A skincare consultant to the stars, whose clientele includes Kim Kardashian and Anna Wintour, reveals the skin-ageing mistakes you could be making…
Esthetician Joanna Czech has revealed the top ten mistakes that people make with their skincare routine, some of which you’re likely to be guilty of, and could be ageing your face.
Joanna, who is based in the US, has a long list of A-list clients that include; Jennifer Aniston, Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet, the Hadids, and Uma Thurman.
And while she says the pandemic and international lockdown has seen an incredible improvement in 80 per cent of her client’s skin, Joanna warns that new factors have come to play.
Esthetician Joanna Czech with her client Kim Kardashian who visited Joanna for a ‘self care day’ earlier this year
Joanna says: ‘Wearing the face protection mask does create a micro-climate, which can lead to bacterial infections and break outs due to dehydration.’
Another skin effecting factor for many during the pandemic is stress, says Joanna, who says stress can prevent adequate blood flow leading to a ‘greyish and dull’ look.
She believes that many have seen an improvement in their skin during the pandemic as they ‘have a little more time to pay attention to their skin’.
Speaking to Femail to coincide with the launch of The Facial Edit, her skincare collection with Dr Yannis Alexandrides of 111Skin, which launches today, Joanna reveals how to avoid the most common mistakes made by skincare amateurs, often with the best intentions…
1. Don’t ever skip your nighttime routine
The skin specialist believes that a full nighttime skincare routine allows the skin to be ‘much stronger to deal with any environmental exposure’ without having to be ‘too fancy’ with your morning routine.
Joanna says: ‘If you prepare your skin at the night time your skin will be about 60 per cent more potent to absorb everything throughout relaxation and rejuvenation time.’
What is a basic nighttime face care routine?
Joanna says: ‘When it comes to skincare, what is important is that at minimum you’re using cleanser, toner, serum, eye cream and moisturiser.’
What does a thorough nighttime face care routine look like?
She adds that for those looking to spend extra time on their routine three to four nights a week they can incorporate extra steps.
First using face wash, then a clay mask for deeper cleansing, then toner, then a balancing mask, before finishing the routine with toner again to re-balance the PH of the skin – preferably a less acidic toner such as rose water for the second round, says Joanna.
After using these products you can enjoy some luxurious eye patches and use LED therapy or massage your face with a roller such as Joanna’s own facial massager, which you can buy as part of ‘The Facial Edit’, a kit including black diamond face masks from 111SKIN (£200, 111skin.co.uk)
2. Don’t forget about the neck, decolletage and hands
Joanna tells all her clients to remember that ‘the face starts at the nipples and ends at the hairline’, and urges them to use the same products all over.
She says: ‘Your neck and décolleté have fewer sebaceous glands and therefore show signs of ageing more quickly than your face.
‘Use your face products on these areas as well as your body products so they will get twice the treatment.
‘The lipid layer on the neck and decolletage is about 30 to 40 per cent reduced due to fewer sebaceous glands in this area. Usually we develop acne on our faces because they have more sebaceous glands.
‘We have barely any of these glands on our hands so that’s why it shows the ageing process faster on the neck and decolletage (as these glands are naturally moisturising).’
Joanna’s tip for keeping your hands in good shape: Use any residue products on your hands after moisturising your face or body.
Joanna says a gentle patting potion – a ‘press release motion’ should be used applying toner as When you press the skin it slightly opens and when it’s released it grabs products on surface
3. Toner is a key step in your routine that is misunderstood
Joanna says: ‘Toner follows cleansing and is the first step in treatment as it balances the PH of skin and allows for better efficacy of the products that follow it.
‘Toner is not your second step of cleansing it is your first step of treatment. Your routine starts with a cleanser that’s the most important thing.
Is it ok to use facewipes when you’re in a rush?
Joanna Czech says: ‘I like facewipes in the morning to remove the residue of the creams, I have no problem with it.
‘And I like to have them for travelling – I was non-stop on the planes before coronavirus hit so facewipes are the easiest way to replenish your face.
‘But still use toner afterwards.
‘Facewipes are not to remove make up they are more of a wash.’
‘But after you remove your cleanser with water this throws the PH of the skin off, the ideal PH of human skin is 5.5 so it’s slightly acidic.
‘Environmental exposure, what we eat, what we drink, all of these factors throw the PH of the skin off so when we wash our cleanser off we need to replenish PH and bring it back to slightly acidic so that’s why it’s super important to use the toner.
‘Toner should also be applied with a press release motion. When you press the skin it slightly opens and when you release it grabs everything that is on the surface.
‘So using a toner is the first hydrating step. It also creates a beautiful canvas for the rest of the products, which will have better efficacy as the skin is balanced and prepared.
‘Today’s toners are so fancy they are being called essences and infusions and so on – but all of it is a toner that needs to balance the skin and be the first step of treatment.
‘Cleansing is the first step of your routine, but toner is the first step of treatment and it’s very important.
‘If you have to skip steps, do not skip cleansers, toner and your moisturiser. Those three things are the most important. You can skip everything else. Toner is always underrated.’
4. Don’t assume that all natural ingredients are good
Joanna says she always allows her clients freedom to try what they want with their skin ‘but then they come back crying’.
