The only treatment that does it all: chemical peels

20th November 2017 / Gabriela Czwarnos

Even if you’ve managed to catch some last-minute September sun, it’s most likely, like mine, your summer glow is long gone. According to media and beauty brands, it’s ok to be pale, tan is so 2006 anyway. Well, it might be, but somehow as a nation, we still crave that sun-kissed look: sales of fake tan products have rocketed by almost 40% in last two years!

As much as I would love to say that I’m happy to embrace my pale-going-translucent skin shade, I must admit – I love being tanned. Give me a week in the sun and my skin tone looks more even, blemishes have dried out and skin feels firmer (probably because it’s burnt = tight). Unfortunately, it’s only an illusion of a healthy glow – in reality, our body does not create a tan to be pretty, it’s a response to the mutations that occur in our DNA, which means the skin is being damaged on a cellular level. This can lead to the weakening of connective fibres (read: wrinkles and sagging), the aggravating of acne and the worsening of pigmentation.

Once the glow is completely gone and the tan fades, all imperfections that are caused by sun damage are suddenly more visible. Acne scars and dark spots are likely to be darker than they were before we spent all those hours in the sun.

Usually, November is my month of a ‘skin panic’. Do I desperately try to prolong my tan and carry on with a few cheeky sunbeds to get me through until early spring? Or do I just face the reality, and deal with the damage I caused by recklessly frying myself in a sun? At the age of 30, the second option seems like the right solution. How? Two words: CHEMICAL PEELS.

I am pretty sure every woman instantly thinks of Samantha’s bright red, burnt face from Sex and The City when hearing about chemical peels. However, this regenerative facial had its beginnings much earlier than the ’90s. Did you know? To exfoliate and brighten her sun-damaged skin, Cleopatra used to bathe in milk, which contains lactic acid and tone with wine that includes tartaric acid.

This old as hills treatment really does it all. Improves the texture of your skin and minor scarring, decreases hyperpigmentation, unclogs pores, helps clear up acne and reduces fine lines. And, it’s still one of the quickest and simplest facials out there. ‘A chemical peel consists of applying an exfoliating solution to the face, neck and decollete. It improves the appearance of the skin by removing the top layers of the epidermis in a controlled manner and accelerating cell turnover’, says Dr Krystyna Wilczynski, skin expert at Blush + Blow.

Depending on types of acids used, skin usually starts peeling 2-3 days after the treatment and within a week you are ready to party again. For best results, dermatologists recommend a course of 4-6 peels, every 2-3 weeks. ‘Chemical peels are great for autumn, as they brighten and refresh the skin greatly in anticipation of winter. It’s important to thoroughly protect your skin from the sun for 4 months after chemical peels, so autumn is, in fact, perfect for a course’, suggests Stefanie Williams, dermatologist and author of Look great, not done!

According to Dr Rabia Malik, an aesthetic doctor at Grace Belgravia, peels have been largely under-utilised in the UK. Even though their new formulations mean less downtime with quicker and better results: ‘Peels, particularly in combination with other modalities such as micro-needling, are a great way of stimulating one’s own collagen.’

Peel formulations have evolved over the years and we now have some very sophisticated options that combine different acids with other active ingredients including fruit enzymes and amino acids, to enhance efficacy. Correct combination peels mean that lower strength acids can be used to deliver the same results with comparatively less downtime. Newer formulations are often referred to as ‘metabolic’ peels – they don’t just strip the surface of the skin and leave your skin physically peeling off, but they stimulate new skin cells, are less inflammatory and result in ‘micro-peeling’ where old skin cells come away gradually and less noticeably, while delivering a better end result’.

Which peel is right for you?

The best way to choose the right peel is to seek advice from a specialist, as they will be able to tell which peel will work better for your skin type. However, if you don’t know where to go, we’ve peeled our skin at few places, so are on hand to give you some great recommendations – you’re welcome!

If you are struggling with pigmentation: NeoStrata Retinol Peel at EUDELO Clinic.

When applying Retinol, also known as vitamin A, to your skin, you help increase cell renewal and boost collagen production. It also slows the production of melanin and helps to reduce hyperpigmentation. The NeoStrata Retinol Peel contains 3% Retinol and a specially developed Retinol Boosting Complex™ to reduce fine lines and promote a bright, even complexion.

If you want your radiance back: Get The Glow Glycolic Peel at Blush + Blow.

If your skin looks dull and is in need of that ‘glow’ factor, then glycolic acid is your best option. With hardly any downtime and minimal redness, you can expect instant radiance, smoother texture and a brighter complexion.

If your skin is sensitive: Hydrating Peel, The Peel Boutique.

This is a perfect choice for dry and sensitive skin. A combination treatment containing a pomegranate, papaya and pineapple enzyme peel base with a chirally correct lactic acid, followed by a hydrating mask infused with green tea, lemon peel extract and R-lipoic Acid. This treatment nurtures, treats and hydrates while soothing and brightening the skin.

If you suffer from acne: Dermaquest Salicylic Acid Resurfacer at SK:N Clinics.

This treatment uses 20% Salicylic Acid to effectively exfoliate the skin by controlling congestion and relieving inflammation. It also targets blemish-causing bacteria and prevents future breakouts, stopping acne-causing oil in its tracks.

If you are looking for an anti-ageing solution: The TCA Skin Peel at EF Medispa Spa.

