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New Year Tips for Feeling Calm

New Year Tips for Feeling More Calm

By Essential Reading, Health, Skin No Comments

For many of us, the beginning of a year, particularly one after such a rollercoaster of a year before, can be a refreshing yet stressful period. We often give ourselves a “resolution” that we feel we need to stick to, which more often than not, focuses on health & wellbeing.

For Totally Derma®, it’s all about caring for yourself from within, so to help you bring more calm into your world, and hopefully continue throughout the year, here are our tips to help you!


Stress can be an incredibly harmful factor in our lives that can give us more than just a headache. Stress can cause:

  • Inability to recover from illness
  • Inflammation
  • Low mood
  • Lack of sleep
  • Lack of motivation

Minimising inflammation is actually one of the key elements to boosting our inner health because it is the body’s natural defence and repair hub. When we hurt ourselves, our body reacts with swelling, redness and soreness in that area for a short amount of time while it heals. This response is not just for external injuries, it actually happens inside the body.

In our day to day lives, we are exposed to constant stress, which can trigger the inflammatory response inside the body and produces free radicals in response which, if untreated, can cause further damage and harm.


The first port of call to help reduce inflammation and free radicals within our bodies is to make sure the things we put into our body supports us in a healthy way.

One way to do this is through plant based foods – if you have already started your Veganuary challenge, then your body will be thanking you with a healthier digestive system, helping remove those toxins. It is recommended that you “eat the rainbow” with 7 portions of fruit and vegetables each day to bring vitamins, minerals and fibre into your body to help your body processes work optimally.

If you are not one to try out a plant-based diet, then why not swap one or two of your meat-based meals for a vegan option each week to help jump-start and care for your body?

Another dietary suggestion to help reduce inflammation within your body as a result of stress, is to reduce refined sugars and carbohydrates in your diet. When you consume these foods, your body reacts with a stress response as your blood sugar and insulin levels rise.

Foods such as oily fish, flaxseed nuts and seeds all contain sources of anti-inflammatory essential fats which are beneficial to your body’s response to stress. Adding these into your diet can be another way to manage and maintain your healthy body.

For a quick daily fix of anti-oxidants, add a daily supplement that you can take to help beat the harmful effects of stress on your body. For example, within our Totally Derma Collagen Drink supplement, we have added Vitamin C, grape seed extract, green tea extract, alpha lipoic acid, zinc, manganese and copper to ensure a healthy and happy body, and repair skin, hair and nails too.

Once you have developed a healthier diet and lifestyle to help your body’s reaction to stress internally, you can add other wellbeing and mindset boosters to your daily life. Whether it’s heading to the gym for a boost of energy, meeting with loved ones for conversation, or adding a relaxing bath to your night time routine while turning off screens at least an hour prior to bed, you’ll begin to create habits that help you manage your stress levels and encourage better health!

Ultimately, no matter what your plans for the year ahead, we hope you add some habits to your life to help you feel a better, healthier, and calmer self.

Gut Skin Connection Acne


By Skin No Comments

Maintaining healthy, blemish-free, and youthful skin can be challenging, as so many internal and environmental factors impact our skin on a daily basis. While many of us know that diet and nutrition play a big role in skin health, the effect that gut bacteria can have on one’s skin is widely underestimated. Many illnesses, including skin conditions, such as acne, dermatitis, psoriasis, and more, can actually be traced back to inflammation or irritation stemming from an unhealthy gut. Therefore, addressing gut issues and healing from the inside can be the missing piece in the puzzle of clearing your skin!

For the gut to heal and rebalance itself, it needs amino acids to fuel and repair the damaged cells. Collagen is packed with huge servings of the types of amino acids our GI tract (gut wall) feeds on to repair itself. These super-nutrient amino acids help form connective tissue and therefore “seal and heal” the protective lining of the gut. Collagen has also been shown to reinforce the gut by making it more resistant to elastic stretching. This resistance is very important as excessive stretching makes the cells that comprise the gut lining misalign or sit further apart, which may eventually make the gut “leaky”. The fascinating blend of amino acids or protein building blocks in collagen also helps to regulate stomach acid levels, aids with digestion and bowel movements, and improves the bacterial balance in the gut microbiome. By keeping the gut healthy and balanced, collagen may help treat the causal issues of skin conditions, such as cystic acne from the inside.

