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Dr. Natalia Spierings - On Skincare Secrets, Vaseline Benefits, How Stress and Menopause Affect Skin, Sun Exposure Safety, Truth About Facials, Skin Cancer, Moles and More 

The Longevity & Lifestyle podcast

The Longevity & Lifestyle podcast

The Longevity & Lifestyle podcast

Episode 102

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Performance coach, detail-loving educator, big-thinking entrepreneur, podcaster, mama, passionate adventurer, and health optimization activist here to help people transform their lives, and reach their highest potential! All rolled into one.

“The problem is that you have this false sense of security when you use sunscreen when actually the majority of people just don't it apply correctly. You need the right volume to get the stated SPF on the bottle. Most people use 50% of what's required - so your SPF 50 becomes a 25, and your SPF 30 becomes a 15.” - Dr. Natalia Spierings, Consultant Dermatologist

My guest today is Consultant Dermatologist & fellowship-trained skin cancer surgeon, Dr. Natalia Spierings. As skin is our biggest organ and for those of us looking to live longer, we want to make sure we are at our best both inside and out! I’m excited to dive deep into skincare secrets for all ages, the impact of menopause on the skin, and much more.

In this episode, we dig into:

  • How stress affects the skin
  • False claims around skincare
  • How to protect your skin
  • Safety around sun exposure
  • How to apply sunscreen properly 
  • Her most surprising recommended skin product 
  • And much more!

Please enjoy!








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Show Notes 

(1:07) Natalia starts off with misconceptions and false claims around skin care
(2:00) How cleansing may do more harm than good
(2:45) Why you should protect yourself from the sun and how most misuse sunscreen 
(3:56) Natalia talks about vitamin D and how long you should expose your skin to produce vitamin D 
(4:47) How to apply sunscreen properly and how often you should apply 
(6:58) How diet and stress can age skin 
(8:03) Natalia goes into depth of the effects of stress and how its connected to the skin barrier
(9:13) Vaseline, is it one of the best mousturizers on the market? Natalie explains the difference between an ointment and creams
(11:18) How facials could do more harm than good, microneedling and collagen. 
(13:13) Natalia shares what she would recommend instead. 
(15:38) Natalia explains her treatment plan and what you can expect
(17:08) When should you get a skin cancer screening
(18:08) The connection of moles and skin cancer
(18:52) Menopause and how it affects the skin
(20:07) What can menopausal women do to help their skin
(21:18) Natalia gives her insights and learnings from working with her clients
(22:45) Natalia shares a morning and evening skin routine
(23:21) Natalia shares what excites her about the future of skin care, plus a new injectable for reducing cellulite and how some cosmetic treatments are developed
(26:18) Natalia’s recommend her book “Skintelligent” 
(27:26) Where you can find Natalia
(28:00) Final message from Natalia on simplicity

MORE GREAT QUOTES 

“Cortisol is a stress hormone released by the adrenal gland in times of stress and it directly affects the way the skin barrier functions - which holds the water in your skin. If the skin barrier disrupts, like a brick wall falling apart, then particles can get into the skin and you'll lose water from your skin which leads to dryness, cracking, soreness, redness, and so on.” - Dr. Natalia Spierings, Consultant Dermatologist

“Vaseline is the best occlusive of moisturizers on the market. It stops 98% of water loss through the skin. It works better than any other moisturizer, which is why Vaseline or a type of parafin related to Vaseline is in almost all moisturizers on the market. So whether it's mineral oil, parafin, glycerin, they're all in these moisturizing products to various degrees.” - Dr. Natalia Spierings, Consultant Dermatologist

“The first ingredient on a cream is water, If anything has water in it, it can grow bacteria. So then you have to put preservatives in creams to get them to have a shelf life. You don't need any preservatives in Vaseline because it never dies.” - Dr. Natalia Spierings, Consultant Dermatologist

The main message I send when you're trying to treat a skin problem is to stop everything else and just make it really basic. Don't use any crazy products, let's treat it effectively. - Dr. Natalia Spierings, Consultant Dermatologist

“The problem is that you have this false sense of security when you use sunscreen when actually the majority of people just don't it apply correctly. You need the right volume to get the stated SPF on the bottle. Most people use 50% of what's required - so your SPF 50 becomes a 25, and your SPF 30 becomes a 15.” - Dr. Natalia Spierings, Consultant Dermatologist

