Protecting the Skin Microbiome

Skin layers
It’s estimated that approximately 1000 different species of bacteria are included in the 1 billion microorganisms that live on each square centimeter of our skin.  It is now becoming quite clear that the skin microbiome (collective set of microorganisms and their genetic material) modulates skin diseases, influences metabolic processes and is important for skin immunity.  The diversity of the skin microbiome is influenced by various factors including transient microbes, genetic predispositions, location and environmental characteristics.

The Importance of Skin Minerals

Skin layers

Many minerals are recognized in the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2010), as being essential for human health and well being, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, and selenium1.Although, it is well established that the dietary intake of minerals is essential for general health, there is also increasing evidence for the importance of minerals in skin health2.


Interestingly, a significant amount of these essential minerals can be found in spas, medicinal clays (as well as a large amounts of trace minerals), mud baths and mineral water baths that have been used for centuries in skin health and healing.

The use of minerals for medicinal purposes has been recorded since the times of the ancient Egyptians and Greeks when mineral-rich earths were used for their anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.   Hippocrates and Aristotle produced classifications of medicinal earths, which were mostly clays.  In modern times, the minerals used for therapeutic purposes are also from clay materials due to the cost and difficulty of synthetic mineral production3.  In addition, clay minerals are probably commonly used because they are the “most abundant components of the surface mineral world4.

Viniferamine® SkinMineralZ is the only skin care product to combine the amazing healing power of three mineral-rich clays with zinc oxide and carboxymethylcellulose.   SkinMineralZ corrects skin mineral deficiencies associated with poor healing and helps remove toxins and contaminants from skin.  Viniferamine® SkinMineralZ-ST™ is “skin toned” so it blends with skin color to provide a contemporary approach to wellness, individual privacy and skin healing dignity.

Continue reading

Helping Reduce Biofilms and Chronic Wounds

Skin layers

Approximately 1-2% of people develop chronic wounds in their lifetime.  It’s estimated that in the United States, around 6.5 million patients experience chronic wounds resulting in close to $25 billion dollars spent annually for their treatment.Chronic wounds are wounds that have failed to proceed through the normal wound repair (healing) process for 3 months or more.  Typical chronic wounds include diabetic foot ulcers, venous leg ulcers, pressure ulcers and ulcers resulting from peripheral vascular disease.  Chronic wounds are extremely complex and have a multitude of potential influencing factors including changes in pH, defective extracellular matrix (ECM) synthesis, chronic inflammation and increased protease production, as well as biofilm formation.  In fact, in a recent study, 60% of the chronic wounds examined contained biofilms. Continue reading

Reducing Edema-Associated Skin Complications

Skin layers

Skin problems associated with edema (swelling) are common and difficult to treat.  In addition, the diagnosis of lymphedema or phlebolymphedema often signals substantial changes in an individual’s quality of life.  Physical complications and changes in appearance may lead to embarrassment and withdrawal from normal everyday activities.There are two main causes of lymphedema: the removal of lymph nodes during the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, and chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).  Lymphedema associated with cancer is caused by either the removal of lymph nodes during cancer surgery or damage to lymph nodes during radiation therapy.  This loss or damage can reduce or stop the normal flow of lymphatic fluid through the lymphatic system.

Continue reading

Reducing Xerosis (Abnormally Dry Skin)

Skin layers

Xerosis or abnormally dry skin is a common skin problem especially among older individuals.  With normal (or intrinsic) skin aging, as opposed to skin aged by the sun, skin becomes thinner, has a decreased amount of blood flow and lipids, and collagen in the skin becomes fragmented resulting in drier, more colorless skin with fine wrinkles.

In contrast, photoaging (or extrinsic aging) caused by UV radiation is characterized by the accumulation of abnormal elastin in the skin and the disintegration of collagen resulting in deep wrinkles, hyperpigmentation (age or liver spots) and a leathery appearance of the skin.

Continue reading

Helping Prevent Pressure Ulcers

Pressure UlcerAccording to the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP), a pressure ulcer is “localized injury to the skin and/or underlying tissue usually over a bony prominence, as a result of pressure, or pressure in combination with shear and/or friction”.

