How important is it to look at the past when creating skincare regimes?
I think it’s important to take inspiration from the wisdom of before and this has definitely been the case for me personally. The key is asking ‘why?” Japanese women used camellia oil for centuries to cleanse their face however you have to ask why and that’s where contemporary knowledge is important to sense check things. What you discover is that camellia oil has a very similar make up to the skin’s sebum and it starts to make sense. It’s only relatively recently that oil cleansing has been popular in the West, however the knowledge has been around for centuries. It’s a case of taking the wisdom and discarding what isn’t useful. Taoist philosophy and wellbeing has inspired a lot of my life and work however I’m not going to experiment by meditating with mercury under my tongue as some early monks did!
Was traditional medicine a big factor?
Yes. I started learning about traditional herbs and nutrition and self-healing practices such as Qi Gong and how powerful they could be. I started looking at what stood up to both the highest traditional and modern standards, not just the ones dictated by the marketing departments of large corporations.
What was it that made your want to pursue skincare as a career, why does it interest you and continue to do so?
It was a natural progression in my personal development. When I started incorporating traditional philosophies and practices into my lifestyle such as Qi Gong, yoga and meditation there was also a shift towards exercising and eating in a healthier but in a more traditional way. As I studied traditional nutritional practices I discovered natural Japanese skincare regimes dating back centuries that were extensions of the natural diet in terms of ingredients. I just found it fascinating that I could replace a moisturizer with rose hip seed oil, an exfoliating scrub with rice bran and honey, and so on. Now the relationships with my clients are hugely motivating for me. Applying everything I have learnt along the way, putting all of those things into practice and seeing the great results is very rewarding.
You have a men’s facial option – how much have you seen men’s skincare evolve in recent years?
I think the evolution in male skincare has been influenced by people in the public eye making it more and more acceptable for men to take better care of themselves. The likes of David Beckham, Bradley Cooper, George Clooney, all being obvious examples of that. A lot of my male clients now have better regimes than my female ones, and generally don’t have the added burden of make-up clogging their pores. I think everyone wants to look good on some level, even the Dalai Lama looks in the mirror before he leaves the house, and now it’s OK for men to want to and openly be able to do that.
What is the skincare rule that you’ve seen most people break?
No protection on the skin which causes sun damage. An extension of that is that the face doesn’t end at the jaw. Wearing sun protection is essential. I see many people who ignore this, and often the worst signs of sun damage are visible on the neck and décolleté which is more challenging to treat. It’s also important to get your vitamin D hit, and I think sometimes we’re a little too obsessed with high SPF sunscreens, so balance is imperative.
Anti-ageing is still a buzzword in skincare, but can we ever really reverse the effects of ageing?
It depends on the context. Can rubbing a cream in your face reverse ageing? Not yet, although I’ve seen some research into telomeres that might mean that’s not too far away! One can always improve the quality of the skin, it depends on genes, age and lifestyle factors. As we age it gets harder. Someone in there fifties will have to work harder than someone in there twenties, however it’s absolutely possible to look more youthful and healthier, no matter who you are. There is no secret pill or magic bullet to achieving that though. It has to come from a holistic approach, considering all aspects of lifestyle, which is the message I try to send to all of my clients.
And if you could give people one key piece of advice, what would it be?
Looking and feeling better starts on the inside. All the ancient methods I have studied have that as the starting point. Good products, a good regime and seeing people such as myself regularly are important however the foundation comes from the inside. Eating clean and organic wherever possible, exercising but also resting and relaxing to reduce the stress in your life, are what will ultimately dictate how you’re looking and feeling. On some level my treatments are about guiding the body’s natural resources, increasing collagen production, repairing and revitalizing, however the raw materials come from the person and will invariably dictate the strength of the results.
David Peters’ treatments are available at the Bulgari spa, and start from £190. Find out more here.