Q&A with Estée Lauder skincare expert Dr Nadine Pernodet

NadineEstée Lauder skincare expert and executive director of skin biology, global research and development, Dr Nadine Pernodet, answered your skincare-related questions, from wrinkles to visible pores, and the best way to fit a daily skincare routine into a busy schedule. 

Dr Pernodet is responsible for researching, developing and testing future technology for Estée Lauder global skincare products. She has been involved in scientific research for more than 12 years and before joining Estée Lauder she was an assistant professor at Stony Brook University in New York.

Dry or sensitive skin | Oily skin | Routines | Spots and poresWrinkles and ageing skin | Skin around the eyes 


Dry or sensitive skin

Q. poachedeggs: I'm stuck in an eternal cycle of dry tight skin (which I wash only with water and the occasional gentle exfoliant) that gets extremely oily each month, leading to awful blackheads and huge pores around my nose, chin and between my eyebrows. Products for oily skin leave me dry and flaky. Products for dry skin are too oily and clog my pores. Help!

A. Dr Nadine Pernodet: I can relate to how you feel because I experience the same symptoms. First, use a mild cleanser (with adjusted pH to your skin) on your dry patch to remove the accumulation of dead cells, which will help with the excess oil on your nose area and your skin, to rebalance its natural PH.

If you experience the sensation of tight skin, try using a crème cleanser to tissue off, instead of using water. Look for products for normal/combination skin. When your skin gets very oily during the month, try substituting your normal moisturiser with an oil-free one and use this around the nose area. This will still give the hydration benefits, but won't add oil to an already oily area.

For your pores, I would suggest using a scrub twice a week. We have a great product Idealist Pore Minimizing Skin Refinisher that delivers skin resurfacing benefits and visibly reduces the look of large pores. It can be used daily before applying your moisturiser.   

Q. ginandtonicplease: I have sensitive skin which is very red and flushes easily, with veins showing over nose - nice! I haven't found anything to reduce or cover these and know it will only get worse. Any tips or is it just tough luck?

A. Dr Nadine Pernodet: This is a very common skin concern, if that makes you feel better. Skin sensitivity can easily be increased by environmental aggressors that we face every day, such as pollution, air conditioning and UV, as they increase skin irritation.

The most important step is to protect and soothe the look of your skin as much as possible. You need to take extra steps to make sure your skin is kept in an extremely soothing environment. Make sure you are using the right cleanser as well, as some of them can be very irritating, and always use a moisturiser with an SPF for protection. Also, look for products that don't contain fragrances or alcohol. Estée Lauder has a special skincare line specifically designed for sensitive skin called Vérité, which you may be interested in looking at.

Oily skin

"Women with oily skin show fine lines, wrinkles and discoloration at a slower rate than other women. So the look of ageing will be slower than women who may have a drier, more sensitive skin."

Q. shrimponastick: At the grand age of 44, I still have very oily, congested skin and regularly have spots. Not so many wrinkles as such, but definite slackening of facial skin (probably too much sun). I don't wear make up often as I don't like the feel of it on my face. Any tips?

A. Dr Nadine Pernodet: Let me share some good news based on your skin type: women with oily skin show fine lines, wrinkles and discoloration at a slower rate than other women. So the look of ageing will be slower than women who may have drier, more sensitive skin.

Too often, women with oily skin use harsh products to scrub away the extra oil. This is a big mistake. Harsh cleansing is going to increase more oil production in response to irritation. Treat oily skin with a gentle cleaner to remove excess oil and at the same time leave intact the skin barrier to help maintain function and protect skin. Do not use soap. It is too aggressive for the skin barrier. A clay mask used once every week will help to draw out the impurities in your skin and diminish this hyper-production of oil.

To address your concern of slackening skin, use a moisturiser that includes ingredients to help tighten and firm skin's appearance. We have a great line designed specifically for women who want firmer looking skin. The Estée Lauder Resilience Lift range also includes a normal/combination moisturiser suitable for your skin type. 

Q. Elizabeth22: I have quite oily skin. How can I reduce the oil production of my skin? Are there particular products I should be using?

A. Dr Nadine Pernodet: A few important steps that women with oily skin can take:

  • Proper cleansing (twice a day) with a gentle cleanser. Too often, women with oily skin use harsh products to scrub away the extra oil. This is a mistake. Harsh cleaning is going to increase oil production in response to irritation.
  • Toners will help reduce the overproduction of oil.
  • A gentle skin-resurfacing product can help to reduce visible pore size, such as Idealist Pore Minimizing Skin Refinisher.
  • Make sure to use a good oil-free moisturiser, such as Daywear Oil-Free Advanced Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant Creme Oil-Free SPF 25 that will not clog pores and has a light texture.
  • A clay mask, once a week, will also help to absorb the over-production of oil.



Q. willemdefoeismine: I am perimenopausal and confess that I am not really a slave to a proper skincare routine, although I am generally regarded as looking quite young for my age. Partly it's a matter of budget and partly slackness on my part. What are the fundamentals of good skincare for perimenopausal women and what products would you regard as essential rather than luxury?

