Skinfresh Clinic


April 2014

Skin texture and tightening treatments

We are all getting more out of life these days, and as the population ages, we are demanding more and more out of our appearance as well.  The idea is to get more but not go under the knife.

Skin thinning and sagging is caused by too much sun exposure and bad living (eg smoking and drinking too much, inadequate sleep) these ageing changes are related to poor diet, digestion, and our diminishing hormones as well.

Supplements for skin

The important ones for your skin are omega 3 fish oil, which is an antioxidant and an anti inflammatory and the main antioxidant vitamins which are vitamin A, C, E and Selenium.  In addition, in my clinical work I have noticed that virtually everyone I test has low zinc and low vitamin D.  Zinc and vitamin C, D, are important for collagen production and vitamin D is also important for the skin and general health.  Correcting hormone imbalances as you age also helps, and I am very experienced in this area.

Special skincare ingredients

We are still with skincare, but on a different theme now. An example of undeclared “miracle ingredients” in skincare include simple statements about peptides.  Peptides are molecules that contain amino acids, and amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, as are peptides. There are peptides that tighten but there are also peptides in other categories. You will hear more of Peptides from now on – think of them as messengers that tell the skin cells to do certain things – like grow or increase collagen etc. We can advise you of what your skin specifically needs.

The following three treatments specifically treat the skin and have variable tightening ability. However, when they are combined, their effect is significantly enhanced. All with no pain or down time!

Laser and light treatments 

A gold standard treatments for skin tightening is Titan® (far infrared light procedure). Titan® has been scientifically validated and clinically proven to treat the deep dermis and permanently tighten the skin. The skin is permanently tightened.

The ideal candidate is a non smoker with thin lax skin. It is often people over 50 that respond the best. After an initial course of 2-4 treatments of the face, jowl and/or neck, one top up treatment can be performed at 1-2 years to maintain the effect as you age.

Laser Genesis® treatment which is a specific 1064 ND Yag laser used to heat the deep dermis. It is a comfortable, walk-in/walk-out procedure with no down time. We use it for texture and collagen production as well as deep redness, including Rosacea.  Because it works on the mid dermis it will tighten the skin. It also helps pores, texture and fine wrinkles. We have had much clinical experience with this painless laser. After an initial course of treatment, to maintain the tightening and the other effects, it needs to be topped up around six monthly.

Intense pulse light machines (IPL) including treatments like LimeLight work on the skins surface to improve discolouration but do not tighten the skin.


In our opinion, Dermapen® is the new, revolutionary skin needling treatment that works better than Microdermabrasion, and just as well as the traditional medical rollering (usually very painful with many days off required), but without any significant pain or down time. It helps pores, fine lines, increases collagen, reduces scars and may also tighten the skin.

We think combining Dermapen with Laser Genesis is an ideal mix to help many problems at once while helping texture and tightening the skin.

We are the national trainers for Cutera Medical Lasers and have registered nurses administering the treatments. We train overseas regularly and upgrade our knowledge and skills. You can be assured that we take patient safety seriously as well as being keen to get great results!

Book now with one of our nurses for your detailed skin assessment.  And plan your personal skin treatment programme.


Metformin – an old dog with new tricks

As diabetes and obesity increase in our community, more people recognize the name of a popular diabetes drug that is used – Metformin. Over the last few years, numerous coincidences have led to researchers looking at new uses for this ‘old drug’. Read this article and be amazed by what this cheap, safe old drug can do!

Metformin comes from the French Lilac (Gallega officianalis) and was used in folk medicine. It has been used as a drug from at least 1994 when the FDA approved it for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

It was found to help patients with diabetes type 2 and obesity lose weight. Since then, it has also been found to help prevent diabetes by reducing both insulin and blood sugar as well as improving some lipid levels.

At this point, Metformin’s benefits are known to include:

  • Lowering of blood sugar
  • Lowering of insulin
  • Increasing insulin sensitivity of tissues and of the hypothalamus and pituitary
  • Weight loss
  • Reduction of appetite
  • Reduction of heart attacks and strokes
  • Reduction of microvascular complications – retinopathy, nephropathy, neuropathy
  • Reduction of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, CRP, and possibly Triglycerides.

These days, the combination of obesity and diabetes type 2 is called Diabesity by academics and researchers. This is because this condition seems to create a platform from which many other diseases come from and these include:

  • Cancers
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Heart disease and stroke
  • Kidney disease and failure
  • Depression.

