The secret to beautiful skin all year round – by Peony de Sy
Peony de Sy, is the creator of The Pink Peony beauty salons in Barcelona. She incorporates the best characteristics of the three cultures she has lived to create her brand: Asian hospitality, American customer service and European elegance. The Pink Peony practices Clean Beauty and Conscious Capitalism. Peony is a licensed esthetician who continues to study the art and science of skincare all over the world. Here she gives her tips on what she believes is the secret to radiant, youthful looking skin, whatever your age.
We’re currently in mid winter – how do the seasons affect one’s skin?
The air outside can be very drying for the skin. It depletes sebum and oil. The heat inside a home can be very dehydrating. The dry air depletes the moisture on our skin which can result in cracked, flaky skin. One solution is to use a humidifier indoors to keep skin hydrated. Even oily skin can become dehydrated.
What is the ideal beauty routine on a daily and weekly basis?
With skin there is no one size fits all. A beauty routine depends on a person’s skin type and condition. A good esthetician can help you make the right decisions for your specific type and condition but you also need to learn how your skin behaves and reacts in certain situations and adjust your products and rituals accordingly.
A basic daily ritual should include: cleanse, exfoliation and protection with hydrator. It is also advisable to add sunscreen during the day.
From these core rules, you can then begin to incorporate antioxidants and other targeted treatments like skin brightener and retinol to address specific skin concerns.
I personally like to give my skin a rest one day a week. No makeup, no face cream, to keep my skin “working”, fending for its own needs. Our body is capable of generating what we need to repair itself so I don’t want to overfeed or over protect my skin with too many products.
How often do you suggest having facials?
This depends on age and your own skin concerns.
For all skin types, the very minimum should be at least twice a year but ideally it should be every change of season. If there is a very specific objective like treating acne or muscle tone with a microcurrent treatment then once a month is ideal.
I say twice a year because winter and summer are two very extreme changes in temperature. Skin conditions can change significantly according to changes in the weather.
For example in winter it is best to exfoliate dead skin cells so the skin can absorb protective hydration. Focus on hydration. In the summer, the focus is to keep pores clean and the skin blemish free from sweat, pollution, dirt, sand and salt.
For those over the age of 40, a seasonal exfoliation and cleansing is ideal to prevent the accumulation of dead skin cells that tend to dull the skin.
After 35 or so, the skin cycle of 28 days slows down to up to 50 days, so you have almost a month’s worth of dead skin cells on your face, that, when we were younger, would have flaked off by themselves. These accumulated dead skin cells mix with dirt, makeup, sweat and face cream. All this can cause adult acne and blemishes.
The skin changes when there are changes in weather, hormones, stress level etc. It is like going to the dentist. You go twice a year to make sure these problems are kept under control.
It also depends on your own objectives. To prevent sagging facial muscles it is advisable to start getting monthly sessions of microcurrent in your 30s. If you suffer from acne, ideally a monthly facial involving deep cleansing and extraction.
For maintenance, I normally recommend a monthly facial.
Is the routine very different dependent on your skin type?
Absolutely. You can make your skin sensitive or sensitised by using products not suitable for your skin type and condition.
You can create problems by using the wrong product or too many products or doing too many things to your skin.
What is the best order to apply products?
From the lightest molecule to the biggest.
Serums for example should be applied before the day cream because in general serums have smaller molecules and have more concentrated active ingredients so this will sit on top of your day cream and not do its work.
There are so many beauty products on the market, which ones do you think are the best around?
Look for products with active ingredients that are high up on the ingredient list.
Vitamin C should be at least 15% but no more than 20%, for example, because it easily oxidises. Look for vitamin C in small dark bottles or airless bottles. Brands with well formulated products and quality active ingredients will usually state the percentage because they are proud of it.
I have a preference for organic beauty products so I am biased towards Eminence and Dr. Hauschka. I especially like Eminence because they have all the active ingredients such as retinol, hyaluronic acid, AHA and BHA but in a botanical version. Skinceutical, Marti Derm are also well formulated products.
What are common mistakes that people make in their beauty routine?
People can spend a lot of money on serum, creams and cleansers but don’t exfoliate so the products just lie on top of dead skin cells instead of working deeper into the skin and do the job they are supposed to do. They use soap or a drying cleanser to clean the face especially the ones with oily skin. They overdry acne prone skin and can also overtreat their face.
For those who have neglected their skin for several years, is it possible to bring back radiance?
Absolutely. Take the pedicure analogy. If you haven’t had a pedicure in years and you don’t hydrate it, you will likely have cracked heels with deep visible lines. If you start scraping off the tough skin and then nourish it with a rich foot cream, you will recover baby soft heels and suddenly the lines are not as visible. It is the same with our faces. You can continue to improve on this by incorporating biocompatible technologies like LED light and microcurrent.
Is there such a thing as a ‘quick fix’?
My favourite quick fix is microcurrent. It’s a ‘go to’ for the red carpets. It not only tones the skin, but it jump starts the blood circulation and stimulates production of collagen and elastin. The result is lifted facial muscles and luminous skin tone.
How important is diet for one’s skin?
Very important. The skin’s worst enemy is refined sugar as glycation causes collagen to break down. Cut down on sugar and alcohol and see the inflammation and baggy eyes diminish!
What about men, should they be looking after their skin as much as women?
Yes! Fortunately for them, their skin is thicker and their collagen structure is stronger. And most importantly, they don’t have to deal with hormonal imbalances women go through like menstruation, birth control pills and menopause. Women, with weaker collagen structure and thinner skin on top of it, have to go through hormonal issues that cause havoc on the skin.
If you had to suggest the 3 most important aspects of good skin care, what would they be?
Hydration with sun protection
The Pink Peony’s 3 salons in Barcelona:
Passeig de Gracia, 100, Principal
C/ Perill 21-23, bajos 2ª (Gràcia)
Tel: +34 934 878 464
Whatsapp: +34 648 248 744
Monday: 15:00 to 20:00
Tuesday to Saturday: 10:00 to 20:00
Passeig de Gràcia 100, Principal