Whether it’s battling the elements, making sure our skin stays hydrated, or fighting off fine lines and blemishes, there’s a lot we need to think about when it comes to maintaining healthy, beautiful skin. So just how do we keep on top of it all? Well, according to leading oculoplastic surgeon and aesthetic doctor Dr. Maryam Zamani, the key to a good regimen is to keep it simple.
She created luxury skincare line MZ Skin after seeing “a genuine need for high-performance skincare rooted in medical science, coupled with women’s desires and a beautiful sensory experience”, harnessing the power of pioneering anti-aging ingredients that actually work. From the foods you should be eating to the biggest mistakes you’re making, here is everything Zamani shared with us about getting – and maintaining – beautiful skin.
What are the key ingredients we should be looking out for in skincare?
Women want essential skincare products that reveal, enhance, and protect the skin, which is the ethos behind my brand. I think everyone needs a good exfoliant, and I believe in chemical – rather than mechanical – exfoliation because if you’re too harsh, it’s not good for skin. And if you’re too light, you’re not really doing what you need to do. A chemical exfoliant is better at being gentle on the skin and maintaining hydration. I personally like AHAs and different acids, like lactobionic acid.
We should all be using a vitamin C and antioxidants; they are key for preventing damage and repairing it as they act as an extra barrier in skincare in general. I also think everyone should be on a retinol, and we can all be on a different percentage, depending on our age. At a certain point, you need to have a prescription-strength retinol to add to your skincare, and that’s one of the only things – unless you’re an acne sufferer – that you need to get stronger than what you can get over the counter. Of course, SPF too! Prevention is key.
MZ SKIN ‘Brighten & Perfect 10% Vitamin C Corrective Serum’
Does diet affect skin? And if so, what should we be eating?
Diet is so important – you are what you eat! Green leafy vegetables are great as they give you the building blocks for creating new collagen. Having protein is really important, and not having enough can give you that lackluster look. Antioxidants are essential, and I believe that ingesting them through food, and not via supplements, is very important. I’m not a huge believer in supplements, unless you really need them. I love green tea, berries, leafy greens, and – of course – lots of water. Hydration is key!
You’re not going to break out if you have a big bowl of French fries, but you’re not getting any nutrition from them – and they will be going towards that cellulite on your legs! A diet lacking in nutrients means you’re not giving yourself the building blocks you need for glowing skin.
What lifestyle habits can really affect skin?
Sun and stress tie in at the number one spot for aging. The sun is really bad, but if you’re well protected, it’s also a really good mood stabilizer. Stress, on the other hand, is a killer for everything – not just skin. So we all need something that de-stresses us. For me, it’s cardio or reading. It’s important to find something to help you disconnect, whether that’s yoga or running or meditation. Even a hot bath will work! Whatever your means is.
Sleep is also vital; we all need between seven to nine hours. That’s the time when we are replenishing our bodies and actually making new skin. But it’s not just important for your skin, it’s vital for all your internal organs, too. It helps detoxify the body, and if you’re disrupting that pattern, you’re not allowing your body to heal itself.
There’s this amazing book by Arianna Huffington called The Sleep Revolution, and she goes into how so many important people in the world really value their sleep and what they do. Don’t get me wrong, we’re all struggling – it’s hard! We have busy lives. We have work, we have social lives, we have family, we have friends. There are a million places you can be and now, because of social media, you want to be everywhere because so is everyone else. I think it’s really important to put things into perspective – to prioritize and not overtire yourself.
Arianna Huffington ‘The Sleep Revolution’
Debunk the biggest skincare myth you’ve ever heard.
That’s hard because I hear so many bad ones, and weird ones like crushing toothpaste and putting it on your face – or strange things to treat spots. I always tell people to just not touch it! If you’re going to do anything, just put a little bit of salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide on it. You don’t want to dry it out to the point where your skin is cracking because you’ll scar it. But people always want a quick fix. Toothpaste is always the one I hear, but it really just dries your skin. If you’re going go to do that, go buy a proper pimple treatment!
The important thing with skincare is to have a routine and maintain it. You’re not going to see results if you don’t use it consistently – it’s like a workout for your skin!
What is the ultimate anti-aging routine?
As I mentioned, it’s to reveal, enhance, and protect. Everybody should have an exfoliant, which I recommend using twice a week. The reason I created my AHA cleanser is because it doubles as a mask, and you can use it twice a week as a treatment to get rid of grime as it gives a very light peel. The reason why exfoliation is so important is because if you’re sitting all day with makeup on, and all that dirt and debris around you. And if you then put more skincare products on, they simply won’t penetrate your skin properly. So the first step towards healthy skin is to get rid of all the gunk sitting on top of it!
