1on1 with Sarah Ali Eesa – Founder, SAE Skincare

Stuck At Home: The Do’s and Don’ts of Skincare

Oman Magazine chats with Sarah Ali Eesa, the founder of skincare brand ‘SAE’ about the ways in which our skin can suffer as a result of the harsh summer’s heat. During a time where we are all locked indoors, consumed by air conditioning and must adorn face masks each day, it’s no wonder that our environment can wreak havoc on our skin. We decided to have a socially-distanced chat with the woman behind the brand to share her ‘top tips’ on staying supple and hydrated, giving us all that gorgeous glow.

What inspired you to launch Sae Skincare?

I remember waking up one day, and thinking my skin looks dull and tired, the youthful flawless skin I once had seemed to be a thing of the past. As I got closer to the big 30 I dwelled on this more, and even began noticing the odd pimple, I had never had any teenage acne so was very surprised! I researched and read a lot, and I found that the skincare products that mattered were super expensive. So the plight for DIY skincare solutions began. I made my first Vitamin C Serum, friends wanted to know about my new found glow, and from there we just became SAE. Good effective home use skincare was something I felt everyone deserved access to.

Why is a good Skincare routine so important during lockdown?

Sadly as our salons and medi-spas are not open at the moment the excellent maintenance treatments that many of us were consistently receiving have been halted. This undoubtedly is having an effect on our skin even in terms of basic exfoliation. Skin doesn’t transform overnight; a consistent skincare routine will deliver good results. Lockdown is a fantastic time to allow you to get your skincare regime up to speed.

Can you share some top tips for lockdown?

Many of us are experiencing some level of ongoing stress or disrupted sleep which increases cortisol levels. This in turn increases sebum production that can lead to more breakouts and build up than normal. Try to manage stress levels as best as possible, increasing exercise is a good way to reduce cortisol.

Living in Oman is already hot and humid, adding a face mask covering to the equation has just created the perfect breeding environment for bacteria which leads to breakouts. Where possible try to go makeup-free to allow the skin to breathe, foundations can contribute to blocking pores leading to breakouts. If you find your skin has excess oil sitting on the skin surface, wash it off rather than letting it sit on the skin. Try to avoid touching your face with your hands, hands are the easiest way to transfer germs and bacteria which can easily lead to breakouts. Another quick tip is to clean your phone regularly as this is also one of the ways in which we cause transfer germs to our face.

Another top tip is to use a humidifier as we are spending a lot more time at home under air conditioning which can strip the skin of vital oils and cause dehydration, this can trigger breakouts and build up in your pores. Also where possible change your pillowcase regularly, as we transfer oil and dirt from our skin and hair to our pillow covers daily, you can also flip your pillow.

What are your top 3 tips for keeping skin healthy?

Drink lots of water, wear SPF, eat your five portions of fruit and veg.

How can you tell if someone’s skin is too dry or too oily?

I want to open this by saying moisturising is important for all skin types, whether oil-prone or dry, don’t skip your moisturiser, just find something that works for you. When skin feels overly tight and stretched that’s usually a good indicator of skin being dry. Similarly, if you have a shine to your skin that extends to the cheeks that is usually an indicator of oil prone skin. Ingredients like Niacinamide, and Hyaluronic Acid are able to help regulate oil production so that the skin is able to achieve a balance and is not too oily or too dry. Hyaluronic acid is also a humectant and helps your skin remain hydrated and plump. All skin types would benefit from a product like our soon to launch Vitamin B5 & Hyaluronic hydrator, both B5 and Hyaluronic acid increase the skin’s ability to remain hydrated as well as reducing moisture loss. The product applies like a light gel and is easily absorbed by the skin without the feeling of compacting and blocking pores. We will have two B5 Hyaluronic hydrators launching at the end of this month, one is better suited to dry skin concerns, and the other more suited to oil-prone skin types.

For skincare newbies, what do you recommend as an entry-level start to skincare?

The first thing I say to all of our wonderful clients is find a sunscreen that works for you and your skin. There are two types of sunscreens, one is known as a chemical sunscreen which is your typical sunscreen on the shelf such as La-Roche, the other is known as a physical sunscreen and it consists of minerals such as Zinc or Titanium Dioxide. They both work in different ways. It doesn’t matter which you use as long as you are using one every day. As a side note, I am a big fan of La-Roche Shaka it offers the highest UVA protection on the market, UVA rays are responsible for over 90% of what we perceive as signs of aging. For those new to skincare who are looking for a little pick me up, I would recommend our SAE brightening system, it includes the High Potency Vitamin C 12% Serum, Glycolic Acid 5%, and our Skin Perfecting Intense Repair Oil. This skincare system offers a good anti-aging, brightening, and protective treatment for the skin.

