Our complexions have an extraordinary effect on how we feel about ourselves – with many of us fretting over concerns such as acne, scarring, pigmentation or early signs of ageing. Thankfully, there are solutions that can help restore our skin – but also our self-esteem.
For the most effective results, consultant dermatologist, Dr Anjali Mahto, advises taking a multi-faceted approach: for example, adopting a simple skincare routine, in tandem with hi-tech treatments and the requisite lifestyle adjustments.
Of course, skincare alone will not always fix things – however, it is an adjunctive treatment to address dermatological conditions, explains Anjali, who advocates: ‘Treating our skin with the same respect as other areas of our body’ – as well as seeking medical intervention when a condition requires more serious care.
If you are considering in-clinic treatments, Anjali recommends light and laser devices to address conditions such as acne scarring and rosacea (these often carry the added bonus of boosting collagen and rejuvenating the skin – an added aesthetic perk).
Though for those seeking a more immediate solution to problematic skin, don’t dismiss the simple power of makeup. ‘The data is clear’, says Anjali: ‘Make-up can enhance self-confidence – particularly if someone is on a treatment plan and their skin is improving’. Using a tinted SPF can reduce redness whilst also evening out the skin tone (we recommend Epionce Daily Shield SPF50). Otherwise consider colour correctors (such as green-tinted primers for reducing redness, or peach-toned colour correctors to soften the appearance of pigmentation) to achieve a “make-up free” look, without overloading the dermis.
For emergency breakouts, a targeted spot treatment (over the counter solutions include Salicylic Acid or Benzoyl Peroxide) can work wonders, while “spot stickers” (tiny, invisible plasters, packed with anti-inflammatory ingredients to promote healing), can conceal blemishes – and prevent further picking. Finally, if a spot threatens to disrupt an important event, in-clinic steroid injections work to provide immediate relief: effectively zapping the unwanted zit while preventing unnecessary pigmentation or scarring.
Though let’s not overlook the role of aesthetic treatments to optimise skin health and get the glow! According to aesthetic doctor, Dr Ifeoma Ejikeme: “In-clinic treatments such as ‘skin-boosters’ can improve texture, hydration and luminosity, thanks to rejuvenating ingredients such as Hyaluronic Acid (HA) – a product naturally formed within our body to encourage healing and increase moisture”. Popular skin boosters include Profhilo, which is renowned for delivering serious radiance; Restalyne Skinboosters, which works to reduce the appearance of acne scarring; and Belotero Revive, which has even been shown to reduce redness.
However, just as important as optimising the complexion is addressing the mind. In fact, both Anjali and Ifeoma acknowledge the power of the “skin-brain connection”, while advocating complementary therapies to enhance skin health (as well as to address feelings of anxiety that may arise as a result of dermatological concerns). “I recommend psychological intervention to all of my clients”, says Anjali. “Everyone benefits from positive mental health – and everyone deserves to look in the mirror and feel good about themselves”. Ifeoma agrees: “Body dysmorphia is at an all-time high – so we screen every patient that comes into our clinic. Our results are proof of this, with 20-30% of patients screening positive”.
Mindfulness aside, addressing one’s nutritional intake can also help to bring the skin back into balance. Nutritional therapist, Olga Hamilton, who sees a steady stream of patients seeking solutions to a disrupted dermis, explains: ‘A pro-inflammatory diet can affect our health in multiple ways, not least our skin – so we should aim to reduce inflammatory ingredients in our diet’. Olga, who favours a bespoke approach to nutrition, advises testing for intolerances and deficiencies before adding or subtracting certain food types. “After all, there is not one perfect diet that works for everyone – it’s about finding the perfect diet for you – and your skin”.
That being said, it is not enough to simply analyse the foods we consume – it is all about the ecology of the gut. “For example, common skin concerns such as rosacea and acne can be caused by bacteria within the gut”, explains Olga – “Therefore it is often necessary to reduce the growth of “bad” bacteria and substitute it with a “better” species”. Don’t forget the external factors that can also impact our gut microbiome, she advises – such as stress, toxins and environmental factors. “Working to reduce stress, optimise our detoxification systems and support the health of our gut with prebiotics can be a great place to start”.
If you’re seeking further tips on how to manage both skin and self-esteem, consider watching our conversation, The Psychology Of Skin, where Anjali, Ifeoma and Olga explore other ways to navigate breakouts, beautification and improve overall wellness. We hope it helps.