“The way to keep your skin hydrated is to keep water in your skin. We lose about a couple of hundred milliliters of water a day just through our skin itself which can lead to dry skin.” - Dr. Natalia Spierings, Consultant Dermatologist


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PODCAST EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Claudia von Boeselager: Welcome to another episode of the Longevity and Lifestyle Podcast. I'm your host, Claudia von Boeselager. I'm here to uncover the groundbreaking strategies, tools, and practices from the world's pioneering experts to help you live your best and reach your fullest potential. Don't forget to subscribe to the podcast to always catch the latest episodes.

Legal Disclaimer: Please note, to avoid any unnecessary headaches, Longevity & Lifestyle LLC owns the copyright in and to all content in and transcripts of The Longevity & Lifestyle Podcast, with all rights reserved, as well as the right of publicity. You are welcome to share parts of the transcript (up to 500 words) in other media (such as press articles, blogs, social media accounts, etc.) for non-commercial use which must also include attribution to “The Longevity & Lifestyle Podcast” with a link back to the longevity-and-lifestyle.com/podcast URL. It is prohibited to use any portion of the podcast content, names or images for any commercial purposes in digital or non-digital outlets to promote you or another’s products or services.


PODCAST EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Claudia von Boeselager: Welcome to another episode of the Longevity and Lifestyle Podcast. I'm your host, Claudia Von Boeselager, here to uncover the groundbreaking strategies, tools, and practices from the world's leading, pioneering experts to help you be at your best and reach your fullest potential.
If you haven't done so already, make sure to grab the perfect gift guide by going to LLgiftguide.com. 

My guest today is consultant dermatologist and fellowship trained skin cancer surgeon, Dr. Natalia Spierings. As our skin is our biggest organ, and for those looking to live longer. We wanna make sure that we are looking good, not just inside, but also on the outside.

So I'm really excited to dive into all things skincare secrets, aging well, impact of menopause on the skin, and much more. Welcome to the Longevity and Lifestyle Podcast. Natalia, it's such a pleasure to have you on today. 

Natalia Spierings: Thank you for inviting me. 

Claudia von Boeselager: I'd love to start with big skin care, and why are there so many misconceptions and false claims around skin care?

Natalia Spierings: Yeah, that's a huge controversial question. I think if we're gonna make it really simple, the answer to this, it has to do with money I mean, skincare sells and, because people generally always want to look their best as well as feel their best.

And the two things are intertwined and the skincare industry, knows how to sell things. It used to be all about makeup, but now it's all about skincare. It's a multi-billion dollar industry. And, people buy it.

So trying to get the next best thing or trying to find the next best thing that's gonna make people look younger for a longer, or, clear their skin concerns, it's a huge market. I think, for that reason, you have a lot of people selling a lot of stuff that maybe doesn't make any sense, like as in what they're actually selling. People will believe anything if it's sold to them correctly. 

Claudia von Boeselager: What would you say are some of the biggest misconceptions that cause confusion that you find yourself correcting your patients that you see? 

Natalia Spierings: Some basic ones are that cleansing is the most important part of a skincare routine. That's not true. Double cleansing is absolutely unnecessary. I dunno if you know what that is, but cleansing with two cleansers just to make sure your skin is super clean. So removing your makeup with one cleanser and then using another makeup to remove the makeup remover. 

And then, things that I always have to correct patients about. Like, no, you don't have to cleanse two or three times a day. Your skin doesn't need to be cleaned that often. Water is actually quite detrimental for skin. Eye creams are no different from normal facial moisturizers. They're just sold in little pots. You don't need a separate eye cream, you could just use your normal moisturizer around your eyes.

Claudia von Boeselager: Let's look at what would you say are some sort of essential skincare routines that you do recommend and that are really helpful to improving the quality of skin?

