She Speaks: The Pandemic Through the Eyes of a Skincare Specialist

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While we slap on another face mask and clumsily attempt at-home facials, it’s safe to say we’re missing our regular skincare treatments more than ever. But have you stopped to think about the impact of social distancing and clinic closures on facialists and aestheticians? Here, Savoir Flair speaks with top skincare expert Rebecca Treston about what these unprecedented circumstances have meant for her line of work.

As the founder of one of Dubai’s leading aesthetic clinics, how have you been personally affected by the pandemic?
Leading up to the pandemic was a really exciting time for me. I had just finished my notice with my former clinic and was putting the finishing touches on launching my brand in London. Fortunately, for my Dubai branch, I have partnered with Dubai London Clinic, which has been an industry leader in Dubai for over 30 years. This staying power and infrastructure have been even more of a blessing during these times than I knew when we first embarked on this journey together.

On a personal level, the single biggest effect on me has been the separation from my young daughters and husband. I am in London, where I came to work on the launch of my new Chelsea branch. I cannot return to Dubai so, although I am so very grateful that we are all well, this has been difficult for me and my family on a personal level.

From a professional perspective, what aspect of all of this concerns you most?
Every practitioner in the aesthetics industry is facing the same situation. None of us are allowed to work, so this is affecting my business as acutely as it is for so many around the world. Naturally, I am concerned about my clients and miss connecting with them every day in the clinic. I’m also concerned about the tremendous investment that has gone into opening my new clinics with no revenue coming in for several months – and counting. I also miss working with my lasers!

rebecca treston coronavirus covid-19
Photo: Courtesy of @rebeccatreston

What is the one question you’re asked most frequently these days?
I’m mostly asked about acne and breakouts, even when people are at home and not really wearing makeup. Another big ask is about sagging jowls. People are looking down on their devices, which exacerbates the problem. Of course, I’m also asked about home remedies and home masks.

Do everything you can to stay connected to your clients and be ready to help them when this crisis has ended.

What advice would you give to individuals/companies worldwide who run clinics and are therefore struggling?
I would advise that we all use this time to our best advantage under very difficult circumstances. When we’re working in our clinics, we don’t have as much personal time as we do now, and we’ll have to work all hours when this has ended. I’m using this time to study and attend online seminars, and keep my staff engaged through internal training over Zoom. I have also organized additional online professional training for my staff. My advice would be to do everything you can to stay connected to your clients and be ready to help them when this crisis has ended.

Nobody likes to miss a facial appointment. What advice would you give to women struggling with their skincare routines?
Stick to a good skincare routine, but don’t overdo it. Maintain a daily regimen that includes exfoliation, antioxidants, and moisturizer. Use this time to get into a meditation practice to reduce stress, which also helps your skin. The same goes for nourishing your skin by drinking plenty of water and eating healthy foods. Exercise to keep your blood flowing and your skin oxygenated. Whatever is good for your mental health is also good for your skin.

As an industry insider, what can you tell us about the beauty industry in the Middle East – both presently and in the foreseeable future?
The aesthetics industry is dynamic and constantly evolving. Consumers in the region are particularly savvy when it comes to their beauty and skincare routines, and expect the most advanced treatments and techniques on offer. In the Middle East, we stay well ahead of the curve in order to meet the high expectations and standards that we set for ourselves and our clients expect from us.

Photo: Courtesy of Jeremy Zassinger for Savoir Flair

Do you predict a sudden surge in bookings once this phase has passed?
If this crisis has taught us anything, it has been to not try to predict what may happen. I think people’s desire to get back into the clinic will be there, but whether people can book in for an aesthetic treatment is another question. People are losing their businesses and livelihoods. As much as they may want to book, they just may not be in a financial position to do so.

Are you, like many during this time, turning to more DIY beauty treatments? If so, what are your go-to recipes?
Similar to my clients, I am enjoying homemade masks. They remind me of when I first started in the industry more than 20 years ago, when some acid peels were not sold commercially, so I made peels for my clients! I’m using recipes that include crushed aspirin, lemon, and honey. I also love using turmeric and aspirin, which contains salicylic acid, so it is beneficial for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties. Aspirin’s natural BHA also fights against cystic acne and clogged pores, and helps to tighten skin, smooth lines, and improve your skin’s tone and texture.

Honey contains natural antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. Its ability to hold onto water also makes it a potent moisturizer, and it has terrific collagen-boosting properties. A little lemon is great for its lightening and brightening effects, and is rich in vitamin C. Just don’t overdo the lemon because the acid could be irritating to some skins. Another great DIY mask is turmeric powder, ground oats, organic plain yogurt, and raw honey. This is a great anti-inflammatory, soothing, and moisturizing mask.

What can our readers do at a time like this to support the local beauty scene?
Take the time to interact and engage with your service providers; follow them on social media platforms to show your support. If you are looking for treatments and find something you believe in, share with your friends and try to spread the word about practitioners you believe in.

DIY Anti-aging face mask
Photo: Courtesy of @retouchingacademy

What beauty products or treatments will you splurge on when all this is over?
My first stop will be at the salon for a cut and root color. Next, it will definitely be one of my signature laser treatments that will work on every level to tighten, brighten, and not make me look like an imposter at an aesthetics brand!

Has self-isolation inspired you to switch up your beauty and skincare routine?
I’m in London and didn’t bring enough of my skincare products, and I’m hoping to make it home to Dubai before many can be delivered. So, like everyone, I’ve had to improvise and come up with creative solutions from what I can find in my kitchen or local supermarket.

Do you think this phase has taught us that we overdo it when it comes to our skin? How we can tone this down?
My skin is super sensitive, so I have to be careful and always advise my clients to never overdo it with any treatment. I do think this time of bad lighting and camera angles on Zoom meetings has created panic. Plus, seeing ourselves like this has made us super aware. Don’t panic; keep to a consistent daily care routine that looks after your skin with the right antioxidants and hydration, meditate, eat well, and get some exercise.

While you can’t transform faces, what have you been focusing your creative energy on instead?
Trying to connect with my clients. I have never been comfortable in front of the camera, so I am trying to step out of my comfort zone to work on content for my social media so that I can provide advice for my clients online when they cannot go to the clinic. I’m also doing a lot of video quiz nights with my family!

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