Dr Sophie shares her thoughts on her favourite home skincare treatments, tips for mature skin and talks all things exfoliation.
Tell us a little bit about your role Dr Sophie.
I’m a full-time Aesthetic Doctor. I founded Illuminate Skin Clinic in Kent in 2014, and also work in London at The Cosmetic Skin Clinic. My focus is on delivering beautiful, natural injectables combined with glowing, radiant skin.
Over the past ten years, how have the beauty treatments customers are asking for changed?
Attitudes to aesthetics have changed a lot over the last decade. Patients are realising that we can achieve very natural results using Botox and filler, and the demand for these treatments are only increasing. But maybe what’s changed the most has been to do with people’s desire for glowing skin – whether that’s to do with social media, or just because we have more options to help people achieve it, I’m not sure. But I see a lot of requests from patients who just want clear, even and radiant skin.
We hear lots about our skin's barrier and microbiome, how frequently should we exfoliate and can we overdo it?
We can absolutely overdo it, and this is why there are certain products which should only be available through skincare professionals in my opinion. Too many Hydroxy Acids on the skin can alter the skin’s microbiome, as can antibiotics for conditions like acne and rosacea. And Too much exfoliation – chemical or physical – can weaken the skin’s barrier. There is no golden rule on how often to exfoliate, as it depends a little on the skin type. A thin, dry delicate skin may only be able to tolerate exfoliation once per week. An oily, thicker skin type may benefit from AHAs or BHAs every day. This is where expert guidance is so important in my opinion. But as a rough guideline, your average skin type should look at exfoliating 2-3 times per week. If you feel sore, irritated or flaky then see that as an indication to cut back a little and build your skin’s tolerance slowly.
What are your top 5 tips for caring for mature skin?
Mature skin needs treating a little differently to young skin due to the effects of decreasing hormone levels. My top 5 tips would be:
- Use a richer moisturiser – peri and post menopausal skin is dryer and needs more nourishment. This may need to be lipid based rather than just humectant based – ceramides, glycerin and hyaluronic acid are great ingredients to look out for.
- Keep your collagen stimulated – retinols are a great ingredient, but you may need to up the ante a little bit. There are excellent non-prescription products available as well as more potent prescription products. I would always recommend having an expert skincare consultation to understand what is best for you.
- Activate your hormone receptors – there are now some skincare products available which will keep the hormone receptors in your skin ‘switched on’ so that your skin can keep producing more collagen. These don’t contain hormones, and so are a great option for people who don’t want to use HRT.
- Understand your skin is changing – what was right for you 5 years ago might not be right for you now. Get to know your skin and embrace it – if you understand what to do to look after it, it will stay healthier and look better.
- Exfoliate, but not too much – skin cell turnover becomes more sluggish with age. This means we build up a thicker layer of dead skin cells on the surface which give our skin a dull appearance. Exfoliating will help to keep your skin more radiant and stimulated.
There is much more information available now about caring for our skin, ingredients and skincare tools etc. What tools do you find are giving great results and are there any tools we can get good results from at home?
There are some great in clinic and home use tools available now! My favourite is the LightStim – it’s the only FDA cleared home use LED device, and is licenced for wrinkles. It uses Amber, Red and Infrared light – it’s easy to use, and a great adjunct to good skincare.
If you had to recommend one facial treatment to people who were new to your clinic , which treatment would it be?
Ooh that’s a tricky question! I love facials! I would probably have to pick HydraFacial – it’s a great skin health treatment which gently resurfaces the skin and rehydrates it with hydrating, nourishing serums. You just can’t go wrong with it as it can be tailored to every skin type.
What do you love most about what you do?
I just love seeing patients smile! That’s what it’s all about for me – giving them their confidence and their happiness back. A smile lights up someone’s face, and that is the most satisfying thing for me to see.
Finally, when you have some free time, what is it you love to do?
I love spending time with my friends and family. I have two gorgeous nephews who are growing up too quickly, and a bunch of really great friends who I don’t see enough of. It’s all about quality rather than quantity and a lot of my free time is spent catching up with them.
Wishing you all the best for 2020
Our Luminous Perfector Treatment Polish is a gentle and effective AHA exfoliant that can be used on all skin types, including sensitive skin.