This trichloroacetic acid (TCA)-based peel works to tighten loose skin and refine lines. TCA acid is a more effective and longer lasting than the sugar and citric acids, as it goes deeper into the dermis and can treat more skin problems. Recently, it has even been used by doctors to treat, remove and lighten tattoos!



Glow baby glow! The best foundations for autumn.

12th October 2017 / Gabriela Czwarnos

As an ex-makeup artist and absolute beauty geek from my early teenage years, I dread to think how many bottles of foundation I have actually tried in my life. I also happen to be the ‘lucky’ owner of oily and acne-prone skin, which means I’ve spent years caking on layers of powdery formulas thinking that’s the key to great looking skin.

Now, being in my 30s, all I want from my foundation is a natural glow, that ‘no make-up’, ‘I woke up like this’ look. I haven’t found ‘the one’ yet, but I’ll know a good one when I get my hands on it! (just to be clear, I am still talking about make-up, not men… ahem). Let the search begin… (again, still talking about foundations here, ahem)

So, to save you time and money, I’ve put together the top foundations available out there to get you that radiant skin (and I want them all!). You’re welcome…

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Cushion Compact SPF 35 – available here

What does Bobbi Brown say?

The weightless, soft-focus liquid foundation delivers an instant glow. What’s the secret? It’s the capsule technology and airtight packaging that helps preserve the formula’s freshness and longevity.


Packed with skin-boosting ingredients like Pink Silk Tree Extract and Caffeine, the multitasking formula also rejuvenates and re-energizes skin, while helping to protect it with a moisture-infused anti-pollution barrier and high-level SPF.

Why do I love it?

Cushion compacts are game-changing for many reasons. This one is not only very convenient to use ‘on the go’ but also its liquid formula gives you a very natural finish. Bonus: it doesn’t settle into fine lines.

Guerlain Lingerie De Peau Aqua Nude – available here

What does Guerlain say?

This new Lingerie de Peau foundation is using the Aqua Plump technology. It acts on the water channels in the cells, distributing water evenly over the entire surface and at the heart of the epidermis to boost hydration. A long-wear polymer adjusts to the curves of the face to lastingly protect makeup from sweat, sebum and water.


Perfect for moisturising, this new foundation has less weight and gives you that fabulous “no make-up, make-up” look.

Why do I love it?

Guerlain products are what we call ‘high tech beauty’. You can always be sure all ingredients have been tested and won’t do any harm to your skin. With this foundation, your skin will actually feel hydrated and plumped.

Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation – available here

What does Laura Mercier say?

This is Laura’s longest wearing foundation of flawless full coverage and 15 hours of wear fused into one weightless mesh formula. High-performance wear that’s sweat, humidity, water and transfer resistant. Colour stays true all day and won’t oxidise. Instant oil control, immediately and throughout the day. Matte finish that is never dull, flat or cakey.



Why do I love it?

We’ve never thought you can have your cake and eat it: natural glow AND a matte finish. Thanks to Laura’s new baby you won’t have to top up with a powder to take the shine away. No idea how they did it but we are loving the look!

Too Faced Born This Way – available here

Born This Way is an oil-free foundation that diffuses the line between makeup and skin. For coverage so undetectable, you can’t see the makeup and you can’t see imperfections— all that’s left is naturally radiant skin. It’s infused with a potent combination of Coconut Water to naturally replenish moisture levels; nature’s resilient Alpine Rose to brighten the skin’s appearance and promote elasticity and Hyaluronic Acid for a smoother, more youthful appearance.


Why do I love it?

Massive brownie points for ingredients – both Hyaluronic Acid and Coconut Water can help with hydration. It blends in easily and one layer is enough to cover your imperfections. Impressive!

Oxygenetix – available here

This high-end foundation is the most breathable foundation on the market, with a combined 160 years of expertise behind its revolutionary formula. It has real skin care benefits, provides flawless coverage and delivers an unparalleled, oxygen-enriched formula that allows the skin to breathe more than any other foundation brand.


The prime ingredient in the product is pro-healing, patent-pending CeravitaeTM a super-charged oxygen complex that promotes collagen cell production and connective tissue growth to promote youthful and smooth skin. It is also natural Aloe Barbadensis gel based (not water-based like most foundations, that often attract bacteria to the skin), which provides anti-bacterial qualities, while astringently removing dead surface cells.

It contains skin-loving ingredients Vitamin E, Grape Seed Extract, Green Tea, Hyaluronic Acid, Salix Alba Extract (avonoids) and Glycerin to soothe, heal and replenish moisture loss.

Why do I love it?

Water resistant, smudge-proof and so good for the skin that sleeping in it will not aggravate it. Next time you ‘forget’ (read: pass out) to take your make up off after a night out, you won’t have to feel guilty anymore!

Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup – available here

With a demi-matte finish and light-diffusing spheres to help blur imperfections and wrinkles and look like you’ve been professionally retouched, this buildable formula perfectly complements your complexion and provides medium to full coverage with a flawless finish.


Urban Decay loaded this oil- and paraben-free formula with nourishing ingredients: anti-wrinkle peptides, Litchiderm™ (derived from lychee fruit) to protect skin from dehydration, stress and aging, Sodium hyaluronate that holds and attracts water for smoother, softer, more youthful-looking skin and Japanese green tea and vitamin E to fight free radicals and promote collagen production.

Why do I love it?

It’s easily buildable so you can go from a very light to full coverage, without looking like you’re wearing a mask. It also comes in 24 shades, so no more tanned face/white neck situ!