Natalia Spierings: I think the most important thing, and I think most dermatologists will say this, to stay outta the sun. So no matter what your skin color or type is, sun exposure or sunlight exposure is the number one cause of aging. If you wanna keep your skin looking fabulous as you get older, don't let your face go in the sun. Use fake tanner if you need to. And the way that I kind of prove this to people, is if you look at the sun exposed side versus the other side, you can see a distinct difference in the way the skin looks. And if your face looks more like this side, then you've had a little bit too much sun exposure. But if your face looks like this side, it's probably much better. It's a very boring thing to say, but just like stay outta the sun, not necessarily wearing sunscreen because sunscreen, is oftentimes not used correctly anyway. So that whole idea that, oh, you must put on sunscreen, that's true. Only if you're going to use it correctly. And that's about applying the right amount of volume, which most people don't do. So my message is normally, obviously sunscreen is important, but physical protection, staying outta the sun, wearing a hat. That's better than relying on your sunscreen. 

Claudia von Boeselager: So two things around that. One, for vitamin D production, etc. and circadian rhythm optimization, they say, you know, some daylight exposure is important without sun cream. So what would you say is the optimal range on that one? And then I have a second question after. 

Natalia Spierings: The optimal amount of sun exposure depends on where you live and what your skin color is. So the fairer you are, the less sun exposure you need to optimize your vitamin D production for overall health. If you're a dark skin, you need longer because your skin responds more slowly I guess to sun exposure. You wanna think about it like that. But on the other hand, we also know that even if you were to wear sunscreen, you will still produce vitamin D if you're exposed to the sun. So with this if I have a patient who has had skin cancer or treating a sun related skin condition like melasma or pigmentation problems, then I will be like, okay, don't go in the sun.

But if you're going to go in the sun for vitamin D production, just go in with your forearms and your hands anywhere from five to 30 minutes, three times a week. And even if you're wearing sunscreen, you're almost certainly gonna produce enough vitamin D. 

Claudia von Boeselager: Okay. It doesn't necessarily have to be your face, it can be elsewhere as well. And you said, there are wrong ways of applying the sunscreen, so can you expand on that. 

Natalia Spierings: Yeah. So, how it's defined is how long you stay out of the sun without burning. So an SPF 30 will allow you to stay outta the sun 30 times longer. Now the way that it's measured is in a lab with a certain volume. Basically it's about the volume applied to the surface area, and so for your face, you need about two mils of sunscreen to apply to your whole face and neck to get the stated spf. Now, two mills is a lot of sunscreen. For example, for your whole body, it's 36 mil, which is a vodka shot glass full of sunscreen. And if you ever tried to apply that much cream to your body, that's a lot.

You need the right volume to get those stated SPF on the bottle. So most people use 50% of what's required. So your SPF 50 becomes a 25. And your SPF 30 becomes a 15. So that's the problem is that you have this false sense of security, when you use sunscreen, when actually the majority of people just don't apply correctly.

Claudia von Boeselager: And so it's about applying enough and then in regular intervals. Is that right? 

Natalia Spierings: Yes. It does depend on what kind of sunscreen you're applying. Chemical sunscreen, so the, most common sunscreens are chemical based. Those need to be applied every two to three hours because the sunscreen is deactivated, if you will, by the exposure to UV light. So it degrades, and that's how it works as a sunscreen. Mineral sunscreens, which are zinc oxide or titanium dioxide based, they deflect sunscreen so they don't ever degrade. So as long as you don't wipe it off, it's still gonna function as a sunscreen.

But even having said that, We know from trial data that, real life studies, that if someone applies sunscreen in the morning, even if you work all day inside and you go outside for max an hour during the day from like eight in the morning till five, by the time you leave work at five, there's still about 80% of the sunscreen there. Even the chemical sunscreen. That's kind of the guidance about how to use it. If you're gonna be on the beach all day, then yeah, re-apply it every two to three hours no matter what kind of sunscreen. But if we're thinking about daily life in a normal kind of working environment, then if you apply your sunscreen in the morning, regardless of type, you almost certainly will still have it there by the evening. 

Claudia von Boeselager: Let's talk about skin and skin aging and sunscreen is obviously one fundamental part of it as well, but what are some other fundamental practices from nutrition, stress, like what are other triggers that can either increase the age of skin aging or decrease it?

Natalia Spierings: Another obvious one is smoking. So I'm not gonna go on about smoking, but smoking affects skin. So obviously if you smoke, don't smoke. From a nutrition point of view, there is no well documented nutritional strategy that can help with aging skin.

