Skin care expert Kate Somerville is my new beauty idol. I just devoured her book, Complexion Perfection! and learned so much more about skin and skin care in general. I loved looking at the case studies and realizing that everyone really can achieve great skin. Kate is so passionate her work and that passion is evident in the quality of her products and all that she does. (You can see my previous post on my favorite Kate Sommerville products.) While so many cosmetic companies claim the latest and greatest ingredients, I'm honestly over all their hype. I'm pretty ecstatic that I finally found an excellent skin care line that isn't tied to a makeup brand. Kate is all about skin health and it's about time we focus on the beauty of healthy skin again.
Kate's principle for good skin care is all about starting with a strong foundation. She outlines this in more detail her book where it's broken into sections but it's also mentioned here on her web site.
"The Skin Health Pyramid™ is, essentially, the blueprint for a healthy complexion. It’s an easy-to-implement strategy for achieving overall skin health. The basis for beautiful skin is protection (PROTECT). After preventing environmental damage, the next essential is hydration (HYDRATE). Only after it’s been restored can the skin be properly nourished (FEED). Once the basic needs have been met, it’s important to then increase circulation and promote the production of collagen in order to renew skin (STIMULATE). Finally, the removal of impurities completes the process (DETOX). Plain and simple, this step-by-step system produces remarkable results."
I'm really humbled and excited that Kate took the time from her busy schedule to answer some questions I had here on Coquette. Enjoy this special interview!
Natalie: How did you get started in the skincare business? When did you decide to launch your own line of products?
Kate: Having battled a variety of skin concerns (including psoriasis, eczema, and hives) and really struggling with my own complexion growing up, I always had a special affinity for skin care. I had a deep-seated desire to provide relief to other people who, like me, didn't feel comfortable in their own skin. As a result, I found my calling and earned my esthetician's license. For a time of period after moving to L.A., I worked for a skin-care company in product development and was the director of education. I educated doctors and surgeons on the efficacy of the line and its ingredients, along with how it could support their business and treatments. My passion for product development began here. I started to develop my own product collection after I opened my second clinic, but before I opened Kate Somerville Skin Health Experts on Melrose Place in Los Angeles. I set up an esthetics office with a cosmetic surgeon in Santa Monica, who gave me the tools and inspiration I needed to fully pursue my dreams and career goals. He saw how I was constantly mixing and matching product lines to get my clients results. So one day he took me aside and said, "The only way you’re going to make a difference is through innovation. You have six different skin-care lines here. Learn from them and make your own." So I did. From that day on, I started to develop my own product collection.
Natalie: What is the first thing a woman should do to evaluate her skin care needs? Are there a list of basic products one should not go without? How often should one get a facial?
Kate: A good facialist will know her skin and understand her concerns, issues and goals. So many of my clients are puzzled by their skin – what’s going on, why it’s doing what it’s doing, and how to fix it. Facialists have great skin because they know their skin, both inside and out. The more connected you are to what’s going on and how you feel, the better you can care for your skin puzzle now and throughout the years.
In the morning, start by cleansing; cleansing is key for healthy skin. However, cleansing should be customized to your skin type and you should select your cleanser with care; always have a cleanser that’s matched to your skin type. If you’re oily, you need something to get you really clean, with some salicylic or glycolic acid. For dry skin types, look for something that’s more moisturizing like lavender or a milk based product. Step 2 is exfoliate: do this one or two times a week, depending on your skin type. Kate Somerville ExfoliKate contains physical beads and fruit enzymes that act as chemical exfoliators to help remove that dry, dull, dead layer of skin. Next, treat your skin based on its particular needs, for example, an antioxidant serum to lighten spots and fight free radicals if you have sun damage or apply a toner to reduce sebum production if you have oily skin. Step 4 is to hydrate and use a moisturizer. Regardless of skin type, it’s key to deliver water to the cells and then seal it in, so skin absolutely glows with health. Lastly, protect skin by applying an ample amount of sunscreen over your moisturizer.
At night, cleanse again. If you tend to have blemished, sensitive or thin skin, I recommend exfoliating at night rather than during the day. Most forms of exfoliation can leave skin a little red, as they are stimulating. Then, you’ll want to treat the skin with repairing serums at night. Because our bodies are at rest, they tend to have more energy to heal and repair during this downtime. If you have aged skin, make sure you’re using a peptide and retinols to stimulate collagen; always use retinols at night. Hydrating and moisturizing is very important in the evening, in order to replenish hydration lost during the day and during the cleansing process; pat on an eye cream to deliver important nutrition and age-defying ingredients and brighteners while your eyes are at rest. Moisturize your lips as well- you’ll wake up in the morning with a smoother, plumper pout.
