“With regular maintenance,” says Dr Jean-Louis Sebagh, “taking care of your skin from an early age using good quality cosmeceutical products, and occasional ‘tweakments’, I firmly believe that I can offer my patients an alternative to surgery”.
It’s a bold statement, but the French surgeon, cosmetic doctor and anti-ageing pioneer can back up his claim, with decades of glowing reviews and dazzling results to his world-renowned name. Since qualifying as a facial surgeon from the University of Paris in 1982, he has founded an eponymous skincare line and practised cutting edge cosmetic medicine everywhere from Los Angeles to London. Dr Sebagh was also the first person to administer Botox in France and the first in the UK alongside Professor Nick Lowe.
And the doctor’s clinics, in both Paris and London, have also been a hit with the male demographic. Whereas women strive for ‘beautification’, Dr Sebagh has seen men pursue ‘handsomification’ — through treatments including ‘Jaw Line Contouring’, ‘Chin Projection’ and fillers for the nasiolabal fold. In older men, the ‘Thread Lift’ is also popular; a treatment which lifts and tightens sagging skin tissue around the face and neck.
But his most accessible anti-ageing innovation? A skincare concept created 17 years ago called ‘Ageing-Maintenance’. It’s an art of exfoliating, moisturising precision; plumped up and comprehensively cleansed using a host of the doctor’s own fastidiously-formulated grooming products. And it could change your life.
“My vision for ‘Ageing-Maintenance’ has always been about maintaining naturally radiant, healthy-looking skin which looks and feels its best for as long as possible,” explains Dr Sebagh. “‘Ageing-Maintenance’ skin care and cosmetic ‘tweakments’ are aimed at restoring what is lost through the ageing process. It’s a subtle but very effective way to preserve a youthful glow and age gracefully”.
So, from washing away pollutants to protecting your skin from harmful toxins, here are four simple steps that could help you shave off several years — and stop ageing in its tracks…
Cleansing your skin is the first line of de-ageing defence
Firstly, and perhaps most importantly; cleansing. Dr Sebagh says that washing impurities off your face is critical in order to reduce the burden that pollution puts on your skin — as these environmental toxins are among the biggest culprits in accelerating the ageing process.
It is essential, Dr Sebagh adds, that we remove pollutants, including heavy metals, and debris from the surface of the skin every morning and every evening. When you wake up, cleansing will clear away both grime and dirt, but also allow active ingredients to penetrate and work effectively. At night, cleansing removes any pollutants, sweat and dirt the day has brought with it.
“But remember,” Dr Sebagh warns, “your cleanser needs to be gentle, without stripping or irritating the skin. My ‘Foaming Cleanser’ effectively cleans the skin without being too abrasive. It’s vital to use this twice daily for fresh, clear skin and to maintain moisture levels — because lack of hydration can make skin appear wrinkled, rougher and, hence, prematurely aged”.
Don’t forget to exfoliate your skin after cleansing
Next up; exfoliation. It’s a step commonly skipped in grooming routines — especially by men. But it’s a key way to keep your visage looking fresh and young. And all skin types benefit from regular exfoliation, as the process stimulates cellular turnover, softens your complexion and helps prevent fine lines and wrinkles forming.
But it’s especially important if you’re looking to do battle with the cruel march of time. Because, by buffing away dull, dead layers of skin and removing impurities, you’ll immediately take a couple of years off your face. But be careful — not all exfoliating products are environmentally-friendly, or even effective. So choose wisely.
“My ‘Deep Exfoliating Mask’ is formulated with a potent blend of lactic acid and azelaic acid,” says Dr Sebagh. “The antibacterial properties of azelaic acid prevent the formation of comedones [blocked pores or hair follicles], helping to maintain a clear complexion, whilst its antioxidant properties protect against free radical damage from environmental aggressors.
“At the same time,” Dr Sebagh adds, “it has been shown to inhibit the enzyme tyrosinase, which is responsible for melanin production, in turn helping to reduce and prevent pigmentation. The award-winning formula also includes a silicium derivative, which helps to stimulate the skin’s production of collagen — preventing and repairing the ageing process whilst soothing irritated skin”.
