She travels the world sourcing the purest ingredients possible, her (super luxe) line is made using the latest technology, she’s a doctor in biology, and she has been creating some of the world’s most revolutionary skincare products for over 20 years. Enter: Dr. Pauline Burgener, the superwoman behind the Dr Burgener Switzerland skincare range.
Working on beauty from the inside out by harnessing the power of nature, the Doctor of Biology has even discovered anti-aging ingredients, such as the highly effective green caviar that she found on the island of Okinawa in Japan. The good news is that you can reap its rewards right here as her products are available in some of Dubai’s leading spas. Even better: Savoir Flair met with Dr. Burgener when she was in town recently. On our agenda? Her top skincare secrets, some practical tips, and her real stance on anti-aging.
What are the key ingredients we should be looking out for in skincare?
You have different levels when it comes to skincare. Hydration is one of the most important things because not hydrating your skin or losing its water is what leads to the first sign of wrinkles. A few months ago, we discovered a new protein that allows you to put molecules of water inside. When used in our creams and eye creams, it keeps water inside the skin and restores water levels for over 24 hours.
The second level is antioxidation and anti-free radicals. We live in such a polluted environment and what we eat is not always the best, so the body is absorbing a lot of toxins. It’s very important to detoxify the body with treatments, but also use products that help protect against oxidative stress and free radicals. Chardonnay extract, for example, is a great antioxidant. So hydration, antioxidation, and detoxification are very important.
Does diet affect skin? And if so, what should we be eating?
Certainly. Diet is very important, which is why I’ve developed nutritional supplements to help. We have ampules for detoxification, draining, and slimming, all of which are a mix of natural ingredients that act on the liver to detoxify the entire body. For example, if you have dry skin – not dehydrated skin – that’s missing lipids, we have omega and borage pills. Taking three per day will restore the lipid barrier from the inside as they go directly to where they’re needed.
Of course, proper nutrition is crucial – everybody knows that fruits and vegetables are very rich in vitamins and antioxidants. There are some vitamins that we need to add, be it by creams or supplements, but if we have balanced nutrition, we can have everything we need. Today, it’s all about more vegetarian foods and less meat because too much meat makes the blood high in acid. We should be more alkaline because we know that if you have a very acidic body, you’ll have more health problems. And, of course, that affects your skin. It will look older much faster! Fish is great because you have a lot of omega 3 and 9 fatty acids that are great for your skin – same with nuts, like almonds.
Your skin is directly related to who you are and how you live. It’s the mirror of your way of living.
What lifestyle habits can really affect skin?
Physical activity. Oxygenating your body globally activates circulation, and you’ll also lose fat as you’re increasing your basal metabolism. Physical activity will help everything improve – it’s all about a full lifestyle. Relaxation is also very important because stress will act directly on the oxidative stress of your skin. Your skin is directly related to who you are and how you live. It’s the mirror of your way of living.
What are the biggest mistakes women make with their skincare?
Not cleaning their skin properly, and not using the products that are right for them. Also, just buying lots of different products from different brands. Each brand has a different way of working and acting on the skin, so you shouldn’t just mix and match and use things just because you see them advertised – just because it’s good for someone else doesn’t mean it’s good for you. You have to understand your skin, and not doing so is a big mistake women make.
Debunk the biggest skincare myth you’ve ever heard.
The myth today is all about anti-aging. People aren’t focusing on the health of the skin, but on injecting it instead. We see it much more in the Middle East, and it’s a big problem. It means you’re really not working on skin health.
Yes, of course, you can camouflage and fill your wrinkles, but that’s not actually improving your skin. You just need to fill it again three months later, and then again a few months after that! That’s because you’re not really improving it, you’re just filling it. You might think, “Great, I look younger!” But you’re not younger. We need to work on better aging, not on anti-aging. We are all going to get old, so it’s about working on our health globally – and certainly on our skin health.
We need to work on better aging, not on anti-aging. We are all going to get old, so it’s about working on our health globally.
When should I start using anti-aging products?
When it comes to prevention, you can start as young as 20, as this is when we go through a lot of hormonal changes, and skin can be very bad. This is when you should start treating your skin – and we know that if you start around this time, you’re actually starting preventative aging. Of course, you won’t use the same products when you are 20 as when you are 40. In your 40s, it’s much more about antioxidants and anti-free radicals. I’ll use a lot more peptides and stem cells to really take out those free radicals from the cells. I will also act on boosting the collagen because we produce fewer fibers of collagen after 30.
This is why we need to boost it by treating the skin. Just using creams is not enough – you need to treat it with great machines and technology like ultrasound, which increases the fiber blasts in the skin, which in turn produce collagen. Of course, by starting young, you will increase your healthy skin, and you’ll be acting on your skin’s aging. It’s also about diet – when you’re young and eat healthy food, you’re helping prevent skin and body problems!
Our skin is subjected to extreme conditions in the UAE. What’s the best way to protect it from the elements and keep wrinkles at bay?
It’s very difficult! The skin is usually very stressed, especially because of the water here. Women in the region should treat their skin even more than in other parts of the world because you can go from 50 degrees outside to 18 degrees inside in one day. That’s very stressful for the skin! You need to have the right products to help your skin with that, and you must stick to your routine.
Women here also wear a lot of makeup, and that’s the first mistake – especially when you don’t remove it properly. Avoid heavy products during the day, and clean your skin at lunch. Wash it with mineral water – it’s much better than the local water – and then reapply your cream. This means you’re removing the pollution and restoring the skin’s barrier, and that will really help. It’s very humid outside, it’s very dry inside, so you’re in completely different conditions in just a few hours, which is crazy. Get the advice of a specialist so that you use the right products for you.
What’s the solution to waking up with puffy eyes?
Puffiness is caused by an excess of water. My gel cream acts on the lipids in the skin around the eyes as it contains ingredients that activate circulation and remove excess water. There are also some great exercises you can do to really plump the skin and activate the draining around the eye area. Small actions of very soft lymphatic draining will help drain the eye area. Apply your eye cream or gel by pressing it gently onto the skin around the eyes.
Do you think there’s a benefit to having regular facials or should we save them for specific problems or a big event?
We need regular facials! Ideally, you should have a facial every month from the age of 30. When you’re with a therapist who knows how to work on your skin, she will deeply clean it in a way you can’t do at home. We use ultrasound for that, too, as it cleans deep into the skin to remove the effects of harmful pollution. We can then restore skin with various masks and creams to regenerate the skin from the inside.
When you have a big event, you should do a special treatment – for example, a brightening one. A glycolic acid mask will work in 15 minutes to brighten and remove pigmentation. A gold mask is also great, as it contains trace elements of gold, so your skin will literally glow. These are the types of treatments to do before an event, just to boost the skin – but it’s about treating the skin on a regular basis.
Complete the sentence: To me, beautiful skin is…
Dr. Pauline Burgener is based in the canton of Vaud, Switzerland, where her “Haute Couture” concept at the Grand Hôtel du Lac translates to in-depth skin analysis followed by custom treatments and cosmetic products. Here, Dr Burgener Switzerland products are available at Palazzo Versace, Four Seasons, Renaissance Downtown Hotel, and Atlantis, The Palm.