City Skin Defence

Suddenly, everybody is talking about nitrogen dioxide and free radicals in the air and the direct effect it has on our skin. I, for one work in the City of London where the air is thick with harmful pollutants and I do worry about the how it can have a significant impact on my skin, not just on the surface.
The tipping point was in January 2017, when pollution readings taken from Brixton, Oxford Circus, Kings Road, Chelsea and Kensington High Street showed that nitrogen dioxide levels had breached the EU annual limit for an entire year - in just five days. Since then, MP's called the crisis a "public health emergency" whilst the Royal College of Physicians and Royal College of Paediatrics have reported around 40,000 deaths each year are due to the exposure of pollution.

Something that is becoming harder to miss is the effect it is having on our skin, although pollution particles cannot be seen or smelt, women living in urban and built-up areas are seeing more visible signs of ageing, higher rates of dark spots, pigmentation, imbalance in pH levels and adult acne. According to the Journal of Dermatology, environmental pollutants increase age spots by 25% around the cheek area as a direct result of nitrogen dioxide concentrations. So with all this bad news in mind, we now know that air pollutants can deplete antioxidant defences and perhaps even degrade proteins in the skin. 

While politicians debate and universities research about how to clean up the air, there are some everyday simple things we can do to protect ourselves, on the surface and from within. Here's our breakdown of treatments and products available to help defend your skin against the baddies in the air. 

Antioxidant Defence Serum by NeoStrata

  • Concentrated SynerG Formula containing 8 powerful multi action antioxidants is designed to combat oxidative damage and protect the skin from premature ageing
  • Patented Bionic and Polyhydroxy Acids trap oxidation promoting metals and help prevent sun-induced cellular damage
  • Citric Acid, Lilac, Green Tea, and Chardonnay Grape Seed Extracts work together to neutralise free radicals and help preserve healthy DNA, lipids, and cellular membranes.

Antioxidant Booster Serum by Intraceuticals

  • Revitalises and balances dull, stressed skin with exceptionally powerful natural antioxidants sourced from the Australian Rainforest.
  • Clarifies and refines the appearance of skin prone to blemishes, visible pores, sun damage, uneven texture or deep wrinkles.
  • As a booster serum, it can be used in conjunction with your own daily serum or as a stand alone. It's also very pocket friendly.

Glutathione supplements or intramuscular shots

  • This works from the inside, if you're taking injections you'll only need it once fortnightly/monthly depending on what your practitioner tells you. Or opt for supplements.
  • Plays an important role in detoxification reactions, protecting the cells from harmful effects of unwanted chemical substances, such as free radicals.
  • With high cysteine concentrations in the cells, explaining the protective effect against unwanted foreign chemical substances.
  • It helps with cell growth, wound healing and immune function.
  • Plays pac man and eats up free radicals which are created during exposure to hot and cold environmental temperatures and UV light from the sun or toxicity. There are others factors such as exhaust fumes, pollutants for those in the City and for those who travel a lot by trains or planes where cabin fever can effect the air (re-circulated air).

Harpal skinCity Detox Lymphatic Facial 30 & 60 minutes

  • The lymphatic system is designed to remove waste products and toxins in the body. 
  • We use a lymphatic drainage suction devise to draw out impurities. 
  • Deep cleanse, steam, extraction and mask with the full hour facial.
  • Your therapist will even show you the suction devise at the end to prove how much grime can build up in your pores! This is a very satisfying facial, consider your skin well and truly cleansed.

Heliocare 360 Fluid Cream SPF 50+

  • Protect, protect, protect with spf
  • Very high photoimmunoprotection with an innovative ulra-light fluid cream texture. 
  • Its exclusive combination of advance filters and BioShield System provides broad spectrum protection against UVA, UVB, IR-A and Visible Light.
  • Enriched with Fernblock FC for powerful antioxidant activity, and actives which repair sun damage. Suitable for all skin types, with a soft, invisible skin-feel.

NeoStrata Resurface Ultra Daytime Smoothing Cream SPF15 10 AHA

  • Correct the visual signs of photo-ageing and prevent future damage with a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen in this antioxidant-rich day cream.
  • Ideal daytime exfoliating moisturiser helps to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • It contains three potent antioxidants, including MMP inhibitor Lactobionic Acid, plus broad spectrum sunscreen, to help preserve collagen and maximise protection against oxidative damage. Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) exfoliate to visibly smooth skin. 

Intraceuticals Bespoke Facial with Antioxidant Booster

  • There is no greater satisfaction than having serum sprayed onto your face with pure oxygen, truly the essence of a city smart facial. The Antioxidant Booster will bubble wrap your face against the elements, smooth, brighten, refine.
  • Low molecular hyaluronic acid is infused with an antioxidant booster to leave you looking and feeling clean and radiant for up to a week.

See What Intraceuticals Hollywood Facial Did To Half My Face!

We have a wonderful new aesthetician, Violetta,  who joined our team recently. In her late thirties and tremendously experienced, she had not come across Intraceuticals oxygen facial yet and so we organised a training session for her.


