Healthy skin 101: the dos & don’ts on everything from acne to aging

With all the information and misinformation out there, it can be confusing to work out what’s best for your skin. NEWBY HANDS asks in-demand dermatologist DR. BARBARA STURM to help re-write the skincare rule book on everything from acne to aging


Don’t overdo it

We need to be kinder to our skin, as the self-induced damage that we are unwittingly creating (redness, sensitivity and inflammation can all lead to long-term aging and even irreversible micro-scarring) is something that I’m hearing about more and more from the experts I speak to. “The aim is to have healthy, hydrated skin that glows and to achieve this, skin needs to be nurtured, not torn up and destroyed,” says Dr Barbara Sturm. The problem isn’t the use of peels, scrubs and retinols, but the over use of them. Add to that too much micro-needling and other aggressive home-use devices and you have breakouts, sensitivity and a destroyed skin barrier. “It’s fundamentally against my philosophy to be so aggressive, as skin may feel baby-soft but all you’re doing is repeatedly killing the fresh new healthy cells,” says Dr Sturm.

Don’t be aggressive with acne

“I’ve been preaching the gospel of anti-inflammation for 15 years – inflammation is a skin killer,” says Dr Sturm. “Acne is a sign of inflamed skin, so don’t then treat it with aggressive peels. You need to calm the skin with anti-inflammatories while building up its protective barrier. A great regimen for acne is an enzyme cleanser, a hyaluronic acid serum to hydrate, and a normal, light-textured cream. It’s about balancing the skin, not stripping it of the natural oils so that it can’t function properly.”

Adapt to your environment

While it’s important to use the right skincare for your skin type – not just the latest cream touted on Instagram – you should also adapt it to what your skin needs in the short term. “You don’t need 20 steps, but you do need to do what’s right for your skin. If you’re in a big city such as LA, London or Singapore, then you need pollution protection – I just add drops to my daily regimen,” advises Dr Sturm. A change of seasons also means a change in skincare: “Moving from summer into winter, you need lots more hydration and a slightly richer cream as the skin’s sebum production is greatly diminished in winter. And when traveling, ensure you use a lot of hyaluronic acid and masks to deeply hydrate.”

Make time to massage

Facial massage is the quickest way to brighten up dull skin, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Just work your fingers or knuckles upwards and outwards firmly over your face, jaw and neck. “This alone stimulates the fibroblasts to produce more collagen – you don’t have to be aggressive, as you can do the same with skin brushing,” says Dr Sturm. “I massage in a mask, and when I do this two or three times a week my skin is perfect – I really see the difference.”

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