They have all the skincare knowledge and know-how, but which products do skin doctors have in their own bathroom and what treatments and procedures do they swear by? We sat down with Dr Nina Bal to find out the treatments she books in for.
You will have heard of Dr Nina Bal. Not only is she a widely acclaimed cosmetic dental surgeon and facial aesthetics expert, but she was also the star of E4’s Body Fixers.
Dr Nina Bal’s ethos is simple: educate, treat, prevent. The expert is passionate about improving the inner beauty of a patient, and her “less is more” approach has inspired many cosmetic dental surgeons and students of the discipline. By tweaking certain elements of a patient’s face, Dr Bal’s treatments produce natural yet stunning results.
“Our skin is the largest organ and it is reflective of both our internal and external health. I take a very holistic view to skincare and treatment, and I also encourage my clients to do the same because I want them to enjoy long-term, sustainable results,” she tells us.
While the facial aesthetics industry is somewhat overcrowded, Dr Bal stands out with her transparent approach. Her Instagram account, which has garnered over 381k followers, is full of honest and educational breakdowns of aesthetic treatments that she’s performed on her clients, as well as open commentary on the treatments used by celebrities. She’s also incredibly candid about her own treatments, often sharing before/after photos on social media with a breakdown of what treatments and aesthetics she’s had to make herself feel good. It’s why her Belgravia clinic is always fully booked and has a long waitlist.
Dr Bal graduated from the University of Pavia in Italy and has more than 10 years of experience in aesthetics and dentistry with countless accolades, including the Best Young Dentist in the UK in 2017, as well as the 2018 Aesthetic Dentistry Awards in Facial Aesthetics. In 2021, she launched her first skincare product, Face Sculpt Serum, a lightweight vegan treatment that provides hydration, fights expression lines and encourages cell renewal, to rave reviews.
Growing up she suffered from hormonal melasma and suffers from rosacea even now. So what are the treatments and products that have helped her along the way? We caught up with Dr Bal to find out, and to ask how she keeps her skin looking so damn good.
What skin type do you have?
Growing up, I was very lucky that I didn’t suffer from childhood acne or many skincare concerns. That said, I quite rapidly developed hormonal melasma in my late twenties which was quite upsetting. It took a lot of work and commitment to get it under control. It was a long process of identifying my triggers for my melasma, which for me were strongly linked to my hormones. I worked alongside my GP to combat this while supplementing with medical-grade skincare to first repair and protect my barrier to facilitate the use of stronger treatment products. The hero product for me was Cyspera, which is a medical-grade and prescription-only product. I used this supervised for three months and it took around 12 months to get the final result. These days my focus is on my general skin health, keeping my melasma under control and undoing the damage of some Italian sun baking from my teens. If only I knew better then! These days I have dry skin and rosacea, which I try to get under control by ensuring I don’t get any UVA/UVB exposure by wearing and reapplying sunscreen, wearing sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat whenever I am in the sun. I also need to be careful around heat such as saunas or steams as this can irritate my melasma.
What’s your morning and evening skincare routine?
I use all medical-grade skincare products sourced through Get Harley, an amazing online skincare concierge service where you can book with me for an online skin consultation. These products suit my skin through initial trial and error of finding what my skin can tolerate and complement the products I already have which agree with my skin. There is a focus in my regime on barrier repair and functional hydrators. By using these I am strengthening my epidermis and dermis which allows me to be able to use and tolerate a retinol product. During my melasma journey, initially this would not have been possible but with diligent care and protection, I have been able to work up to this.
In the morning, I use:
- Alumier Purifying Gel Cleanser, £34.50
- Alumier Bright and Clear Solution, £46.50
- Revision C+ Correcting Complex 30%, $170
- Dr Nina Facial Sculpt Serum, £120
- Skin Better Trio Rebalancing Moisture Treatment, £125
- Alumier Clear Shield Broad Spectrum SPF. £43.50
My evening routine is the same, except I don’t use the Revision Vitamin C or SPF, and I use:
- Skin Better AlphaRet Overnight Cream, £119
- Skin Better Science EyeMax AlphaRet Overnight Cream Eye. £103
Which aesthetic treatments do you have on your face?
