While facials and dermatologist appointments are off the cards for many of us at the moment, Dr Barbara Sturm's Skin School YouTube series is the next best thing. The videos, which began at the start of the pandemic and have also been filmed with model Hailey Beiber and actress Emma Roberts, are a masterclass in skincare with advice on common skin concerns and tips to achieve healthy skin and overall wellness.
In the latest episode, which landed on YouTube last night, she was joined by model, podcaster, activist and all-round goddess Ashley Graham who got real about the skin issues she's experienced since the birth of her baby Isaac earlier this year.
The effects of pregnancy on skin
"My skin became more sensitive after having a baby. I got a lot of stretch marks on my lower belly, especially in the last two weeks of pregnancy. Plus my whole hairline fell out. My skin was fine during pregnancy but afterwards I got a little bit of back acne and darker, bigger freckles and redness on my cheeks and chin."
Ashley's skincare routine
Ashley comments that she has fairly resilient, well-behaved skin that bounces back no matter what she does to it and as with many models, her top skincare tip is to cleanse, cleanse, cleanse. "I wash my face before I go to bed, no matter how late it is or [in the past] what substance I was on; I religiously wash my face every single night followed by a vitamin C serum and a moisturiser and an eye cream . Some days I throw on a face mask if I'm dehydrated. I only started vitamin C a couple of years ago when I realised it was imperative for antioxidants."
Why 'tingling' skincare isn't a good sign
Ashley says she enjoys at-home peels too, saying: "My philosophy is if it burns, it's working." But Dr Sturm is quick to dispel this myth. "Burning and pain is a signal of our body telling us to stop. It's a signal not to do it." She doesn't beat around the bush when it comes to Ashley's vitamin C habit either, explaining that the antioxidant and other actives such as retinol are not without their peril. “There’s a lot of ‘trying out’ [active ingredients] happening with young skin and it’s too much; kids get sensitivity early, can get Perioral Dermatitis and they’re suffering a lot from the overuse of products. Sometimes it’s better to go for less is more. You don’t need a ten-step skincare routine," she said.
This is music to Ashley's ears, who says: "I need a system [when it comes to skincare] I need to know exactly what I'm doing in the morning and exactly what I'm doing at night, and if there are too many steps I'm just not going to do it."
Ease is key in Ashley's life; when Dr Sturm asks her what she can't live without products she cites vitamin gummies . "If my vitamin comes in a gummy, I will for sure take it." She also says she can't live without face mists and rose water and is known to mist herself countless times throughout the day.