As a beauty therapist, I am often bemused by the smoke and mirrors of the beauty world, whether it’s ‘miracle’ anti-ageing potions or ageless celebs secretly bingeing on botox; my clients however are downright confused. So I have decided to share my insider secrets from my last fifteen years in the beauty industry. This blog is for anyone looking for independent advice, whether you need the name of a reputable surgeon or dermatologist or simply tailored skincare advice.
My own beauty quest started in 1992 when I was introduced to the anti-ageing power of UVA sunblock. This skin-saving tip came courtesy of a beauty therapist who lived opposite me in the Halls of Residence at Liverpool University; she was studying occupational therapy, whilst I was studying English Literature. I had no idea what happened to her, but she left a big impression. After university, I got sacked from a string of office jobs until my brother gently suggested retraining as a beauty therapist. Although the repeated sackings knocked my confidence and led to depression and anxiety, they also helped me discover the link between not just diet and anxiety levels, but also diet and skincare. Now I follow the GI diet as I strongly believe that what you put in your body is just as important (if not more so) than what you put on your face.
I am a big fan of the GI diet (Glycaemic Index) which has steadied my sugar cravings, my weight and my mood for the last ten years. In terms of skin care, I also strongly believe that what you put in your body is just as important (if not more so) than what creams you put on your face. When Sam, a colleague, asked me to help her lose weight, she also agreed to let me blog about her weight loss. Soon after her partner James also decided to lose weight, but he chose Slimming World instead– let battle commence!
I have several clients with rosacea, and their skin couldn’t be more dissimilar. Blood vessels right under the surface of the skin become enlarged, triggered by temperature changes, strenuous exercise, UVA & UVB, harsh facial scrubs and spicy foods. Whilst there is no cure for rosacea, there are ways of controlling it, especially if it is caught young; otherwise a tendancy towards flushing can exacerbate dry skin (leading to flaking and redness) or an oily skin can thicken and develop lumps.
The first stage in an anti-redness skincare routine is to avoid irritants such as glycolic acid, synthetic fragrances, alcohol, witch hazel, fragrant plants/essential oils e.g. cedar, cinnamon, lavender, lemon, lime, menthol. I also advise against abrasive facial scrubs.
I have always known the value of a perfect smile. In 1992, I spent a miserable summer working in a cake factory before starting university. One day I was asked to guess the age of an older female colleague, to which I innocently replied that I would need to see her teeth. Fortunately she laughed.
My quest for perfect teeth had begun several years earlier: a plate brace at primary school followed by a metal brace for four long years at secondary school. (I endured a couple of unimaginative ‘Metal Mickey’ jokes at primary school, but by the time I went to my convent secondary school the brace wearers far outnumbered those who were naturally blessed). I ended up with perfectly shaped teeth.
If only the story ended there. Continue reading →
I went to see my NHS dermatologist today for the quarterly repeat of my steroid medication to treat hives (urticaria), a common rash which affects up to twenty per cent of people at some stage during their life, especially women. I have been suffering from hives for about seven years, which occurred out of the blue following a short period of stress; the stress passed but the hives remained. I can still recall my unease the first time I saw the distinctive red weal on my upper thigh as I was taking a shower; I had no idea that I was in store for seven years of hell.
Winter is starting to take its toll on my clients skin. A fairly late start this year (the temperature is still relatively mild), but it is only a matter of time. If your skin is red, flaky or dull you are probably not protecting your skin enough from the elements (blame central heating, cold, dry air and biting winds), all of which leech moisture from the skin, leaving it dehydrated and vulnerable to premature ageing. Here is my anti-ageing winter survival guide.