From pigmentation and pimples to rosacea and wrinkles, how are you supposed to know which products will help your skincare situation and which will make it even worse?

When it comes to skincare products, it’s difficult to know what you should be using for various skin concerns and whether there’s even a product that can help solve your beauty bugbears. That’s why we got Dr Maureen Allem to answer your questions about skincare products. She’s the founder and Medical Director of the Renewal Institute and she’s been looking after skin for more than 15 years.

We learned so much from reading her answers!

1.     Is it true that our skin builds resistance to face products so we need to change them?

Luckily your skin doesn’t build up resistance to skincare products over time. Your skin does however need different ingredients at different stages and different seasons. So the change in skincare regime will be due to that and not because your skin got “used” to it.

For instance, in summer we want to use products high in anti-oxidants to ensure our skin DNA is protected from UV exposure. Whereas in the winter we can use ingredients like retinol (vitamin A) to increase our cellular turnover and resurface the skin.

2.     I have pigmentation and normal to oily skin. I wanted to know whether I should buy a vitamin C or vitamin E serum.

Because both of these vitamins are very good anti-oxidants, they are almost always used in combination. Vitamin E complements the penetration and activity of vitamin C.

Vitamin E complements the penetration and activity of vitamin C.

If you’re looking to see an improvement in your pigmentation and have to choose one, I would recommend vitamin C, but a combination is always best.

Lamelle Recharge CE Complex is a good option as well as SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF, as both of these contain high concentrations of vitamin C that will help brighten your skin complexion.

3.     What collagen product is the best?

If we are looking at topical collagen, a collagen molecule is actually way too big to even penetrate the skin, so it needs to be in the form of peptides and amino acids. These ingredients can be found in the NeoStrata Skin Active range which specifically targets ageing skin.

If you are referring to oral collagen, it’s important to find a product that contains Type 1 collagen. Vitamin C also plays a big role in the digestion and absorption of collagen, so taking a supplement that contains both collagen and vitamin C is ideal.

4.     What is the best anti-ageing eye-cream to use?

A good eye cream is NeoStrata Skin Active Intensive Eye Therapy. It contains ingredients to protect and maintain the skin’s youthful characteristics, to help increase collagen production, to reduce the appearance of uneven pigmentation and puffiness under the eye, plus it enhances hydration and improves plumpness and firmness.

The result is noticeably younger-looking eyes!

The result is noticeably younger-looking eyes!

5.     I’ve got rosacea and would like to know what affordable skin products to use.

It is always best to treat rosacea holistically, which means we want to treat issues internally as well as topically. Rosacea is a condition that cannot be cured – it can however be controlled with the right diet, supplements and ensuring good gut health.

To keep your skin calm and happy, you will need to consider eating anti-inflammatory foods and avoiding food choices that cause irritation, such as complex sugars and alcohol. If you can get that right, your inflammation-related skin issues will be reduced.

With regards to topical products, it’s best to use calming ingredients that won’t irritate the skin. The Lamelle Serra range has a great cleanser and moisturiser which are affordable.

When treating rosacea, it’s best to get a proper skin analysis done by a medical practitioner.

When treating rosacea, it’s best to get a proper skin analysis done by a medical practitioner. There are different types of rosacea, so this is not a one size fits all solution.

6.     My skin looks dehydrated and I also have wrinkles – which product can you recommend for women over 50 that addresses both these concerns?

After the age of 50, our oestrogen levels start to reduce significantly, which unfortunately leads to reduced levels of hyaluronic acid in the skin. Hyaluronic acid is important for various skin functions and activities, including its water-binding properties to keep the skin hydrated. The more hydrated the skin, the better everything functions on a cellular level.
A brilliant 5-in-1 product I would recommend for anyone over 40 with dehydration and wrinkle concerns is the NeoStrata Skin Actives Retinol + NAG Complex.

It contains retinol to promote new collagen and elastin production, as well as to reduce lines and wrinkles. The patented NeoGlucosamine (NAG) complex is used to build hyaluronic acid in the skin. Together, these two ingredients ensure improved skin elasticity, smoother texture, plumped hydrated skin with the added benefit of reducing discolouration spots.

You only need to use it every other evening, so it will last a while, but it is advisable to use it in combination with an SPF no less than 30.

7.     What skincare range is the best for pigmented skin? I have tried various brands for hyperpigmentation, including microneedling procedures. This has helped but not eliminated the dark spots. What do you recommend?

Pigmentation and dark marks are probably the concern we see the most at our skin clinics and if the pigmentation is superficial, it can be quite simple to treat. Pigmentation can however sit slightly deeper, especially hormonal pigmentation, which is more difficult to treat.

Pigmentation and dark marks are probably the concern we see the most at our skin clinics

But essentially there are three steps to successfully treat or minimise pigmentation or dark marks:

  1. Use an SPF 50 every day. Unprotected sun exposure will induce more pigment to form and the spot may become darker. I recommend Heliocare to protect your skin from UVA and UVB and visible and infra-red light.
  2. Speed up your cellular turnover rate to get the excessive pigment out. This can be done by using exfoliating ingredients such as retinol or AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids).
  3. Ensure that the pigment cells don’t produce any more excess pigment. This is done by using pigment suppressing ingredients such as certain peptides, kojic acid and alpha arbutin.

The Lamelle Luminesce range  is a good option for you as it covers steps 2 and 3. The range has a cleanser, day and night cream as well as a very potent serum called Brighter Concentrate that can be used daily.

It’s important to remember that pigmentation will always be a lifelong condition that can never be eliminated completely; pigmentation can only be managed.

8.     What can I use to treat chloasma please?

Chloasma or melasma is a condition we see often, and unfortunately it is a very dynamic and complicated, inflammatory skin condition. To start off, it will never be removed completely; it can be managed and even lightened a lot, but it will always reappear and can be triggered.

This is because, in the case of hormonal chloasma, the pigment cells have deposited the pigment in the deeper layer of the skin and these layers are extremely hard and risky to reach without causing more inflammation that will make the condition more severe.

We can however treat the pigment that has been deposited in the superficial layer, which will have a lightening effect. The three steps and products referred to in question 7 above will also apply to people who have chloasma.

9.     What product can I use for hormonal acne on my chin?

To ensure success, you have to take a systemic approach and address the hormonal aspect as well as treat the condition from the outside.

You have to take a systemic approach and address the hormonal aspect as well as treat the condition from the outside.

Ingredients such as retinol (vitamin A), salicylic acid and azeliac acid have all been used to treat and manage acne lesions. There are a few factors that play a role in acne lesions: the over production of skin cells, increase in sebum (oil) production, bacterial build up and inflammation.

The best product range for you needs to target all of these factors. The Lamelle Clarity range is a good option as it contains all the ingredients needed to manage the lesions.

Daily use of an SPF 50 is also very important. I recommend Heliocare 360 Airgel. This is a lightweight sunblock that will not make your skin feel more oily.

10.  I struggle with dark circles under my eyes and wrinkles, especially on the sides of my eyes and forehead. What can I use?

The answer is going to depend very much on what is causing the dark circles.

If the cause is something as simple as poor drainage and circulation, there are great eye products that can help with this. Look at NeoStrata Skin Active Intensive Eye Therapy or even NeoStrata Bionic Eye Cream. If you also have some eye ageing concerns, try SkinCeuticals AGE Eye complex

If the dark circles are due to an illness (some illnesses do cause dark circles under the eyes as a symptom), then just using a product is not going to give you the best result.

If it’s a case of damage or that the condition of the skin is not great, then you need to consider products PLUS in-clinic treatments such as Carboxy Therapy or Laser Genesis.