Suffering from skin problems? 10 questions with celebrity facialist Linda Meredith
With 40 years’ experience under her belt, Linda Meredith (aka the Queen of Facials) has worked on an array of A-list faces, including Kate Moss, Madonna, Victoria Beckham, Claudia Schiffer, Stella McCartney, Sienna Miller and Jude Law.
With 15 spas around the world, including the main LM salon in Knightsbridge, her treatments and products are accessible to all of us.
After coming off the pill for 8 years my skin has been poor. A couple of months back I desperately emailed her salon with pretty frightening pictures of my skin’s bumpy, milky spots, inflamed red patches and huge painful beauties on my jawline. I begged them to tell me what might be wrong.
The very next day I got a call from Linda herself.
Linda told me to pop in so she could see my skin in person but from the pictures, it looked like Milia all over my cheeks.
I didn't waste a minute.
Before I knew it, I was at the salon lying on a bed – and Linda was giving her staff some extra training on my case.
Linda started running her fingers up and down my skin, asking the other facialists what they thought was the cause (she already knew.)
'Stress!' I shouted, sure this was the clear answer.
‘No,’ said Linda. ‘This reaction is from a food you're eating. I've seen this for 40 years.'
1. ML: When I was 16 it was recommended that I start taking the contraceptive pill to control my skin. I stayed on that pill for 8 years. At each check-up, diet was never mentioned. I know this is still commonly prescribed to many young girls for skin. What would you say to that?
LM: What you have to remember is that every professional specialises in their own field and it is sometimes impossible for them to expand out of this field. Doctors specialise in medicine, not nutrition.
Do I agree with putting teens straight on medication, especially for a skin problem? No. I always suggest to my clients that they look at their diet first, and possibly see a health coach or a nutritionist to get then back on track.
2. ML: You were diagnosed with Crohn’s when you were younger – did this diagnosis drive your passion to understand the link between your gut, your diet and your skin?
LM: No not at all! I was 15 at the time. It was in later life that I started looking into the link.
3. ML: You told me that when you were a girl, acne was rare. But now skin problems are much more common, in women of all ages. Why do you think that is?
LM: I was born at the beginning of the ’50s, before the introduction of synthetic chemicals and hormones.
Acne back then was simply an imbalance of hormones, which could naturally occur within the body and would burn out after puberty.
Now it is rife at any age and our world is flooded with hormones, whether we elect to take them or not. They are hidden in the food we eat.
4. ML: From your experience of working with over 50,000 clients, would you say that most skin problems could be easily reversed using diet and lifestyle changes?
LM: Yes, without a doubt. But people need educating. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to change your lifestyle or diet as it takes time and money, which a lot of people do not have.
5. ML: You read my face like a map when I came in. What were the tell-tale signs that it was a food issue, and what foods are the main culprits?
LM: The body always has the answers. Issues shown on the face are the body giving us signs that there is a problem going on inside – just as it would let us know if we needed sleep or warmth.
The first area I check is the forehead, which is related to the digestive system. This gives me the first indication that the problem is something you are ingesting, either in excess or something that you are sensitive to.
The second area is the chin, which is related to the small intestine. If both areas show signs, it is generally something we are eating.
The first thing to check is fruit, as most people eat it in excess, creating too much fruit sugar and feeding yeast in the gut. Tiny breakouts on the chin are usually caused by eating too many berries.
If there are tiny red spots over the entire face, it is sometimes too many tomatoes. I simply keep asking the client questions, and eventually I will get the answer.
If your skin produces a lot of oil, dairy products will exacerbate the problem and lead to more breakouts. And using treatments or products to dry out the skin’s surface is the worst possible thing you could do, as now the oil flow is blocked, which can lead to cyst-like acne.
One point to remember is that changing to soya milk does not help. Any milky type products can create the same problems.
6. ML: Which three action points would you give to anyone dealing with adult acne?
LM: Before I answer this question, I want readers to remember that there is a difference between breakouts and acne. Acne is generally an imbalance of hormones but breakouts can be related to food or lifestyle.
