Behind enemy lines
Crow’s feet, wrinkles, age spots … we don’t like them and we want to banish them from our lives forever. Like it or not, ageing is a natural part of life but, as Bonnie Vereker, owner of Remedy S+B Skincare, explains there are ways to fight back.
Ageing is the process of becoming older and there is not much we can do to halt, or even impede, its progression. In our modern world, with its many environmental, habitual and chemical stressors, any visible signs of ageing are exacerbated, aggravated, irritated and, worst of all, sped up.
There is a fine line (no pun intended) between natural ageing and ageing while also proactively enforcing and enhancing our good health. Our skin has a big part to play in how we age and, as our largest organ, it is important we take care of it.
I firmly believe that with the right knowledge and a dedicated approach, it is possible to delay signs of ageing and poor skin health for men and women, the young, the middle-aged and seniors.
I have always been passionate about the importance of skin care, and it didn’t start with an interest in ageing. When I was 14, I had a significant horse riding accident and I was left with very serious injuries to my face including a broken jaw and severe, bone-deep skin lacerations that left me with serious long-term issues involving nerve damage and scar tissue. Several years of follow-up reconstructive surgery, laser, botox (before it was everywhere), and patiently waiting years for the nerve damage to heal and allow my smile to return to normal, signalled the beginning of my journey and my quest for ultimate skin health.
Later, in my 20s, I suffered from rosacea and, when I was prescribed topical and internal antibiotics to use long term, I was shocked! This further fuelled my commitment to find alternative remedies and I developed an even deeper personal interest in natural and effective solutions to skin conditions.
After gaining a research honours degree, a graduate diploma in Education, and a Diploma of Complimentry & Wholistic Beauty, I worked for several years in a Gold Coast plastic surgery specialising as a dermal therapist, skin care consultant, and as the surgeon’s assistant working with pre- and post-operative patients. The privilege of working so intimately with these patients gave me an incredible insight into the importance of our skin and how its health, or lack of, can affect us on a physical and psychological level. Over my career, I have spoken extensively with many patients and found a common thread of concern, revolving heavily around ageing, scarring, body image and the desire for ‘natural beauty’ and to look and feel good.
On a practical level, I’d like to share with you a few of my top tips for attaining ideal skin health. With so many skin care products on the market, the choice can be overwhelming. There are countless scientific names attached to each tube and bottle and it is hard to decipher the actual ingredients in the products, let alone understand why they might be beneficial. Coupled with the fact that people are busy and skin care is perceived as a luxury, many of us do not take the time to look after our skin and the neglect eventually shows. But, it takes a very simple routine to turn tired skin around into glowing, healthy skin.
If you know you have been neglecting your skin, try this simple routine.
Choose natural products.
The first and most important step is to choose natural products. It is essential that skin care is natural as our bodies deal with enough toxic pollutants in our environment, so applying more chemicals to your skin just adds to the problem. Choose natural purified (chirally corrected) and concentrated products designed for optimal skin health.
2. Give yourself time
An effective skin care routine can take as little as five minutes a day. Place your products next to the sink and, as you step out of the shower, adopt a habit of immediately carrying out your skin care routine. The results will be worth the time investment.
The number one, most important and effective skin care and anti-aging treatment is using sunscreen and a hat. Protecting yourself from the sun is truly the ultimate anti-ageing practice, and it must be broad spectrum rated SPF15 or greater. I prefer to use a zinc-based sunscreen as this avoids any harsh chemicals. Therapeutically, zinc also functions as an excellent anti-inflammatory and mineral-tinted zinc can double as a foundation.
An essential and incredibly renewing method of exfoliation is medical microdermabrasion (check out what Angela, the founder of the Place for Health thought of the process in our feature!). Microdermabrasion is a controlled and clinical way of polishing the skin and accelerating blood supply and the healing phase in skin which promotes fibroblast activity and collagen and elastin renewal. It also allows for a much more advanced absorption of premium active ingredients, meaning your products work more effectively.
5. Feed your skin
Just as we need to feed our body the right nutrients, we also need to feed our skin properly. Vitamin A is essential for anti-aging and overall cellular renewal. It has many amazing functions, especially its ability to speed up our skin’s natural cellular cycle back to our youthful 28-day cycle. It also promotes the emergence of a higher quality skin cell. Our skin naturally sheds, however, as we age our natural skin cycle slows down dramatically and the quality of our skin degrades due to sun damage and lack of skin nutrition. Look for “Retinadehyde” form of Vitamin A in percentages over .5%.
Another amazing ingredient for your skincare routine is the topical application of Niacinamide. This incredible vitamin boosts your skin’s immune system and increases food supply to skin tissue due to its vasodilating microcirculation actions.