Regular monthly facials are also crucial, whether at a skin-care salon or doing them at home, because they’re a way for you and your skin-care professional to keep tabs on changes in your skin health.
Natalie: Anti-aging is a hot topic lately. What is the approximate age a woman should start an anti-aging routine and what ingredients should she look out for?
Kate: It may come to a shock to you to learn that our bodies technically start "aging" when we’re in our early 20s as cell production begins to slow down. Of course we’re all going to age, but how and when our skin shows the signs of aging are subject to a number of factors, most of which we can actually influence and increasingly have control over. Free radicals are a natural part of your bodily function, but they do speed up aging. They are a certain type of oxygen molecule that causes a chain reaction of damage – oxidation – to your cells. The antidote to oxidation is the appropriately named "antioxidant" – a wide variety of vitamins and minerals found in fresh foods and nutritional supplements. We can also fight free radicals and promote cell recovery with topical applications of antioxidants.
Vitamin C, retinoic acid, and alpha hydroxyl acids could give clients the visible results they were looking for. Vitamin C and E are proven antioxidants, which fight those free radicals that cause damage to healthy cells and DNA. Vitamin E is a particular antioxidant superhero that boosts healing and tissue repair and enhances immunity. Topical vitamin A, in the form of retinoic acid or retinol, helps break up skin cells that are irregularly stacked, this encourages cells to turn over and creates smoother skin with fewer lines. Look for products that offer a combination of tocopherols and tocotrienols. Green tea contains protective compounds called polyphenols that have antioxidant activity. Copper is needed by your skin for the cross-linking of collagen and elastin and also for the formation of melanin, your natural sun protector. Selenium is an important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that can help alleviate psoriasis. Researchers have also found that selenium deficiency is common in people with metastatic melanoma. Retin-A will help speed up cell turnover to get rid of damage deep in the layers of the skin. Peptides, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids are extremely important.
Natalie: How important is eye cream and what are some of the ways we can protect the delicate skin around the eye area?
Kate: In my 20s I loved to bask in the rays at the beach as my mother had. Yet in my early 30s, I started to notice lines around my eyes and on my forehead. It is important to prevent wrinkles by patting on an eye cream at night to deliver important nutrition and age-defying ingredients and brighteners while your eyes are at rest. One of our new ones, CytoCell Dark Circle Corrective Eye Cream, combines years of research and cutting-edge technology to reduce the visible signs of aging around the delicate eye area, especially dark circles.
Natalie: With the onset of winter weather coming, what should we be doing to take better care of our skin?
Kate: Without a doubt, the worst time of year for your skin is the long, cold months of winter. Chilly weather wreaks havoc on your skin, drying out the outer layers and making your complexion feel tight. Because the weather can be so damaging to your face and body, you need to adjust your winter skin care to accommodate the changing climate. Although you don’t necessarily need to throw away your current moisturizers, exfoliators, creams, masks, toners and pore reducers, you might need to add a few things to your winter skin care arsenal. When shopping for winter skin care products, you should look for lotions and creams that provide intensive moisture that can help shield your skin from the damaging wind and cold. You should also regularly use sunscreen products that have a high SPF in them. Just because you can’t see the sun doesn’t mean that its rays aren’t reaching your skin! Winter skin need not be dry, dull and tight! Show off your radiant complexion all year long, with skin care products designed to defy the elements.
Natalie: Do you have any tips on how to get our skin looking radiant for all those upcoming holiday parties?
Kate: My celebrity clients particularly love the Dermal Quench Treatment, especially those who are about to hit red-carpet events, because it ups the hydration level in their skin, keeping it supple, hydrated, smooth and dewy. It has instant results and no downtime. My facials are an awards show secret because they deliver immediate results of smooth, glowing skin, creating a perfect palette for their big night. Also, diligent exfoliating will leave skin feeling soft, looking supple, and glowing everywhere.
Thanks Kate for this great interview full of wonderful tips! If you have any skin care questions, please leave a comment to this post or email me.
If you are in the LA area, you can visit the Kate Somerville Clinic.
Kate Somerville Clinic
8428 Melrose Pl # Cde
West Hollywood, CA 90069-5300
If you are in the Bay Area, Kate will be at Nordstrom in Walnut Creek this Saturday, November 5th to sign her book, Complexion Perfection! Also, you can call and make an appointment to get a complimentary DermalQuench Oxygen & Hydrating Treatment. See the above graphic for details.