Next up, smoothen out your skin with a clay mask
Of course, you’ll occasionally have to break out the bigger guns. If you’ve had a particularly stressful day, or been exposed to even more grime or toxins than usual, it pays to pair Sebagh’s ‘Foaming Cleanser’ with another of the good doctor’s inventions; the ‘Skin Perfecting Mask’. Because, as Dr Sebagh tells us, there’s nothing more cleansing than clay.
“And, even with rigorous cleansing and moisturising,” explains Dr Sebagh, “pores can become clogged and your skin can need a reset. A clay mask is the most effective way to withdraw impurities from deep within your pores. I formulated my ‘Skin Perfecting Mask’ with pink ‘Kaolin’ clay from Brittany. It’s incredibly purifying”.
Dr Sebagh recommends using his purifying mask only two or three times a week. To apply it, you must smooth the mask over your face, avoiding the eye area, and leave for five to ten minutes. During this time, it will absorb excess oil, regulate oil production, refine your skin texture, tighten your pores, soothe and soften your skin and reduce shine.
Not only that, a clay mask will also minimalise the appearance of blemishes and blackheads — as well as providing a wonderful astringent effect to the skin since it is electromagnetically charged.
Build your complexion back up through hydration
You’ve cleansed and exfoliated — so what next? Some hydration. After stripping away dead skin and sluicing pollutants from your face, you need to begin building your complexion back up to its best. This is vital, Dr Sebagh explains, to replenish skin lipids for a plumper and more radiant, youthful-looking complexion.
“Reach for hyaluronic acid-rich products,” advises the doctor, “such as my iconic ‘Serum Repair’— an intensive moisturising and repairing treatment. Hyaluronic acid is capable of absorbing one thousand times its own weight in water and surrounds each skin cell with lipids, enabling cells to retain water”.
Ideal to use as an aftershave serum, Dr Sebagh’s ‘Serum Repair’ also contains a potent dose of the brand’s patented ‘Micro Molecular Collagen Peptide’, which works to stimulate the skin’s own cells into producing collagen. As such, the serum has a lifting and tightening effect, boosted further by something called ‘Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4’, that assists the reconstruction of skin and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
“And, after using products containing a high concentration of active ingredients,” says Dr Sebagh, “it is important to seal the skin’s barrier to trap moisture. My ‘High Maintenance Cream’ is a luxurious, all-in-one moisturiser with epidermal growth factors, a pollution film and ceramides to help restore the skin’s natural barrier”.
Protect your skin from pollutants and toxins
Finally, once you’ve rehydrated and moisturised, it’s time to defend your face from future ageing threats. And the key here, Dr Sebagh says, is to protect your complexion from pollutant ‘microparticles’ — which can be up to twenty times smaller than our pores, and therefore easily penetrate our skin and cause ‘oxidative stress’ deep in the dermis.
“Oxidative stress,” Dr Sebagh explains, “damages the essential structuring elements in our skin — including collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid — causing our skin to age prematurely. Antioxidants can neutralise the free radicals generated by pollution, but our anti-pollution skincare heroes will create a protective barrier, or ‘second skin’, to help prevent pollutants from penetrating our skin in the first place”.
These hero products, from Dr Sebagh’s ‘Skin Perfecting Mask’ to his ‘High Maintenance Cream’, use ingredients including hazelnut proteins, safflower oil and eucalyptus to refine and refresh your skin. But, the doctor adds, despite the natural wonders worked by his products, you must deploy them correctly, and work with your own body’s cycles and singularities to achieve the most notable results.
“Work in synergy with your skin’s natural body clock,” Dr Sebagh explains. “Because, while we sleep, our skin gets the chance to rejuvenate and repair itself. During this time, it actively produces new cells. So your daytime skincare should focus on protecting your skin from daily aggressors — think SPF and anti-pollution products — and your nighttime routine should aim to help repair and nourish your skin”.