Enzymatically processed, hydrolysed collagen, is the main ingredient in our Totally Derma® Nutraceutical Collagen Drink Supplement. It has been specially formulated to reduce inflammation in the body to improve skin, hair, nail, joint, gut, bone, and menopausal health. Totally Derma® uses hydrolysed collagen that is absorbed by our gut more easily as the large collagen molecules are broken down into smaller amino acid peptide form. We also use bovine collagen, which is best for leaky gut as it resembles the collagen found in our GI tract.

Inspired by the gut-skin communication and the role that collagen plays in it, we recruited a patient diagnosed with cystic acne to undergo a 3-month trial of ingesting Totally Derma® to see if it could help treat her skin. The candidate had tried using both oral and topical antibiotics as well as various acne treatments but didn’t notice any improvements. She kindly agreed to document her journey through pictures and a mini-journal, and the highlights of both can be found below:

Baseline (January 2021) photo

Week 1: “A drastic improvement after just one week! The infection is still there however the cysts were flatter than they had been in months. The swelling and redness had decreased as well as the pain. For the first time in months, I have hope that this will get better.”

Week 6: “I would say this is the best my skin has looked in a VERY long time and the happiest I have felt since being diagnosed with cystic acne. The largest and more problematic cyst on my lower right cheek is starting to shrink down drastically. I am noticing that I am getting far fewer new spots.”

Week 6 photo

Week 7/ Week 8: “My cysts have pretty much completely cleared up! I have had no drastic break outs in weeks. I have even treated myself to a ‘make up day’ here and there. My make-up is sitting smooth to my face now that my cysts aren’t raised, and the dry skin has cleared up.”

Week 11: “I feel like the infection itself is completely done and I am just left with scarring now. The scarring is getting better week by week. I am over the moon!”

Week 12: “Today marks the end of my 12-week course. I am so happy with the results. I am so relieved to have found the answer. My skin is clear of infection with just some scarring left, which is already starting to heal too. When I look back at the “before” pictures I honestly cannot believe that’s what I used to look like.”

Week 12 photo

After the trial had ended, the candidate reported that her skin remained clear for 2 months but 3 months after stopping Totally Derma® her acne had returned, however not nearly as aggressive as before the trial. While this pioneer clinical study is only based on the experience of one patient, it is a very exciting piece of research demonstrating the significance of the gut-skin connection and showing how the causal issues of cystic acne can be treated internally via the gut.

Connection Vitamin C and Collagen

The connection between Vitamin C & Collagen

By Health, Skin No Comments

Vitamin C and Collagen are two words that often go hand in hand but the link between the two is not always apparent. After all Vitamin C is supposedly an important vitamin to stave of colds and bugs and collagen is something you find in a bone broth. Well, both of these are correct, but there’s another area where these two nutrients plays a crucial role; skin health, particularly when it comes to age management.

One effect of maturing skin is the loss of collagen (and elastin); two fibrous proteins that help form connective tissue in the skin. As we age, these proteins tend to lose their strength and become less elastic, leading to sagging skin and wrinkles. This is why younger skin will appear more plump, taut and wrinkle free, whereas as we age, our skin integrity decreases.

The key to staving off the effects of ageing skin is to increase the production of collagen and effectively replace the natural loss and to do this, we need vitamin C. Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, is found in high levels in the outer layers of the skin and is crucial for the collagen production process and without it, the body cannot make replace this collagen. With age, there is a decline in the levels of vitamin C found in these layers of the skin.

So how do we increase the levels of both vitamin C and collagen in the body?

In the first instance, eating foods that are rich in vitamin C will provide good levels. As vitamin C is water soluble, it cannot be stored in the body, so it is important to eat foods rich in vitamin C throughout the day. Foods rich in vitamin C include

  • Tomatoes
  • Kiwi
  • Oranges
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower

A good quality vitamin C supplement can also be considered in addition to good dietary sources.

Although collagen can be consumed by making a slow cooked bone broth, using left over bones from a meal or obtained from the butcher, a good quality collagen supplement is perhaps a more convenient form and will not only provide adequate levels to replenish the collagen loss but will also provide it in a bio-available form that the body “recognises” and can use effectively. It is important to choose a brand that contains pre-digested collagen, otherwise it will not survive the digestive process and will not reach the outer layers of the skin where it is needed.

Whilst intake of vitamin C and collagen will go a long way to ensuring healthy skin as we age, it is also important to consider other factors to prevent further skin damage.

