Why the SAD face? How seasonal affective disorder can be bad for your skin too

Top dermatology expert have revealed that your skin can also suffer from seasonal affective disorder
Top dermatology expert have revealed that your skin can also suffer from seasonal affective disorder

Don’t you just love it when after long, complex and expensive studies experts reveal something we’ve always known? For example, ‘98 per cent of us are happier after a holiday.’ ‘Ninety-two per cent of British children prefer chocolate to broccoli.’

The best non-revelations are invariably health and beauty related – like last month’s bombshell: ‘Top dermatology expert reveals that your skin  can also suffer from seasonal affective disorder.’ This is dizzying information. Do you mean to say that when it gets dark and cold your complexion might also get SAD? 

The plus side of having identified this brand new annual complexion crisis, oh, 30-odd years ago, is that I know exactly how to treat SAD skin. And it starts with a tiny but terrifying Taiwanese woman named Su-Man Hsu.

I’ve pretty much given up seeing anyone but this super-facialist, who is one of the few people able to reset SAD skin in 60 minutes with her signature Skin Reborn Sculpture Facial.

Incorporating, as it does, an upward massage so vigorous that it can feel as though you’re being beaten beautiful, this treatment has never been for the faint-hearted.  Which is why Su-Man has just launched a gentler version, the Chi Flow Contour Facial, which is exclusive to the Sanderson Hotel’s Agua Spa in London (£220 – for bookings call 020-7300 1414). 

Based on the same principles as her Reborn Sculpture – getting the circulation moving beneath the skin, thereby boosting collagen and elastin – the Chi Flow is focused around skin-scraping, which sounds scary but isn’t, and just means being massaged by a smooth, curved stone, like jade.

This feels much as you’d expect being stroked by a semi-precious gemstone might feel: cool, calming, divine. And leaves your skin lifted, tightened and reinvigorated.  

With the tools available on Amazon and tutorials on YouTube, the current fad is home skin-scraping, but Su-Man advises against this. ‘It’s a 2,000-year-old Chinese healing technique,’ she explains, ‘which if done wrong could result in loss of elasticity and broken capillaries.’

If you ask nicely, however, she will send you home with her own ‘magic hands’ tutorial. Using it daily in conjunction with the five SAD-proof products below, you’ll be able to smile through to April. 

Get your skin happy

Su-Man Velvet Skin Brightening Serum, £90

Su-Man Velvet Skin Brightening Serum, £90

This is Su-Man’s hero product for a reason. It’ll diminish the appearance of wrinkles, dark spots and fine lines. 

Avène Hydrance Emulsion Hydrantante, £10.87

Avène Hydrance Emulsion Hydrantante, £10.87

The perfect light daily moisturiser (complete with  an antioxidant  SPF20) for sensitive or rosacea-prone skin. 

Crème de la Mer Reparative SkinTint, £72

Crème de la Mer Reparative SkinTint, £72

With its built-in SPF30 and antioxidants, it will help protect against harsh aggressors, and disguise redness. It comes in five natural tones.

Sisley Ecological Emulsion, £103

Sisley Ecological Emulsion, £103  

 Balancing and restoring, this all-in-one emulsion, containing ginseng and rosemary, will reset your skin overnight. A little goes a long way.

Kaplan MD Lip Mask, £35

The famous Beverly Hills dermatologist’s mask exfoliates, hydrates and plumps the lip contour, so easily affected by SAD, in just three minutes.