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Dr Natalia Spierings Answers Your Skincare Questions

Nothing like a new year to make you questions everything in life...including skincare! Fear not, Consultant Dermatologist and friend of Raemona Dr Natalia Spierlings is here to answer your questions!

Q: 3 top skincare products that everyone should have as part of their routine?

A: 1. An SPF 50 or above that you like to use on a daily basis and is affordable for you

2. An ointment night time moisturiser to use as a face moisturiser and an ‘eye’ cream - I like good old vaseline but any ointment will do (Aquaphor Skin soothing balm comes in a handy tube)

3. An oil cleanser to remove makeup and sunscreen at night

Q: Biggest skincare ‘mistakes’ people tend to make?

A: Using too many products is by far the biggest ‘mistake’ people make - FOMO is a real thing when it comes to skincare but all the fancy lotions and potions you can buy are generally not effective at delivering on their many promises. Don’t get sucked into the marketing. Keep your skincare routine simple and focus on treating any skin issue with a focused, evidence-based treatment. Q: When you start a skincare routine how long does it really take to see results – do people often give up too soon?

A: When starting a new product (and I always suggest starting only one new thing at a time to minimise irritation but also so you can gauge if it actually is doing anything helpful) is to give it at least 3 months of consistent daily use before judging it. Prescription treatments generally work faster than that but not for everything - for example, prescription acne treatments can take a good few months to really improve the situation. Q: Is enough talked about with regards to what we put inside our bodies (food/drink) that goes towards having ‘good’ skin? A: I think too much emphasis is put on this! Though what you eat and drink is of course important to general health and well-being (though this is not an area of expertise for me by any means), what you eat and drink has negligible if any affect on your skin. For examples you can’t hydrate your skin by drinking more water or ingesting collagen supplements - it just is not physiologically possible. It is also not possible to ‘cure’ your acne vulgaris by avoiding dairy or sugar - again, not physiologically possible. If you have a skin problem, manipulating your diet is almost certainly not going to make a difference, though it may improve your overall health if your diet was not so great to begin with.

Q: What is the best treatment for sun spots? Can they ever be permanently removed? A: Sun spots are technically called ’solar lentigo’ - they look like large freckles that don’t go away when you are not exposed to the sun (freckles appear with sun exposure and go away when you aren’t in the sun). The best way to permanently remove them is using a topical prescription cream combining tretinoin with hydroquinone. You can also use various lasers to remove them as well. They can be permanently removed but it is important to remember that the minute you go in the sun again they will probably come back - so wearing a SPF 100+ applied and replied correctly and be careful with your facial sun exposure is absolutely vital.

Q: Best ways to target and get rid of those nasty dark circles? A: Unfortunately, there is no effective treatment for dark undereye circles if you are genetically destined to have them.

Q: Any tips on acne due to masks? A: Try not to wear any makeup or use skincare under the mask if you are finding your skin is getting little spots due to the friction of the mask - this isn’t true acne vulgaris though. It is a type of irritant folliculitis and is usually due to a combination of the mask, sweating underneath it, skincare and makeup all at once.

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