness or painful chapped skin due to the change of season. Cold weather constricts pores which leads to dryness, dull skin and for some an increase in acne breakouts.

The Epionce line of daily-use products work to strengthen the skin barrier in order to hold moisture in the skin, as well as protect against factors caused by environmental changes that lead to inflammation.

Characteristics of Winter Skin

  • Itching
  • Dehydrated skin
  • Visible scaling and flaky skin
  • Dullness, redness and chapping

How Epionce Helps

  • Repairs compromised skin barrier
  • Soothes and hydrates tender, itchy, flaky skin
  • Gentle formulas don’t cause additional irritation
  • Protects skin from UVA/UVB radiation

A daily regime can be your best asset to stay ahead of the colder temperatures. Fine-tune a daily winter skin care regime to maintain healthy, beautiful skin this winter.

Cleanse + Prepare

  • Epionce cleansers gently remove makeup and impurities without disturbing healthy oils in the barrier that are essential to hydration
  • Applying Balancing Toner after cleansing gives the skin humectants that hold in moisture

Correct + Boost

  • Lite Lytic Tx and Lytic Tx are more mild versions of the Lytic formula to encourage cell turnover and radiance without over-drying
  • Using highly-emollient Enriched Firming Mask one to two times per week provides intense hydration and prevents factors that cause inflammation
  • Purifying Spot Gel rapidly addresses painful acne blemishes without causing dryness or irritation

Renew + Fortify: Face

  • Adjust your Renewal Facial products to a more emollient formula for improved moisture. For example, use Renewal Facial Cream instead of Renewal Facial Lotion
  • Renewals contain the ideal ratio of skin barrier lipids in a cholesterol-dominant 3:1:1 ratio necessary to trigger the skin’s natural ability to repair itself, which strengthens the skin barrier
  • Apply Anti-Ageing Lip Renewal in the morning and evening to prevent chapped lips

Renew + Fortify: Body

  • Apply Extreme Barrier Cream and Renewal Enriched Body Lotion for the correct amount of hydration needed for the unique skin on the body and extremities
  • Renewal Calming Cream helps relieve dry, itchy skin and eczema flares due to very dry skin conditions

Protect + Prevent

  • Daily sunscreen application provides protection against UVA and UVB rays
  • Ultra Shield SPF 50 is very water-resistant, broad-spectrum and ideal for winter activities like skiing
  • Daily Shield Tinted SPF 50 provides daily use broad-spectrum protection with anti-inflammatory properties to protect against damaging inflammation.

Book in your free skin consultation with one of our Aesthetic Therapists today to ensure you look after your skin this winter.

 

 

 

The new & exciting look for Woodford Medical Cambridge

02 January 2019

Dr Hilary Allan is delighted to introduce Nurse Practitioner Oona to her booming Cambridge Clinic. The clinic at Langford Arch opened in 2003 and has grown into the highly successful practice it is today. Having spent many years building the practice up Dr Allan now finds her diary at full capacity so therefore she feels now is the right time to welcome Oona aboard.

Oona Davison joined Woodford Medical as our Nurse Practitioner in 2015. Oona qualified as a nurse twenty-four years ago from Kings College London and has a BSc Honours degree in nursing as well as being qualified as a Specialist Practitioner and an Independent Prescriber. In 2008 Oona then gained qualifications in Botox, Advanced Botox, Facial Fillers and Advanced Facial Fillers from the Royal College of Physicians. She continues to maintain her skills and knowledge with regular updates and advanced training from the leading manufacturers and suppliers in the Aesthetic Industry. Oona has worked for some of the most well-known and respected names in the Aesthetics field in Harley Street and her professionalism and attention to detail as well as in-depth understanding of client’s expectations, ensures outstanding results and client satisfaction.

Oona said “I am very excited to have the opportunity to take the expertise I have learnt from the other Woodford Medical clinics to Cambridge. It will be a privilege to join the successful team which has been established there for so long. I know the Cambridge clients will make me feel welcome and I am looking forward to the new challenge.”

 Recently the Cambridge clinic underwent a transforming refurbishment project and   now projects a truly modern and clinical appearance. Every treatment room now   offers a state-of-the-art experience ensuring that all our clients feel comfortable and   cosseted during their procedure.

 As well as Dr Allan and Oona offering their injectable skills our Senior Aesthetic   Therapist Debbie continues to go from strength to strength with her high-end   aesthetic treatments including IPL Photorejuvenation, 1540 Skin Tightening,   Microneedling and Epionce Skin Peels to list but a few. She also offers free   consultations so clients can optimise their skincare regime.

 

Dr Allan is confident that Oona can carry on the high standard of treatment and care that her clients have come to know and love.

For NEW clients booking with Oona you will recieve 10% off your treatment when you present the cambridge pride advert (OUT TODAY!) in clinic.

Call  01245 227983 to book your appointment with Oona in Cambridge.



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