I am most certainly not a dermatologist…but you may have realised I am obsessed with skin and skin care, and have been lucky enough attend postgraduate training run by some excellent derma, with decades of experience (and never require caffeine of any nature to stay wide awake and attentive for the entire course – dentistry would have been a hell of a lot easier if I’d had the same passion in university!).
I recently had some training in Obagi Medical skincare, and having started using the products myself, it’s safe to say I am obsessed. If you haven’t heard of it, Obagi Medical is a line of medical grade skincare (prescription only) created by world renowned dermatologist, Zein Obagi. So along with the skincare line itself, I learnt many other pearls of wisdom form trainers and fellow trainees alike. Below I’ve outlined the basics that seem to permeate every course or lecture I’ve attended on skin health:
5 big no-nos for healthy skin
1.Washing your face with hot water – tepid or lukewarm only please. Hot water can break down your skin’s pH barrier, which not only leaves your skin more prone to infection, breakouts, dry patches etc , but also can interfere with the absorption of active ingredients – so that super expensive serum you bought may not even penetrate your skin to let you reap its benefits.
2. Over exfoliating – this also breaks down your skin’s natural protective barrier, leading to overly sensitive, reactive skin, that like the in above point is far more prone to all the horrible skin problems that I see on a daily basis. Before complaints like pigmentation and uneven skin tone can be treated with active ingredients (prescription products), over exfoliated skin always needs to be brought back into balance, and the skin’s barrier repaired – which can be frustrating for clients with confidence-knocking concerns like melasma and pigmentation as it delays treatment.
3. Going without SPF – I’m aware I don’t shut up about sunscreen, but did you know even the light from your phone and laptop can damage your skin and contribute to premature ageing? Yep, so even if you work in a windowless dungeon (and very sorry if you do), SPF is still a good idea – but only some of the newer ones will provide IR (infrared) protection. The newest TINT Sunshield from Obagi is one I’m aware of, but I’m on the lookout for more. Also something to note, when flying, the atmosphere is much thinner, and the UV radiation consequently much stronger – so eye and skin damage can happen more easily (this one really was news to me – it was actually an eye surgeon that told me he wears sunglasses when flying for that specific reason, so here goes trying to make looking like Bono cool).
4. DIY blackhead removal – this is possibly one of the worst things you can do. Picking and squeezing spots and blocked pores can result in scarring, pushing bacteria deep into the skin with consequent breakouts, and larger pores – which means more blocked pores, blackheads and pimples (is it just me, or is the word pimple way more shudder-inducing that spot?). Salicylic acid based washes and toners can be useful, but get yourself to a decent facialist if you absolutely cannot resist the urge to squeeze.
5. Loading up on sugar – I’ve mentioned before that Beyoncé’s dermatologist , Dr Lancer, considers an apple a treat, due to the sugar content of it (yes, you read that correctly, and it’s a bit of a hardcore stance, even for me) but the message it sends is pretty clear…cut back on the white stuff. Fructose and glucose link with amino acids in the collagen in your skin, forming appropriately named AGEs (advanced glycation end products), which UV light also contributes to. These AGEs impact your skin negatively (just like UV light), and basically mean skin ageing due to sugar consumption. So life is short, and I won’t be quitting sugar completely anytime soon – but cutting back on the sugar you don’t need (like cereal bars) and reserving it for the stuff you really want (like burgers and brownies!) is a good idea if you don’t want to end up with leathery skin – despite wearing sunscreen!
Have you anything to add to the above? I’ve learned so much about skin health from the most random of sources, eye surgeons not withstanding, and I’d love to hear any tips you have to share.