The Lymphatic System: Part 1
There’s a lot of buzz about ‘lymphatic drainage’ at the moment, but does everyone know what it means? A lot of people will mumble something about ‘puffiness’ and ‘toxins’ but most of us don’t really have an understanding of the specific workings of this fascinating body system.
We all learnt about the circulatory and respiratory systems in biology but for some reason, the wonderful world of lymphatic drainage is largely skipped. So we wanted to remedy this and give you a general outline on the topic. Then, in Part 2, we’ll describe how we integrate this knowledge into our treatments at Skin Philosophy.
Notepad and Pens at the Ready? Let’s Go…
The heart pumps blood quickly and powerfully through our arteries down the left side of the body (anyone else’s left boob bigger than their right?!). When it reaches the capillaries, which link up to the veins on the right side of the body, it is forced to slow down. Capillaries only allow the red blood cells through, as that’s all their tiny size will allow…So what happens to the rest of the liquid?
Lots of this liquid gets squashed out (not the most scientific of language, but you get the picture) and immediately soaked right back up by our veins and back to the heart, but some of this fluid is left over (still with us?). This is picked up by lymph glands, thus becoming lymph, and travels through our lymph nodes, which are dotted around our body…And this is where it gets super interesting…
Imagine lymph nodes as a sort of ‘airport security’ for our bodies. They perform a sort of ‘spot check’ on the lymph, detecting antigens, bacteria and so on. If they do find anything that is not to their liking, they have various courses of action.
There are lymphocytes, which attack unwanted microorganisms. Imagine this as very immediate: unwanted microorganism that could cause infection or illness floats on through, and the lymphocyte gobbles it up.
The other option is to activate your immune system. You will often know when this is happening because the areas that house these nodes can feel sore. You know when you’re run down, or just know that you’re coming down with something, and the areas around your armpit or jaw feel swollen and sore? That’s your overwhelmed lymph nodes swelling up.
The lymphatic system also plays a key part in filtering and removing toxins and other impurities from the body, so the more we consider it, the better it is for our overall health – and our skin.
Is my Lymphatic System Sluggish?
Lifestyle, age and diet factors can play a part in sluggish lymphatic system. You’ll know you have it if you’re prone to puffiness (face, ankles) around your period or when you fly. It’s important to support the lymphatic system wherever we can, because the more smoothly it’s running, the more it is carrying toxins away
and maintaining a balanced and healthy body (with streamlined ankles and bag-less eyes).
How to Encourage a Healthy Lymphatic System
Drink lots of water
This supports our body’s waste disposal systems, and the more hydrated we are, the more of a ‘well-oiled machine’ we can be.
The circulatory and lymphatic systems are intertwined, and both benefit from a healthier heart and blood vessels.
There are yoga classes out there specifically aimed at supporting the lymphatic system. We particularly love this class from the Youtube channel Yoga With Kassandra: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gOnXwp41NA
A healthy, balanced diet
A diet rich in vitamins and minerals will help support our immune system
More on this tomorrow, of course, but massage helps stimulate the blood and lymph vessels, moving the liquid along. We see dramatic differences in our clients from facial massage alone: grey skin gets a glow, eyes suddenly pop and jawlines appear tighter.
But of course, we always seek to offer the most and the best, which is why we offer plenty of treatments, supported by the best technology out there, that are specifically aimed at helping your lymphatic system along. A healthy lymphatic system will always enhance the treatments we give, carrying away toxins and helping deliver nutrients to the skin, meaning that we get to see you, our client, skip out of our door lighter and brighter!
The Lympatic System Pt 2
In Part 1, we outlined the lymphatic system: what it is, why it is and how we can make it work for us.
So many beauty treatments are aimed at activating the lymphatic system so that toxins can drain away, helping clear the complexion, give a glow and reduce puffiness. At Skin Philosophy, it’s one of our main focus points because the better the lymphatic system is working, the better our treatments will deliver. Here’s what we can do for you…
So-called ‘fluffy facials’ are standard facials that include a double cleanse, exfoliation, stem and extraction, masque, massage and topped off with some moisturiser. They have earned this term because they don’t do very much beyond a bit of a treat/relaxation, but we don’t offer your standard ‘spa voucher package’ in comparison to skin needling, peels and laser.
Firstly, we only use products by ZO, Alumier, Dermaquest and Skin Philosophy, which we have selected because they help change the structure of the skin.
One of our juniors, Rebecca, has trained with facialists such as Charlotte Conoley, and we’ve seen many a client walk out glowing, with lifted and sculpted features. She’s passionate about incorporating lymphatic drainage into her treatment and will spend a long time around the neck and shoulders, massaging quite firmly, to help activate the lymph nodes and drain away toxins. We’ve had one and while there are certain moments where the pressure can feel firm, our headaches have lifted and so have our jawlines & cheekbones!
The Lymphatic Drainage Suit
We love adding this to any facial treatment as an add-on, and we really recommend it.
It looks space age and feels incredibly relaxing. We strap pieces, around your upper arms, stomach and thighs, that are a little like an arm pressure sleeve. But whereas having your blood pressure taken at the doctors can be a little intense and restrictive, this is far more relaxing and gentle. Each part inflates and deflates at different times, and gently warms the body. We liken it to floating in the ocean!
This really helps boost circulation and the lymphatic system, and the proof is in the pudding. Annalouise, the owner of Skin Philosophy, often bloats when she flies (a key indicator of a sluggish lymphatic system). She did this before her holiday over Christmas and had ankles as slender as a gazelle’s! Just make sure you keep drinking plenty of water and herbal tea throughout the day afterwards…And never stray too far from the bathroom, as this will make you pee!
This is exactly what it says on the tin! We slide a small ventouse (suction cup) over your skin, from the centre of your face, outwards towards the lymph nodes. We tend to add it after a cleanse, and it’s not painful at all.
This helps aid desquamation (removing dead skin cells), it stimulates glandular activity in dry skin, helps remove blockages (so it’s great for anyone with congestion) and increases blood circulation. Whenever we’re increasing blood circulation it’s great because we’re bringing oxygen and nutrients to the skin, and helping carry toxins away with…you guessed it…that boosted lymphatic system!
Wow. This is simply one of our favourite treatments to give, and you can find it in most of our Prescriptive facials. We could get mega-scientific here, but if we had to break it down simply we’d say…Electromagnetic currents deliver heat to the body via a handheld device. This heat causes an immediate contraction of collagen fibres, so skin is immediately plumped. This thermal trauma also stimulates the fibroblast cells, which means that more collagen cells are made. When used on the face, we see plumper skin and an improvement in skin laxity. On the body we witness improved tone, lift and a reduction in the appearance of cellulite. If you want to book in with our Junior, Sophie, she is known at the clinic as Sophie ‘The Sculpt’ Orgen!
In terms of lymphatic drainage, we are increasing circulation, kickstarting lymphatic drainage and also using the handheld devices in the direction of the circulatory system, and towards the lymph nodes.
There’s a point during the treatment where things can get a little ‘heated’, but of course everyone’s tolerance varies. Overall it’s known as a warming, relaxing wonder treatment and beloved by our clients!
DMK has a cult following, and there are incredible case studies charting vast improvements among patients with acne, pigmentation, ageing and rosacea.
This is not about giving a one-off treatment but a course (generally of 7) where tolerance to the various ingredients is built up. The level of research that has gone into these products and protocols is incredible, and we’re so excited to start giving these facials to clients once we are able to get back to the clinic!
The facials include occlusion, whereby certain products, then clingfilm (yes) and then warm towels are applied to the skin to introduce warmth. Already we’re stimulating the circulation, and skin grows visibly redder.
The main part of the treatment, however, and what you will see if you find their Instagram, is the ‘plasmatic effect’ of their facemask. This is a mask made with enzymes that hardens on the skin – and we say ‘hardens’, we mean hardens! It doe feel a bit like we’re papier maché-ing your face and it’s left on for 45 minutes, but it’s worth it for the visible improvements this treatment gives. The compression of the skin, combined with the enzymes in the ask that help the skin improve itself on a cellular level, are what cause this ‘plasmatic effect’: blood vessels are momentarily raised to the skin, showing how much work the mask has been doing to the circulatory and lymphatic systems!
Immediately after the treatment the skin glows brighter, tighter and healthier, but all that compression and enzymatic action means that the function of the skin has been improved. Over a course of treatments, this leads to skin is working better, and harder, to restore, renew and maintain itself.