Five minutes with: Dr Sian Morris

How long was the Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream in the making?

This specific cream took several years to create – we’ve been looking at how to combine this level of hydration with a luxury feel for about seven or eight years and at some of the key ingredients, like penta-peptides, for about the same time before we even started to create this cream. It’s why I love to work for Olay, the years of skincare research that go into creating a single product is something I think shows in the final product.

Why do you think it caused such a frenzy when it was first launched in the US?

Women today are incredibly demanding (and so they should be). They want products that not only deliver on performance but represent something just a little different. Our aspiration when we developed the cream in Research and Development was to provide Olay Regenerist’s best anti-ageing efficacy and combine that with a luxury super cream experience.

Lots of women had told us they like the super cream idea but it was a bit inaccessible to them, often because of the price tag it involved so this was a great challenge to make the aspiration affordable.

I think what caused the frenzy was that they found the cream not only lived up to its promises but that it gave them the opportunity of the whole luxury super cream experience. So I’d like to believe that what caused the frenzy was a great technology combined with listening to women’s needs and delivering on it in an accessible way.

Did you expect it to be such a global phenomenon?

We were very excited about Micro-Sculpting cream both technically and from the results and comments we’d received from women on the product through its development so we did have high expectations. As they say you can always work to put all the plans in place to aim for success but you can never guarantee the kind of results we’ve seen with Micro-Sculpting cream.

We were amazed when we started to see waiting lists for the products of tens of thousands of women around the world. So we were excited not only with the reception but that we’ve actually created a product that’s helped many women achieve the results and experiences they wanted.

What makes this cream so amazing? What are its wonder ingredients?

Micro-Sculpting cream combines our highest moisture levels (about 50 per cent more than any other Olay moisturiser) with Hyaluronic Acid and our amino-peptide complex (including penta-peptides and vitamin B3) at its highest levels. It works on firmness by focusing on boosting turgor hydration and the skin’s structural proteins and it’s this combination of concentrated effects that deliver the performance benefits .
But I think the wonder also comes from wrapping it in a luxurious formula. Sometimes we forget just how important that is – because as women we know that when we enjoy the experience of our cream we use it properly – we want to use it and we want every part of our face and neck to get the benefits.

I have heard from many women that this is true with Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream because it’s a pleasure to use. Dermatologists know and will tell you how important this is for benefits – they call it compliance – you use the right amount of product on a regular basis and you maximise results. So for me that really is an essential must to the performance of this cream. 

In laymen terms, what are peptides?

Peptides are fragments of collagen (one of the skin’s key structural proteins). Peptides can comprise of two or more amino acids and the specific amino-acids and how they are arranged play a part in the different roles of peptides.

What results are women likely to see after using this cream and after how long?

Women should see their skin look firmer and feel more resilient – in fact this should start happening in one week. Key areas like the eyes you can see reduction in fine lines and wrinkles at about two-four weeks. But you will also see an overall improvement in texture (as surface cell turnover improves and skin is more hydrated) and in radiant appearance. By bringing together these different improvements you get a more naturally youthful appearance.

Why is the eye, the neck and the jaw area the hardest places to treat?

Some areas seem to be extra prone to showing signs of ageing – whether it’s around the eyes which are an area of very thin skin which tends to be delicate and easily dehydrated and which we constantly put under strain when we smile and laugh or across the neck where we are constantly twisting and turning and causing stress to skin’s structure.

Of course some areas seem to show this up more and we see the change in definition with loss of firmness very much at the jaw line.
 I think an important message for women is that face care shouldn’t stop at the chin – if you want to look younger care for the base of the jaw line and the neck too or you will undo all the good work by letting these areas give away secrets that you might like to keep between you and your birth certificate. 

Why does our skin start to sag as we get older?

The cosmetic surgeon will tell you that changes occur in bone, muscle and fat pad distribution across our faces but also that changes occur within the skin itself. Of course a cream is focused on the skin and changes can occur at the very surface due to loss of hydration and turgor (which is the intracellular hydration) which makes the surface less plump and resilient. Damage can occur to one of the key structural proteins collagen.

Collagen acts like the spring of a mattress giving our skin form and elasticity – damage can occur due to UV light, free radicals from pollution and cigarette and even from repetitive expression lines or simply gravity. When this happens you lose some of that wonderful structure and shape you have when you’re young and we start seeing skin that is less firm and of course has less distinct shape. 

Is there anything we can do to prevent lack of firmness?

I would always advise starting with prevention and then also including ingredients that can actively help re-firm the skin if you are experiencing problems. So in addition to a cream like Regenerist you should look at reducing sun exposure and having a sensible relationship with the sun (sunbathing and tanning is not good for your skin); smoking really does show (look at an older smokers lips and you’ll see the deep groves of “smokers wrinkles” where the free radicals can damage the collagen). 
Finally making sure that you have a regular daily skin routine from an early age can help – make sure your skin is in the best shape it can be for as long as possible. 

Would you say the primary function of this cream is to tighten the skin or to hydrate? Or both?