I usually recommend eating real food over supplementation. So if you really want a nutritional strategy for skin, I'd say okay try not to eat really bad food. We all know what that is. Your trans fatty acids, your very high carbohydrate sugary foods and stick with whole foods and so on.

These are general like health advice and trying to eat oily fish on a regular basis, like smoked salmon and things like that, that will help potentially keep your skin looking good as you get older. 

Stress is known to impact skin really negatively. It's easy for me to say, you know, relax, lead a less stressful life. But of course that's not feasible for most people. So, the stress thing is a much more serious part of it than I think a lot of people realize. I see it a lot in my patients in their thirties and forties, especially women who have an increased amount of stress, especially now I find around, work, children, family, and all these different pressures. And it really does affect their skin. 

Claudia von Boeselager: What exactly is happening there from a molecular perspective?

Natalia Spierings: Cortisol is a stress hormone released by the adrenal gland in times of stress and it directly affects the way the skin barrier functions. So the skin barrier is your top layer of your skin, that basically holds the water in your skin. And if the skin barrier disrupts, like the brick wall falls apart, if you will, then particles and stuff can get into the skin and you'll lose water from your skin, which will lead to dryness, cracking, soreness, redness, and so on.

It can predispose you to things like, acne, this type of inflammatory skin disease. And other things like perioral dermatitis, various types of irritant dermatitis from using skincare products. If you have a skin barrier dysfunction for whatever reason, it sets you up to having more problems.

And cortisol, we know directly affects that. For example, people who have eczema, they tend to get a flareups, so they're eczema around stressful times like exams. And there's a direct connection there with children and eczema and stress. And the same thing can happen in adults. So on a molecular level, it's because of the skin barrier disruption. For women it also has to do with hormones. So cortisol affects androgens, which then it can affect the way that your hair follicle functions, which can lead to things like hair loss, acne, and so on.
So there's a lot of different little pathways happening. 

Claudia von Boeselager: Let's talk about Vaseline. You're known to have said that it's one of the best moisturizers on the market. Can you expand on that? 

Natalia Spierings: The way to keep your skin hydrated is to keep water in your skin. So hydration refers to water. We all have water within our skin, and we lose about a couple hundred mils of water a day just through our skin itself. That can lead to dry skin. If you, for example, lose too much water.

Now what Vaseline does, it's an occlusive. So all moisturizers basically do the same thing. They create a barrier to water loss. And they do it to different degrees depending on how it's formulated. So Vaseline stops 98% of water loss through the skin. So it's the best occlusive of moisturizers on the market. So it works better than any other moisturizer, which is why Vaseline or a type of parafin or something related to Vaseline is in almost all moisturizers on the market. So whether it's mineral oil, parafin, glycerin, they're all in these moisturizing products to various degrees. 

The other thing with Vaseline, which is great, is that it's an ointment, so it's not a cream. Creams are white and the first ingredient on a cream is water, If anything has water in it, it can grow bacteria. So then you have to put preservatives in creams to get them to have a shelf life, right? And you don't need any preservatives in Vaseline because it never dies. If you don't have preservatives in your creams, then you are much less likely to irritate your skin with it. So Vaseline is great because it has no irritant potential. It cannot flare up skin disease. It cannot make things itchy. It just does not do that. It soothes and calms everything down because it stops water loss. It helps repair the dysfunctional barrier. And it won't irritate because it has no other chemicals in it. 

Claudia von Boeselager: So would you recommend using Vaseline twice a day as your standard skincare routine? 

Natalia Spierings: Yes, I would. And that's how I recommend to most of my patients, even my acne patients, even my patients with rosacea.
You know, people who think they have an oily skin problem, not twice a day, because I do appreciate that Vaseline isn't really fun to have on your face. Shiny and greasy. So I'm not that crazy. But usually, if you use a good layer, like a nice thin layer of Vaseline on your whole face overnight, you'll find that you don't really need moisturizer during the day anyway, so you can just put sunscreen on and whatever.

Claudia von Boeselager: Let's talk about facials. What is your view on facials? What do you recommend and what don't you recommend?

