What secrets does your skin hold about your lifestyle and wellness?
Angela Beitz undergoes a skin-mapping analysis to find out what her skin says about her complexion and lifestyle and how she can treat imperfections and sun damage.
There is so much information out there about how you should look after your skin, but in order to get the best results you need to find out what’s really going on beneath the surface. There are a number of places offering skin-mapping technologies, I head off to Anantara Spa at Eastern Mangroves in Abu Dhabi to see just what damage our daily routines and the harsh UAE sun are doing to our faces, but Dermalogica in The Dubai Mall also offers a similar service.
The machine uses white light and cross-polarised flash photography to record your surface and sub-surface skin condition. The technology provides visualisation of sub-surface melanin and vascular conditions. It then visualises the skin’s surface in 3D from any angle, rendered in natural skin tone and greyscale.
Zoe Wall, the spa director at Anantara, explains that every individual customer is different, with different skin types requiring individual prescription.
‘A person’s daily routine and the different living environments can suddenly affect a skin regimen’s long-term results. Every customer is unique, so we have to build and develop personalised awareness and understanding. The skin-mapping system intelligently maps every detail of your face, is totally non-invasive and is painless. The analysis allows you and your therapist to fully understand your skin concerns allowing for accurate prescription of the correct treatments and products for you.’
Sounds a bit scary, and it should. This is a cold, hard reality of what past damage you have done to your skin. I sit in front of the machine with the therapist and place my head on the chin rest. The machine then takes two pictures. The first picture uses standard flash lighting and depicts how your skin looks on the surface. A second picture is taken through crossed polarising filters, which eliminate surface reflections from your skin. This enables the machine to see beneath the skin’s surface.
The first picture shows any wrinkles that I have and, fortunately, I don’t have many at all apart from a few small ones on my forehead. The next shows red areas and I don’t have many of these either. Normally, red areas can represent a variety of conditions, such as acne, inflammation, rosacea or spider veins. I have a couple of small breakouts and a few tiny scars, but that’s about it. Next up is pores and I’m a bit shocked to see that I’ve got some issues. My therapist, Inge, says that dehydrated skin is very common in the UAE due to the climate. I’m told I can prevent this by using a hydrating mask twice a week, drinking loads of water and using a toner to close my pores. We then move on to brown spots and sun damage and even though I’m meticulous with sun protection, the results aren’t pretty. I’ve got quite a bit of sun damage around the top of my forehead, my top lip and across my cheeks and nose.
‘Brown spots are lesions on and deeper within the skin such as hyper pigmentation, freckles, lentigines and melasma,’ says Zoe.
‘Brown spots occur from an excess of melanin, often associated with sun damage. Melanin is produced by melanocytes in the bottom layer of the epidermis. Brown spots associated with sun damage is something we see a lot of and clients will not understand why they have this – especially because they are not lying in the sun. However, a lot of damage can be caused from walking around; even if you are wearing make-up it’s not enough to protect your skin, which is why you need to wear sunscreen every day. You also need regular facials and to use products like pro-collagen creams, which regenerate your skin cells.’
From here, Inge recommends specific products and treatments for me to try, including the Elemis Try-enzme facial to hydrate and resurface the skin. It involves a deep double cleansing, two masks and three serums including basil, peppermint and sandalwood. I can see a difference straight away. My skin is smooth, supple and glowing.
Most importantly, Inge tells me the specific areas I need to focus on and how I can improve my skin by using certain products. She explains why each product is needed and how it will benefit my skin over time.
After assessing a client’s skin, Inge then recommends further treatments that can help focus on specific concerns. Following the analysis, you’re also given the skin mapping report to take home with you and a useful prescription card with product suggestions and future treatment recommendations. Skin mapping is free at Dermalogica, The Dubai Mall (04 339 8250).
Mole-mapping: A non-invasive procedure, which aids in detecting cancer at its earliest stage. The technician uses digital imaging to screen moles for the risk of cancer and monitor size and shape. BR Medical Suites, Dubai Healthcare City (04 439 2305).
Microdermabrasion: Best for acne scarring and pigmentation, skin is polished and dead skin is removed to achieve a visible improvement. Kaya Skin Clinic, Dubai Marina (04 450 8438).
IPL Skin Rejuvenation: Designed to rejuvenate the skin with a simple and convenient procedure. Benefits include reducing fine lines and scars, diminishing the appearance of enlarged pores and stimulating the cells that produce collagen resulting in smoother, firmer skin. Manchester Clinic MedSpa, Villa 469a, Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah 3 (04 395 6400).