Hello! Fashion Magazine, 02.02.2015

Das Hautspecial des Hello! Fashion Magazines beschäftigte sich mit den unterschiedlichen Hauttypen und der Frage, welche Pflegeprodukte für die jeweilige Haut am effektivsten sind. Dabei standen auch die Hautpflegeprodukte von Dr. Barbara Sturm auf dem Prüfstand.

Molecular Cosmetics

Hello! Fashion Magazine Skinspecial, 02.02.2015

Your new guide to skin typing

It’s the latest buzz phrase in beauty. Pinpointing your ‘micro skin type’ is the only thing standing between you and a clear complexion. HFM beauty director Charlotte Jolly explains

I admit I used to be a skincare cynic. Turned off by the pseudo science and “miracle” rhetoric, I didn’t buy into its transformative powers – until I met Katy Perry. The interview took place in a sun-drenched hotel suite; I came armed with a raft of questions on dealing with “tricky skin” (Katy’s words, not mine), which I spent my allotted 22 minutes skirting around, because she had the most resplendent, smooth skin I’d ever seen. I mean, immaculate. Having battled acne breakouts in her early 20s, Katy adopted a more bespoke approach to skincare, which included a Shu Uemura cleansing oil, regular steams, powerful antioxidants, laser therapy and a slew of supplements. Sitting inches away from me, her near-perfect, porcelain complexion had an almost otherworldly quality.

“Of course genetics play a part,” says Nausheen Qureshi, biochemist and founder of skincare brand Elethea. “But topical treatments have advanced so much in the last ten years, a prescriptive regime can completely overhaul your complexion. As scientists, we can isolate ingredients to target specific cell receptors and actually alter the structure of skin.”

So how prescriptive are your products? It was Helena Rubinstein, back in the early 1900s, who first classified skin as oily, dry, combination or sensitive. Although revolutionary at the time, it’s time to redefine those catch-all categories, according to Qureshi. “No one has straight oily or dry skin; it changes over time, and it reacts to your environment, hormone levels and lifestyle. Skin needs to be micro-managed. Sticking to a regime with such a limited scope will exacerbate your existing issues, and create some new ones.”

Dr Barbara Sturm, a molecular cosmetics specialist, and one of the most sought-after aesthetics doctors in Hollywood, says brands cling on to these antiquated skin subcategories as a marketing tool but the trend is towards “zonal application” when it comes to topicals. “Pimples, for example, don’t necessarily denote ‘oily’ skin; clogged pores can occur in clusters and be exacerbated by stress. In fact, the most common condition I treat in young women is perioral dermatitis (a rash of small, red bumps around the mouth), which is triggered by overloading skin with too many ingredients. My mantra is minimise the number of products you use to maximise results.”

So how can you tell what ingredients your skin’s crying out for? We’ve taken out the guess work with our Skin Glossary (a cheat sheet breaking down the six most common micro types). Then, to help pare back your product count, turn over for our expertly-curated skincare prescriptions and the latest ‘fix it’ facials.




Skin Glossary


1st Intolerant skin /

n. itchy, prone to redness, sometimes accompanied by tiny red pimples and a tight, tingly sensation. Ingredients in skincare and cosmetics trigger flare-ups, and reactions are aggravated by stress and changes in climate.


Sixty-two per cent of women say they have sensitive skin. Conditions like eczema are genetic, but allergies and rosacea are not and can be caused by layering products. Retinoids and alpha hydroxy acids, for example, both slough off dead cells so you’re exfoliating twice, which can strip skin and increase the potential for irritation.



2nd Dull skin /

n. a slack skin surface (creases at the corner of each eye, horizontal lines across the forehead and folds running between the nose and mouth), does not reflect light evenly, so it lacks luminosity.


Ninety per cent of skin ageing is environmental, but 10 per cent is genetic (so even if you slept in an oxygen tank you’d notice a loss of firmness by 35). Wrinkles start forming as early as your mid-20s; smiling, squinting and frowning encourage grooves to form under the surface. Lines only become etched in skin when elastin weakens and collagen production starts to taper off.



3nd Uneven skin /

n. has a blotchy tone, tagged with brown spots and patches of discolouration.Sun exposure is the common culprit. A mottled skin surface is often cited as the first sign of ageing.


