Helen Daly from Skin Focus
Author Rachael Caughley / Category People
R: How did you get into the skin industry?
H: I always wanted to be a dancer. I was in performing arts, and I was going to go to London. I got accepted into Stage School. I was really excited, but my poor old Dad couldn't afford to send me. My plans had to change and so I looked at what was available at college. Beauty therapy it was. So I did it for a year, and then I auditioned again, got in again, I so wanted to be in musical theater, I wanted to be in Cats. And again the money. So it was heartbreaking for my Dad. But I was going into my second year of beauty and I just loved it. The skin part wasn't really until I got to New Zealand. There was a lot of skin care out there that I had worked with that actually didn't really work. It looked nice, and smelt nice, and felt nice, but it didn't get results. So there was me as a young beauty therapist saying “oh this eye cream is really amazing” but I didn't have a wrinkle to test it on. So I was selling this stuff, and it wasn't working. So I stopped beauty and thought, sod it, I’ll just go traveling.
R: Did you feel disengaged with the industry?
H: Totally. Totally disheartened. Because you don't set out to be a saleswoman. It’s not in my nature. Generally beauty therapists or people in the wellness area are really caring and they want to genuinely help. And when you end up as a salesperson it’s like - I didn’t sign up for this! So after a years traveling I went back to Wellington, and did beauty therapy again. I ended up working for a salon that stock Environ. And it worked! It bloody well worked! I couldn't believe it. And that got my passion going for the actual skin science. So I am now a “skin treatment therapist” there is a difference from a “beauty therapist” or a “beautician” we are kind of a new breed, we’ve only really been around for 10 years us Skin Treatment Therapists.
R: That's so cool! I’ve spent quite a bit of money on products in the past and when I came to you I was expecting I’d go in and have this really nice facial and you’d try to sell me this $400 pot of whatever it was. But instead we sat down in a room and you asked me about my family history (which I struggled to get through) where was my Granddad from and my diet!? And then it came down to all the peanuts I was eating! I stopped eating them and WOW my skin completely calmed down. I could have kept going spending all this money on product, and carrying on my ridiculous peanuts obsession and never had any idea it was inflaming my skin! By the way I still am a massive fan of Fix & Fogg peanut butter just not from breakfast, lunch and Dinner.
H: You are young to be enlightened to this, most people it takes them till they are at least 40 and have not had the results they have wanted. And then they are like "this is all a load of bullshit"! When you come in for an analysis, I am also looking at what's coming. We can fix that blemish and that dehydration, but its like what is next for your skin? And I could see for you that your capillaries are going to be a problem in the future. R: Great!...not. But no that’s great that you are looking at the future of our skin.
R: So this beauty industry! Some of my girlfriends are getting botox, and these things. I don’t even know what botox is… but its a such an intense industry! What is your philosophy around skin care in the first place?
H: I look at skin as an organ. It’s a biological functioning organ, so you can't just scoop over the surface. You need to look at the health of the skin. You can botox, you can fill, you can laser the shit out of it, but is it healthy? Is your skin healthy? So that's why people come to me, for the integrity of their skin to be looked after. As an organ, as an important functioning part of your being. Because it's there to protect you. So we give it the tools it needs to protect you. And actually then it just ends up looking good. So if someone comes into me for a wrinkle, I’m like okay I hear ya, but let's just get the skin healthy first, and then what happens is the wrinkles just start to dissipate. The pigmentation disappears the capillaries are strengthened the acne clears up.
R: So it's almost like people aren't realizing the incredible power of the human body and the incredible power of our skin.
H: Haha exactly, you need to be my copywriter. We have a real emphasis on education at the clinic. Our clients are really intelligent people, and that keeps us on our toes! Its really cool, I love it when I get someone who is interested in how it all works. I personally work like that. I need to know why I am doing something. Why am I going to be bothered to cleanse my face every night and put 3 products on it every night. And maybe even use the collagen induction home roller. Why am I going to be bothered to do that. I need to know the "why".
R: Yes, I hardly ever cleansed and toned etc, but now that I see results I want to do it, and be religious about it almost.