Natalia Spierings: So I have quite a hard stance on facials, I don't recommend them at all. Because the idea of a facial covers a huge range of things. So it can be anything from like a little bit of face massage and a mask to like mega extraction, peels, derma planting, that can all fall under the world of facials.

But we also know from good data that facials can stimulate acne even in non acne prone individuals. And it usually doesn't happen for about six to eight weeks after the facial. So the connection is not made by patients. The place in the world where they do the most facials anywhere is India. Facials come from India. I have this very hard stance with facials because I think it's totally unnecessary for skin health and it might be detrimental to your skin. So I'm like, well, it's not worth the money or time. If you like having them and your skin is totally fine and you kind of enjoy it. Like someone would enjoy a massage, then that's cool. Do what you want. But if you have any skin problems at all, I would stay as far away from a facial as possible 

Claudia von Boeselager: And every type of facial? Cause there are quite a few different ones. 

Natalia Spierings: There's so many different ones. It'd be hard for me to like say, oh, this one's okay, and this one's not.
But all facials have in common, they involve some type of facial massage. And rubbing of the face, and that is what the problem is. So it's the simulation of the hair follicle, the messing round with the stratum cording, the top of the skin, which will set you up for a problem. And they all have that as a component.

Claudia von Boeselager: Would you say a face mask for example, is beneficial for the skin? 

Natalia Spierings: Yeah. I mean the only face mask that may be helpful for some people is like an acid-based face mask.
Cause I do like glycolic acids for just overall skin glow. It doesn't do a lot for long-term skin health, but it can give you that aesthetic improvement that people are looking for. You could just use a glycolic acid cream. You don't really need to use a mask.

It's probably more beneficial to use a cream, though. There's never been a study looking at masks versus creams, that I'm aware of. But creams are probably better anyway because you need contact time. So these cosmetics or medicines don't work unless they're in contact with skin for an extended period of time and a mask, you basically wash it off. The contact time is so minimal, it almost certainly does nothing. 

Claudia von Boeselager: Also you wouldn't recommend things like mesotherapy, the microneedling and, all these things that are out in the market used to promote collagen. Right. So what is your view? 

Natalia Spierings: Yeah, so the whole promoting collagen story is a bit of a funny one. Collagen is a very hard-wearing thing in your skin, and it, the half life of a collagen fiber is 15 years. So the idea that we can like rejuvenate our collagen over six weeks, getting a microneedling treatment every week is, is totally insane.

So that's not possible. What it is doing though is it is giving the appearance of slightly more glowy skin and slightly tighter skin. And that's not because you're stimulanting collagen over five days post your facial microneedling. It's because whenever you needle skin, you're getting like micro edema in the top layers, micro swelling between the cells and that makes the skin look smoother and plumper temporarily.

I don't think microneedling does anything for collegen at all. I think that is a really good established myth. So it's been very well propagated and very well sold because there are so many, fairly expensive devices on the market, both for home use and in salons, which are based on the concept of microneedling.

Everything from derma rollers to radiofrequency microneedling, mesotherapy, platelet rich plasma therapy. These are all forms of microneedling, just sticking needles in the face. So the validity of that for collagen simulation is pretty weak. But if you like it and it gives you this glow, then fine.

But on the other hand, it's almost certainly unnecessary. And again, it can be detrimental to skin in the long term. I would advise my patients not to do it generally, but some people really like it.

I mean, the most well-established treatment, which you probably know for anti-aging is the use of topical retinoid. So retinoid acid. Tretinoin is well established over the past 40 years, and licensed for the treatment of fine lines around the eyes and so on.

So it, it does the job. Probably the only thing that will prevent further collagen breakdown in the skin through a reduction of the activity of the enzyme, which breaks down collagen in the skin. Tretinoin is definitely up there with the, you know, the top, like two things you could potentially use on your face to improve the appearance of it in the long term.

Claudia von Boeselager: What are some client cases that you can talk about where people came to you with either acne or other issues that maybe some people in my audience might suffer with or have? What does that process look like and treatment plan and what type of results can people hope for?

