Facialist and Skincare Educator Andy Millward chats to our resident medical specialist Dr Natasha Berridge about the ‘F” word on everybody’s lips.

Want to know more about the ‘F’ word that everybody is talking about in the world of aesthetics? As the ever-popular ‘self-improvement’ movement continues to gain momentum, so too does the need to secure a fabulous “Facialist”. Relatively new to UK shores, the Facialist concept las long since been in vogue in the US.

However, now that ‘beauty-bars’ are growing in number in the UK, the skincare industry is increasingly embracing this influential new trend. Indeed, an ‘elite’ group of experts are taking facials to the next level by combining the very best of cosmeceuticals with advancing scientific knowledge. With the ever-evolving menu of ‘facials’ available in the marketplace, Dr Berridge quizzes leading facialist and skincare educationalist, Andy Millward on how to create that ‘smoother and radiant natural-looking’ complexion. Over, to the expert;

What are the essentials of a good facial?

The absolute essentials of a good facial are all the elements that support the treatment. For example, performing an in-depth consultation, diagnostic skin analysis and finally educating the client on exactly how to look after their skin in between treatments. In my opinion, this is the key difference between a generic beauty facial and consulting an expert, such as a facialist who specialises in skin.

Undeniably, we have access to amazing treatment modalities however the treatment itself is not the be-all and end-all. Typically, clients will see their facialist for 1 hour per month and there is only so much that can be achieved within this time frame.

More importantly, it’s how the client looks after their skin for the remaining 729 hours of the month that makes all the difference and has the potential to either support or sabotage the results from treatment.

So essentially, the key role of any good Facialist is to educate the client and this without a doubt makes all the difference!

With the rise of popular celebrity facials such as the Vampire or fetus facial, how do I know which ‘bespoke’ facial is right for me?

Consultation and professional guidance are key. I rarely let my clients choose their own treatment. We are always our own worse critics and often perceive something to be worse than it is and/or believe that the strongest treatment is needed.

A good Facialist/aesthetician will be able to carry out a thorough consultation and skin analysis as well as advise as to which treatment is best for you. I also believe in working progressively, so it’s likely that treatment will always start with the least invasive option and work up in intensity only if and when required.

One of my mottos is that “I treat the skin, not the symptoms”. Often clients will come to see me with one or more skin concerns. It is vital that they understand we need to work on repairing the skin barrier and getting the skin healthy and “ready” for treatment, before addressing the symptoms that they’re actually concerned about.

More often than not, skin symptoms are secondary to an impaired skin barrier and so correcting skin function comes before treating the cause of the problem.

Which acids are used in chemical peels?

Acids used in chemical peels vary depending on the type/strength of peel being used and who is delivering it. For example, peels carried out by Facialists will generally be Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) and/or Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA)-based peels such as glycolic acid, mandelic acid and salicyclic acid.

Deeper peels carried out by Doctors are likely to include the more aggressive agents Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA) or Phenol. As such, TCA or Phenol peels are not as popular as they once used to be and it’s fair to say that most doctors are now opting for AHA/BHA based peels.

I personally don’t believe that ablating the skin with strong acids and leaving it in a ‘compromised state’. The skin is after all an organ of protection. In fact, the majority of “peel” treatments I perform are predominantly Retinol-based (Vitamin A).

This method of ‘peeling’ is less traumatic on the epidermis compared to traditional chemical peels. Retinoids induce a mild micro-flaking as a result of increased cell renewal. This mechanism of action makes retinoids incredibly safe for use in all skin types. Vitamin A is also corrective, so provides additional benefits to the skin that a chemical peel would not offer.

What is LED light and what are its benefits?

LED Light Therapy, also known as Low-Level Light Therapy or Photo-Biomodulation is a method of light at specific wavelengths (red, near-infrared, blue) to induce a photochemical reaction within the skin. Our skin cells have the ability to absorb light energy; in particular our cell’s mitochondria.

The latter is referred to as the ‘powerhouse of the cell’ and can absorb the light, thereby producing more Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), which is considered to be the ‘battery fluid’ of the cell. Essentially the more ATP or ‘cellular energy’ our cells have the better they can perform. The differing wavelengths of light instigate differing chemical reactions, for example Red/NIR energise the cell by producing more ATP and boosting collagen production.  

LED Light Therapy is clinically proven to stimulate the skin’s natural regeneration and wound healing/repair processes with minimal or no downtime. This is hugely beneficial for skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis and hyperpigmentation.

The key with LED Light Therapy is consistency as our cells are constantly using energy stores of ATP and therefore, to get optimal results we need to continuously replenish our ATP stores within our cells. However, one of the challenges with Light Therapy is that in order to achieve optimal results one needs to have consecutive treatment sessions fairly close together (2-3 times/week).

For most people, this is not practical and so I have recently started to retail FaceLite, which is a home-use LED for clients to maintain optimal skin results between their monthly facials.

What is the most efficient way to deliver hyaluronic acid to the skin?

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a substance naturally found in the body, with highest concentrations in the skin. The molecule holds onto x1000 its weight in water thereby contributing to skin hydration, plumpness and firmness. 

HA is available in various molecular weights with some low molecular HA molecules are able to penetrate to the deepest layers of the skin at the dermal-epidermal junction. In its most natural form, HA does not penetrate to the deeper layers of the skin very well and therefore scientists have made commercially available a liposomal encapsulated HAs. Studies have proved that encapsulated HA is the most reliable method for HA to penetrate throughout all skin layers following topical application.

Generally speaking, the most efficient way to get HA into the skin would be through micro-needling which makes a physical channel for the HA to by-pass the skins natural lipid barrier (trans-dermal infusion). Importantly, not every HA serum is suitable for trans-dermal infusion. In my current practice, I use sterile mesotherapy ampoules packed with HA that are designed for use with micro-needling. The benefit of doing this is that the ampoules are essentially purified water with a mixture of HA, vitamins and minerals that when applied to the skin would not be identified as ‘foreign’ material.

For more information or if you would like to book a consultation with Andy Millward click here.

Dr Natasha Berridge

Dr Natasha Berridge FRCS (OMFS) is the resident Medical Facial Specialist at Salon Prive Magazine. Dr Berridge is a highly trained NHS maxillofacial surgeon, dually qualified in Medicine and Dentistry, specialising in facial aesthetics, reconstructive trauma and skin surgery. She has worked alongside some of the UK’s top Cosmetic Surgeons and is a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and member of the British Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons (BAOMS). Dr Berridge has a wealth of knowledge of facial aesthetics and is concluding her MSc in Skin Ageing & Aesthetic Medicine at the University of Manchester. She continues to present at International Conferences and is widely published in peer-reviewed surgical journals. Additionally, Dr Berridge is the co-author of a leading Head & Neck anatomy DVD and is a clinical contributor to the popular published monthly journal, Aesthetics. Dr Berridge is one of few highly skilled, dually qualified female facial surgeons in the UK who also performs a comprehensive range of advanced non-surgical aesthetic treatments.

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