A. Dr Nadine Pernodet: Congratulations on looking young for your age. You must have good genes. As women enter the perimenopausal stage, the fluctuation of hormones is a significant factor on skin's health and behaviour. Women during these hormonal changes may experience more sensitive and reactive skin, which can be explained by an increase in skin dryness and a decrease in skin barrier functions. Skin becomes thinner and is more fragile. The skin is less able to retain moisture and the production of collagen and elastin slows down dramatically. 

"The perimenopausal stage is when it is more important than ever to develop a good skincare routine so you continue to look younger than you really are."

The result of this dramatic loss of elastic fibres, in addition to wrinkles, is skin sagging and loss of firmness. Wrinkles and lines develop more rapidly and become deeper. Now it is more important than ever to develop a good skincare routine so you continue to look younger than you really are. A simple routine would be:

  • Mild/rich cleanser: Consider a crème cleanser as they tend to be more hydrating than a foaming cleanser
  • An anti-ageing serum: Get one for night-time that offers hydration and ingredients to help reduce the look of the damage done to skin during the day.
  • A good moisturiser: Ideally, one with anti-ageing properties such as lifting and firming ingredients, anti-oxidants, anti-irritants, deep hydration and sunscreen protection.

Q. Loubelou: When it comes to skincare, what is the most important thing(s) we should all do, if like me you have really limited time? I have always been told that cleansing is the most important.

A. Dr Nadine Pernodet: I am so happy you know the importance of cleansing. I often refer to this step as the most important step, as clean skin is important preparation for the next steps in your skincare routine. There are simple daily steps you can take that will really make a difference: Cleaning, protecting and renewing. This is the recipe.

  • Clean: Use a mild cleanser in order not to induce irritation and inflammation.
  • Protect: Every day, a woman should use a moisturiser with at least an SPF15 protection complemented to minimize the effects of daily exposure to environmental aggressors, such as UV and pollution.
  • Renew: every night, a woman should use a repair product - usually a serum - to enhance the skin's natural ability to improve the look of damage accumulated during the day.


Spots and pores

"Large pores can sometimes be caused by an excess production of oil, so I suggest using an oil-free moisturiser in this area of your skin."

Q. CMOTDibbler: I'm almost 40, and generally have good skin, but I still have huge pores on my nose, no matter what I do. Is there any solution?

A. Dr Nadine Pernodet: I would recommend trying Estée Lauder's Idealist Pore Minimizing Skin Refinisher. It contains ingredients that help visibly reduce the look of enlarged pores. Large pores can also sometimes be caused by an excess production of oil, so I suggest using an oil-free moisturiser in this area of your skin. 

Q. sandy06: I have spotty skin, which started five years ago after the birth of my second child. It's better some days than others - I clean it well but nothing really seems to help. Any ideas most welcome!

A. Dr Nadine Pernodet: Yes, this usually happens after child birth due to hormonal changes. Sun exposure can also increase this discoloration and during the winter, it decreases again. Look for products that can help with evening out the look of skin tone and, of course, use sun protection every day.  

Q. RSVPentathlon: I was lucky to have acne-free teenage years and a nice complexion in my 20s with normal to oily skin. At 31, I have started to get spots and pimples in my forehead, jawline and decolletage, and an ever-changing combination of oily-dehydrated-flaky T-zone. I use facewash and moisturiser roughly once every other day and barely any make-up. Which is more important, products or routine?

"The trick to getting the results is to make sure you continue with your regime every day."

A. Dr Nadine Pernodet: I'm afraid both products and routine are very important. It sounds like you need to rebalance your skin. I suggest using products that are well adapted for your skin: a gentle cleanser, a good normal/ combination moisturiser with anti-oxidants and anti-irritants and sun protection, as well as a good anti-ageing serum.

It may be worth also using a gentle skin refinisher, such as Estée Lauder's Idealist Pore Minimizing Skin Refinisher, which includes a gentle, non acid technology to naturally shed away dead surface skin cells, so skin looks smoother and healthier. The trick to getting the results is to make sure you continue with your regime every day.

Wrinkles and ageing skin

Q. chocolatespiders: I'm in my late-30s, and have noticed lines around my eyes. I have looked at the advanced repair products but got a bit confused as to which would be best for my eyes, or is there an all-rounder which I could use on both my face and eyes?

A. Dr Nadine Pernodet: Because the skin around the eye is thinner and more fragile than your facial skin, we always suggest using an eye cream developed specifically for this area for optimal results. Plus, sometimes facial moisturisers contain fragrance and you don't want this to potentially migrate into your eyes. Choose a fragrance-free eye cream. Advanced Night Repair Eye Synchronized Complex is a wonderful multi-tasking eye gel serum that addresses the look of every visible sign of ageing, like fine lines, wrinkles, puffiness, dark circles, dryness and uneven skin tone.  

Q. MrsHowardRoark: I'm lucky in that I've always had clear skin with few issues but, at 32, I'm noticing it is starting to go a bit slack. Is there any way of tightening the skin so it looks fresher or is this the start of the slow decline into old age?