Vitamin C is one of the most well-researched and effective vitamins that can be applied to your skin. Renowned for its lightening, brightening, immune boosting and antioxidising powers, topical and internal Vitamin C is one of the most effective and beneficial age-reversing ingredients available. We naturally have vitamin C in our epidermis (upper layers of skin) and dermis (deep layers of skin), however ageing, excessive exposure to UV light and pollutants tend to lower our vitamin C content. This brilliant antioxidant not only fights free-radical damage, it also protects against UV-induced cell damage and lipid peroxidation, two of the strongest contributors to the aging process.
6. Love the skin you are in
We often focus our skin care regime on only our faces or décolletage (chest area), however, in doing so we often neglect the rest of our body. Our skin needs our love and attention if we want it to support us and our overall health. Take the time to look after your skin and feed yourself well and you will not only look radiant, you will also feel replenished, reinvigorated, healthier and more vibrant.
Break out box
Bonnie’s six-step regime to healthy skin.
Choose natural products.
Give yourself time.
Feed your skin.
Love the skin you are in.
If you have any concerns regarding spots on your skin, contact Cancer Council Australia on 13 11 20 or consult your nearest medical skin specialist.
NOTE: THIS iS A BREAK OUT SIDE PIECE TO SUPPORT THE ARTICLE
Buff and polish
By Angela Lockwood
I must confess skin care has never been high on my priority list. I always manage the slip, slop, slap routine when outdoors, but I eventually realised my shortcomings in the skin care department when I attended a basic beauty course and the gorgeously made up 20-something-year-old trainer looked at me and giggled, assuming I was joking when I told her that moisturiser, foundation and lip gloss were not just my beauty essentials … they were, in fact, my complete regime.
When I hit 30 I noticed little lines starting to appear on my face. My skin was showing signs of 30 years of going to the beach, playing sport outdoors and thinking that using a moisturiser every couple of days would keep my skin radiant and glowing. I decided that I needed to take more care of my skin as the signs of neglect were starting to show—damn you ageing. However, when I was offered the opportunity to undertake medical microdermabrasion, I instantly went into a state of anxiety and high-breath mode. Images of needles sticking out of my forehead; big, fat, over-botoxed lips; and a face that didn’t move whether I smiled or frowned, immediately surfaced.
No way, I thought, because I am going to age gracefully! But the beautiful Bonnie at Remedy S+B clinic assured me that medical microdermabrasion resembled none of my mental horrors. It was, she said, more like a car polish with a coarse grain of diamond particles buffering off a layer of my skin. Was she serious? This didn’t really help … well the diamonds part did a little; who doesn’t want to be massaged with diamonds? So, with a promise of years being shaved off my life dangling before me, I succumbed. Plus, Bonnie is older than me, and looks years younger … so, it couldn’t hurt.
Bonnie showed me into her salon—complete with chandelier, mirrored furniture and crystals—and I felt like I was walking into a cave where Elsa and Anna from Frozen would have been at home. I was perfectly distracted from my impending buff and polish.
As I lay down on the bed, I looked up at the chandelier and took a deep breath. Bonnie began applying products on me and giving explanations of their wondrous natural ingredients and how my skin would love me for doing this. The bottle of cleanser smelt like a tantalising blend of coconut, melons and a hint of pina colada, and all I could think about was trying to lick my own face.
Then the power was turned on, and Bonnie glided over brandishing a little white machine with a small sucking wand. She assured me the next step would not hurt as the diamond particles would be very gentle on the skin. Diamonds, chandeliers and a pina colada-smelling face … this was the life.
After a few minutes of buffing and sucking, the little wand weaved its magic and, with a few more coats of product, I was done. The experience had been a delight of the senses.
However, next came the warnings. I needed to be aware the procedure might have caused slight redness to the skin, sensitivity to sunlight for a day, and it was possible a burning and tingling sensation could arise. What had I done? Should I panic?!
It wasn’t until the following day that I looked in the mirror and saw a slightly more youthful version of myself. Well, hello there! I could see a difference in my skin. Just like when a good oil has been rubbed onto a horse saddle, my skin felt lighter, more open and it certainly looked smoother. Why had I never had this done before?
I felt inspired and immediately started my daily routine of cleansing, toning, spraying, and hydrating between sessions. After three visits, my newly buffed skin was being noticed.
People were commenting on how lovely my skin looked and this was enough for me to agree that the five-minute daily investment of looking after my skin was worth it. My skin felt better and I know that I am looking after the very thing that holds me together; it is the least I can do.
Treatments like medical microdermabrasion vary in their cost ranging from $55 for a quick and up to $400 for the whole bells and whistles. Skin care is important both for your physical health but also for your mental health, you can feel great and look great at the same time!