They have all the skincare knowledge and know-how, but which products do skin doctors have in their own bathroom and what treatments and procedures do they swear by?
Dr Anita Sturnham trained as a doctor specialising in plastic surgery and skin cancer. It was during her many years of analysing people’s skin that she fell in love with all things dermatology and decided to open her aesthetic and wellbeing clinic, The Nuriss Clinic on London’s prestigious Wimpole Street and create her skincare range, Decree. Here’s what she uses to make her skin look so fabulous (we’ve seen her in the flesh, it’s flawless) as well as the treatments and tweakments she chooses for herself.
What’s your skincare and treatment philosophy?
“I believe your skin is your canvas and if you don’t have good quality skin, it doesn’t matter how perfect all the other features are. At my clinic, we focus on supporting the skin from the inside out, so while I look at skin externally I also look at hormone health, gut health, supplements and nutrition. In terms of my approach to treatments, I am all about precision and not overdoing it. My clients come to me to look like they haven’t had any work done and I often turn people away if I feel their values and views in aesthetics don’t match my own.”
How did you earn your nickname Dr Declutter?
“Dr Declutter is my nickname, because I spend time [when you first come in] decluttering your skincare and it makes a big difference. I ask you to bring all your skincare and your makeup and I get you to show me your routine, so I can see what you’re using, how much, how you’re applying it, how you’re removing it and in which order. I can sometimes see really simple quick fixes that can make a big difference. Common things are over-exfoliating, overusing products, having no routine, mixing and matching products that don’t go well together. I help you to have something that’s much easier to use every day that is more affordable because you’re using fewer products to get the best results. Sometimes I don’t need to prescribe anything medical, it’s literally getting your skin happier with your skincare.
“I’m a big believer in treating your skincare like you treat your nutrition. And we sometimes forget our skin isn’t just there to make us look good, it is a medical organ. It does need to be treated like every other organ in our body and it does need good nutrition to be healthy. And our skin is the only organ we can feed in two directions, externally with we put onto the skin and internally through our diet and supplements. Your skincare is very much like your breakfast, lunch and dinner for your skin. You should know what you’re putting on your skin every day, and what ingredients you’re feeding your skin with. And you should have a routine that’s consistent that makes sense for your skin.”
What skin type do you have?
“I have sensitive skin and rosacea. I also have an autoimmune condition which means I am immune to Botox – the irony is not lost on me.”
What are your main skin issues?
“Probably my rosacea, but because I can’t have Botox I have to live with wrinkles. However, this has driven me to find other natural solutions.”
What’s your morning skincare routine?
“It’s very simple. I use Decree Light Cleanse, £44, Decree Prepatory Mist, £52 as a toner, and Decree Protect Elixir, £110. As I suffer with rosacea I wear Heliocare 360° Water Gel Sunscreen SPF 50, £28.99 as part of my morning routine and top up my protection throughout the day with my Decree Day Shield SPF30, £75. Before my rosacea was under control I would also use a prescription strength Azelaic Acid 15% 1-2 days per week.
Once a week I’ll do the Decree Weekly Decree, £120 at-home peel. And for the last five years I have taken Revive Active Beauty Complex, £49.95 for 30 sachets – a daily marine collagen powder supplement in a glass of water or I add it to a smoothie if I’m in a rush. You can take it any time of the day but I have built it in as part of my morning routine.”
What’s your evening skincare routine?
“To remove my make-up, I use Garnier Skinactive Micellar Water Sensitive Skin, £3, which is great for my sensitive eyes and then I do exactly the same as my morning routine but skip the SPF stage and use our PM serum instead: Decree Treat Tincture, £130. I wash my hands regularly throughout the day when in the clinic so at night I apply a rich, barrier support hand cream. I really like Eucerin Advanced Repair Hand Cream, £4.87.”
What treatments do you have on your face?
“ClearLift Laser – I do a treatment once a year and I’m obsessed with it! The reason it’s so good is that it targets the surface layers of the skin dealing with superficial pigmentation, pore congestion and it helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, but it also treats the deeper layers of the skin, so it’s treating parts of the skin that haven’t come up to the surface yet and future-proofing the complexion. When I’ve had it done people often assume I’ve had Botox, that’s how good it is. It’s not painful, involves no down time and it also keeps my rosacea under control.
“Profhilo – this is the only injectable treatment I have. It combines large and small molecules of hyaluronic acid. The large molecules act like sponges, drawing moisture into the skin so it’s really great for plumping and hydrating. The smaller molecules switch on your collagen making cells, so it gives you that instant boost to your skin but you’ve got the long term collagen production going on too. I have three doses, with four weeks in-between each and I repeat it every six months.
“But if you have any kind of autoimmune issues, like me, then make sure you see your endocrinologist first because you may react. I got big golf ball swellings in my neck, which settled down after four to five days and it certainly hasn’t put me off having it again. In fact I’m currently trialling a new treatment where it’s used on the abdominal area in conjunction with Emsculpt – more on that below – to treat the skin on my tummy that’s lost elasticity post-baby.”
What treatments do you have done your body?
1. Lymphastim for detoxing. ‘It’s a detoxifying body treatment for lymphatic drainage; it’s so relaxing I could fall asleep while I’m having it done. It has amazing results not only from an aesthetic point of view but I find it really helps my systemic health. After having my baby, I got a lot of water retention and it helps eliminate that. I also used to get a lot of pains and cramps in my legs from standing all day at work and that’s gone now. In fact ,it’s used a lot for professional athletes to help speed up muscle recovery.
2. Emsculpt to tighten the tummy ‘I’ve recently started having this on my abdominal area. It uses electromagnetic energy to stimulate fast and slow twitch muscle fibres. It makes your muscles contract 20,000 times in 30 minutes in a way that’s not possible when you’re exercising. I’ve found it really beneficial post-pregnancy because if you have spinal issue and you can’t work your core in the gym, it’s a helpful way to do it. It has a physiotherapy element to it.
3. Exilis Elite for fat reduction. ‘This is a radiofrequency and ultrasound device that is added to the Emsculpt device. It heats the fat cells and causes natural fat cell death on my abdomen, to tighten the skin postnatally, and on my arms. It’s a great treatment I just don’t make enough time in my schedule to have it done!”
What skincare product should everyone use?
“Decree Treat Tincture PM, £110, is our best selling multitasking night serum and contains a gentle retinoid alongside other ingredients such as alpha arbutin, squalane and apple stem cells. It is great for pigmentation, breakouts and boosting collagen.”
What treatment you would recommend everyone try?
“HydraFacial . I love having this done myself and it’s a great option for those that don’t have the budget to invest in a full treatment plan. It’s a bespoke seven-step treatment and we use Decree products with the HydraFacial machine. It takes you through a deep cleanse, a gentle peel, detoxification, LED treatments, antioxidants and then a Decree SOS mask at the end with some facial massage.”