Natalia Spierings: So in general with skin disease, when people come to see me, for example, whether it's acne, melasma, rosacea, facial eczema, dermatitis, whatever the facial, if we're talking about facial skin disease, facial problem, they have. The first thing to do is to obviously get a good history, find out how long this has been going on for, what treatments have they tried, what makes it worse or better. And then looking at the skin carefully to make sure that you have the right diagnosis. Because every management plan is gonna be totally based on getting the diagnosis right in the first place, which is superisingly difficult for some people. So get the diagnosis right and then the right treatment option.

So the aim of treatment for any facial or any skin disease, for me at least, is total skin clearance. So I want to get your skin to look as normal as in with no lesions on it. No spots, no redness, no weird stuff happening, no brown marks to get it to look as normal, to like a baby's skin as possible, and to keep it looking like that in the long term.

So there are some key treatments that are there for example, acne. And the one you may have heard of is a drug called oral isotretinoin, or Accutane. So for example, that would be one option for people with severe acne, which totally gets you to skin clearance. Melasma can be very well treated with the use of topical hydroquinone, which is a cream, which is very safe and effective.

So the aim of treatment is always to get the skin to be normal to what I think is normal, but also what the patient thinks is normal. 

Claudia von Boeselager: You mentioned skin cancer and skin cancer screening. I'd love to just look at that for a moment. What would you recommend in terms of frequency and from what age people should really be having regular skin cancer screenings?

Natalia Spierings: I would not start it usually until someone's about 30 or older. Because you can continue to develop new moles into your early thirties. Though skin cancer does happen in younger people, it's very, very rare. If you have a changing mole or you're worried about a new mole, then obviously go see your doctor at any age. If someone has no family history of skin cancer at all, and they just want their skin to be checked, I would say probably about 30 would be not be a bad age to start.

And then, every two to three years, probably not more often than that. It does depend a little bit on how fair the skin is of the patient. If you're very fair and you had a lot of sun exposure in your childhood, like if you grew up in Africa and you're a red-haired person, then you should probably get a skin check a little more often than that, probably from a younger age because you're so high risk.
So it doesn't have to be with risk stratification. And if you have a family history of melanoma, then I would say annual checks from an earlier age from like 20 - 25.

Claudia von Boeselager: I think I sort of qualified under a few things back when I was young. I hated sun cream, so I would run the other way on the beach and I do have a lot of moles. I definitely need to be careful. And aunt of mine actually developed melanoma as well, so.

Natalia Spierings: I mean, the number of moles is interesting so if you have over a hundred moles on one arm, I know this sounds insane, but if you counted them, like some people do have a hundred moles on one arm, that increases your risk of skin cancer. Enough to where we would use one arm mole count to give a estimate of what your risk of skin cancer or melanoma is. 

Claudia von Boeselager: I don't think I hit the hundred mark. I'm definitely below that, but I will keep counting to make sure. But yeah, super important. 
I'd love to touch on perimenopause and menopause skin. So either for women who have maybe started the perimenopause or are in menopause years. Can you explain what exactly is going on with the skin and what are some strategies and tactics to do to maintain beautiful skin? 

Natalia Spierings: The issue obviously with menopause is the decrease in estrogen, so that can lead to drier skin because estrogen is required for the functioning of the skin barrier and retaining water in the skin.

So that's one side of it. And the other side of it is when you get this lowering of estrogen, you get an imbalance with the androgens or the male hormone, which can then lead to other problems with hair fall and female pattern, hair loss and acne. I occasionally see pigmentation problems in perimenopause, like melasma. And that's actually probably more than occasionally. I see that more often than I would think would happen. So women developing melasma, which is hormone related pigmentation, that's in a mask like pattern, like forehead, cheeks, nose. In their late thirties, early forties when they had never had it with childbirth or with the combined pill before that. I always have to assume that it's the perimenopause, it's just driving it and the change in hormones because women associate melasma with increased estrogen, but it has to do with balances as well.

So decreased estrogen can also then bring on this pigmentation problem, though it's not fully understood why that is, but those are the main things I see. And it's like the whole spectrum of stuff like, everything from acne and oily skin to pigmentation problems, to dry skin, and hair loss.

So these things kinda in your late thirties, early forties, into your early fifties, those are the main issues I deal with. 

Claudia von Boeselager: And what do you recommend? What can women do?