Pressure ulcers (also known as bed sores or pressure sores) are a serious issue affecting the quality of life for many individuals with various health complications in different settings including living at home.

Pressure ulcers are a complex healthcare problem with multiple causes.  They are not a new phenomenon since their occurrence was recorded beginning in 2050 BC.  In addition, the early physician, Hippocrates, documented pressure ulcers in 400 BC.  Today, pressure ulcers are a substantial clinical, economic, regulatory and legal problem for healthcare providers and patients.  In fact, it has been estimated that treating pressure ulcers cost the U.S. at least 11 billion dollars per year.

For high-risk populations including critically ill patients, a cumulative incidence of at least 15% has been reported for category 2 or higher pressure ulcers.  There are also many factors that increase the risk for pressure ulcers including advanced age, malnutrition, immobility, loss of consciousness or cognitive abilities, inability to feel pain, decreased blood flow due to diabetes or peripheral arterial disease, as well as dry skin and skin maceration that makes skin more vulnerable to damage.

Increasing Hydration and Protecting Macerated Skin

Senior woman in wheel chairViniferamine® Renewal Moisturizer and Viniferamine® SkinMineralZ contain important skin nutrients including antioxidants, amino acids and vitamins to strengthen vulnerable skin. Renewal Moisturizer increases skin hydration to help keep moisture in skin, as well as ensure proper nourishment of the epidermis.  Each ingredient in Renewal Moisturizer has been perfectly pH balanced.  SkinMineralZ helps nourish macerated, inflamed skin while providing absorption of toxins.  The micronized zinc oxide in SkinMineralZ is ideal for treating delicate skin that cannot tolerate abrasiveness.

Pressure is the amount of force applied perpendicular to a surface area.  In addition, forces known as shear forces may be applied parallel to a skin surface.  Shear forces are commonly applied when patients slide down a surface and they typically affects the sacrum and heel areas of skin.  When pressure is applied to skin, especially over bony prominences, it distorts the skin and underlying soft tissues.  If constant pressure is maintained, soft tissue will change and mold itself to accommodate the external shape, referred to as tissue creep.  Blood vessels within the distorted tissue become compressed, bent or stretched out of their normal shape such that blood cannot flow which results in the tissues supplied by these vessels becoming ischemic.

Changing Positions and Strengthening the Skin Barrier

Normally, reflexive movements relieve tissue distortions, or the central nervous system is stimulated producing pain that causes movement to relieve pressure and distortion before serious damage occurs.  In fact, healthy individuals (that have normal sensation) change positions in their sleep every 11.6 minutes on average.

Young man asleepWhen the circulation is restored, local capillaries dilate and blood flow increases resulting in reactive hyperemia.  This appears as a bright pink blanchable (capable of whitening) patch on the skin.  When the erythema (redness) is unblanchable, that indicates tissue damage characteristic of category 1 pressure ulcers has occurred.

Therefore, there are 3 main causes of pressure ulcers: immobility, failure of reactive hyperemia and loss of sensation.  Pain is an early warning sign for pressure damage and the use of strong pain medicines may delay triggers for movement.  Distortion of soft tissues is particularly dangerous for paraplegic patients.  If ischemia persists, pressure ulcers can occur within 2 hours.  Patients who experience sudden drops in blood pressure due to events such as cardiac arrest may also be at risk for pressure ulcers.  Prolonged pressure can result in skin atrophy and thinning of the protective skin barrier.

Viniferamine® skincare products include ingredients that strengthen skin and improve the skin barrier. Quantitating transepidermal water loss (TEWL) is a way to assess the quality of the skin barrier and how well it functions.  Oleuropein has been shown to reduce TEWL indicating its ability to increase skin barrier function.  Evidence also demonstrates that melatonin has a stimulatory role in building and maintaining the epidermal barrier.

Besides implementing optimal skin care provided by Viniferamine® skin and wound care products, there are other steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of pressure ulcers.  It’s important to reposition patients that are immobilized.  Pressure redistribution support surfaces are also useful.  Patients that cannot move need to be advised to report pain to someone who can help them reposition.  It’s important to be aware of the fact that a source of pain in another location may distract an individual from the pain associated with pressure, reducing the likelihood that the individual will respond to the pain trigger.

