For our latest series, Secrets of Doctors with Beautiful Skin, we spoke to skin doctor Dr Maryam Zamani about the products and diet she swears by to look this good at 42
Dr Maryam Zamani is a leading oculoplastic surgeon and aesthetic doctor, a fellow of the American Board of Ophthalmology, a mother of two PLUS she has her own skincare range, new MZ Skin. It’s safe to say that the 42-year-old is kept pretty busy. So when she walked into the Healthista studio to come and talk to us about her skincare routine I was in awe.
I always wear sunscreen – SPF 30 minimum
How does a woman so busy have time to keep her skin looking so flawless? As part of our new series, Secrets of Doctors with Beautiful Skin, she spoke to us about exactly what she eats to do so. Plus we quizzed her on her skincare routine and the products she swears by to stay looking so youthful and dewy.
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It hasn’t always been an easy ride for Dr Zamani in the skin stakes. Although she spoke to me about being lucky enough to have a middle eastern complexion which has given her a mostly blemish-free ride through life, being more olive-toned led her to believe she could tan without protection in her youth. ‘I tanned throughout my youth which is something that I did aggressively and now regret – it means I’ve suffered from pigmentation issues throughout my twenties and thirties – I was affected by melasma [hyperpigmentation] after both of my children so for me, pigment is the bane of my existence.’
For Dr Zamani, having beautiful skin means having clarity of skin. ‘It’s not about freezing or getting rid of wrinkles – you can have someone that has no lines on their skin but then has patches of pigmentation and you’re going to think they’re really old but you could see that same person with wrinkles and think they look youthful.’
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We quizzed the doctor on how she looks after her skin, including the products and routine that keeps her skin looking young and of course, any advice she can give to the rest of us!
Dr Zamani has had problems with pigmentation due to over-exposure to the sun when she was younger. So how does she combat pigment issues? ‘Prevention is really key for me. I always wear sunscreen – SPF 30 minimum. Even in my new skincare range, I have put SPF in in my moisturiser and I still even use SPF on top of that throughout the day.’
MZ Skin Hydrate & Nourish moisturiser is available for £95 here.
Then when winter rolls around the doctor uses higher strength products to see her through. ‘I tend to use hydroquinone and retinol and take a little bit of a break if I’m going to be in sun-exposed areas for prolonged periods of time or I go down to a weaker form and just slather on the sunscreen, have extra protection using hats and I definitely don’t sit down in the sun during peak hours of sun exposure.’ Hydroquinone is a topical ingredients used to lighten the surface of the skin and is best prescribed by doctors. Retinol is also a topic ingredient used in various strengths in skincare products to refine the surface of the skin and help minimise fine lines.
Tom Ford’s Ultimate Bronzing Powder is available for £72 here
Sat in front of me in all her bronzed glory I was a little bit sceptical that Dr Zamani hid from the sun so well, ‘well, I have a bronzer on,’ she laughed. She was trying out her new tinted moisturiser that hasn’t yet launched and it added a mesmerising summer glow to her face. ‘I also use Tom Ford’s bronzer,‘ added the super-surgeon. ‘It’s a really nice bronzer and then I sometimes use a little Nars orgasm blush on top.’
Nars Orgasm Blush is £23 and both are available from John Lewis.
Dr Zamani’s skincare routine
Now for the nitty gritty. I wanted to know exactly what Dr Zamani does day-to-day to look after her skin. ‘I wash my face twice a day with cold water using a light exfoliating cleanser from my own range and then once that is done I use a vitamin C serum. Right now I’m using my own but I also like the SkinCeuticals Prevent C E Ferulic,’ she revealed.
‘I like to use that twice a day, putting it on in the morning and then following with a tinted moisturiser that has an SPF of 30. Right now I’m using my own brand but if I wasn’t using that I’d add a little drop of SPF to my foundation.’ Before she developed her own tinted moisturiser, Dr Zamani would use Lingerie de Peau from Guerlain.
And there’s a daily night time ritual that compliments the morning one, ‘at night time I usually go to the gym and I wash my face before I go to the gym. I put a couple of drops of vitamin C on my skin again and that’s pretty much it because I tend to sweat a lot so I don’t want to have too much stuff on my face.’
Dr Zamani’s post-gym shower is another excuse to pamper her skin as she uses this time to cleanse her face again. ‘I come out of the shower and use a hydroquinone based cream that is prescription strength. I mix that with my night serum from my own range and then I put my night cream on and then that’s pretty much it.’
SkinCeuticals Prevent C E Ferulic is available for £82.64 from Amazon here.
Guerlain Lingerie de Peau for £38.50 from John Lewis here.
My favourite brands for beautiful skin
‘I love to use SkinCeuticals Prevent C E Ferulic but I also use their night serum which is SkinCeuticals Resveratrol. It’s a vitamin B and E so I think that’s a really nice serum to add on to the skin.’