Natalia Spierings: I think H R T is great for managing two things for bone density and then for dealing with all the symptoms of the menopause, like, hot flushes and so on. But it's not meant to be used just for skin. And yeah, menopause doctors and hormone specialists are quite adamant about that.

For example, I don't prescribe H R T because it's not a skin treatment. But my patients who do go on H R T and I often recommend that they do for their skin. If either their skin feels less dry. It sometimes can help with acne. It sometimes can help with hair loss so it can help with these problems.

But it wouldn't be something I would specifically do usually, primarily because I don't know how to prescribe HRT because it's not within my scope of practice. But also it's not well enough established as a kind of a treatment for dermatologists. But I do find that there is a connection there. So HRT is never a bad thing to try because it really won't harm patients usually, go and see how their skin responds.

Claudia von Boeselager: Yeah, exactly we've had a few menopause specialists also on the podcast, so the bioidentical body, identical ones typically. And then obviously your doctor will be able to help you further on this one as well. What are some of the most valuable learnings or insights that your clients that work together with you have had?
 
Natalia Spierings: I think the most valuable thing that I give them information about is the need for a very simple skincare, or not the need, but that you really don't need to use a lot of stuff to get your skin to look better. Targeted treatments are much better than using a 10 step skincare regime at night.

So there's a lot of things to be achieved through just simplicity and just cutting down on what you use, making your life simpler from a skincare point of view, spending a lot less money on it. Because it can also get quite expensive if you start to try out a lot of stuff. And it can be very disheartening if you spent thousands of dollars or pounds on skincare and you get nowhere. My primary message with all my patients are let's just cut down on everything and then we'll start again. But just with really simple, basic things.

And then just, let's use a targeted treatment for whatever you've come to see me about and then we'll go from there. So once your skin is better from whatever we're treating, then you can look at, okay, do I now need, I don't know, to use a hyaluronic acid serum? Or, you know, would I benefit from something else?

Usually the answer is no. But then you can start to do it. But when you're trying to treat a skin problem, the main message I send is stop everything else and just make it really basic. Don't use any crazy products, let's treat it effectively. 

Claudia von Boeselager: Simplicity is really key. Do you still recommend those sort of morning skincare, routine cleansing, putting Vaseline on your face. 

Natalia Spierings: Most women just don't have time in the morning to do like a complicated skincare thing. So with morning, I say I don't recommend cleansing twice a day. I only want my patients to cleanse their skin once a day.

If you cleanse with a cleanser, fine. If you really want to, otherwise just splash your face of water if you need to or nothing at all. Put your makeup on, put your sunscreen on, then put your makeup on. If you need a moisturizer, fine, do that. And then your real action is gonna be in the evening.

So removing your sunscreen, removing your makeup. I like balm and oil cleansers for all skin types because I think they're much gentler on the skin. It also reduces your need for water. Then applying your treatment. Usually most of my patients end up using Tretinoin for anti-aging purposes. And then putting your Vaseline on. And that's it. 

Claudia von Boeselager: Wonderful. What excites you most about the future of skincare and longevity? 

Natalia Spierings: Oh my goodness. For me it's being with my patients as they get older and seeing how their skin will stay looking good as they get older, which I know it sounds terrible, because my patients, I think most dermatologists have this, you, you have your patients for life basically. Unless they don't like you for whatever reason. But generally speaking, so many of my patients, they've been my patients for years and years and we kind of grow up together. So to see how their skin changed or how I'm able to help them keep their skin looking the way they want to look and how they feel about it as they get older.

To me, that's exciting. But I think what you mean is like, what's coming up? What the new stuff coming? Um, yeah. I don't know a lot about what's coming up because there's not a lot coming. For facial skin, we have some treatments that work extremely well for pigmentation, acne, and so on.

What I do think is gonna change is the way we treat body skin, because I think body skin is being kind of ignored. For example, there is a new treatment coming out now for cellulite. Which looks like it's gonna be amazing and a game changer. Most women have cellulite, and it is skin, so it is within my remix.

And there's a new treatment that's an injectable treatment that you inject into the cellulite, which is probably gonna be a real game changer when it comes to treating cellulite. So I'm quite excited to get my hands on that, which hopefully I will be able to get in the next year. It's not available in the UK or the Middle East yet, but it's available in the United States.

