What are the main skin problems you are seeing post lockdown, and what are their causes?
There is a recurrence in acne for many people and, across the board, there is a general decline in skin quality. Skin quality reduction is due to two main causes. A lack of exfoliation and using unnecessary moisturisers. Exfoliation is of critical importance and seems to be being skipped in many at home regimes. It removes dead skin cells which can clog the skin and allows fresh cells to come to the surface. Doing so will mean skin appears brighter and will allow the right active ingredients to penetrate the skin.
It may seem counterintuitive not to use moisturisers, but you have to be very selective as to the moisturisers you choose. The wrong one’s block oxygenation of the skin and stop the flaking off of old, dead cells.
Acne has flared up due to the stress of the situation. Stress causes an imbalance in male/ female hormones which then leads to the over production of sebum which blocks ducts and causes bacteria to grow. Mask-wearing has also exacerbated this, thanks to creating an environment in front of the skin which is moist, and which doesn’t allow for normal evaporation.
Any other issues you are seeing?
We are seeing quite a bit of photo ageing in the skin due to prolonged exposure to the sun and not using effective sunblock. This may be the result of the good weather we had during the height of lockdown and the fact that people were spending more time in their gardens. We are seeing this especially on the forehead, bridge of the nose and on the décolletage. A broad-spectrum sunblock covering both UVA and UVB is needed.
What treatments are women coming to you for now?
Most of our clients are coming to us for rejuvenating and repairing prescription facials to try and get their skin sorted. Facials are very much tailored to the individual client, but most will include the application of vitamin A and an antioxidant to the skin. Hair removal treatments are also in demand.
What should women do to improve their at-home beauty routines?
There are a few main things to consider.
Cosmetic skin care products won’t cut it when it comes to making the most impact in terms of skin quality or in terms of preventing ageing. Invest in good quality cosmeceuticals which contain bioactive ingredients for daily use. Look for products which include antioxidants to combat oxidative damage and protect skin from premature ageing. If you add just one thing to your daily skin care régime, add an effective serum. Vitamin C is a key anti-ageing ingredient to look for, helping to protect the skin from free radical damage which can cause the breakdown of collagen.
Use the best sunscreen you can find
A good sunscreen is more important than an expensive moisturiser. Choose one that has a high-level broad-spectrum protection which shields your skin from UVA, UVB, visible light and infrared‑A. For daily wear, even in winter, you should be using at least a factor 30 – like Heliocare 360
Gentle exfoliation in the shower in the morning is good practice.
Now lockdown is over, book a programme of aesthetic skin treatments
Invest in aesthetic, rejuvenating facial skin treatments at least four times a year. Treatments like facial peels to dramatically improve the quality and health of your skin. Go to a Medi-Spa, get your skin assessed properly and ask an expert practitioner for advice as to what treatments you could benefit from.
“I tend to see two types of women at our MediSpa,” says David Gateley. “Those who invest regularly in their skin care régime and the occasional patient. It is the woman who use the right products for a proven daily skin care routine, and for around four skin rejuvenating treatments a year, that looks the healthiest and most appropriate for their age.”
David Gateley is a Consultant Plastic Surgeon at DRG Plastic Surgery in Harley Street and at NakedHealth MEDISPA in Wimbledon. He has worked for 32 years in Plastic Surgery including for the NHS at St George’s Hospital, London.