It’s good to know that Viniferamine® skincare products include ingredients to decrease inflammation, nourish and strengthen skin, and protect and hydrate skin.  SkinMineralZ helps protect macerated skin to decrease the risk of pressure ulcers and Renewal Moisturizer helps eliminate dry skin, which also decreases the risk of pressure ulcers.

1. Dermatol Nurs 2007; 19: 343-349.
2. Am J Critic Care 2008; 17: 328-337.
3. Nursing Times 2002; 98: 41.
4. JAMA 2006: 296: 974-984.
5. Int J Nursing Studies 2015; 52: 1655-1658.
6. Nursing Times 2012: 108: 16-20.
7. Int J Cosmet Sci 2008; 30: 113-120.
8. FASEB J 2013; 27: 2742-2755.

Disclaimer: These statements have not been reviewed by the FDA. The decision to use these products should be discussed with a trusted healthcare provider. The authors and the publisher of this work have made every effort to use sources believed to be reliable to provide information that is accurate and compatible with the standards generally accepted at the time of publication. The authors and the publisher shall not be liable for any special, consequential, or exemplary damages resulting, in whole or in part, from the readers’ use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this article. The publisher has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third party Internet websites referred to in this publication and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.

About the author: Nancy Ray, PhD is the Science Officer at McCord Research. Dr. Ray received her PhD in Biochemistry and Biophysics and was a postdoctoral fellow at NIH, Harvard University and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and the University of Iowa. She also earned bachelor of science degrees in Chemistry and Microbiology.

Copyright 2015 McCord Holdings – All Rights Reserved.

Helping Prevent Fragile Skin Bruising

Fragile skin bruising arm image

As the number of individuals living longer rises, the prevalence of certain skin issues experienced by older individuals, such as fragile skin bruising, is increasing.

Fragile skin bruising or senile purpura (sometimes called solar purpura) is a common skin disorder that occurs with at least 10% of individuals over the age of 50, and 29% of elderly individuals.

Although the bruising is typically not painful it can be fairly irritating. Moreover, fragile skin bruising is highly visible and is likely to have a significant psychological impact. Fragile skin bruising appears as red or purple spots or patches in the skin that fade to brown. It is characterized by hemorrhages in the skin due to vascular fragility, trauma, or deficient coagulation. The bruises are commonly associated with skin tears and can result from very minor trauma including bumping into fairly soft objects.

Continue reading

Reducing Moisture-Associated Skin Damage

Intertrigo-400x300 Moisture-associated skin damage (MASD) involves skin inflammation, irritation and erosion that results from prolonged exposure to moisture from various sources including urine, stool, wound exudate, perspiration, mucus or saliva.

The four main types of MASD are:

  1. Incontinence-associated dermatitis (IAD)
  2. Intertrigo (in skin folds)
  3. Periwound (around a wound) MASD
  4. Peristomal (around a stoma) MASD

Continue reading

Protecting Peristomal Skin

Ostomy+ body illustrationMore than 1 million Americans have a stoma, and it has been estimated by the United Ostomy Association of America that 130,000 ostomy surgeries are performed every year in the United States.  Unfortunately, up to 80% of people with a stoma experience peristomal skin problems. Prevention, early identification and proper care for peristomal skin complications are critical for individuals with a stoma.

Stomas can be either temporary or permanent.  A stoma is formed during a surgical procedure (ostomy) to divert the flow of urine or feces outside the body for collection in a stoma appliance or ostomy pouch system that consists of a baseplate, washer with flanges and a pouch for collecting effluent.  There are 3 main types of stoma: the colostomy, the ileostomy and the urostomy.  The reasons for ostomies include cancer involving the colon rectum or bladder, inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease, congenital malformations and diverticular disease.

Several studies suggest that stoma complications within the first 2 to 3 weeks following surgery are common.  85% of individuals with a stoma experience stoma leakage.  A pouch system that fits well immediately following surgery may not fit well several weeks later.  Selection of ostomy equipment that is appropriate for the type of stoma, volume and consistency of the effluent as well as self-care skill level of the individual with a stoma is critical.  Proper use of the stoma appliance including proper pouch application, timely emptying and pouch changing all contribute to helping prevent skin problems. Continue reading