Claudia von Boeselager: And it's just a chemical that's injected into there, is it or? 

Natalia Spierings: Yeah so it's called QWO, Q W O, and that actually stands for the chemical name. And I can't ever remember these long chemical names. But basically how cellulite forms is you have strings of fascia that hold your fat in place.

And as those weaken it's like a net. And as the net weakens, the fat can come out in a little bulges through the net, think of it like a tennis net. And little bulges come through the net and that's what creates the ripple effect that you see. So what this drug does, or injectable treatment is that it dissolves that fascia that's holding the net in place to then smooth the skin. And it comes from a treatment that's used for a problem where people get, it's called dupuytren's contracture. So you have tightening of the tendons and the tissue that holds your hands and the patients end up having claw hands like this.

Claudia von Boeselager: My father had that for what had to be operated. Yeah. 

Natalia Spierings: This is used so you can operate on that to release it. But this can, this is used to dissolve those fibrous sheaths or whatever to then release the hand and it works. It's been used for dupuytren's contracture since like the early two thousands, and it works really well.

So anytime we have something that comes from a proper disease, then you can be pretty certain that it's probably gonna work well for a cosmetic problem. And we noticed that when patients with glaucoma were using these eyedrops, their lashes were going really long. And now that's a licensed treatment for eyelashes. Same with hair loss minoxidil orally was used as a anti blood pressure medicine, and doctors noticed that these patients on minoxidil were growing more head hair. So like, okay, let's use this as a treatment. So whenever something comes out of a medical world, then usually it'll work quite well for a cosmetic indication.

Claudia von Boeselager: Listeners interested in understanding more about skin and longevity better, what are some online resources or books you'd recommend that they can start with? 

Natalia Spierings: I think my book's very useful, because I go into the kind of the evidence-based stuff about skin explaining how it works and what the best treatments are for anti-aging acne, melasma and so on.

Claudia von Boeselager: Title for the audience? 

Natalia Spierings: Skintelligent, what you really need to know to get great skin. A couple other books on the market as well, I'm sure they're fine. But unfortunately, a lot of the books on skincare available are not written by specialists, but also they're just basically advertisements for skincare. My book does not mention, besides from Vaseline, there is not a single brand mentioned in my book. I would never suggest a specific, like cleanser from one brand only because I don't work for cosmetic companies. So that kind of bias is quite prevalent within skincare, so it's hard to get unbiased information. In terms of longevity, I actually don't know, that's like anti-aging medicine, which is a different field.

Claudia von Boeselager: Yeah, we had someone from OneSkin I'm not sure if you're familiar in the US and they would do a lot of lab work around also senescent cells. So they have a skin topical supplement that basically removes the senescent cells and just causes a more youthful appearance through it as well. It's in the US I don't know if you've tried them yet, but maybe worth having a look. They're still in their early days as well.

Where can people follow you and what you're up to and find out more about what you're doing?

Natalia Spierings: The best place to follow me is on Instagram, because I do a lot of videos on Instagram about just random stuff like nostril hair and anti-aging wrinkles, plasma it's weird I cover loads of different topics. My Instagram is my name, so @Dr Natalia Spierings. And obviously my book, which is available on Amazon. But my Instagram is really where I interact most with people, and talk about various things, like I do a weekly q and a live where people just ask me random questions about skin, and I'll try to answer the best I can. 

Claudia von Boeselager: Amazing. We'll link all of them to the show notes as well. Natalia, do you have any final ask or recommendation or parting message for my audience? 

Natalia Spierings: There's so much benefit to be had in simplicity. I think the message I would say is before you go off and buy any new skincare, especially when New Year rolls around and everyone wants to kind of rejuvenate themselves, just be weary of what's being sold to you and just try to keep it simple and because otherwise you might get disappointed.

Claudia von Boeselager: I like that simplicity is always good. I'm gonna try out your Vaseline advice and see. Such a pleasure to have you on today, Natalia, thank you so much for coming on. 

Natalia Spierings: Thank you. 
 


I’m Claudia von Boeselager

Peak Performance Coach, detail-loving educator, big-thinking entrepreneur, podcaster, mama, passionate adventurer, and health optimization activist here to help people transform their lives, and reach their highest potential! All rolled into one.

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