The underlying theme in these conditions includes increase in inflammatory messengers cause by visceral fat (inside the abdomen) like tissue plasminogen activator and CRP. The increased abdominal fat also reduces good messengers like Adiponectin.


Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) involves resistance of the cells to insulin and so blood glucose rises in the same way as it does in diabetes type 2. In PCOS there is also increased acne, hairiness and obesity along with raised androgens (male hormones). These women have increased risk of diabetes and cancer. They also often have no periods or abnormal periods. Metformin and lifestyle changes can return periods and help this condition.

The weight gain associated with some of the newer anti-psychotic drugs can also be successfully treated by Metformin.


Early research in mice has increased researchers interest in the future use of Metformin to protect brain cells from injury or death.

Mice given Metformin performed better in a maze than those given a placebo. The researchers theorized that Metformin could activate new neuron generation in certain parts of the brain.

At the moment, we do know that Alzheimer’s disease is associated with cell resistance to insulin in the brain. So perhaps there is an association here?
Watch this space for new research…


Diabetics are at increased risk of cancers. Researchers observed that diabetics on Metformin, rather than other treatments, had reduced numbers of certain cancers and increased survival if they were diagnosed with cancer. So they looked into it further with animal studies, and later, human studies.

Here are some statistics from what I have read:

  • Of 8000 diabetics treated with Metformin, there was a 54-72% lower incidence of all cancers compared to the general population. There was also a higher survival rate and it was better the longer the person was on Metformin.
  • In a breast cancer study, those who were on Metformin as well as having chemotherapy responded better – 24% had a complete response compared with 8 % of those who did not take Metformin. Sixteen percent of non-diabetics on Metformin experienced a remission.

Cancers suggested to benefit or be prevented by Metformin include:

  • Breast, including HER2
  • Bowel
  • Pancreas
  • Prostate
  • Melanoma
  • Endometrium (cancer of uterus lining).

Non-diabetic patients have been found to benefit from Metformin in research on the early signs of bowel cancer as well.


Blocks an enzyme called Aromatase which can stimulate estrogen –dependent cancer growth. This is particularly important in Breast and Prostate cancers.

  • Suppresses a specific cancer-inducing protein – HER2 (human epidermal growth factor 2) that increases breast cancer risk.
  • Cancer cells need a lot of energy to grow. By reducing insulin and glucose, Metformin blocks cancer cells food supply.
  • Calorie restriction has been suggested to extend life. Metformin works like calorie restriction by activating a metabolic sensor in the body called AMPK (Adenosine Monophosphate-Activated Protein Kinase). This in turn causes cancer cells to die or have their cell cycle arrested.
  • In the liver, AMPK reduces production of glucose, reduces insulin. Throughout the body it burns fat, enhances cell sensitivity to insulin and reduces cholesterols as well as reducing inflammatory messengers. AMPK effects work in other ways to help prevent/ reduce cancer.
  • Inhibits an age-accelerating complex called mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) that is implicated in cancer development. mTOR increases events that can lead to cancer and ageing as a result of the body receiving abnormal stress and energy levels.
  • Insulin resistance increases prostate cancer risk. Metformin blocks reproduction of prostate cancer cells by decreasing levels of a cancer growth –promoting protein called cyclin D1. At the same time, it increases production of a protein (P27) that inhibits the cell division cycle. (P27 is also increased by Vitamin D, omega 3 fish oil and silymarin)
  • In endometrial cancer, Metformin has been found to stop the cancer cell reproduction cycle and to induce cancer cell death by decreasing expression of hTERT (human Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase) which causes unchecked cell division. This effect is cause by AMPK – se above.
  • In pancreatic cancer, Metformin increases Caspases which are cell death messengers
  • Reduces other damaging cell messengers.

Studies will be looking at whether Meformin may be able to enhance the effects of radiation on lung cancer and whether it can stop division of the Hepatitis C virus.


  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Alcoholics
  • Heart failure
  • Drugs – Itraconazole , Gemfibrozil
  • Recent heart attack or stroke
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding.

Side effects of Metformin can include:

  • Lowering of vitamin B12 levels – so this may need supplementation
  • Nausea, diarrhoea, abdominal discomfort. Starting with low doses and carefully increasing it may help tolerance
  • Lowering of TSH levels such that final thyroid hormone may not be affected. This is yet to be confirmed but may lead to a false impression that the patient has adequate thyroid levels when they haven’t.

So don’t be surprised if you start to see more people on Metformin who are not diabetics. Doctors will be using it for its extra actions to help prevent diabetes, cancer and other problems.



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March 2014 Newsletter