A. Dr Nadine Pernodet: At 32, I think you can definitely slow down the decline. You are still young. Start to use a good anti-ageing serum, which will enhance your skin's healthy look. A good anti-ageing moisturiser will help support firmer looking skin. And do not forget to protect against the sun to slow down this ageing process as much as possible. 

Q. SunshinePanda: As scientific developments move forward, which one item in your range do you think makes the most difference when trying to hold back the signs of ageing, and why?

A. Dr Nadine Pernodet: If you ask millions of women around the world, they would agree with me when I tell you Advanced Night Repair. For 30 years, this 'miracle in a brown bottle' has helped women's skin fight against the visible effects of environmental assaults, improve the look of past visible damage and help prevent future damage. I swear by it and use it every single day, twice a day before my moisturiser. 

Q. Calypso: I am in my 50s and my lines are becoming more noticeable. Is there anything that will help to fill them out or soften them? I have tried vitamin c solutions and Retinol formulations in the past, but they irritate my skin, and either make it peel or just redden it. 

A. Dr Nadine Pernodet: Do you use a sunscreen? That will help! But yes, there are now very effective products that help to reduce the look of this uneven skintone. We recently launched Idealist Skintone Illuminator, which has been formulated with ingredients that specifically target uneven skintone and dark spots in order to reduce their appearance. For this type of skin concern, it is important to continue to use the same product twice a day.


Skin around the eyes

Q. crazybutterflylady: I was told recently that my under-eye area is very dehydrated and that I need to use a rich eye cream, especially if I want to use under-eye make up, as dry skin causes the make up to crease. However, I have very oily skin everywhere else, especially my eyelids to the point where no make-up will stay put, despite trying every primer/long wear shadows etc on the market. I've been told that putting eye cream on in the morning will cause my eye mak-up to slide off more. Can you please confirm who is right and what I could possibly do to help tackle this issue?

A. Dr Nadine Pernodet: Skincare formulations have improved dramatically over the past few years. No longer do you need to use a heavy, rich cream to get hydration benefits. Look for a lightweight serum/gel texture designed for the eye area that absorbs quickly and doesn't leave a sticky residue. This way, your under-eye area will receive maximum hydration but the formula will not interfere with your make-up. It is not essential to treat the eyelids, so don't put any cream on that area if it causes the make-up to slide off. 

Q. mumnosGOLDisbest: I'm 34, and although my skin is pretty good my eyes are starting to age. Women in my family tend to get sort of hooded eyes and I'm dreading this. I'm starting to see fine lines and dark circles, and also some tiny white spots. What can I do to look after the skin around my eyes? 

A. Dr Nadine Pernodet: For most women, the eye area is the first place we notice the signs of ageing because the skin here is so much thinner and more fragile than our facial skin. Make sure you start to use a good anti-ageing eye cream now, one that contains anti-oxidants and anti-irritant as well as hydration properties. These ingredients will help protect against the environmental assaults our skin faces each day, such as UV and pollution, and the hydrating benefits will help 'plump up' the fine lines and strengthen skin's barrier. 

Q. jepa: Another dark-circles-under-my-eyes question. I look permanently knackered even when I have had a good night's sleep. They are the bane of my life, I've probably spent the equivalent of the cost of London 2012 trying to get rid of them. Do you think what you eat can affect them? Does drinking water really help? What products would you recommend, or is camouflage the only way forward ?

Q. milkshake3: Do you think there is a miracle product out there for circles under the eyes? And what do you recommend in order to minimise this ageing problem?

A. Dr Nadine Pernodet: I think this has to be the question that I am most asked. And, unfortunately, it is the hardest concern for us scientists to address. Dark under-eye circles can also appear in people who sleep very well. Most of it can be attributed to genetics. It is a very complex problem but we have learned more on how they form and what causes them.

Drinking water can help, as well as sun protection. Did you know dark circles can also be exacerbated by the position in which you sleep? Try sleeping on your back and not your stomach, as this can sometimes allow the blood to pool in the eye area, highlighting them more when you wake up.

You can now find more efficient products but because it is a complex problem, do not expect results on day one. You will notice a decrease as long as you continue to use a relevant product. There is no permanent solution – yet. But we are still trying. 

Q. Mampam: I'm 32, and in the last six months or so have really noticed the fine lines around my eyes. I have also noticed that my make-up is starting to cake into the creases. I use a general moisturiser on my face every day, but not one specific to my eyes. Would this help? And is there anything I can use to help my fine lines around my eyes?

A. Dr Nadine Pernodet: Good news! Yes, there is something you can do. These fine lines start appearing as we age, from squinting, dehydration and sun exposure. Of course a moisturiser is good, but for the eye area which is, as we know more sensitive, you would be better off using a product developed specifically for this area. Use an eye cream that includes anti-irritants to help calm the look of eyes and hyaluronic acid for hydration. These ingredients will help to decrease the look of your fine lines and help your make-up to be uniform.

Learn more about Estée Lauder skincare collections visit www.esteelauder.co.uk


Last updated: 9 months ago