For 16 per cent of women, pigmentation is their top skin gripe. When UV rays hit skin the body produces melanin as a way to protect itself. Don’t expect discolouration to appear overnight, it takes years for melanin stored in skin to clump together at the surface of the epidermis and form dark spots; it’s a cumulative effect.



4nd Moody skin /

n. a changeable complexion, fluctuating in tone and texture over a 28-day cycle. Common manifestations: acne around jaw, dryness and sensitivity. | Synonym Hormonal Skin


One in five women between 25-40 suffer from acne. During menstruation, oestrogen is low and skin is typically dry and sensitive. The rise of oestrogen on days seven to 15 triggers the production of hyaluronic acid, so skin looks glowy. After ovulation (days 16-28) progesterone picks up and skin has a higher bacterial cell count, so is particularly acne-prone.



5nd City skin /

n. a wan complexion, characterised by dotty, pin-prick pores, inflammation and/or areas of dryness. More instances of hyperpigmentation are recorded in high pollution areas.


As well as forming an icky film of urban dust, microscopic specks of pollutants pass through pores and infiltrate the epidermis. Nine UK cities (including London, Birmingham and Leeds) have unsafe levels of pollution. The mineral content in hard water can lead to clogged pores and irritation, too.



6nd Sluggish skin /

n. rough and flaky in texture, showing a lack of elasticity. Pores appear small, wrinkles are pronounced and skin is prone to sensitivity. | Synonym Alipidic Skin


Often confused with dehydrated skin (lacking in water), underactive skin does not produce enough sebum (made up of lipids). Lipids constitute 40 per cent of skin cell membranes, ensuring cells work properly and communicate effectively. Pores appear small because follicles aren’t dilated and the skin’s barrier function is weakened, which leads to inflammation.


Pick up your prescription

We buy, on average, four moisturisers every year. Our annual skin spend also includes four cleansers, five packs of face wipes, two toners, two masques and two eye creams. But are you investing in the right stuff?


Intolerant skin

Organic Surge’s creamy Brightening Hot Cloth Cleanser, £13.95, is as effective at cutting through make-up as a sudsy wash, without stripping skin.
Racinne Delicare Perfection Toner, £26.99, is ultra-soothing and builds up skin’s moisture barrier to help break the cycle of inflammation.
Dr Barbara Sturm Face Day Cream, £132, contains hero ingredient purslane to protect the sensitive skin cell membrane.
Top up on omega 3, 6 and 9 with Udo’s Choice Ultimate Oil Blend, £11.99. Mix two tablespoons into smoothies, yoghurt or porridge.


Substitute exfoliants (such as alpha or beta hydroxyacids) for hydrating cleansers, and feed skin with strengthening ingredients (purslane is particularly hard-working) and essential fatty acids.

Dull skin

Elemis’ softening Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm, £39.50, speedsup skin’s metabolism so it can hold on to moisture.
The blend of souped-up peptidesin Benefit Puff Off, £22.50, promotes collagen growth and smooths over fine lines.
Sub your serum for Estée Lauder Resilience Lift Restorative Oil, £50. Plant-based oils (basically superfood for skin) lock in skin moisture.
More potent than most over-the-counter retinol products, use Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment, £51.50, at night.


You’re never too young for anti-ageing products that maintain firmness. As well as products containing retinol, which rallies sluggish skin cells and boosts collagen production, stick with fatigue-fighting ingredients.

Uneven skin

Elethea Pure Balancing Cleanser, £36, contains antioxidant powerhouse baobab extract and alpha hydroxy acids to supercharge skin cell renewal.
Time Bomb Black Ops Dark Circle Rescue, £36, lightens bruise-like circles and strengthens translucent skin for bright, wide-awake eyes.
Philosophy No Reason To Hide Multi-Imperfection Transforming Serum, £48, breaks up melanin to stop dark spots forming.
SkinCeuticals Brightening UV Defense SPF 30, £31, delivers practically impenetrable protection from long and short ultraviolet rays.


SPF is a prerequisite, while everything else is damage-limitation. As well as brightening antioxidants and light-diffusing formulas, scan product labels for ingredients that encourage cell turnover.