She warns that improvising with natural ingredients, such as mashing avocado into a mask, may not be as harmless as you think.
Joanna says: ‘Natural things are very active, if they are essences or so on. We have so many food reactions, people are allergic even to avocados. Or they do strawberry masks and have rashes like crazy.’
5. Don’t fall for the fads
Joanna also warns against following beauty fads, one of which she believes to be anti-pollution drops.
Joanna says: ‘I don’t like trends in beauty. I like trends in fashion but with 60,000 skincare brands born between Korea, Japan, Germany and so on – you don’t know which way to look.
‘For instance, anti-pollution drops, they are using Vitamin A, C or E or glutathione, a tripeptide, and they are your own natural anti-pollution ingredients which we all have in our skin. If you apply them it’s extra than you need. That’s my opinion.’
6. Do not use lasers or peelers, especially under the eyes
In serious tones Joanna tells how she has repeatedly begged her clients not to get lasers or fillers, especially around the sensitive eye area.
Joanna says: ‘Two things I say to people not to do at all are lasers and fillers under the eyes because these are irreversible if things go wrong.
Joanna recommends LED therapy with red light for improving elasticity of the skin
‘Lasers completely destroy the lipid layer and cause so much hyper pigmentation.’
Joanna says that women think they will be getting a blank canvas and want to ‘rip their skin off’ but adds that the best way to hide imperfections is to improve elasticity.
She says one of the best things to do at home to achieve elasticity is LED therapy with red light.
7. Don’t over exfoliate
Stop scrubbing, Joanna warns: ‘We only have one skin and we need to respect, support and protect it.
‘If you over-exfoliate with peels and lasers, you risk weakening and eventually destroying it.’
However the skincare guru does allow some exfoliation, just not too harshly or frequently.
Joanna says: ‘You can use natural scrubs but don’t over exfoliate as this will not achieve the balance your skin needs.
Physical exfoliation: ‘Use very rounded and mild granules to avoid micro-cuts if using physical exfoliation.
Chemical exfoliation: ‘If you’re using acidic exfoliation, chemical exfoliates – make sure you use the best one for you which is not necessarily the strongest one.’
8. Don’t wear SPF at home and avoid air conditioning
You might think nothing of slathering your face in SPF on a daily basis only to sit in an air conditioned office… however this could be the root of your skincare problems.
Joanna says: ‘Wearing SPF at home is absolutely overkill. People say blue light is killing your skin, it’s not the blue light that’s killing your skin its the air conditioning.
‘It’s completely unnecessary at home. Nobody ever got tanned sitting at home and that shows you that the strength of this light is not the same.
‘Eighty per cent of the population is vitamin D deficient as we wear SPF 100 et cetera.’
Joanna stresses that vitamin D, stimulated with sunlight, is important for bone density, strength of our skin, our mood, and also to ‘stimulate nitric oxide which is our natural blood thinner’.
She adds: ‘If we don’t have enough vitamin D we are more prone to heart disease, blockages and strokes.’
Joanna says: ‘My doctor says that SPF 4 protects you 70 per cent. But if psychologically you can not leave the house without SPF you do not need anything higher than 30.
‘The very best thing for protection from the sun is avoiding over exposure, 20 minutes for a walk, not laying down.
‘But if you love lying down in the sun choose a proper time in the day when the UVA is lower – you can check this on your phone. If UVA is 3 or below they don’t even advise wearing sunscreen.
‘Second best is wearing long sleeves and a hat to cover yourself, and the third is SPF.’
9. Don’t be afraid to use oils
When arriving in the U.S. 31 years ago Joanna recalls how her suggestions that people use oil on their skin were met with horror as people believed oils were comedogenic (blocking the pores to cause blackheads).
Joanna says: ‘When one celebrity touched oil, all of a sudden the whole world was using oil.
‘But I said it’s amazing to use oil based products especially in the winter time as it will prevent water from freezing in your pores and causing broken capillaries.
‘It’s like if you put water in a glass into the freezer – it will break the glass. We don’t want broken capillaries.’
‘Every American client came out in hives just thinking about the word oil’.
10. Don’t forget about your body
The skin is two square meters when flattened out and weighs around three kilos in weight, it is also responsible for 25 per cent of our immune system, which is why we must protect it says Joanna.
The skincare expert states: ‘When we take care of our face (the nipples to our hairline) – that’s our vanity.
‘But when we take care of the skin that is taking care of our health.’
Joanna adds that: ‘Skincare and all of it is great but that is about 30 per cent. It’s very important to have mindful and intuitive eating and an adequate amount of sleep.
‘Also proper exercise for your age and ability and an adequate amount of water. If you don’t eat balanced food then also take supplements.
‘Thirty per cent of it is how we treat our skin from the outside in.’
Joanna emphasises the importance of preparing the whole body’s skin with products before bed for a night of relaxation and replenishment.
She says: ‘While sleeping we release cytokines they regulate your immune system, so it’s very important to be ready for this – why do we bathe babies at night and not in the morning. We want them to be all relaxed and to be all prepared for restful sleep.’
The Facial Edit is available from 111Skin.co.uk