July 17, 2024

A-list-approved technique that will banish acne and give you the best glow of your life

Debbie Thomas, an A-list facialist who works with Jourdan Dunn, is hailing the New Year as the perfect time to pare things back in the beauty department.

And hey, we’re not leaving the house any time soon so this month is an opportune one.

When I first started working in beauty I quickly became addicted to testing new products. I’d spend my evenings laboriously exfoliating, testing at-home chemical peels and slathering on layers upon layers of serums, face masks and moisturisers hoping for supermodel skin. The result? The worst bout of acne I’ve ever experienced.

After seeing a dermatologist who blamed the stubborn spots on my excessive product use, I totally stripped back my skincare regime and six months later, my skin was completely clear. It was nothing short of a miracle.

As someone who was genuinely too mortified to leave the house courtesy of my skin, I’m seriously here for 2021’s most revered skincare trend: stripped back skin.

Debbie blames the past year for our skincare overindulgence. “We had so much time on our hands and were forced to endure our reflection on our laptop more than ever so it’s no wonder many of us have become a little skin obsessed,” she said. “In a bid to get filter-worthy skin, most would have relied on our trusted professionals but lockdown has kept us out of their hands and instead made us rely on a heavy dose of DIY with varied and inconsistent advice from a never-ending supply of beauty influencers. ” The result? Over the top and complicated regimes which instead of giving us glowing skin, have left our skin irritated and overstimulated.

The solution? Stripped back skincare. Here, Debbie shares her golden mantras for following the new skincare trend – and in turn, creating the glowiest skin of your life.

Don’t ditch your current products

Whilst it might be tempting to bin your current skincare regime in rage (why didn’t you work, damn you! ), Debbie says this is the first mistake people make. “It’s a reaction I see a lot, if a routine isn’t working, the whole regime (often unfinished) gets ditched for a whole new set of products.

I prefer a slow transition to swap out products, for example as you run out of one, replace just that product; this means you’re not suddenly shocking the skin with too much new information. ” Alternatively, Debbie explains that if your routine is working OK – but could work harder for your skin – you can add in one active product like a serum to give it a boost.

Avoid too many steps in your skincare regime

K-Beauty made the 10-step skincare regime a mainstay but just like your sustainable new wardrobe edit, less really is more. Choose products that do multiple things rather than lots of products layered on top of each other. “These multifunctional products are much easier to use and they are blended well, so the skin accepts the combined active ingredients more readily.

I never really understood the layering up of several products (over three); it feels like you are simply putting products on top of product as only so much can penetrate the skin at any one time. ” Debbie recommends a dedicated AM and PM regime each consisting of one serum/active and a cream/hydrator.

Exfoliate regularly, but gently

Debbie recommends regular, more gentle exfoliation rather than aggressive weekly exfoliation. She suggests using a cleanser or a tonic which contains exfoliating ingredients that can be used every day. “This means that your cleansing step also becomes your exfoliating and decongesting step.

Occasionally, I do use a tonic which is like a toner, but with active ingredients. These are a good option if you want to use a cleanser that is good for make up removal then the tonic can give you your daily exfoliation, right now I’m loving Medik8 Press and Glow tonic. ”

Take your advice from just one beauty influencer

There’s a plethora of brilliant beauty influencers sharing their hacks on social media but Debbie says that you should choose just one to heed the advice of. “One of the biggest issues I see with my clients and their complicated regimes is they try and pull in the advice of many different people, each person is going to have their own experience and they will be talking about their regimes as a whole.

Picking and choosing from each regime could mean that you will end up with a very mismatched routine,” she says. She also recommends trying to follow someone who is a professional with skincare experience so either a facialist or someone that has worked in beauty and skincare for many years.

Your basic daily stripped back skincare regime

Now you’re well acquainted with Debbie’s mantras, how can you put stripped back skincare into practise? Here’s how…


  • Cleansers and tonics should be the start of every regime, you should be cleansing your skin both morning and evening.
  • Use an antioxidant every morning, most of the time this is vitamin C based but if you can’t tolerate vitamin C check out some of the other great antioxidants like copper peptides or niacinimide.
  • Next, I recommend a day cream containing SPF, unlike many years ago there are several excellent brands that offer fantastic combined day creams containing an SPF.
  • This can be followed with make up for those who want to use it.


  • Night time is the time to use a renewing product – something that encourages the skin to regenerate, my go-to product is retinol. Retinol encourages the skin to work better making it healthier and more resilient over time, it can help to balance oil secretions, it helps to improve cellular turnover, ensuring you make more new healthy cells, can repair some of the DNA damage done by damaging influences like the sun or pollution, and can also help to stimulate collagen production.
  • Finally, plump for a night-time hydrator that contains ceramides. Ceramides repair the barrier function of the skin, meaning the barrier itself becomes stronger which keeps in essential moisture nutrients and keeps out irritants.

“If your daily routine is good you shouldn’t really need to use additional products like masks or weekly peels regularly, instead I use these products occasionally when I feel like my skin really needs an extra boost so quite often before a party or if I’ve been feeling particularly rundown and not sleeping well or when I’m travelling to combat the change in climate,” concludes Debbie.

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