Dealing with thinning hair or an aging complexion? Dr Sharon Wong, the UK’s leading dermatotrichologist can help you with both.
She started her career as a Consultation Dermatologist, helping you treat anything from eczema to acne and skin cancer. But her specialty is treating hair and scalp disorders.
Fun fact: in 2017, she achieved the world record for delivering the largest hair science lecture as part of the inaugural World Afro Day. A year later, she got involved with the Get Ahead of Hair Loss charity to raise awareness.
But what does Dr Wong use on her skin? In this interview, she shares her skincare routine, the products she can’t live without and her top tips for clear, younger-looking skin:
1. When did you become interested in skincare?
I have lived with eczema since I was a baby so skincare has always been of personal interest to me from the start. I quickly realised how important skincare is in controlling the eczema and keeping flares at bay. I also experienced on many occasions just how miserable the condition can make you feel and the impact skin disease has on your overall wellbeing.
2. What’s your skincare routine like?
Simple. It’s so easy for skincare to be unnecessarily complicated.
In the morning I wash my face with a soap-free cleanser, followed by an anti-oxidant serum, sunscreen and then a tinted moisturiser before I apply make up.
In the evening I use micellar water to remove make-up, wash with soap-free cleanser, followed by a topical retinoid and then moisturiser before bed, with an additional boost of hyaluronic acid serum during winter months.
3. If you could only use three skincare products for the rest of your life, what would they be?
4. What are your fave skincare brands and why?
- La Roche Posay
All 3 brands are affordable with an excellent range of products. No fads and no frills, just quality products containing scientifically proven and well-researched active ingredients.
5. What are your top 3 skincare tips to take care of your skin?
- Know your skin type and ensure you choose the right products accordingly. Just because something works wonders for your friend does not mean it will do the same for you.
- Adapt your skin care according to need – your skin’s needs may change with different climates (mine goes bone dry in winter so I tend to use a much heavier moisturiser in winter), but also with age and changes in hormone status. I didn’t start an anti-aging routine, using daily retinoids, antioxidants and sunscreen until my early thirties. When pregnant I developed rosacea and so my entire skincare had to be overhauled during pregnancy.
- Exfoliate once weekly to keep the cell turnover of your skin healthy – some skin types may be able to tolerate more frequent exfoliation but it shouldn’t be overdone. Exfoliating too frequently or aggressively can make your skin inflamed, sensitive and in some people can aggravate existing acne. Chemical exfoliants using alpha or beta
- hydroxy acids are preferable as they are less likely to cause cuts and abrasions to the skin compared to physical exfoliants.
6. What skincare treatments do you regularly have done?
I apply a lactic acid product once a week instead of retinoid as a chemical exfoliant.
7. What lifestyle habits do you have that keep your skin in top shape?
- Sleep: Although challenging with a toddler at home, I try my best to get 8 hours of sleep each night. Your skin is in repair mode at night. Sleep deprivation is interpreted by your body as a type of stress and these stress hormones can, over time affect wound healing but also cause flares of a number of skin conditions including eczema, psoriasis and acne.
- Diet: I have a sweet tooth so I really have to make a conscious effort to curb my indulgence of all things sweet. Refined sugars bind onto proteins and lipids in the bloodstream, creating harmful compounds called AGES – Advanced Glycation End Products which damage important proteins in the skin, accelerating the ageing process.
- De-stress: Whilst we cannot eliminate stress from our lives, it is important to find ways to effectively de-stress. Stress can bring out new skin conditions but also cause flare ups of pre-existing skin disease. For me, physical exercise is my way to de-stress. I do yoga twice a week and have been dancing since I was 19
8. What’s in your makeup bag?
- Bobbi Brown tinted moisturiser and concealer stick
- Nars eyeshadow duo – Cordura II and Night Star
- Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Beauty Light Wand Highlighter
- Hourglass Ambient lighting blush
- Maybelline mascara
- Rimmel exaggerate waterproof eyeliner
- Anastasia Brow Wiz
- Kiehl’s lip balm
Thank you, Dr Wong!