I was the guinea pig and Sonia, our facialist extraordinaire to the Hollywood A-lister and also our trainer (lucky me I know!)- did one side of my face during the training. Its very important for us that all our therapists know exactly what our products can do to a person’s skin and so we were very keen for Violetta to get a sense of the ‘lift’ achievable.


Its been awhile since I’ve done a ‘half face’ for this so whilst I’m aware of how powerful intraceuticals serums are, I wasn’t quite prepared for the difference between the right and left side of my face. I’m attaching my picture. One side is completely lifted! Look at the dark circles and the difference in the eyelids. Today, 5 days post facial, my face still feels really plump and is definitely hydrated.



We have also acquired another machine that I’ve had my eye on for quite a while- Aquatouch microdermabrasion with electroporation. It uses a water microdermabrasion technique and as such is much gentler than the usual microdermabrasion. Electroporation is where the electrical permeability within the cell membrane is changed so that the serums are able to penetrate deeper. We intend to use this as a stand alone device and also in combination with Intraceuticals to get a double-WOW effect. So, watch this space…...

Intraceuticals -The Celebrity Facial- And Why It Works

I used to be very sceptical about skincare and always thought that one facial was mostly similar to another- baring the therapist's skills- until it was time to set my own practice up. I was the quintessential BOGOF girl!

During the course of my due diligence, and now my experience, I found out a few things:

  • Ingredients are extremely important in skincare. It makes a big difference when the right ingredients are used.
  • Delivery systems ie how the ingredients in a product reaches where it needs to go- is almost more important. You could pay a lot for a good ingredient but if it doesn't reach its target area, what's the point?
  • Research: some companies value research a lot and its worth the money paying for their expertise
  • Marketing: Sadly enough, this is one area that actually puts me off. Its so expensive to market in magazines etc that I'm certain that a heavily marketed products have no choice but to put a huge mark up on their prices. To me, this reads as " for a £100 serum, £50 is marketing, then research, packaging, profit margin etc". So I tend to look for smaller companies with excellent products but too small to afford paid celebrity endorsements.
  • The right product works. If people say nothing works, its because they haven't found the right product. Or they have hormonal/nutritional issues- which is another blog topic that I will address soon.
  • The right product should nurture and nourish as well. Some rather well known medical cosmeceuticals are well known for 'attacking'. So initially, they come across as having great results, but after a while, the skin can't handle the continuous assault.

I stumbled upon Intraceuticals while researching the best system for my clinic. There are very few facial systems I would consider 'medi-grade' and this was one of them. The good thing about trying things out is firstly- I get good skin : ). secondly- one can really compare and contrast.

Sonia of Intraceuticals did me a huge favour when I first met her for a demo. She was a little flustered, and had an A-lister waiting and so had to cut my session short by doing only one side... I was not impressed, to say the least. The treatment was nice enough, as I would have expected and there certainly were results- once again to be expected. I'd pretty much written it off at that point.

Then I started seeing results. Its easy to forget how your face is once you've had a treatment- we all assume its great! But having it on only one side really makes you examine the face. My skin plumped up after the treatment; then continued plumping for 2 whole days before it settled. On my skin, best results were achieved after 2 days. In others, its a day. The results then stayed on and on. I was convinced that it was all in my head and so I did what anyone would do- ask the other school mums to guess which side was done. I didn't tell them what I did, just that I fiddled with one side of my face. They all guessed correctly. This was on day 9. I kid you not.

At this point, I knew that I had to go back to see this system again. Thankfully, Sonia was in a much better place -I actually had my whole face done- and was given some take home products. I've never looked back.

What I like it best for is that it was the only product that 'normalised' my skin. What I mean by that is that I would wake up in the morning and not think about my skin- no tightness, dryness, excess oiliness. It just was. I stopped using foundation as my skin didn't need it anymore. Most people who have been on it say the same. When combined with other skin care that 'attack', results are wonderful.

Its a hyaluronic acid based system that has 3 different sized molecules that penetrate different depths of the skin. That's superficial to deep plumping to the layperson- one reason why the results last so long. It also has boosters of Vitamin A, C, anti-oxidants and collagen, which can be added for extra oomph! The treatment uses an oxygen delivery system to literally push the ingredients deep into the skin. Each vial of product is packaged in amber bottles (for sun protection) and sealed individually. So you get fresh products every time. There is a lot of thought put into it, which I appreciate because it makes our job easier- my only gripe being that the bottles are not see through so its hard to tell when its finishing.

Their products have one step more than others- how I like to explain it is that you feed the skin (serum), you give it a drink (hydration gel), you then seal it all in (moisture binding cream). I'm usually very lazy about skincare but its so ingrained in me now that I can't not do it. 

So all well and good for the likes of me- I get to use the machine anytime I want, right?.... In all honesty, there is hardly any time for facials and I'm lucky if I'm able to squeeze 1 in every 2 months. But I use the take home products religiously- and that makes all the difference in the world!