By Carla Oates
At the end of the day, when it comes to our skin, we’re likely all striving for the same result: healthy, glowing, resilient skin.
Although some are blessed with naturally glowing complexions, many of us have to work hard daily to achieve skin that’s clear, radiant and well-hydrated. And, while topical treatments and our daily skincare regime certainly play an important role in maintaining a healthy complexion, we also know how important it is to nourish ourselves from the inside out if we want to truly achieve that effortless ‘glow’.
To help us better understand the connection between skincare, our health and a glowing complexion, we spoke to one of the world’s leading skincare experts, GP and Aesthetic Doctor, Dr Rabia Malik...
What are some of the factors that contribute to a glowing complexion?
“Glowing skin is definitely something my patients are looking for—and in my opinion, it’s ultimately due to a combination of factors. I believe you can only truly achieve a glowing complexion by optimising your internal health, alongside using the right products and active ingredients for your skin topically and then topping that up with some targeted skin treatments in clinic and at home.”
How would you describe your skincare philosophy?
“Although I am a GP by training, my approach to Aesthetic Medicine is very holistic. I feel our skin in particular is often a reflection of our internal health, and it’s one of the reasons I was so drawn to Aesthetics. I feel my medical background has allowed me to help my patients by optimising their hormones, gut health, diet and environment - all of which have an impact on the skin’s appearance.
My skincare philosophy is ultimately about helping people figure out the right combination of diet/supplements alongside products and treatments so they can get their best possible skin.”
Why is your diet such an important factor when it comes to your skin?
“Our diet has a huge impact on all aspects of health, but particularly skin, as the food we eat has the potential to cause internal inflammation which can be reflected in our skin. Inflammation is ultimately the cause of all ageing. Our understanding of gut health and the link between the gut and skin has also evolved over the years, and studies have shown that there are links between certain skin conditions (such as acne, dermatitis and psoriasis) and the gut microbiome.
We know that sugar, dairy and gluten all contribute to internal inflammation—so these are best avoided—while antioxidants (in the form of colourful vegetables and fruits) and good fats (such as those found in nuts, seeds, olive oil and avocado) as well as fermented foods, are all beneficial for skin health.”
What are some other lifestyle suggestions you make to your patients?
“Our environment and lifestyle also have a huge impact on our health and our skin. Minimising exposure to environmental toxins—such as cigarette smoke and nicotine (from cigarettes and/or vapes)—is important, as these can damage the skin structure. Protecting our skin from prolonged UV exposure is also vital and probably the number one thing we can do to prevent skin ageing. Ensuring adequate sleep is vital for allowing skin cell regeneration. Regular exercise is important for promoting circulation and drinking enough water daily helps maintain skin hydration, which helps keep skin looking dewy and plumped up.”
When it comes to products, what should we be looking for?
“I believe less is more when it comes to skincare products. The absolute essentials for all skin types and all skin ages in my opinion are a gentle face wash for adequate skin cleansing, an antioxidant-based serum in the morning followed by a mineral-based sunscreen and a collagen-stimulating product at night.
The actual products will vary from person to person, depending on personal preference, how their skin responds to certain ingredients and the sort of texture they are looking for, but the key principles stay the same, as outlined above.”
What is the biggest misconception people make about looking after their skin?
“In my experience, the biggest misconception is that you need to do a lot and/or use a lot of aggressive products to achieve results. I personally believe in using a few products with the right active ingredients in the right concentration and being consistent with their use. Getting a skin expert to help create a suitable routine for you is a worthwhile investment, and then you just have to be diligent. Use your products and take your supplements every day and you will see the results in the years to come.”
What do you anticipate to be the next big paradigm shift in the world of beauty?
“I think there is definitely a shift towards more personalisation and the use of Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality to help people choose and create the right products for their specific needs. This has also led to more diversity and inclusion within the world of beauty which is great.
In terms of skincare, I think there is a move away from multiple single-ingredient products. People want to simplify their regimes and while there was certainly a recent fad for single-ingredient products that could be combined, many people have realised that it can be a false economy. Having one well-formulated product with all the active ingredients in it at the right concentrations is easier and simpler to use and usually delivers better results.”