“To be honest, I never used to take care of my skin as a 20-year-old,” confesses Dr Shyamalar Gunatheesan. The in-demand dermatologist is getting candid on the set of our latest campaign shoot in Sydney.
“[But] growing older and wiser, and being a dermatologist and learning from my patients, you get to see thousands of different types of skin and texture and you realise that it’s all about taking care of it.”
Her about face (pun intended) has clearly paid dividends: her radiant visage easily belies her 38 years, and has instilled a new appreciation for the science of skincare. “I believe in key ingredients,” she asserts. “And that’s why [RATIONALE] is great from a dermatology perspective. You’ve got a range that’s constantly wanting to do better, optimising delivery systems, making formulas potent yet not irritating, and using Australian-based products, it’s brilliant.”
Skin skeletons now out of the closet, the good doctor opened up about ageing gracefully, the family skin traditions she instils in her daughters, and the importance of outsourcing.
How does RATIONALE fit into your world?
I use RATIONALE pretty much like a tool in my arsenal…it’s part of my treatment regime for my patients. Sometimes we might use prescription drugs to treat an acute flare up but it’s all about maintaining your skin. So most people will then maintain on RATIONALE because it’s topical, it’s non-invasive, it doesn’t have long-term side effects—and it works really well.
What has struck you the most about the results you see from RATIONALE?
As a standalone skincare regimen, I’ve seen brilliant results with the Essential Six Collections. To put it simply, it just creates healthy, luminous skin. Apart from the anti-ageing perspective and the reduction in your wrinkles, the skin looks healthy…the collagen becomes plumper and there’s a greater clarity that you see in people’s skin. You know who’s been using it—and who hasn’t.
Skin is a living organ that needs tender loving care and that’s where I think RATIONALE comes in.
There’s a lot of knowledge around now about key ingredients like Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, retinoids… but knowing how to combine it all, to actually formulate it so that it can all be effectively absorbed into your skin? That’s where the art is—in the whole Skin Identical delivery of these ingredients. Their bioavailability, and their actual assimilation into your skin. That’s magic.”
What is your attitude towards ageing?
For me, it’s not about trying to look 20 when you’re 40 or 50, but about looking like refreshed and healthy as a 40 or 50 year old. To have healthy, luminous skin is to have a clear canvas, and so you want to minimise the wrinkles or the drop in collagen as we age but still look natural, not fake.. You’re going to age, so you may as well do it gracefully and in skin that looks good.
Tell us about your own beauty rituals.
Each morning I use #4 The Cleanser. As a dermatologist, I know how important a gentle cleanser is—one that won’t strip those natural oils you have on your skin. Then what do you need next? You need a good Vitamin B complex serum, your Vitamin A, your Vitamin C, your Antioxidants to protect you for the day. That’s my #1 The Serum and #2 The Serum. And then a good sunscreen. That is paramount. Apart from beauty and skin health, you’ve got skin cancer looming large if you’re not diligent with solar protection. At night, I would use a combination of the Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids and then my Vitamin A complex.
What’s the most important advice you give to your patients?
My patients often struggle to adhere to a solid SPF regimen—the hardest part is finding a sunscreen that’s non-gluggy, that illuminates the skin without making you look like you’ve got sunscreen on. Compliance is huge: it has to feel good, be non-irritating, feel luxurious and then you’ll use it.
That’s the biggest asset to any skincare…actually having a medium that you can use and feel it’s almost like makeup. I’ve actually won over lots of younger patients with RATIONALE’s Beautiful Skin Superfluids SPF50 because they feel like makeup, and that’s brilliant.
And what advice would you give to your 20 year old self?
Gosh, two things. I wish I wore more sunscreen, and I really wish I used a really good topical retinoid at night. I think there’s a myth out there that you only use it in your late 20s and 30s when you start ageing. No. Get in there early.
Finally, what does a perfect day look like to you?
Honestly, it would be getting up, having a beautiful cup of coffee, winding down and going for an hour-long yoga class. Or even just meditating throughout that class and not having to worry about whether the nanny is alright with the kids or if my husband’s surviving.