When dealing with adult acne, the first step would be to try to locate the cause. Is it stemming from an imbalance of hormones, or from some other issue?
Whatever the cause, reduce your intake of sugar.
Try to keep the area free of bacteria, as breakouts can spread from the surface, as well as coming from within. Bacteria is on phones, pillow cases… anything that comes into contact with the area. The LM gel cleanser also keeps the area free of bacterial spread.
Most importantly, do not pick or squeeze, because when the problem subsides, you do not want to be left with side effects, like scarring.
7: ML: Your products work so well for me. Can you tell us about them and your involvement in choosing the very best ingredients?
LM: I am not a cosmetic chemist, so working closely with them is vitally important as there are over 100,000 ingredients that can be used in skin creams.
I give a brief of what I want the product to do and I rely on the chemist to submit samples to me.
Then I start testing on myself and clients to make sure they give me the result I am looking for. This can go on over a period of years to get the right formulas.
8. ML: We know that sugar speeds up the ageing process, but what are the best LM treatments to reverse the signs of ageing?
LM: My treatments are different than any others, as we don’t just treat the surface of the skin.
The first consultation always takes into consideration the inside as well as the outside. If a client has a skin problem, it generally originates from the inside. A facial may not address the root cause.
Also, our treatments are not aggressive. I believe in feeding, nourishing and re-balancing from the inside, as well as from the outside with treatments and a good at-home regime.
Most of us try to look after our bodies, but we forget that the skin is our biggest organ and does need care. The ageing process begins in our mid-twenties but is invisible until our mid-thirties.
All LM treatments are designed to slow down the ageing process, but the biggest impact on the beauty world was made by the Oxygen treatment. The key is in the oxygen serum.
9. ML: Do you think that more and more dermatologists are beginning to realise (similarly to doctors) that the answers are on our plate?
LM: Absolutely not. The horror stories I have heard over the decades have sometimes been shocking.
Once doctors and dermatologists crossed over into the world of beauty (after the introduction of Botox, fillers etc.) they wore two hats – one medical, one sales.
If they advocated the right diet and lifestyle changes they would all be out of a job.
10. ML: What does healthy eating consist of for you?
LM: First and foremost, I do not buy any pre-made food – I make all my own from scratch. I am careful about meat and fish and do not buy pre-packed as it is full of preservatives.
I don’t eat red meat, except in the Bolognese sauce I make myself. I do not eat fruit, as I cannot digest it, having no colon.
Apart from that, I am careful of all the veg I buy. I check where it comes from. I love tomatoes (although I can’t eat the skin), but I would never buy English as they are not grown naturally. I look for Italy, Spain or Portugal on the label – anything that seems more natural.
I don’t overload my fridge, I just see what I feel like eating each day. I listen to my body. It’s the old adage – a little of what you fancy does you good.
I generally eat a sort of brunch around 11.00am and then dinner about 5.00pm.
If I look back at the week, it always seems I’ve had a balanced diet.
I know it’s bad for some people, but my staple is either pasta or potatoes with my main meal. It suits me.
If you listen to your body, it will tell you the right food to eat. For example, 7-10 days before a period, the body needs more magnesium as the levels have dropped. And one of the best sources of magnesium? Chocolate, of course!
ML: After my amazing experience with Linda I went home and ordered a Lorisian Food Intolerance test which sent back my results within a week. After doing the test not only has it slowly healed I feel so much more in control of what my skin looks like because I know why it was happening in the first place. I went to the root cause instead of treating the symptom and now managing my skin naturally by treating it from the inside out.
I am a registered reseller of the Lorisian tests so get in contact if you would like to take one. To find out about my results from the test and my experience go to my blog 'Bad skin? This is why you should do a food intolerance test.'
To book treatments at the amazing Linda Meredith salon get in touch with the team at Appointments@lindameredith.com or call on 0207 225 275 - you can also buy her products there.