Moody skin

Reset skin’s PH level and minimise the scale of breakouts with Alpha H Balancing Cleanser, £25, which also contains aloe vera.
Use an exfoliating toner, such as Biologique Recherche Lotion P50, £52, as a pore-cleansing polish (don’t be put off by initial tingling).
Eau Thermale Avene Cleanance Expert, £15, is a moisturiser formulated to kill bacteria and regulate skin sebum levels.
Indie Lee Blemish Lotion, £18, contains salicylic acid, mineral clay to draw out toxins and camphor to tackle redness and inflammation.


Blanket coverage won’t cut it; tailor your topicals to treat different areas of your face, at various times of the month. Switch between soothing ingredients, such as aloe vera and spot fighters like salicylic acid.

City skin

Ren Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial, £32, contains vitamin C to brighten and firm up skin. Use twice a week after your regular cleanser.
As well as targeting discolouration, Murad Instant Radiance Eye Cream, £49.50, kickstartscollagen production.
La Roche-Posay Pigmentclar Day Care SPF 30, £26, has an anti-adhesive texture to stop pollution particles sticking to skin.
Antioxidant-rich Codage Masque Purifiant, £42, minimises the appearance of pores. It contains a glow-giving peel to energise cells, too.


Look out for products containing vitamin C, which fends off free radicals and can increase the effectiveness of sun screen. An enzyme peel will give dead skin cells short shrift, too.

Sluggish skin

Aveda Botanical Kinetics Purifying Crème Cleanser, £17, contains hydrating jojoba and coconut oil, so skin is left squeaky clean, but not tight.
Add two drops of Vichy Neovadiol Magistral Elixir, £29.75, to your moisturiser, or apply on its own to replenish skin with essential lipids.
The Body Shop Drops Of Youth Bouncy Sleeping Mask, £22, saturates the dermis with hyaluronic acid and seals in other skin products.
Make-up artist favourite Embryolisse Laboratories Lait-Crème Concentre, £20, is packed full of vitamins and plumps up skin, instantly.


To lubricate skin and bolster the lipid barrier, apply products that are easily absorbed, like slippery concentrates and oils (which have a low molecular weight so sink into skin in seconds).


The Fix-It Facials

Take a hands-on approach to unsettled skin with one of these splurge-worthy treatments. Road-tested by Team HFM


Best for intolerant skin

Treatment: Dr Sturm Molecular Facial, from £134 at The Dorchester Spa, London

Tester: Juliet Herd, editor

Verdict: “According to the Skin Glossary on page 98, my skin is textbook ‘intolerant’, long-haul flights, late nights, even a cold snap can set off flushing or a rash of rough, under-the-surface pimples. Cue cosmetic dermatologist Dr Barbara Sturm (Kylie and Kim Kardashian are fans of her skincare). Sturm (pictured, left) says a daily assault of super-strength anti-ageing products has wreaked havoc with my complexion, as when skin is flooded by formulas containing mineral oils and unnecessary preservatives, it can’t take on adequate nutrients and moisture. The treatment starts with microdermabrasion, then comes mesotherapy, where hyaluronic acid (a hydrating molecule) and purslane (an antioxidant) are delivered directly to skin cells by micro-injections. Next is an anti-inflammatory aloe vera mask and LED colour light therapy to repair damaged cells. Dr Sturm also offers to draw clients’ blood to make her cult MC1 Cream (£650) – proteins harvested from blood cells supercharge skin’s own healing mechanism. Immediately after my facial, it felt like I’d acquired brand new swathes of baby-soft skin, my cheeks were particularly plumped up. Several weeks on, my skin is noticeably more resilient.”


Best for city skin

Treatment: Crystal Clear Cryo Oxygen Microchannelling Collagen Induction Therapy (COMIT), £75 a session (available nationwide)

Tester: Jill Wanless, deputy editor

Verdict: “I live in London and it shows up on my skin. Congested pores, a sallow, oxygen-starved complexion and patches of dryness give away my postcode, apparently. Think of these high-tech COMIT treatments as an intravenous vitamin infusion for your face. Cold oxygen is pushed into skin (at the deepest level of the epidermis where ageing begins) to energise sluggish cells. Then a microchannelling roller creates hundreds of microscopic channels, forming direct pathways for a brightening vitamin C treatment. The procedure is only mildly uncomfortable, a tingling sensation really, and the results are immediate; the sort of spotless, dewy complexion that prompted my colleagues to comment: ‘Did you go away for the weekend?’”


