| Interview by Hélène Guild | Septembre 2020 |
Your book, The Tweakments Guide is about non-surgical aesthetic cosmetic procedures such botox and fillers. Is it a slippery slope?
Yes, tweakments can be a slippery slope. You need to keep your sense of perspective, and have at least one good friend who will tell you if you go too far! I’m well aware that tweakments are not something that many people would choose, but for those who want to know about them, I have written my book and launched my website to help educate people around all these treatments, what they do and how they work. What age to start tweakments? When you feel there is something happening to your face that bothers you enough to want to change it.
If you want to have a fresher-looking face, I would always say: start with skincare. Looking after the skin improves its health as well as the way it looks, and it is something that all of us can do on a daily basis. To keep the skin clear and fresh, it helps to establish a regular routine.
Cleansing is vital, particularly at the end of the day, to remove all the grime, oil, sweat and bacteria that have accumulated on the skin during the course of the day. Pollution is terrible for the skin as it accelerates many of the ageing processes within the skin. Choose any cleanser that you like using; an oil, cream, gel or lotion that can massaged into the skin, then rinsed off or removed with a face cloth that has been squeezed out in hot water.
Exfoliation – removing the dead skin cells that clutter up the surface of the skin – helps to keep the skin looking smoother and brighter, and also helps any products that you put on the skin be absorbed more effectively and more evenly. Using a face flannel every day will give the skin a light exfoliation. I’m not keen on ‘scrub’ products that contain rough particles, because most people think they need to really scrub their faces with them, which scratches and stresses the skin and upsets its protective barrier. You need to think of exfoliating as polishing the skin, rather than scrubbing. I prefer using the type of product known as ‘acid toners which use ingredients such as glycolic acid to give the skin a light exfoliation – but I don’t use them every day.
Next, you could use a treatment product such as a vitamin C serum which contains antioxidants to help defend the skin against the environment, and boost collagen production, then a hydrating serum which contains hyaluronic acid, to pack more moisture into the top layers of the skin. Why? Because well-hydrated skin wrinkles more slowly than dry skin. Could you just use a moisturiser? Of course, but a moisturiser is a cream that simply sits on the surface of the skin and stops moisture from the skin beneath escaping into the air. Putting a hydrating serum beneath your moisturiser is a good way to keep skin feeling more comfortable and functioning better.
During the daytime, sunscreen is essential to help protect the skin from the damaging effects of ultraviolet light. Unless you are out in strong sunshine, these effects might seem minimal but they build up over time resulting in more wrinkled skin and age spots – and wearing sunscreen is an easy thing to do to help minimise this.
At night, after cleansing, the most effective ingredient for rejuvenating the skin is retinol (or a prescription-product containing retinoic acid, which is much stronger). Most skin types can tolerate retinol – as long as you start cautiously with it, using it once a week at first, then twice a week, while your skin adjusts to it. Why the caution? Because retinol can make the skin feel dry and irritable. Many over-the-counter products containing retinol have studies behind them to show that yes, they can be genuinely effective at making the skin look fresher, reducing pigmentation and softening fine lines.
What happens to our face as it ages?
We lose bone mass from the three main bony arches of the face – across the brow, across the cheeks and around the jaw and chin as bone is gradually resorbed with age. Add to this the way the fat pads in the face, which give younger faces so much volume, shrivel with age, and you can see why the skin starts to sag – it is hanging over a shrinking frame. The skin gradually loses the ability to repair itself with age, and produces less collagen and elastin – the proteins that keep the skin strong and springy, so it begins to collapse into wrinkles and folds. Then there is the way that age spots – clusters of pigmentation, the result of exposure to ultraviolet light (not just sunlight, but boring grey daylight as well) – build up on the skin… It’s not a pretty picture.
How do genes come into it?
How you will look as you age is partly genetic, but the far greater part of how your face will look as you get older is decided by your lifestyle. We used to think that genes had the upper hand in determining how our skin looks as we age, but research (conducted on a large scale for Olay in 2017) has shown that what really makes a difference is not genes but our lifestyle. If you can eat healthy goods, getting enough sleep, take some exercise, reduce the amount of sugar and alcohol that you consume and, crucially, using decent skincare and make sure that you use sunscreen daily, it will have a far bigger impact on your face in the long-term than your genes.
Does the care vary according to the type of skin and the age and the ethnic origin?
Yes – you need to choose products that are appropriate for your skin type. If your skin is sensitive, or ‘reactive’, this is probably because the skin’s natural barrier isn’t working well. The skin is a barrier that defends our insides from the outside world – it is waterproof and should be able to hold moisture within it, but it can become disrupted by being washed too much, or by cold windy weather, or central heating, or air conditioning… Using a gentle moisturiser that contains ceramides and cholesterol, which are naturally occurring ingredients that form part of the skin, can help improve the skin barrier. And anyone with sensitive skin should avoid fragranced products – fragrance is often simply listed as ‘parfum’ on the ingredients list – as it is generally irritating to the skin, as are plant-based essential oils.
Why is sleep so important to look rested?
Sleep is when the body goes into rest-and-repair mode, and the same is true for the skin. The concept of ‘beauty sleep’ is not a myth, it’s something that we all need. There are plenty of scientific studies to show that losing sleep makes the skin age faster by reducing its ability to hold onto water, or recover after sun exposure. Where’s the danger point? Anything less than five hours sleep, and your skin will be in trouble.
Never forget the sunscreen! Why is it important even in the winter and what type of cream?
You need to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen all year round to protect your skin from the damage that ultraviolet rays will do to it. Which type of sunscreen — physical, chemical, natural-and-organic and whether you apply it straight to clean skin in the morning or on top of your other products is entirely up to you. But just do yourself a favour and wear it. If you’re going in the sea, choose a sunscreen that doesn’t contain harmful ingredients for the environment or protect your skin with long-sleeved, ankle-length rash vests and leggings.
Interview by Hélène Guild