Skincare can play an important role in our physical and emotional wellbeing with natural touch-based therapy proving beneficial to both skin and brain, says Dr Katerina Steventon, a facial skin consultant therapist based in Beverley, East Yorkshire.
Dr Steventon, who has a PhD in skin science and is trained in professional facial therapy, explored the role of facial touch in the relaxation of the body using EEG (electroencephalography) to monitor its effects, as part of her 20-year skin science research.
She believes that relaxation by facial touch contributes to alleviating stress both in the face and the brain, acting as an anti-ageing therapy and delivering direct physiological benefits to the skin and muscles of the face. This might be gentle exfoliation, increasing blood flow and stimulating the lymphatics, relaxing the muscles and working with acupressure points. The study participants had their brain alpha waves measured by EEG at baseline, prior to beginning a trial using a light facial serum for an evening facial massage of 10 minutes every day for a month.
“Self-care and touch are essential in times of stress-inducing situations like lockdown,” Dr Steventon said. “Research undertaken by me with Hull York Medical School in 2015 showed an increase in brain alpha waves - a measure of relaxation - after participants massaged their faces daily for a month and proved that applying skincare products with gentle facial massage strokes provided benefits both for the face and for general wellbeing.”
Lockdown and the pandemic have revolutionised how we buy and use beauty products and treatments, with at-home therapies, purple haircare products that preserve hair colour, skin serums and blue-light-blocking skincare among the top lifestyle trends that emerged in 2020 and look set to grow throughout 2021, according to Vogue.
Facial serums are booming in popularity, particularly those containing active ingredients - vitamin C, retinol, hyaluronic acid, squalene, salicylic acid, niacinamide and ceramides - are among some of the most searched active ingredients according to Harper’s Bazaar, with male customers also driving demand as skincare is marketed in increasingly gender-neutral ways.
Based on her results, Dr Steventon developed her 1-4-9 Signature Routine Collection with a newly launched Calming Cleanser to add to her Anti-Ageing Serum and Radiance Eye and Lip Serum, with facial massage charts to encourage science-based self-care at home.
Dr Steventon has a PhD in transdermal absorption from the Institute of Chemical Technology, Prague, in her native Czech Republic, and has worked in skincare clinics including La Prairie in Zurich, Switzerland, and Shiseido in Ofuna, Japan. Her PhD also explored the effects of the menopause on facial skin. She launched her private practice in 2009 in Beverley and works as a consultant to large and small skincare brands. The 1 Calming Cleanser is a new hybrid formula for deep cleansing based on a combination of modified plant oils (including coconut and evening primrose oils), gentle surfactants, hydrating glycerin and calming aloe vera leaf extract. It costs £35 for a 50ml pot with applicator, available online at www.katerinasteventon.com