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 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 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.