Everything you ever wanted to know about skincare but were too afraid to ask…

We talk to skin specialist, Debbie Thomas, about the woes of adult skin maintenance

Do you squeeze spots when you know you should’t? Are you sceptical that water really does help our skin? Do you find you ask yourself is fake tan doing me more harm then good? Then read on, as we quiz skincare expert, Debbie Thomas, on everything you ever wanted to know about looking after your skin but are too afraid to ask.

Is sunscreen really the best weapon for fighting ageing skin?
Yes, absolutely. Up to 80% of skin ageing is caused by UVA rays, so if you protect it from these harmful rays, you will be doing the best thing for your skin to keep it youthful looking. It’s also the easiest thing to do.

Does fake tan clog our pores?
If used occasionally they tend not to be a problem, but with constant use and incorrect cleansing & exfoliating, sometimes people can get more black heads and bumpy skin. I advise my clients who use fake tan regularly to double cleanse and exfoliate regularly or use a cleanser with acids to properly remove dead skin that can lead to clogged pores.

Are fake tans actually bad for you because of the chemicals in them?
As with all things the newer tans are better formulated so much kinder to our skins, but I personally wouldn’t continuously layer tan on top of tan without some break time. To allow the skin time to regenerate and breath between applications. The main concerns of fake tans centre around spray tans when you do potentially inhale the tan. On the skin the tan can not penetrate in to the blood stream but if breathed in it can line the lungs and enter the blood stream.

Are natural treatments any good at harnessing results?
Yes, nature actually has some very powerful ingredients. However, sometimes very natural products can irritate the skin because of how they are formulated. People think natural equals kind-to-skin, but this isn’t always the case. I personally think for treatments you want the products used within them to strengthen and desensitise the skin and these products need to contain targeted and active ingredients, whether they are ‘natural’ or not.

Do chemical peals have a lasting effect on the skin?
It does depend on the strength of the peel but for the more common mild AHA or BHA peels, a one off treatment would only give a 2-5 week boost before the next skin cycle produces more dead skin cells on the skin which need sloughing off

Is it ok to squeeze spots? 
Only if done correctly which many people don’t do. Most of the time not all the infection is removed causing the spot to keep flaring up, or more commonly spots are over squeezed then picked leaving scabs and ultimately long lasting marks or even scars. I would advise leaving it to your skin care professional.

Does skin scar more easily as you get older?
Our skin definitely doesn’t heal as well, due to the regeneration of the skin slowing down.

What should you do after you squeeze a spot to minimise scarring?  
Use tissue covered fingers to gently push down under the spot and wiggle to encourage any infection to come out, don’t push too hard, if not all out leave for 2-3 mins then try again. Once the pore is empty you must let it heal, do not pick, if there is a scab, picking it disrupts the natural healing process.

Does drinking lots of water really help our skin?
Yes. It helps to keep it hydrated and it will help flush out toxins and eliminate the dirt that clogs the pores of your skin

Which supplements will actually make our skin clearer? Do they even make a difference? 
The healthier we are on the inside the better the skin will look. The best supplements for skin are vitamin C, zinc and omega oils.

Vitamin C – boosts collagen production to keep skin looking youthful

Zinc – controls the production of oil in the skin

Omega oils – these fatty acids can help reduce inflammatory skin conditions and there has been some recent studies claiming that fish oils can boost the skins immunity to sunlight, therefore guarding against sun-light induced suppression of the immune system.

How do celebrities have such glowing skin? 
Some are naturally this way because of genetics but many do have access to some of the best skin treatments, nutritionists, personal trainers, products and make-up artists in the world. Keeping them and their skin healthy and looking its best. So they are very lucky!

What are your five must have skin products?
SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF serum, SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Cleansing Gel, La Roche Posay Tinted Anthelios XL cream SPF 50, Valmonts Renewing Pack and Valmonts AWF factor 1 eye gel.

For more information on Debbie visit www.debbiethomas.co.uk