For anti-aging, you want hydration. And what maintains hydration? Hyaluronic acid. It holds so many more times its weight in water, but it will evaporate unless you have other ingredients like ceramides and peptides that lock in the moisture and maintain them in the skin. You don’t want to put on products that will get absorbed by the environment or dry out; you want them to be effective. Vitamin C is also really important, and you want to find one that’s encapsulated and won’t degrade quickly. If you notice that your vitamin C is turning orange, you know it’s not working for you! As I also said, retinol is imperative, and you can start off with a low dose and build up.
The important thing with skincare is to have a routine and maintain it. You’re not going to see results if you don’t use it consistently – it’s like a workout for your skin! You don’t exercise once and say, “Oh, I’ll have an amazing body for life now!” Skincare is the same. It’s all about routine, and you need to work on it.
MZ SKIN ‘Cleanse & Clarify Dual Action AHA Cleanser & Mask’
What are the biggest mistakes women make with their skincare?
The biggest mistake is using too many products at once. I have clients who come in with inflammation, and they’re saying everything they use reacts. But, sometimes, I think it’s down to using too many products with active ingredients, because that will inflame the skin. Someone will come in with 25 products and ask, “What am I doing wrong?” I always say, “Keep it simple!” You don’t need a lot of products, you just need a few good ones.
How should women in the UAE protect their skin against the elements?
Well, avoidance is best, so avoid going outside in peak hours. The AC is also a killer – one minute I’m freezing, and then I’m hot! I think humidifiers are great, as dry heat and dry air inside really dehydrates the skin. Of course, you also need a lot of hydration, and lighter products like serums are great as they absorb really quickly without being heavy on skin. And of course, sun protection, vitamin C, and antioxidants!
What’s the ultimate remedy for really puffy eyes?
First of all, massage your face. Usually, when you wake up, your eyes are the puffiest because you’ve been lying down for at least seven hours – hopefully – and you’re therefore not blinking. And it’s the blinking action that drains the water from below the eyes. Gently massage from the inner part of your eye outwards as that helps with lymphatic drainage.
My golden eye masks are amazing. They’re full of hyaluronic acid, and really cooling if you put them in the fridge for ten minutes. This helps decrease dark circles as you’re constricting any dilated blood vessels. They also hydrate, so fine lines and wrinkles will be less prominent! Or, if you don’t have a mask, the old-fashioned trick of using cucumber slices really works because they also help drain the area. Usually, a little bit of massage and something cold will really help. Drinking lots of fluid at night really helps, too.
MZ SKIN ‘Hydra-Bright Golden Eye Treatment Mask x 5’
What is your top tip for applying skincare products?
You never want to rub; you want to be gentle with your skin. Once you lose skin elasticity, it does not come back, especially around the eye area. I’m wary and conscious of even threading eyebrows as pulling and stretching skin in that area can be damaging, so be gentle and be careful.
The sooner you realize that you only get skin once and you start taking care of it, the longer it will look better for you.
When should I start using anti-aging products?
As early as you can! From 18 to 20 onwards, really. Obviously, the younger you are, the less you need – but you still need to cleanse, and use antioxidants and a lower concentration of retinol. Then, as you get older, you can up them. The key is prevention and starting young. The sooner you realize that you only get skin once and you start taking care of it, the longer it will look better for you. But just because you missed out in your 20s or even in your 30s doesn’t mean it’s too late to start.
What is your top tip for getting that gorgeous glow?
I like to put together a little ritual. I cleanse my face, and I love my ‘Radiance & Renewal Mask’ – it is divine and exfoliates gently, too. I feel it tingling and working, which I love! Then I’ll put on my gold mask and just a little bit of my night serum. That’s my go-to – you look amazing in, like, ten minutes!
What big things do you predict in the world of skincare?
Intelligent beauty is one of them – so things that can do many things. I think makeup will evolve, too, and it’ll have a bigger element of skincare. We’re already starting to see that now. I also think we’ll have a lot more home treatments. We’re all busy – we’re mothers, we’re wives, we’re employees. Who has the time to take a two-hour break and get a facial? So there will be even more skincare that will go in that direction.
A lot of the makeup artists like Charlotte Tilbury and Trish McEvoy are taking over the traditional brands in the makeup world, and that’s happening in skincare, too. People want results in addition to a sensory experience, so now, brands founded by doctors are on the rise.
Complete the sentence: To me, beautiful skin is…
The no-makeup makeup look and an even skin tone. It’s also whatever makes you feel beautiful – it’s that beautiful underwear that no one else sees, but makes you feel better and more self-confident.