From beauty sleep and supplements, to high science acids, face masks and the 10-step Korean skincare routine everyone's raving about right now, there's so much skincare wisdom out there that our quest for clear skin can often leave us feeling completely disillusioned.
That's why we caught up with Debbie Thomas, celebrity facialist, skincare expert and founder of the D.Thomas Clinic, to get some clarity on the golden rules for a glowing complexion.
A leading name in the skincare world with a special interest in technological advancements, Debbie is a go-to skin saviour for a roster of A-list celebrities including Dua Lipa, Jourdan Dunn and Poppy Delevingne, combining traditional beauty skills and hi-tech laser treatments to create breakthrough holistic therapies.
Here, Debbie shares her no-nonsense skincare secrets that will help you achieve long-term radiance.
Book a skin consultation
If you are serious about skincare but confused over the new high science actives like acids, peptides and growth factors, consider having a skin consultation at a skin-focused clinic even if you're not considering treatment right now. At the D.Thomas clinic, we do a 45-minute skin consultation for £50-100 (depends on the level of a therapist); rather than an expense this is an investment so that you don’t waste money or worse irritate your skin with the wrong products. I would say do this every year or two to keep up-to-date.
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Get to know your skincare ingredients
Understand your main skin concerns, work out which ingredients are going to help you, then buy the best products containing that ingredient that fits your budget. The most expensive brands are rarely worth the extra pennies but there is some truth in getting what you pay for so don’t go super cheap either. I work mainly with brands that the professionals call ‘cosmeceuticals’ - these contain high science ingredients which are often some of the highest percentages possible before they become a prescription medication. Vitamin C serums range from £5-£150, but my gut instinct is always to go for the product in the £40-£100 range. That way, you will be getting good science backed up with lots of research and a high percentage of active ingredients so you are more likely to get the best results.
Stick to a routine
More is not more when it comes to layering or chopping and changing. Your skin can only absorb so much before you are simply putting a product on top of the product rather than it getting into the skin. Also, the skin needs consistency to be able to process what is being asked of it, it can take weeks or even months of regularly using a product before you get the full results so changing it up all the time won't get you anywhere. So what should you do? Choose the right products not lots of products and stick to a regular routine so that your skin gets 'trained' to work better. With more emphasis on the ingredients than the products, I recommend a vitamin C in the morning, SPF for the day and retinol in the evening as the foundations to a good basic skincare routine.
Consider hyaluronic acid
Excessive use of oil-rich moisturisers can leave the top layer of our skin overhydrated and sticky (causing congestion dullness) and can cause our deeper living layers to become dehydrated and unhealthy (causing sensitivity). Hyaluronic acid is a great way to hydrate our skin without slathering on clogging products, HAs can carry a thousand times its weight in water so rather than directly hydrating your skin it actually holds water in the skin more effectively (so drink plenty of water to help the process).
Even using an HA product won't always work if the very top layer of your skin is not healthy. This layer is called the barrier and we often talk about the barrier function being compromised if it doesn't have enough essential fatty acids or lipids to maintain the seal like qualities that we want. So locking in your HAs with a moisturiser containing barrier repairing ceramides is a great way to keep in the goodness and get your skin on the right track.
Freeze your way to fresh skin
I love to rub an ice cube over my skin and under my eyes for a couple of minutes to give my skin an instant boost when I’m down for time, it will look fresh and less puffy straight away. It doesn’t replace good skincare and beauty sleep but it will get you through extra hectic days or busy weekends.
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Nourish your body
You really are what you eat, providing your body with superfoods packed with nutrients and vitamins can give you the glow from within and make all the difference. I follow an organic plant-based diet to keep my mind, body and skin in tip-top shape but even if you’re not up for fully plant-based try a few days a week off dairy and animal protein free to help boost your skin.