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Clinical Focus Diet and Nutrition

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Aesthetics Journal

Incorporating a dietician into your practice General practitioner and skin specialist Dr Anita Sturnham shares her experience of incorporating a dietician’s expertise to improve patient results Nutrition is essential as part of an antiageing skincare regimen. There are two main processes that are thought to induce skin ageing: intrinsic and extrinsic factors.8 Extrinsic ageing is caused by environmental factors such as sun exposure, air pollution, smoking and poor nutrition. Intrinsic ageing generally reflects our genetic background. Various expressions of intrinsic ageing include thinning of the skin with exaggerated expression lines. Extrinsically aged skin is characterised by photo damage, such as lines, wrinkles, pigmented lesions, hypopigmentation and actinic keratoses.7 A network of antioxidants such as vitamins E and C, coenzyme Q10, alpha-lipoic acid, glutathione, and others can reduce signs of ageing. Antioxidants are the body’s defense against free-radical damage and oxidative stress. They fight free radicals by supplying them with the electron that they lack, therefore neutralising their harmful effects. Mitochondrial mutations of DNA accumulate during ageing and can be detected at elevated levels in prematurely aged skin following chronic exposure to UV light. In vitro data provides evidence that dietary micronutrients such as β-carotene interact with UVA in the cell and prevent the induction of photoageing-associated 38

mitochondrial DNA mutations.9 An antioxidantrich diet packed full of fruits and vegetables is therefore a crucial component of any patient’s anti-ageing plan. My practice offers patients skincare, healthcare and nutritional advice all under one roof. It is a medical centre that offers a comprehensive range of facial and body treatments, skin treatments, GP health reviews, nutritional support, skin cancer checks and total body mole mapping, as well as Health MOTs. My clinical background allows me to provide patients with a specialist medical and skin assessment, looking not just at skincare but also at their overall health. It is well known that the appearance of your skin can often reflect your inner health and wellbeing. To have great skin, you need to have good health – total wellness is the aim for all of our patients at my practice. As a general practitioner (GP) with a specialist interest in skin, I understand the importance of having a multidisciplinary approach when managing most health conditions. Over the years I have noticed a strong connection between an individual’s nutrition and their health. For example, those who consume large quantities of sugary foods and drinks have an increased risk of obesity and Type 2 Aesthetics | January 2015

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diabetes. In my own practice, I have noticed a connection between diet and skin diseases such as acne and eczema. For example, those who consume diets high in sugar seem to be more prone to outbreaks of these inflammatory skin conditions. It makes sense that if we feed our bodies with the right nutrition, we can reduce our risks of many diseases, including heart disease, strokes, diabetes and even skin disease. Following this philosophy, I created Nuriss Skincare and Wellness Clinic. Nuriss comes from the French verb ‘nourrir’ (to nourish), meaning ‘to give a person or other living thing the food and other substances necessary for life, growth and good health’. Throughout my career I have been left frustrated when seeing patients in great need of nutritional support, but who are unable to access it easily. In my experience, access to a dietician has been limited due to a lack of available funding and resources. Even within hospital settings, a small team of dieticians are usually spread very thinly, allowing only a select number of patients access to this service. Patients often visit my clinic suffering from health issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, polycystic ovarian syndrome and acne vulgaris. I believe that a well-balanced diet can improve such issues so, as well as including nutritional advice in patients’ treatment plans, I have also incorporated a dietician into my clinic. This service has always been available there and I am fortunate enough to have worked professionally with an excellent registered dietician during my years of practice. Our close working relationship has meant that introducing the role of ‘the dietician’ into our team of experts at Nuriss has been an easy one. Dietitians are the only nutrition professionals to be regulated by law, and are governed by an ethical code to ensure that they always work to the highest standard.10 It is very much my personal choice to work with a dietitian rather than a nutritionist. Some may say that a nutritionist is just as good as a dietician however, although they have good knowledge about nutrition, as they are not regulated, my preference is to work with a dietitian. At Nuriss we have allocated two days of every week for appointments designated to general medicine and nutrition. Our dietician, Lucy Jones, is employed by Nuriss on these days. If required, she is also able to offer consultancy-based work on other days of the week. Every Monday our Nuriss medical team also runs their health MOT clinic. The aim of our MOTs is to identify current health issues

Profile for Aesthetics Journal

Aesthetics January 2015  

Weight Loss & Body Contouring

Aesthetics January 2015  

Weight Loss & Body Contouring