And although she has her own skin care range now, Dr Zamani admits that her favourite brand used to be Natura Bisse. She used to use their products as a base and would add a medicinal punch to the creams. So eventually she decided to make her own.
Sun protection is high on Dr Zamani’s priorities list, so sunscreens such as La Roche Posay’s tinted face sunscreen in SPF 50 as well as creams from NeoStrata are exactly what the doctor orders (pun intended). ‘If there’s only thing you do its just protection – make sure you wear SPF every single day. That’s the best thing you can do to protect your skin.’
make sure you wear SPF every single day. That’s the best thing you can do to protect your skin.
Giving your skin a little bit of TLC is crucial to giving it that glow which is why Dr Zamani recommends using an at home treatment every now and then. ‘I think it’s important to find that little bit of time no matter how much it is and take care of yourself.’
The best part about at-home treatments? ‘When you’re in a certain age range when your kids are young and you’re working and you have a busy social life, you forget about yourself. You’re often the last person on the list. I think a mask can make you sit back and relax and say okay I’m going to give myself 15 minutes.’
Dr Zamani likes to use the at home mask from her own range, which is available for £56 from the MZ Skin website here.
SkinCeuticals Resveratrol B E is available to buy for £84.99 from Amazon.
La Roche Posay’s tinted face sunscreen in SPF 50 is available to buy for £17 from Boots here.
What to eat for beautiful skin
When it comes to food, Dr Zamani admits that she’s a creature of habit. ‘Most of my food is consistently the same every day and I’ve never been on a diet.’ She reveals that because she tends to eat healthy most of the time, this actually leaves her craving healthier foods.
I also have a toast with avocado and some red spicy peppers… to keep me going so that I don’t reach for the sugary chocolate bits that are all over the office
She starts the day with lemon and ginger in hot water. ‘I follow this with my breakfast which is either porridge with manuka honey and berries or poached eggs with some avocado toast.’ This delicious line up is paired with a fresh fruit juice that she makes at home daily. The juice is half mandarin and half orange and she describes the (not-so) guilty pleasure as the worst part of her diet, ‘it would probably be better if I had the oranges by themselves but I like the taste and it does give me a bit of a sugar rush to get me out since I don’t drink any caffeine – plus it’s a great vitamin C boost which is good for skin,’ (we can’t argue with that).
Dr Zamani has a daily green juice from The Goodlife Eatery – her go-to being Dr Greenlove, ‘then I also have a toast with avocado and some red spicy peppers on top just as a snack to keep me going so that I don’t reach for the sugary chocolate bits that are all over the office.’
When it comes to lunchtime, the doctor is a salad queen ‘I love fresh salads that don’t have too much on them so I’d usually just have lettuce with a bit of protein which is usually either salmon or chicken.’ And then she finishes up her day with a hearty Persian dish ‘I have Persian food which is usually rice but with a stew which I tend to eat with either veal or chicken and either sweet potatoes or coriander and chives and parsley or maybe another salad.’
I have dark chocolate or fruits as opposed to just having candy or a chocolate cake
The secret to eating all these delicious foods and staying in shape? ‘I tend to eat early when I’m eating at home. Then when I go out at night I tend to eat something before I go out at night and then there I tend to have something a little lighter so that I’m not too stuffed.’
Foods to avoid for beautiful skin
Number one on the list is (surprise, surprise) sugar. ‘I try to avoid consuming too much sugar – I do have a sweet tooth and it’s very hard for me to say no so I do eat it occasionally. But I do try not to have too much.’ When she does indulge, Dr Zamani makes sure that she eats her sweet treats slowly, ‘or I have dark chocolate or fruits as opposed to just having candy or a chocolate cake – chocolate cake is my weakness.’
Alcohol is also on the list of things to avoid if you want to youthful, glowing skin. And while she does have the odd glass of wine, Dr Zamani keeps alcohol consumption to a minimum. ‘I find that it’s a bit dehydrating for my skin. Even if it’s one glass of wine I can start to see the fine lines around my eyes and I notice that underneath my eyes look a little bit sallow the next day.’
the sweat allows you to get rid of toxins… I think exercise is hugely important.
Exercise your way to beautiful skin
According to Dr Zamani, exercising is crucial for keeping your skin looking plush, ‘the sweat allows you to get rid of toxins, its good for the mind and relaxes your facial muscles, you have a little bit of relaxation in your head which can also decrease stress hormones like cortisol which wreaks havoc on the skin as well. Plus it makes you feel good about yourself so you’re less inclined to reach for the sugary biscuit, you might go for the carrot instead. I think exercise is hugely important.’
Exercise can also help you to destress which is another way you can keep on top of your skin, especially when it comes to breakouts. ‘It’s not always practical or realistic but its good to try and keep your stress levels low. If you can get a well-balanced diet, good exercise, good sleep and a simple skin care routine then you’re better than good to go.’
Next week: Dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto
10 steps to stop pollution ageing your skin
Best facial mist ever – Molecular Saviour Toner Mist by Allies of Skin
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