Best for moody skin

Treatment: Dr Rabia Skin Detox Facial, £250 (60 minutes) at Grace Belgravia, London

Tester: Charlotte Jolly, beauty director

Verdict: “My skin has developed a split personality. At 29, I’m dealing with acne for the first time in my life (not cystic pimples, stubborn red bumps – and breakouts concentrated along my jawline). I’ve also noticed my skin is prone to sensitivity (no obvious triggers) and patches of dryness (everywhere). Quick to pinpoint fluctuating hormone levels as the cause, Dr Rabia devises a tailor-made skin detox. The treatment includes a slightly-acidic cleanse (to bring down the PH of my skin and inhibit bacterial growth), a gentle exfoliating peel mask (to dissolve the bonds that hold dead skin cells together) and the application of a customised serum, blended on site, containing niacinamide (vitamin B3) to even out tone and texture. It’s definitely helped reconcile the two sides to my skin; acne hotspots have shrunk (still sportinga few pimples around my mouth, but they’re not as noticeable) and dryness has disappeared.”


Best for dull skin

Treatment: Debbie Thomas DNA 3D Skin Tightening Facial, from £345 (60 minutes) at Debbie Thomas Collective, Hari’s, 305 Brompton Road, London

Tester: Gabriella Pisani, beauty writer

Verdict: “A lack of volume is my skin concern, contours that lack definition, once-faint lines burrowing deeper into my forehead and creases creeping out from the corner of each eye. Tech savvy Debbie Thomas (her office has more switches than any facialist I know) is the first in the UK to offer intra-oral (inside the mouth) laser skin tightening. Sounds torturous, but it’s really not, and talk about instant gratification – my jawline looked noticeably sharper. Debbie ran the collagen-stirring Dual Yellow Laser and the ‘Smooth’ mode Erbium laser over my face and neck, zapping damaged skin cells. The latter feels like tiny elastic bands being flicked against your skin, uncomfy but bearable. The result? Plumper skin, albeit slightly red for a day. And lines and creases appear significantlyreduced. Impressive.”


Best for uneven skin

Treatment: Dermalogica Biosurface Peel, £80, available nationwide

Tester: Alex Light, online editor

Verdict: “My patches of pigmentation are dark enough to be distracting and I’ve started using a foundation with extra coverage. A laissez faire attitude to SPF is to blame. Uninclined to schedule in recovery time post appointment, I’ve steered clear of chemical peels up until now, but Dermalogica’s new offering promises little-to-no face flaking. Instead of abrasive single acid solutions, the topical treatments for this peel are formulated with a low PH to minimise irritation. Salicylic acid loosens keratin bonds, creating a burst of exfoliation, and lactic acid energises skin cells. My facialist explains there’s also a final ‘De-celerator’ step that slows down exfoliating activity, neutralises acids and soothes the epidermis. After session four I’ve ditched my foundation for a semi-sheer tinted moisturiser.”


Best for sluggish skin

Treatment: Decléor Divine Nutrition, £75 (1 hour 15 minutes), available nationwide

Tester: Dawn Emery, features director

Verdict: “Dry, taut and flaky skin is never a good look... and apparently mine is caused by a slow skin metabolism. My facialist explains that my skin has an oil deficit and therefore lacks protective lipids. She can tell by pressing down on my cheek – if it doesn’t bounce back the skin is not producing enough sebum. This treatment is super-relaxing and includes three facial massages, using Aroma-Pressure and Aroma-Drainage techniques, and skin is drenched in a blend of active ingredients including marjoram essential oil – a molecule that stimulates lipid production, strengthens the skin’s barrier function and boosts hydration. Oils are also more penetrative than creams. The treatment finishes with a nutrition-packed face mask.I emerged feeling protected and wrapped-up against the dry, winter weather. Whileno quick fix, weeks later my skin still feels soft, subtle and more radiant. I’m also a facial oil convert.”