Oh Millie!: A Quick Q&A With dermHA's Mildred Bell
Mildred Bell is practically a legend in the skincare realm. Not only is she the founder of phenomenally successful skincare company dermHA—which, let's face it, is a pretty wow-worthy accomplishment on its own—she is also a licensed medical esthetician with over three decades of experience. Plus, she is a card-carrying member of an assortment of impressive associations/boards and her seasoned skincare advice has been featured in the pages of publications around the globe.
Basically, Millie knows everything there is to know about skin, which is why we were so sure that she was the perfect person to answer our latest batch of skincare questions.
How did you get drawn into the world of skincare?
I started my career in the beauty industry behind a makeup counter. I believe every woman is beautiful. I loved helping women enhance their appearance but hated having to push products they didn't need.
I did an apprenticeship with a makeup artist in Valley Forge who also had a very progressive salon/spa. If I would work doing facials and make up in his spa, he would teach me how to do stage, film and video make-up. I stayed for 2 years before starting my own freelance make-up business. I worked doing make up for TV commercials, industrial films, production companies, magazines, etc.
The talent who showed up with thick flaky skin, pimples and pustules made my job much harder. I searched for remedies and when they worked I felt a new kind of satisfaction. Shortly after I decided to pursue a career in skin care.
What skincare products should everyone be reaching for?
It depends on one's age, skin type and skin condition. But, in general, a very basic skin regimen contains at least one cleanser, a moisturizer and a mask.
Everyone should also have an exfoliating cleanser for deep cleansing and rejuvenating (à la this rejuvenating cleanser) and a gentle cleaner (i.e. this gentle face + body wash) for times when skin is sensitive and/or irritated.
As a rule of thumb, moisturizers should contain hyaluronic acid—a.k.a. the most powerful natural moisturizer known to science. Mature skin needs potent anti-oxidants and high concentrations of hyaluronic acid to restore a youthful glow.
Last, but not least, using a gentle exfoliating mask once or twice a week (such as this enzyme mask) prevents cellular build up while leaving the skin soft smooth and polished.
Which tried-and-true skincare tips do you swear by?
· Drink at least eight glasses of water per day.
· Try eliminating dairy products from your diet for one month. Acne may develop due to an allergic reaction to dairy products.
· Eat a high-fiber diet. This is important for keeping the colon clean and ridding the body of toxins.
· Avoid all forms of sugar. At least try.
· Change pillowcases on a regular basis.
· Choose products that are free of irritants like fragrance, alcohol and dyes.
· As much as possible, avoid stress. Exercise is a great way to alleviate or manage stress.
· Do not squeeze pimples or pustules or you risk increasing inflammation and bacteria.
· Wipe cell phones regularly to prevent bacteria build-up.
· Wash make-up brushes regularly.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Yes. Your skin is an organ of elimination and a barometer for your health. If you're having a new skin issue, pay attention to what you're eating or drinking; what new products you're using on your face, hair and body or in your laundry. If (in addition to the skin problem) you feel out of sorts...contact your physician for a check-up. Your skin problem may be a symptom of something more.
Stay tuned for more skincare & beauty advice!