To be the best practitioner and treating doctor, I feel it is very important for me to try every treatment I offer my clients. Daily, I use medical-grade skincare and every three months I have Botox (botulinum toxin) and skin boosters such as Profhilo. Once a year, I have an in-clinic treatment called Endolift which is a non-surgical skin tightening procedure using an endoscopic laser. Prior to special events, I always treat myself to an Aquagold mesotherapy facial to give my skin a boost of hydration and luminosity. This is a micro-needling facial that uses 24 carat gold needles and a bespoke cocktail of actives depending on my skin on the day. Dermal fillers have their place in my routine but this is very ad hoc. Dermal fillers, in my opinion, should only be used to enhance and for subtle volume loss. In my case, this is in my cheeks which are prone to be a bit flat. Otherwise using the Endolift to tighten my skin, I currently don’t feel I have enough volume loss that requires dermal fillers as it may make me look “overfilled”.
Which aesthetic treatments have you done to your body?
Profilho body! It’s an amazing skin booster to help with skin hydration and crepiness. This was a game changer for my décolletage since it brought hydration back to this area and subtly filled in the small creases I was starting to notice. It has also helped my skincare absorb due to the increased hydration.
What skincare product should everyone use?
SPF: it’s non-negotiable. You can buy all the actives, serums and expensive creams but if you’re not using an SPF, you may well be throwing your money in the bin.
What treatment do you recommend everyone try?
I don’t feel like there’s a one-try golden treatment as everyone’s skin and what concerns them aesthetically is different. This is why I give every patient an initial consultation with me in which they receive a personalised treatment plan. I functionally treat a lot of patients for TMJ issues (Temporomandibular Joint) which has in turn a facial slimming effect which is great as their everyday life/pain from grinding has improved. Skin boosters such as Profilho are something anyone over the age of 28 should consider as it is a nice step into the world of injectables but does not change the shape of one’s face. It is essentially an injectable moisturiser.
How is your skin changing as you age?
Currently, at 38, I feel like my skin is in the best shape it has ever been in. But I have certainly noticed a depletion in collagen production in the last eight years. I’ve noticed that my skin is less plump than in my twenties, and that’s attributed to the fact that we stop producing collagen in our late twenties. I combat this with regular skin boosters and collagen-inducing treatments such as Endolift.
Are there any new procedures that you’re having great results in your clinic?
Endolift! I tried it myself in early 2020 and brought it into my clinic six months later after a long period of research and seeing real-life patient results. Since then, I have performed close to 100 treatments on clients aged 30 to 65. Endolift treatments need a local anaesthetic to be performed and involve a size of a dermal filler needle just before the ear on each side under the chin. The treatment takes an hour to perform and pain is minimal. It’s recommended that you have the treatment once or twice a year and you’ll see skin tightening results immediately, but the best results can be seen around six to nine months. I only perform this treatment on the lower face as this is my expertise area, and mostly under the chin since younger clients have a diet-resistant fat pocket there, which is then absorbed through the body. The settings can be tweaked for each client’s concern. As this addresses the lower layers of the skin (the layers where you can feel “jowls”. I combined this with Profilho at the same time as Endolift to address the upper layers (the layers of skin you can see) and I think the results speak for themselves.
What do you think is going to be the future of skincare treatments and aesthetics?
We are seeing a really healthy move away from quick fixes such as lasers/intensive skin treatments/dermal fillers and towards skin prevention, which is treating the skin as a living organ that requires ongoing care and nurturing constantly, as well as skin health. I think there will be a very natural move away from dermal fillers and a move towards skin boosters such as Profilho and super facials such as Aquagold.
What’s the lifestyle habit that works for you for great skin?
Oh gosh, I can’t just list one. But the age-old: drink plenty of water and a minimum of two litres a day, and get plenty of rest. As a working mum of two, I know first-hand that this is not practical. So what I make sure I do every day is a short guided meditation. I do this after I drop the kids off at school and before I start my day in the clinic. It gives me clarity and purpose before a busy day.
Find Dr Nina Bal at @drninafacialsculpting and online at facialsculpting.co.uk.