Five things we learned from celebrity skin expert Dr Yannis Alexandrides
You’re unlikely to know his name, or his face, but you will recognise the celebrity faces (and their sheet-mask selfies) his products are regularly seen on.
Cosmetic surgeon Dr Yannis Alexandrides and creator of 111skin is the man responsible for the shiny rose-gold face mask that has taken Instagram by storm since it was lauded by celebrities including Margot Robbie, Priyanka Chopra, Ashley Graham, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and the Victoria’s Secret Angels, the list goes on.
Dr Alexandrides visited Auckland recently to launch a new product into his 111skin range at Mecca, and took the time to share some of the knowledge he's gained on skin and the beauty business with beautyheaven.
1. Take your skincare cues from astronauts
Along with treating some of London’s best-known faces in his Harley St cosmetic surgery practice, Dr Alexandrides spends his time developing his own high-end skincare brand 111skin. His first products were designed to help speed the skin's recovery from procedures.
“As a plastic surgeon I was researching products that would help patients heal quicker after surgery, it's always a big request from my patients.”
As part of that research Dr Alexandrides worked with scientists within the space program, that were looking for a way to help treat astronauts, who experience an accelerated rate of aging.
“As astronauts are exposed to outer-space, they receive a lot of radiation from the sun and there's also the lack of gravity that is detrimental to all organs, but especially the skin. So the intention was to create products that will help them sustain and prevent aging. In a way, space is like a perfect laboratory for studying aging!”
The resulting complex, known as NAC Y2, is now accessible to us less well-travelled folk, as the principal ingredient in 111Skin’s Y Theorem Repair Serum, and other items in the range.
2. But celebrities also know a thing or two
The endorsement of astronauts is great and all, but it’s the most beautiful faces in the world that can really seal the deal on a product's success. Take for example, that rose-gold hydrogel mask. While it can look a little ‘sliced ham’ on the face, the results (and its famous fans) speak for themselves. At $39 for a single-use mask, it's also one of the more affordable options in a range with products that often come in at hundreds of dollars each.
Designed to deliver a quick hit of plumping, brightening and hydrating ingredients to skin, it includes tiny particles of legit 24 karat gold, along with damask rose, amino acids, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. Dr Alexandrides is amused and delighted by its success, standing by its effectiveness, as with all his products, but is quietly chuffed about the attention.
“We created this mask as a Christmas special a couple of years ago, explains Dr Alexandrides. "It was picked up by a lot of famous models and actresses who used it as a primer before going out and red carpet events. It has become a cult product, we can't make enough!
“A lot of them [celebrities] discover us through makeup artists who use the products to create a nice skin for applying makeup, so they trust us, but of course they do [subsequently] call us to pick up more!”
Famously Priyanka Chopra’s makeup artist Patti Dubroff used it on her before attending the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and applied to models before appearing in the Victoria's Secret fashion shows.
3. Physical exfoliation isn't off the agenda
Face scrubs have had some bad press lately, and while we’re obviously glad to see the back of plastic microbeads, we’re still on the fence about claims physical exfoliators can damage the skin’s surface causing microscopic tears.
111skin’s brand new Celestial Black Diamond Multi-Acid Accelerated Peel, the product Dr Alexandrides was in town to promote, utilises the acids we’ve come to know, love and use instead of harsh exfoliants, but also includes tiny smooth spheres of rose quartz.
“A lot of those products [old-style exfoliants] can be irritating, however we chose rose quartz as it has very small particles so it doesn't irritate the skin. That's why I feel confident saying even if you were to use it on a daily basis, it wouldn't cause irritation. It has a very fine abrasive effect to create renewal of the skin together with a group of fruit acids and also another product called betaine which is very good for hydration of the skin.”
4. It's also possible to over-use acids
We’re all for the glow, which these types of products are designed to assist with achieving, but Dr Alexandrides also agrees that overzealous use of high-percentage acids can also have a detrimental effect.
“They can be too aggressive. My advice is if it feels like its burning or irritating or makes the skin look red, it’s time to stop.
“We have chosen a very safe formula by choosing ingredients that are not too aggressive but give the results. For example choosing lactic acid over glycolic was one of them. Lactic being more organic and less invasive but still giving the results that we want.
“Remember the effect of the peel is, for skin that has not been treated for a long time, to get it to start recycling faster. So if you do it too many times you’re not doing that any more.
“Taking a break is the number one thing [to recover from irritation] and then using substances that heal, anti-inflammatory substances, for example any product in our reparative line has antiinflammatory ingredients properties
5. In-flight skincare is non-negotiable
Given his busy jet-set lifestyle, and just before he hopped back on the plane to London, Dr Alexandrides had a few thoughts on how to minimise the effects of travel on the complexion.
“Travelling is very dehydrating and very stressful for the skin. Using a mask during the flight is one of the key things that I do, I think people are getting used to this. The flight attendants don't think it’s strange, a lot of them ask me about the products! They say oh, do you have a few extra with you?!
"Drinking a lot of water is key, as is staying away from alcohol. The effects of alcohol only exacerbate dehydration.
"Finally, trying to sleep, because sleep is the best thing for the skin, as well as skincare. It’s the time when the skin recovers from all the damage, to get back to its normal state.”
Have you ever tried a hydrogel mask?