What skincare ingredients should we know about?

Active ingredients are impressive as they deliver real visible results. I would definitely recommend an exfoliating lotion containing either Salicylic, Glycolic, or Lactic acid. These exfoliants work by removing the dead skin cells sitting on the surface of the skin, skin instantly looks brighter and smoother after using them. Lactic acid is better suited to sensitive and dry skin types, Glycolic acid works well for combination skin, Salicylic acid is better suited to combination or oil-prone skin types. Salicylic Acid is a little special as it is able to work deep into the pores and reduce acne, blackheads, and inflammation, it is the ingredient to use if you suffer from excess oil, acne, and pore blockages. You can use one or all of the acids depending on your skincare concerns. Lactic Acid 10% Peel, Glycolic Acid 5% exfoliating lotion, Glycolic Acid Peel 10%, Salicylic Acid 2% Exfoliating lotion.

The second skincare ingredient that everyone should know about is our favourite antioxidant Vitamin C, in particular L-ascorbic acid Vitamin C Serum. Not all Vitamin C Serums are created equally. When applied topically L-ascorbic acid has consistently demonstrated anti-aging benefits, including boosting collagen, softening, and reducing wrinkles, targeting uneven skin tone, lightening, and reducing hyperpigmentation. It offers both protective and corrective skincare, in particular, it protects the skin from environmental damage and has photoprotective properties. High Potency Serum Vitamin C 12% 

Lastly, I would recommend a Retinol or Vitamin A based serum. Retinol is a gold standard anti-aging ingredient that has demonstrated wrinkle repair and wrinkle reduction with consistent long-term use. It is a known ‘pore toner’ and ‘skin tightener’, that works well with combination to oil-prone skin types. Retinol 0.3 with Hyaluronic

What is one skincare product you couldn’t live without?

I am a big believer in preventative skincare. So my favourites would have to be SPF closely followed by L-ascorbic acid Vitamin C Serum. Vitamin C Serum keeps the skin glowing and looking fresh, not forgetting the collagen-boosting effect that Vitamin C promises. As we age collagen production reduces which is why anti-ageing treatments that help boost collagen are able to help restore fuller plump looking skin.

How often should we be treating our skin? With scrubs/masks/peels etc?

I love this question. So, everyone’s skin is different and there is not just one frequency that works for all of us. It will depend on your individual skin concerns and skin type. The peels that we offer are not peels that result in visible peeling. But of course, you shouldn’t over-exfoliate as this is when you cause your skin irritation. Often with skincare, it is about using the given guidelines, but also common sense to work out what the correct number of applications would be for your skin. Face masks can be a great thing, for example, our Green Clay Cleanser which doubles as a mask, although it is fantastic for oil-prone days, overusing the product as a mask and drying your skin out can result in triggering oil production. On average I would suggest using an exfoliant 2-3 times per week unless you have specific skin concerns, for example, some acne-prone skin types benefit from more frequent Salicylic acid applications or sensitive skin types sometimes work better with less applications.  Detoxifying Green Clay Cleanser

One skincare fact that the world needs to know?

Physical scrubs can be quite a bad thing for your skin. The actual scrubbing particle if not perfectly spherical digs at your skin, and under a microscope, you would see the skin surface has been dug at leaving micro-tears. The best way to avoid this is to ensure you are using a product with spherical scrubbing particles such as microdermabrasion crystals. Don’t over-exfoliate. In particular, if you have oil or acne-prone skin, a scrub is not always the best product to use as it can trigger excess oil production, similarly, for sensitive skin a scrub can be too abrasive. Where possible opt for a lotion exfoliant with one of the following active ingredients: Glycolic, Salicylic, Lactic, or Mandelic acid.

Resurfacing Microdermabrasion Scrub

One product that will offer a quick skin fix?

Our AHA BHA exfoliating peel. It is magic for those who cannot commit to a regular skincare routine. You can use the product twice a week, it will very quickly lift away the dead skin, offer your pores a cleansing treatment, and leave you with brighter softer happier skin. It is infused with Hibiscus and contains Lactic 6%, Glycolic 4%, and Salicylic 2%. AHA BHA exfoliating Peel.

How can our readers decide which products are for them?

Have a look at our website under each product we have made suggestions for the skin types and concerns that would benefit from using the product. Also please feel free to drop us a line, we have both Arabic speaking and English speaking colleagues who are able to help. All of our orders come with a personalised schedule advising clients when and how to use the products to achieve their skin goals. We are very happy to make product recommendations, just send us a photo of your skin with an explanation of your skin concerns and the changes that you would like to see to your skin.

How can we reach you? 

@SaeSkincare on Instagram and Facebook


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