  • Applying sunscreen lotion generously will help protect against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays which also contribute to the breakdown of collagen and elastin
  • Smoking can also cause sagging skin and wrinkles but encouraging premature breakdown of collagen
  • Some nutrients such as Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) can also slow down the breakdown of collagen. ALA is found in foods such as broccoli, spinach and yeast extract but can also be taken in supplement form on its own or as part of a good quality collagen supplement.
Great Skin Great Health

Why great skin mirrors inner health

By Health, Skin No Comments

Skin is the largest organ in the body and crucially the only organ we have ongoing visual access to. Your skin is a visible reflection of your health and an important indicator of your inner health, in particular, your gut health.

Many skin conditions such as eczema, dry skin, acne and rosacea can be linked to the gut health as their root cause.  As such, addressing gut health is perhaps the most effective starting point in achieving healthy glowing skin, particularly as we age.

So why is gut health so important for your skin?

We rub off millions of skin cells every day and create a whole new layer of skin every 17-42 days. With a healthy digestive tract and efficient digestion, the digestive process will deliver all the nutrients to effect this turnover.

The role of digestion is to break down the foods we eat, process them and consequently absorb the nutrients from these foods, so that our body has all the nutrients it needs to grow, repair and function optimally.  Compromised gut health will inhibit this process and your body will not receive sufficient nutrients. Whilst the body will prioritise life-threatening functions, hair, skin and nail health are considered less crucial and will not receive adequate nutrients if the nutrients are lacking. This is immediately noticeable visually with symptoms such as splitting nails, lack-lustre hair and dull skin.

Healing your gut is crucial to ensure optimal health. In the first instance, limiting sugar and refined carbohydrates and alcohol as well as eating a diet which includes plenty of colourful vegetables and fruits will provide a rich source of nutrients and fibre, as well as good fats found in nuts/seeds, oily fish, avocado.

However, if gut health has been allowed to deteriorate over time, the lining of the intestines can become damaged and inflamed. This allows undigested food proteins as well as toxic waste products to pass through the intestine barriers, which would otherwise be tight junctions in a healthy gut, directly into the blood stream. This is called Leaky Gut Syndrome and if not addressed, can wreak havoc throughout the body; causing an autoimmune response which can result in symptoms such as allergic reactions, food allergies, migraines and fatigue.

One of the most effective nutrients that can be used to help heal this damage is L-Glutamine, an amino acid that can repair and reverse these damaging effects. Alongside dietary changes, a daily supplement containing this nutrient can begin to rejuvenate the lining of the intestinal wall within 12 weeks.

With a healthy digestive system and a good diet, you can look forward to healthy fresh looking skin with renewed energy and vigour.

What Happens to Skin When We Exercise

What Happens To Our Skin When We Exercise? – As Explained By Rajiv Grover, Consultant Plastic Surgeon

By Skin No Comments

“Exercise has really quite an important link to ageing. If you are performing a lot of cardiovascular exercise, then, for example, Triathlons, Marathon running, first, you are going to be burning a lot of calories. There seems to be a switch, that from the age of about 35-40 onwards, you tend to lose facial volume, as a consequence of doing this type of cardiovascular exercise. When you are younger, you seem to lose weight from the body, but the face maintains its fat compartments. High impact sports like marathon running, road running, have a secondary effect, which is that, there are ligaments within the cheek, that keep it in place. So, underneath the skin, we don’t just have a sea of fat, we have fibrous areas that are almost like Velcro, that keep the cheek in place, that keep the sides of the mouth in place; and if you are pounding the roads, those ligaments get stretched and as a consequence, actually you have more sagging of the face on top of the volume loss” The facial structure has bones a bit like a brick wall. In fact, what happens in the body, is that every organ and every tissue is in a state of being built and being broken down at the same time. So even something that looks as solid as bones, actually has cells that are destroying the bone, and then putting down new bone, almost at the same time.” Rajiv Grover, Consultant Plastic Surgeon.
Long distance running and endurance exercise can age your face prematurely. High-intensity internal training (HIIT) on the other hand, is better, as it releases growth hormones and helps with anti-ageing.

One Marathon Runner stated, “Marathon Runners DO have a gaunter look about their face and since I’ve taken up the long-distance running, people did start to mention that my face did look more gaunt and slimmer in the cheeks, not necessarily a compliment!”

As we age, the 14 bones in our face change both their shape and their volume. Eye sockets become wider and longer. In the mid face, the angles of the brow, nose and upper jaw bones all reduce. Teeth move around and sometimes fall out completely. With less bone to stretch across, skin becomes saggy and loose, the face becomes bottom-heavy. While the rate our bones changes is determined by genetics, our life choices in our latter years can still affect how old we look.