Are you looking after your skin as well as you could be? Expert dermatologist Dr Stefanie Williams on the valuable skincare tips we ought to know about

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When it comes to skincare dos and don'ts, we like to think we’ve got it all under control. Pointers such as ‘do take your makeup off before bed’ and ‘don’t use hand soap as a facial cleanser’ are key complexion mantras, widely known and rehearsed by us all.

However, as the largest organ of the body we can’t help but feel like we’ve only began to scratch the surface when it comes to tips and tricks about the health of our skin. So, looking to delve a little deeper into our dermis to discover what’s going on, we got in touch with Clinical Dermatologist,  Dr Stefanie Williams , to find out about some important skincare facts we really ought to know.

Be wary of who you see

"There are far too many therapists advertising themselves as dermatologists out there," says Dr Stefanie Williams. "Dermatologists are doctors who, after their general medical University degree, have completed a formal higher specialist training in dermatology. If in doubt ask to see their specialisation certificate."

Facials aren’t for everyone

"High street and spa facials should be avoided by anybody with a tendency for breakouts, acne or  rosacea . A study has shown that 80% of these may actually aggravate breakouts. Make sure to only have medical grade facials in your dermatologist’s clinic."

Diet matters

"In all the  negative coverage about sugar  in the press at the moment, I wish people would also consider the effects that it has on their skin! My patients are often very surprised to hear about how diet affects the health of your skin, and particularly the rate at which it ages."

Stress is ageing

"Conversely, in all the positive coverage that mindfulness is getting in the media, the benefits of meditation  for skin health are often overlooked.  Our ability to manage stress and avoid continuously raised cortisol levels (one of our main stress hormones) is absolutely key to slow down the skin’s ageing process."

Careful of cleansing brushes

" The Clarisonic brush  is a great addition to many people's skincare routine, particularly for inhabitants of our polluted cities (it clears away pollution left-overs in your pores much better than manual cleansing). However I would always warn clients who suffer from frequent breakouts and acne to avoid using the brush while they suffer with inflamed spots and pimples."

Mole management

"I stress to all my patients how absolutely vital regular  mole checks  with a dermatologist are," advises Dr Williams. "I wish everybody would go once per year - like for their car’s MOT. In between those expert checks, don’t forget to self-examine your skin at least once per month - top to toe! Download a complimentary report on how to perform your own skin check at home from ."

Tailor to your skin

"There is a tendency to assume that thick, rich creams are the best moisturisers for people with ‘sensitive’ skin.  That’s actually not always the case and you should always tailor your skincare products to your exact skin type and condition with the advice of your dermatologist. See a dermatologist who has a special interest in aesthetic dermatology and skincare."

Patience is key

" Acne sufferers  have a tendency to start their treatment for acne scarring while they are still developing inflamed spots and pimples. However, acne scarring should only be treated after all the active acne has fully burnt out – addressing it too early will only aggravate inflamed acne lesions. The primary goal at that stage is to prevent further scarring by getting the active acne treated by a dermatologist."

Aqueous irritates

"Aqueous cream should only be considered as a soap substitute, not a leave-on product (moisturiser).  If left on, as people often (misguidedly) do to treat sensitivity or eczema (often even advised to do so by their pharmacist or GP), it may actually irritate the skin due to the presence of sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), a detergent and foaming agent that is a common ingredient in many skincare products."

Forget face wipes

"Facial wet wipes are not a replacement for proper face cleansing with water! If you have no alternative (for example, on a flight), then they are an occasional OK substitute. However, they sit between a leave-on product and a wash-off product and don’t do either job very well at all."

To learn more about the points mentioned by Dr Stefanie Williams here, take a look at her books  Future Proof Your Skin! Slow down your biological clock by changing the way you eat , £9.99, and  Future Proof Your Skin!: Stress Management Kit , £147.

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