H: So if people know what and why they are doing it, then they will do it, and then they will get the results they want.
R: So botox, I am interested in your opinion about it. What is it?
H: Yea botox, I’ve tried to dish the dirt on botox, because I’m not into it. I dont think its been around long enough in our lives. To see what the long term effects of it will be. In my conscious knowledge it's probably been around 20 years. So I worry about the long term effects.
R: So is it like a liquid that you inject into your wrinkle or whatever and then it dissipates after awhile and you have to re-inject more?
H: I don't know. As I’ve said, I've tried to research this, and nothing comes up. So is it because there is no dirt to dish, or because it's such a massive industry and they have put a lock down on it? You hear about people getting it, and then they need to get it done again and again. I don’t like the superficial side of it, I think it's scary. I think the filtered airbrushed world we live in now, is taking over, and people need to look filtered and airbrushed as they are walking down the street. Where does it stop? Look at the person administering it. Does that person look strange to you? If so, their idea of what is normal is warped.
R: Well your skin looks airbrushed and perfect anyway...no botox.
H: Haha. And I’m 38, so I would like to say, I’m never going to do that in my life, and I am 99% sure I won't but how do you know how your going to feel when your 60.
R: Microneedling, so this is the thing, microneedling, botox, where does it stop, does it all just flow on to one another?
H: We have lots of ethics on how we treat the skin, and we won’t ever do anything to the skin that is going to be detrimental. Because we are working alongside the skin as an organ. So microneedling, even though it sounds brutal, you’re only letting the skin do what it knows how to do. Microneedling is a way of waking up the skin cells, and letting them do what they already know how to do. Where you need to be careful is if you are microneedling a skin that is not healthy. So we only microneedle the skin once it is at a certain level of healthiness. So we know it's going to cope and get the results.
R: So it stimulates your collagen, that's what microneedling does?
H: Absolutely. So you are always going to have collagen, everyone has it, you even produce some once you are dead! And as we age, the quality of the collagen you produce lessens. And that is because we live in the world, and we breathe in oxygen, and pollution, and we go out drinking or whatever, and the quantity of collagen decreases, because we are aging. So what we do first is increase the quality of the collagen you are producing. Through home care and diet. Then we stimulate the collagen, so it’s like giving your skin cells a kick, saying come on now, you know what your doing.
R: And how long do you do that for? Are you puffy?
H: You’re red and a little bit swollen, and in fact some people actually like the swelling because it does plump out your wrinkles a bit. A lot of people come to us in the evenings, and then in the morning you are a bit red, but most people feel comfortable to go to work. You can have it once a month forever if you want to. You need at least 6 treatments, because we target a certain growth factor and it peaks on certain amounts.
R: Diet - you told me that my skin was deprived of good oils, and I was kind of shocked because I would say I’d eat a lot of walnuts and salmon, avocado, good high quality oils… So now I have a tablespoon of flaxseed oil on my porridge each morning and you know that is a lot of oil to be having! Most people are like WHAT! So obviously diet is so important for the skin, so how do you approach people about their diets when they come to see you?
H: I am looking at your skin, so what is happening with your skin is actually a direct reflection of what is going on inside. So say someone is doing everything right, eating all the good essential fatty acids, but they are still deficient. Then we need to look at what's going on in the gut. Why aren’t they converting those essential fatty acids from their food? Why is their body not utilizing it? Often because their gut microbiome is unbalanced, due to illness, too much alcohol, or not the right diet. So they're not metabolizing their fats well.
R: So you explain this to your customer?
In a way… some people aren’t interested in the ins and outs… literally poo. We get there in a roundabout way.
R: So that's interesting that you work almost alongside the nutritionist?
R: I doubt there are many beauty therapists that work alongside the nutritionists, you think of them as quiet different places to go.
H: People tend to come to us first because they see what the problem is on the surface of their skin. But often, that's the last thing that comes up. It was happening ages ago on the inside, and I'm like, go to the naturopath, go to the nutritionist.
R: So it’s like educating people that this industry of beauty is so related to your health and wellbeing on the inside and that beauty and health are so connected. Its 50% of what you are putting on your skin because that can literally just be ruining your skin, and the other 50% is what going on inside.
