We’re told as teens that we’ll ‘grow out’ of having spots or suffering from eczema, but in truth, thousands of women suffer from these conditions (and various others) well into their 20s, 30s and beyond.
If you’re dealing with skin issues yourself, take notes from Jenny Harding, the inimitable facialist (Kylie and numerous other celebrites are loyal clients) who set up her clinic after countless futile attempts to find someone (or something) to tackle her own acne.
Jenny has since gone on to become an expert in eczema and anti-ageing, as SL’s own editor Georgie (who suffers from eczema) will attest, having been won over by Jenny's results-driven herself.
Read on for invaluable top tips from Jenny and Dr. Eli Joffe – a Botox and fillers expert (if that’s for you) that Jenny works closely with – on tackling troublesome skin, the perfect cleansing routine and how to age-proof your complexion.
You specialise in treating acne and eczema. What is the number one thing we can do at home to treat these conditions?
For both conditions you must be gentle. Eczema is an allergy-prone, dry and itchy condition, so ensure you use natural products like an emollient cleanser and visit your doctor for regular check-ups. When it comes to acne, it’s best to use a cleanser that removes dirt without stripping the skin. Always wash and rinse twice using a face cloth – and the most important advice: don’t pick!
Aside from various lotions and potions that promise younger skin, what is your advice to keep skin looking young?
To stay out of the sun – wear a trans-dermal sun block if possible. Try and avoid alcohol and ensure you get enough sleep.
Hyaluronic acid and retinol are buzzwords we often hear when it comes to anti-ageing. Is it advisable to buy products that contain them?
Within reason. Hyaluronic acid is responsible for holding water in your skin cells and for feeding collagen. It’s also made naturally in the skin but we produce less of it as we age, so, yes, it pays to use products that contain it. Retinol is a vitamin A cream that promotes cell renewal but it can be quite potent, so it is best for non-sensitive skins, and definitely not for pregnant women.
What daily routine should we be adopting for clearer skin?
Always wash and rinse twice in the morning and twice at night, using your hands to wash, and a clean flannel to rinse. Because no two skins are the same, always seek out a professional to help determine which products to use, but generally speaking, a non-stripping cleanser is good for oily or combination skin and an emollient cleanser is good for dry skin. A gentle exfoliation and a face mask once a week will help to de-clog pores and get rid of under-the-skin bumps.
Do we really need different day and night creams?
In a word: yes. Day cream is used simply to protect skin from the sun and to keep it soft. At night, our skin does its most important repair work, and renews its cells, so you need a harder working moisturiser, designed to nourish it and encourage the process.
And what about eye cream? Is it essential and is there a way to apply it?
The skin around the eyes is pretty fragile and can be damaged easily, so it needs extra special care and attention. The best way to apply it is with a soft lip brush to dab it on. Also, try to keep the cream roughly half-an-inch from the lashes, because the heat from your skin with make the cream travel around the eye area.
Rosacea is a skin issue that can be tough to live with and often makes sufferers really self-conscious. What would you recommend?
Avoiding spicy food, alcohol, and the heat will all make a huge difference, but if the problem is really serious, you may need antibiotics, so it’s best to see your doctor, first.
Face aside, what other skin areas should we take special care of?
Your neck and décolleté should be looked after in much the same ways as your face. The skin on those areas is pretty thin, so you should treat it in much the same way as the skin under your eyes – keep it moisturised and out of the sun.
If there was only one thing we should start doing to get better skin, what would it be?
It sounds simple, but treat your skin with respect. It’s the biggest organ that we have and it carries out so many tasks for our bodies, yet we so often take it for granted. Don't pick it or scratch it, ensure you remove your makeup properly every night and keep it really well hydrated.
Dr Joffe, what would you say to someone who wasn’t up for going under the knife, but was considering Botox?
Firstly, always discuss with the clinician what type of results you want to achieve. Some people want a very subtle look, whereas others prefer a more ‘done’ look. It’s also so important to feel comfortable with the clinician and discuss your post-treatment plan in detail.
And finally, when, if ever, should someone consider fillers?
Anyone who struggles with deep lines. As you age, the fat in the face drops which is a huge contributor to ageing. Most fillers replace the lost collagen, so are worth considering if you want to plump out wrinkles or plump up your lips.