June 11th 2019
Elle Macpherson: how I transformed my sun-damaged skin
August 19th 2018 / 0 comment
When you’ve grown up with a lot of sun exposure, pigmentation and wrinkles are almost inevitable. This month, our columnist reveals how she found her way back to great skin and the products and habits that keep her glowing
I grew up in Australia, mostly on the beach under the sun – I guess you could say sunshine is in my DNA. We had a Kombi van and used to go camping and water skiing at weekends in Mollymook on the South Coast of New South Wales.
I was raised in the 60s and 70s when sunbathing with baby oil was all the rage – I don’t burn and peel but I did take a lot of sun and it shows today in my skin.
While I have always thought I looked healthier with a gentle tan, as time has passed and I’ve become more educated, I realise that I could have been more careful with my skin. I spent so many years on the beach and often without any sunscreen. Now I choose to cover up and use sunshine sparingly. I am more sensitive to sun these days, but I do like to get fresh air every day so I wear a cowboy hat and am responsible, especially in the middle of the day.
Once a year I have my skin checked because Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. It’s an appointment that is always in my diary.
I prefer a natural look to fake tan. I believe a little sunshine is a great booster for the body in general – I sit outside for ten minutes in the morning around 7am or 8am and then again in the afternoon specifically for the sunshine.
My sons, on the other hand, grew up in London so spent most of the year in a cooler climate and in a school uniform. We spent summers in the Bahamas and the boys learned for themselves how much sun their skin could take comfortably. Flynn is more olive-skinned than Cy, who is fair and doesn’t spend much time in the sun. Thankfully, as my boys are now 15 and 20, I’m not chasing them around with sunblock. Parents are becoming educated around health, wellness and sunshine and choosing to inform their kids too.
What I use on my face in summer
For my face, I prefer SPF 50+. I like to find an organic no-chemical sunscreen which I apply in the morning if I know I am having a day outside. I have one in my handbag to reapply if needed.
I have learned the best way to keep my skin radiant, youthful and blemish-free is to nourish the body with nutrients at a cellular level with a wholefood plant-based diet. That’s part of the reason we created Super Elixir Greens. It is packed with skin-loving organic ingredients such as super greens, horsetail and Omega 3 for supporting healthy and strong connective tissue that results in a healthy complexion. It’s an easy and effective way to fast track good health that manifests itself as glowing skin.
I start my wellness/beauty routine with two teaspoons of Super Elixir every morning in cold spring water. It is formulated with 45 unique botanicals, assisting my skin to hold moisture and my cells to function properly, giving me a radiant glow, that is also often called the ‘alkaline’ glow.
Solutions for pigmentation and sun spots
I have lots of freckles all over my body, but I don’t do lasers to remove them because I live in warm Miami. I make sure I wear a rashie to protect my arms and I try to avoid those times during the day when the sun is at its harshest.
I’ve noticed that when my diet is clean from sugar and wheat and is plant-based, my skin texture and ‘sun spots’ improve immeasurably.
What’s in my summer skincare bag
It is packed with products that are recommendations from dermatologists or makeup artists or friends. I like hearing about things word-of-mouth because is a crowded market and it’s easy to get confused.
For me, beauty comes from the inside out, so first things first, my Super Elixir Greens; I always have the travel sachets in my makeup bag for quick pick-me-ups.
Exfoliating, moisturising, hydrating and sun protection in summer are extra important. Because skin is the number one detox organ, I prioritise exfoliating once a day. I dry brush from the toes up for circulation and I love our WelleCo Japanese salt scrub.
On my face, I sometimes use a glycolic cleanser – I like the Resurface Foaming Glycolic Wash by NeoStrata £21.40 and Sansceutials have a great organic exfoliator, Bioactive Body Exfoliant £28.93.
I also like a deeper exfoliator from time to time like the Dr Sebagh Deep Exfoliating Mask £59, which is efficient and yet gentle. Or I use Dr Brandt Microdermabrasion Age Defying Exfoliator, £54.50 that's like a face polish.
When my skin is very dry I use Creme de la Mer, £120 for my face.
I love Lucas Papaw ointment, £6.95 on my lips and cuticles – it’s very moisturising and very Aussie!
Most importantly you will find water, water, water. I drink two to three litres a day.
My favourite sun hats and coverups
I spend mornings doing some activity outside and for this, I am careful not to expose myself to the harsher sun while doing sports, so I use sunblock (organic, chemical free) and hat and rash guard.
There are some fantastic swimwear brands who are doing rash vests that are really cool. I love Abysse Ethical Swimwear for sexy wetsuits, bikinis and activewear - it's beautiful and sustainable, made from recycled material and authentic. If I am going to be doing a water sport such as stand-up paddle boarding I like to wear one.
I own quite a few rashie tops by my friend Melissa Odabash. I also like to wear surf leggings. Roxy makes a good pair (Roxy Pop Surf Leggings £38.50) that are very thin spandex. Sometimes I just wear boy's surf shorts - old surfing habits die hard! And of course, I can't live without my Elle Cowboy Hat by Melissa Odabash.
I love Zimmerman dresses for summer. Bassike and Albus Lumen are two great Aussie brands as is Chasing Unicorns for a more boho look.
I mainly wear sunglasses by Persol or Tom Ford. I love their chic, modern-but-timeless styling. For sports I choose Oakley.
Skin repair starts on the inside
I’m not a big facial person but I do love a massage. I've learned that beauty is not skin deep but comes from within, so to keep my complexion looking youthful and blemish-free I nourish it first with nutrition, sleep, lots of water, and exercise.
The best beauty treatment I have ever received was starting my journey with Super Elixir Greens daily. The benefits of this specialised blend of absorbable, food-derived nutrients have a profound effect on the skin’s texture and appearance. I believe beauty starts inside so there is no point looking good if you don’t feel great. Beauty really does radiate from the inside out.
I like to keep my routine very simple. My skin type is normal to dry, so topically I cleanse, exfoliate and moisturise. Because the skin is a great barometer of health, for me, it isn’t just about what I put on my skin but what I put into my body. I feel like this is becoming a more common belief of women, that if you nourish yourself, be kind to yourself and if you feel well, you will look well. This is why I take two teaspoons of The Super Elixir every morning. My skin is brighter, my hair and nails are stronger and I’ve lost weight.
If beauty begins from the inside out, then taking a daily shot of easily absorbed, nutrient-rich powder is my beauty no-brainer for your skin.