Kate Somerville knows a thing or two about achieving a complexion that’s ready for the red carpet. For more than 25 years, this L.A.-based skin guru has been treating the most photographed faces in the world at her West Hollywood clinic. Kate has bottled her best-kept secrets into collections that tackle every possible skin issue.
Glowing skin seems to be my impossible dream. I attempt it, but just end up with layers of makeup — and no glow at all. Any tips?
My philosophy about great skin is what I call my “Skin Health Pyramid”:
- Protection: Sunscreen and certain foods can provide you with a helpful SPF for your skin.
- Hydration: Drink lots of water, and use the appropriate moisturizer to give your skin its best hydration.
- Nutrition: Nourish your face with topical vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, essential oils, and healthy food.
- Stimulation: Increase circulation with vitamins A and C and peptides.
- Detoxification: Cleanse your face daily with the appropriate cleanser for your skin type.
Rest, exercise, and a good diet are absolutely the fountains of youth—and the vitality that glows through healthy skin.
I hear conflicting theories on diet making a difference in skin’s appearance — what’s your take?
The overall goal is to eat a wide variety of fresh, healthy foods in order to obtain the breadth and depth of nutrients we need. But some foods are powerhouses of nutrition, and you should try to fit them into your diet on a regular basis. My top 15 foods to nourish your skin: almonds, avocados, black beans, blueberries, flaxseed, green tea, melons, olive oil, pomegranate, wild salmon, spinach, tomatoes, whole grains, sweet potatoes, and yogurt. These foods prevent inflammation and aging.
Try to avoid refined white sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, salt, refined white flour and grain products, trans-fatty acids, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, and saturated fat. Also, consume dairy only in moderation. Limit your intake of caffeine, alcohol, sugar, added salt, meat and processed foods; add pure, unfiltered cranberry juice diluted with water, a squeeze of lemon to your glass of water, and green tea.
I thought I left acne behind in my teenage years, but since I’ve had two children, I get red bumps on my chin and around my nose. Help!
Over the years, I’ve noticed that not everyone’s skin is the same all over their face. It’s perfectly possible to have acne on your chin, wrinkles developing around your eyes, and dry patches on your cheeks. Treat each area for its particular concern, rather than applying everything to your entire face: Use an acne treatment for the blemishes only, antiaging for the wrinkles, and a rich moisturizer for the dryness.
If your skin is oily or acne-prone, cleanse with a salicylic acid–based cleanser. If you wear a lot of makeup, you may want to use a cleansing brush—we use Clarisonic in the clinic. And don’t forget to ExfoliKate.
Let’s just say I haven’t been vigilant against sun damage. What should I do to get my skin back in shape?
Many clients walk in my door and ask me to take away or reverse something they don’t like about their skin, and usually what they don’t like could have been avoided by staying out of the sun! External protection is what’s most important for healthy skin. We’ve all been coached to check under our arms, on our bums, or anywhere with limited exposure to the sun and other environmental factors — and we find that the skin there tends to be smooth and soft, with fewer lines, wrinkles, spots or other unsavory stamps of damage.
I learned from my mother’s actions. My mother was part Native American, and I inherited her olive complexion and penchant for sun worshipping. In my 20s, I loved to bask in the rays at the beach as my mother had. Yet in my early 30s, I started to notice lines around my eyes and on my forehead, and where I really noticed the sun damage was on my chest. So a word of advice I learned indirectly from my mother: Wear sunscreen on your treasure chest! If you have sun damage and hyperpigmentation, you’ll want to apply an antioxidant serum that will lighten spots and fight free radicals; those with oily skin will want to apply a toner to reduce sebum production. I have a collection of products called Age Arrest to help lift stubborn discoloration through Telo-5 Technology. No matter what, you should always protect. Apply an ample amount of sunscreen over your moisturizer.
Your book, Complexion Perfection! is a great read, and it’s packed full of tips. I loved seeing the amazing before-and-after photos—is there one makeover that sticks out in your mind?
Tracey’s discoloration was clearly melasma: It was on her face, cheeks, and forehead in an obvious, symmetrical pattern characteristic of the condition. While she did have a minor breakout of acne, my concern was to get rid of this irregular coloring and restore healthy, evenly pigmented skin. I knew that my team could do it, but I also knew that it wouldn’t be easy, since melasma is stubborn. My plan was to treat it down to the “root” cell so that it wouldn’t continue to influence the healthy cells. We needed to turn over the cells fast; that way, we could control what was happening deep down. Her clinic treatments included Laser Genesis, DermaLucent red light, Pearl, and Cosmelan, on top of taking my Total Vitamin Anti-Aging Supplement. Her results were incredible!
For those of us who can’t make monthly facial appointments at your L.A. clinic, is there a product we can use at home?
Every facial at my clinic begins with ExfoliKate. It makes skin glow in two minutes. The ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment is available on our website and our retail locations. I recommend using it twice a week for just four weeks to uncover smooth, youthful skin. It’s packed with lactic acid and soothing aloe vera and honey. It works with the skin’s natural rejuvenation process and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
For more info go to katesomerville.com.