The cream is really going to work to help firm up the skin’s contours and we can do that both by hydrating and by helping skin maintain its own collagen levels. By using plumping hydration and ingredients that help to visibly regenerate skin surface appearance, we can work on firming in two ways – when we are talking about the levels of hydration from the Micro-Sculpting cream it goes beyond simply combating some dryness but you plump up the surface skin cells to have a firming effect too and with over 10 million surface skin cells keeping each and everyone firmly hydrated is important.

Five minutes with: Dr Sarah Hart

Dr Sarah Hart is an experienced appearance medicine physician and Fellow of the New Zealand College of Appearance Medicine. Dr Hart is one of only two New Zealand doctors on the international Botox Advisory Board and trains other doctors around the country in facial rejuvenation techniques. Dr Hart works at the Palm Clinic – a centre for varicose veins, liposuction, appearance medicine and laser treatments – in Auckland, New Zealand.

What inspired you to become an appearance medicine physician?

I was attracted by the artistic side of it – I love art and now I can combine that with medicine. I see the face as my canvas and needles as my paintbrushes. I can sculpt beautiful cheeks or lips using dermal fillers. And all in a safe, non-invasive way.

I wasn’t sure about doing appearance medicine at first – I thought it might be superficial, but it’s not at all. After working as a hospital doctor I began specialising in psychiatry and appearance medicine, and to my surprise I found with appearance medicine I could make dramatic improvements to my patients’ lives and wellbeing.

Our appearance influences how we feel about ourselves and are perceived by others. It is very satisfying to be able to help people make positive changes in their lives. I believe appearance medicine is the ideal way to look naturally better.

What do you like most about your job?

There is something very rewarding about making a few simple changes to a face that can transform the way the world treats people. I love bringing out a person’s natural beauty, especially when they are unaware how attractive they really are. The mutual good feeling I get from my patients is quite simply addictive.

Do you think that society places an unfair emphasis on beauty and looking 

Yes it is certainly unfair. But I believe humans are hardwired to favour beauty. It’s innate; an evolutionary adaptation to enable you to pick a healthy partner with strong genes. Most things considered beautiful, like sparkling eyes, glowing skin and glossy hair, are outward signs of good health and fertility. Those basic instincts will never change.

What are the most common treatments at Palm Clinic that you 

Botox is our number one treatment in the appearance medicine side of Palm Clinic. It’s a special interest for us. The clinic’s founder John Barrett started using Botox back in 1996 and is perhaps the most experienced specialist in Auckland. He taught me, and I am now a member of the International Botox Advisory Board which sets the guidelines in Australia and New Zealand on how Botox should be injected.

At Palm Clinic we are passionate about making Botox undetectable, so our patients look natural. I think that’s why we are so well known in this field.

Have you seen a shift in appearance medicine over the last few years?

Appearance medicine is one of the fastest developing areas of medicine. The understanding of facial ageing has taken giant steps forward in the last 10 years.

Treatments are more effective, safer and cheaper than ever before. There has also been a shift towards natural-looking results. In the early days there were a lot of “frozen” Botox faces and oversized “trout pouts”. New techniques and aesthetics have superseded this now. People who use appearance medicine should just look better – there needn’t be any other tell tale signs.

Is there any reason for people to be concerned about the safety of
 injecting foreign substances in their bodies, such as Botox or dermal

Botox is an incredibly well researched product with 40 years of safety data behind it. There have been over 10 million treatments worldwide now. Unlike other freely available medications we think of as harmless, like aspirin, there have never been any life-threatening side effect associated with cosmetic Botox use.

Personally I have been using myself Botox for over 10 years and it has done wonders for my skin. So no, I don’t have any concerns about its safety. But I recommend people make sure their practitioner really is using Botox, as there are other, less well researched botulinum toxin products out there.

With dermal fillers, there are a lot on the market but I don’t use them all. I prefer non-permanent fillers which are well-researched and made by reputable companies.

I only use dermal fillers made from collagen (a protein) or hyaluranon (a sugar) as these are gradually broken down by the body’s own natural enzymes. I would not use permanent fillers as there have been reports of reactions many years later.

Do you ever come across people who are strongly opposed to appearance 

Yes! Not in my client base, obviously, but I have very dear friends who openly express their disapproval of my chosen career, in the nicest possible way. Luckily they love me anyway and our friendship has nothing to do with my career.

I understand totally where they are coming from. The idea of thinking about what you look like or tampering with what nature gave you is not acceptable to everyone. However I strongly believe in making the most of what you’re given, whether that be with make-up, hair colour, dressing to suit yourself or a bit of Botox and dermal filler. 

You have worked on the TV series Ten Years Younger for the last three
 seasons. Do you think it really is possible to shave a decade off your age?

Most definitely yes. For most people, appearance medicine can take care of the skin and face part without too much trouble. Our procedures work synergistically, meaning they give a better result when used together.

The change you can make with Botox plus dermal fillers, high concentration skin care and skin lasers is really astounding. I also learned on the show that teeth, posture, figure, hairstyle, make-up and clothes all express your age to the world and can be altered if you wish to appear younger.