Skin Care SOS: Expert advice for specific skin problems

Diagnosis: Eczema

Symptoms: There is a difference between having straightforward dry skin and having inflamed skin, but one will often lead to the other. Some people genetically have drier skin, which means they might be lacking certain proteins that maintain moisture. This makes them more at risk of developing eczema. Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition with symptoms including red patches, itchy patches and cracks in the skin.

Advice: Consultant Dermatologist Dr Justine Hextall says: It is important to protect children from getting into the eczema and allergy cycle by looking after their skin barrier. This means keeping their skin moisturised and not over bathing them or using harsh detergents and soaps on their skin. Adults should stay away from harsh washes as well and this includes anything that’s alcohol-based, soapy or alkaline. If a customer’s skin feels tight after washing, it’s usually because the skin barrier has been altered. The natural skin pH is acidic but the tightness indicates it has been rendered alkaline by harsh products. When the barrier is alkaline the cells can swell and and plump up at first. Due to the barrier function being disrupted this can mean increased water loss from the epidermis, leaving the skin dry and flaky.

Diagnosis: Sensitive skin

Symptoms: Sensitive skin is a generic term that is used a lot but the main symptom is skin that gets inflamed quite quickly. If a customer starts to use a new product, they might find that it takes a while for their skin to tolerate it. A customer might also find that they are fragrance-sensitive and their skin generally feels dry and tight. If a customer puts a gel-based product on their face and it stings, that could be described as sensitive skin. There is no real definition of sensitive skin but it could be defined as skin that can’t tolerate certain products.

Advice: Consultant Dermatologist Dr Justine Hextall says: If a customer lives in an area with lots of hard water or minerals, it can make their skin very dry and irritated. Explain to customers that if they put water on their face and find their skin gets drier, it could be the water that’s irritating their skin. I would advise customers to use a pH-friendly wash. The skin’s natural pH is slightly acidic so you should recommend a wash that is friendly to the skin and is slightly acidic as this means it will be a really gentle cleanser such as Avène or Cetaphil. Sensitive skin is usually drier so suggest products that are slightly thicker and more cream-based.

Diagnosis: Acne

Symptoms: A co-existence of whiteheads and blackheads is a good indicator of acne. Customers with acne will get a mixture of papules, pustules and whiteheads when the pores close or open under the skin. Acne can present itself at different times of people’s lives. Teenage acne is most common but 20-somethings and beyond can suffer from adult acne. Adult sufferers can be sensitive to testosterone, or they might have normal testosterone levels but can become more sensitive to it when they are stressed. Equally, if someone’s skin care regime isn’t very good, they might be inclined to use harsh washes and soaps when they start to see spots. However, this will strip the skin barrier and inflame the skin, which conversely makes the skin produce more oil and will lead to more spots.

Advice: Consultant Dermatologist Dr Justine Hextall says: A healthy diet is really important for those suffering from acne. Customers should follow what I would refer to as an alkaline diet, which includes mixed fruit and vegetables containing antioxidants. Berries, for example, are fantastic for calming the skin. The stresses and strains of the day (pollution, sun exposure, smoking, alcohol and a poor diet) can cause free radical damage and the inflammatory cycle. Foods and supplements with antioxidants can mitigate against free radical damage and calm everything down.

Diagnosis: Roseacea

Symptoms: A rosacea sufferer will have sensitive skin, fine thread veins, redness under the skin and spots such as pustules. The factors that trigger sensitivity, redness and flushing will vary from person to person but can include the sun, drinking wine and eating spicy foods.

Advice: Consultant Dermatologist Dr Justine Hextall says: Customers should look out for triggers and avoid them if they can. Advise them to keep a diary if they are not sure about what triggers their symptoms. In terms of a skin care regime, it’s about protecting the skin barrier so I would recommend a very gentle and slightly acidic wash, such as Cetaphil. The wash should be applied with a hot flannel and gently exfoliated into the skin with an electronic cleanser such as Clarisonic.

Suggest a moisturiser that’s not too heavy but will suit their skin type. For example, a lotion would be good if the skin is feeling dry and if it is particularly dry, I would suggest a cream. Advise your customer to visit a doctor or dermatologist if the rosacea is severe or if the customer cannot decipher the trigger as a topical antibiotic cream, change of diet or alternative skin care regime might be required.

Diagnosis: Ageing skin

Symptoms: The first sign of skin ageing is wrinkles around the eyes and this will usually become noticeable in the mid-to-late twenties. After that, more wrinkles will appear on the forehead and also in the laughter or smile lines. Customers might also start to notice age spots on the face and décolleté area first. At a later stage, the age spots might also appear on the hands.

Advice: Harley Street Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon and anti-ageing expert Dr Marko Lens says: An eye cream that reduces wrinkles, puffiness and dark circles should be used from an early age to prevent and reverse some of the signs of ageing. Suggest cosmetic products that contain peptides and retinol to resurface the skin and promote cell renewal. Cleansing should be the first step of a skin care routine followed by exfoliation with a scrub and some mechanical exfoliation. Acids will work like a toner to further exfoliate the skin tone and resurface the skin. A serum with antioxidants should follow to fight against free radicals. The next step is a moisturiser that contains peptides and active ingredients to improve the skin’s firmness and elasticity and fight against wrinkles. The final step is to apply a SPF30 sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection.

How to sell specialist skin care

Murad’s Retail Director Debbie Newell shares her advice on how to help customers find the skin care products that will work for their particular skin type

  1. Find out your customer’s main skin concern through a thorough consultation. It will help you identify their key areas of concern and using tools such as the Murad Youth Cam, which replicates a consultation with Dr Murad, can help visualise what these concerns are and how you can address them with targeted skin care.
  2. Encourage your customer to try the products on their skin. It is important to apply the products to every person you speak to and explain what each step is doing to help them understand the brand.
  3. Listen to your customer and ask questions. Asking specific questions can help you to link sale. For example, if a customer comes in for a moisturiser, asking about their body concerns will help you sell additional products and tackle your customer’s specific needs from head to toe.
  4. Follow-ups are important to ensure your customer is using the product and seeing results. It will help your relationship and keep your customer happy.
  5. Never blind a customer with science. Focus on key features and benefits relevant to your customer’s needs. It’s all about the customer and how she or he can achieve the best result on their skin.

Brand guide

Skin Doctors Vein Away Plus reduces the appearance of visible spider veins, broken capillaries and burst blood vessels. The specialised spider vein formulation includes phytotonine, a botanical complex that is scientifically shown to decrease visible discolouration by 24% and reduce the appearance of extra vascular blood flow (responsible for spider veins) by 25% in six to eight weeks. RRP £21.40, Skin Doctors, .

Cuticura Sensitive Anti Bacterial Hand Foamer 50ml is part of the brand’s new sensitive range, which has been designed to give customers the most gentle protection formula to date. The Foamer provides the same protection against 99.9% of bacteria and is more convenient than ever to use as it releases a measured dosage each time. The foamer contains skin kind ingredients such as aloe vera and chamomile so it is ideal for frequent use without leaving hands feeling dry or irritated and it is suitable for children. RRP £1.49, Cuticura,