Monthly Archives: May 2010

Why no-one should trust those ‘All skin types’ labels


Whenever I snoop around department stores or ‘mystery shop’ at beauty counters, the abuse of the phrase ‘for all skin types’ really annoys me. No matter how many times you read this on packages, to a dermatologist, it’s nonsense. And while I fully appreciate that the more people a product appeals to the better its profit margins, what I don’t understand is how it can attract loyal customers. Surely at least half of those who believed the ‘for all skin types’ promise won’t just end up disillusioned – they’ll share the bad news with their friends!

I can tell you that every single week I have patients sitting in my clinic with breakouts, simply because they’re using the wrong type of skincare product for their skin. And this, by the way, is something they’ve often been advised to use by a supposedly experienced beauty consultant. While we’re talking about consultants, sadly I have to report too, that many have a shockingly poor knowledge about even the basics of skin biology and the science (if any!) behind the products they’re selling. Apologies to anyone not falling into this category – and I would be truly delighted to be proved wrong next time I approach a beauty counter. But it does seem that too many of these super-groomed ‘know alls’ well……don’t, actually.

But let’s not digress. What I really want to say is that skincare should always be adapted to individual skin types. In the majority of cases, one simply does not fit all. While dry skin needs a re-hydrating, lipid-rich cleanser, say, oily skin prone to breakouts would benefit from a foaming cleanser and should use only oil-free products. I feel strongly that many skin problems could be avoided if people received the right advice from companies less interested in making a quick buck and more dedicated to offering long-term, tailor-made solutions. So next time you are tempted to buy a product at the beauty counter, be wary about those ‘All skin types’ products.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Chocolate’s good for your skin – we’ve proved it!


A moment on your lips – an outbreak of zits? Chocolate has long been stigmatized as a skin enemy, causing spotty, oily skin. The role of diet in acne remains highly controversial – numerous scientific studies have failed to demonstrate that chocolate aggravates acne, yet many sufferers claim there’s a clear link. Clearly, this is an area that needs even more research. But in the meantime, here’s the good news for chocolate lovers. We have recently completed a controlled scientific study at the University of the Arts, Cosmetic Science that indicates chocolate may help protect skin from sun damage.

You might know that cocoa beans fresh from the tree are exceptionally rich in antioxidant flavanols. The problem is that conventional chocolate making methods greatly deplete antioxidantactivity in all types – milk, dark, organic or regular. The new Acticoa method however, preserves the fresh beans’ flavanols – and it was this type of chocolate that we clinically tested under highly controlled conditions. What we found was that eating small amounts daily for twelve weeks more than doubled skin’s natural protection against sunburn, while normal dark chocolate had no such benefits. Our findings have now been published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.

So my advice would be that if you love chocolate, make sure you choose a bar with the ‘Acticoa’ logo and the highest possible antioxidant content. But don’t give up your regular broad-spectrum SPF30-50 protection. Chocolate’s by no means the ultimate UV-defense – but every bite helps!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment