The Skin Nerd: Skin goals- Pharrell William's fountain of youth

Pharrell Williams. Picture: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire.

Music mogul he may be but my fascination with Pharrell Williams has a lot more to do with the fact that he appears not to have aged at all. When it comes to anti-ageing skincare, there are some hard truths to keep in mind.

Genetic or intrinsic skin ageing actually purportedly only makes up 10% to 30% of how our skin ages, so put down the donut, pour out the coffee, stub out that cigarette and get out of your sun lounger.

As a skin therapist, you can often have a good idea of someone’s lifestyle from their skin. Sugar consumption shows itself as criss-crossed lines and wrinkles on the face, caused by a little somethin’, somethin’ called glycation, which is when unchecked sugars in our bloodstream damage our skin’s structural proteins, collagen and elastin.

Those who don’t drink enough water and gulp down diuretics like coffee and tea look duller, drier and less plump. Smokers will have the tell-tale ridging around the mouth and deeper nasolabial lines, which are the creases that run from your nostrils to the corners of your mouth.

People who don’t protect themselves from the sun or look after their skin properly? Basically, all the signs of ageing are amplified including lines, wrinkles, sallowness of the skin, sagging, drooping and pigmentation.

To summarise, you cannot place all of the blame on your family tree, and Pharrell did not necessarily get his skin from his momma, so to speak. Like all of the great wonders of the world, the origins of Pharrell’s phenomenally youthful skin are a bit of a mystery.

When asked about it, he said:

I exfoliate like a madman. When you exfoliate and you drink a lot of water, that does good for you. To me, the key is just exfoliating, like a monster. There’s a lot of dead skin. All the time. Like a narcissistic madman.

Words to live by, indeed, but we do like to take a bit of a gentler approach ourselves so as to avoid the dreaded over-exfoliation. On another occasion, Pharrell admitted that he followed the advice of Naomi Campbell and got himself a skin expert, dermatologist Dr Elena Jones, who advised him on an exfoliating cleanser, which he follows with a skin-clearing toner and moisturiser.

So, what is Pharrell’s cleanser? It’s the relatively accessibly priced Glytone Acne Self-Foaming Cleanser ($40), featuring 0.5% salicylic acid.

You may know that salicylic acid is one of my holy grail skincare ingredients for those with oilier skin and congestion of any kind because it not only gently prompts the skin to exfoliate itself, but dissolves debris within the pore. Are you thinking that Pharrell doesn’t look oily? Well, friends, he probably thanks salicylic acid for that.

The “drinking water for your skin” tip is nothing groundbreaking but lately, there has been criticism of the connection between keeping well-hydrated and your skin’s condition. All of your excessive weeing has not been for naught, though.

In a study from 2015 carried out by a team from Lusofona University, Lisbon, it was shown that increasing your water intake leads to improved skin thickness and density, and better skin hydration. For a well-rounded skincare routine, you need to include a form of topical hydration, which Pharrell brings in with a moisturiser, and a broad-spectrum SPF every single day.

Pharrell didn’t mention an SPF, but in the world of Nerd, SPF is our number one anti-ageing recommendation. So there you have it, men. You can be happy like Pharrell and the key seems to be exfoliation.

The Nerdie Pick

Skingredients® Sally Cleanse (RRP €25)

Available from pharmacies McCauley’s, McCabes, Hickey’s and Lloyds. Plus Cara Health, CH Tralee from June 6.

To be featuring my very own cleanser as my Nerdie Pick is surreal. Sally Cleanse was formulated to be a treatment cleanser with a whopping 2% salicylic acid, the highest amount legal in cosmetics in the EU.

We recommend using it once every third night, but as men can have slightly thicker and oilier skin, you can bump it up to once every two nights.

That’s on the condition you’re using an SPF daily, as high amounts of exfoliating acids can make the skin more sensitive to light.

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