R: So to people that are reading this, what is the best advice you can give them to improve their skin?
H: Drink water and eat essential fatty acids.
R: Really? All the inside stuff? What about cleanse and tone etc everyday. Would you say it’s more important to drink water and have essential fatty acids?
H: Yea. It's all about water and oil inside and surrounding every cell. If I want to put some vitamins into your skin cells, to correct DNA damage, to correct pigmentation, to strengthen your capillaries, to give you better quality collagen, I can't do that if your water and oil is imbalanced. I need those cell receptors to be standing on end, ready to receive and THEN you put vitamins on and your skin goes wow thank-you.
R: What about pimples? You get one. Should you squeeze it? Should you not?
H: Leave it! And come see me! Haha. But no, again, essential fatty acids, water, take a look at your diet. Are you touching your face? Did your dog lick your face? Does your dog lick your face every time you come home? That’s daily bacteria getting shoved on your face every day. If I sit at a computer doing work, my hand creeps up to my face, and I get a pimple. All the students and people working on computers, generally have their hands all over their face. So sit on your hands when your reading your work.
R: Contraceptive pill?
H: I think we tend to see the Contraceptive pill, as the contraceptive pill and not as medication. It’s medication. We have to call it for what it is. So if you are taking the pill you have to remember that it is having an effect on your liver and your kidneys. Mildly. But it is still an impact on the way you body processes things. I don’t want to be responsible for any unwanted children, but I think people need to have more discussions with their Doctors and nurses about the pill. And not just take it as a given. The medical world won't approach you and say how are you going with that? You might not have been to the doctor for like 4 years, and your still on the same pill. You need to be proactive and get informed.
R: Menopause and Puberty. What can you do for your skin in those times?
H: One thing that a lot of people are really surprised to find out, is the vertical lip lines you get, what's always deemed as smokers lines… oh yea, I know, my Mum has those, people ask her if she was a smoker and she wasn’t! Well the reason why people get those lines is lack of estrogen, some Women get it after they have given birth, mostly its menopause, and sometimes it’s if you've had a lot of dental work. We get a lot of results from micro needling for that.
R: Puberty. Do you see many girls with bad acne?
H: Well your skin cells are literally changing during this time. If you look at a babies skin, and baby hair, it's totally different from adult hair and skin. Your receptors are getting a different message when you go through puberty. So those skin cells become harder and more keratinised. Same with your hair, it becomes stronger. So when that happens and you are also getting this production of oil and maybe your diet isn’t great as your spreading your wings, so you've got oil and your skin hardening… and as a result you get a spot on the surface of this nasty oil trying to get through.
R: You have kind of already answered it but if people can’t afford to come and see you, what can they do for their skin?
H: I really love that question! Because the foods I am talking about are expensive. So it’s water, it’s free. And drinking more of it is the best thing you can do for your skin. Turning your hot water down. This is a real free piece of advice I can give. Too many people are washing their face in the shower with really hot water, and that’s causing inflammation, acne, a lot of back acne is because of the shower being too hot. And the 3rd, having a healthier diet.
R: Last question. Make up - so you are really into the mineral makeup? And the products you use ENVIRON and Dermaviduals they are all natural right?
H: They are synthetically made in a factory, but the active ingredients are natural, and they come from a good source. What we see with makeup, when we are treating people for their skin, is sometimes they are using maybe a different blusher from a different brand or something. And they are still getting acne across where the blusher has been going. People are really into contouring these days so there is a lot of make up going on those cheeks. Many of the fillers that are used in makeup are pore clogging, and that is also the problem with many foundations. And a lot of blushers and things like that. SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is found in most foundations which is awesome, but liquid foundation SPF only lasts 2 hours, so you do need to think about mineral powder SPF , which should be all day protection.
R: Anything else you would like to add?
H: The great thing about skin is that it has the two sides to it - the inside and the outside, and so you have a way of treating it from both ends. So you can’t just think botox, or even good skin care. Think about the two sides. Think about the inside and the out.
Very interesting… good diversion for shut ins
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