Skin Deep: Q&A with Annet King of Dermalogica

Annet King

Born in the United Kingdom, Annet King has traveled all over the world working at spas from the U.K. to Southeast Asia. Now director of global training and development for Dermalogica and the International Dermal Institute (a post-graduate training center for skin care professionals), King lives in Los Angeles teaching, training, writing curriculum and designing professional skin treatments and techniques. She says taking care of your skin has become mainstream, a necessity as important as regular teeth cleanings.

LN: How did you get started in beauty?

AK: I was about 14 years old helping out in my best friend’s mother’s beauty parlor. That’s when I fell in love with working with women and being in that environment. I was just the little run-around girl who did every possible job, sweeping up hair and literally cleaning.

LN: You’ve traveled all over the world for your career. What differences have you seen in how women approach beauty?

AK: Asian women are very dedicated to taking good care of themselves, and their skin in particular. They want a very fair, flawless complexion, and never get sun exposure, they even use gloves and parasols. Consequently, many have skin like porcelain. Partly that’s because of cultural differences; if you have darker skin or irregular pigmentation, you’re seen as lower class and someone who works out in the fields.

    Europeans are more interested in cellulite care and the whole body and the health of the body. That means wellness, stress reduction and balance. In the U.S., and particularly in California, we lead the rest of the world in regard to product development, health and nutrition. On the West Coast, we pioneer things like aerobics, Pilates, etc., and you see that trickle out and around the rest of the world.

LN: Tell me about Dermalogica’s ‘face-mapping.’

AK: It’s a way of dividing the face into different zones. We teach Dermalogica skin therapists to touch and analyze 14 zones and to map that out onto a prescription sheet. For example, zones 6 to 8 are your eye areas.  We also work in Eastern techniques through Chinese face readings; the organs in the body are also mapped out on your face.

LN: What changes have you seen in the beauty business over the course of your career?

AK: The biggest are in the technology you can use today in products. Twenty years ago we mainly had the European professional skin care lines that were very geared toward packaging and marketing and the beauty model who looked completely flawless. Today’s skin care is about health; we’re now harnessing these amazing, quasi drug-like ingredients that really have the ability to affect the skin. Ten years ago dermatologists weren’t sure that products could be absorbed through the skin, and now we have drugs being delivered via band-aids! Men embracing skin care has also changed. And women want to wear less makeup and have more natural hair. When you think about the ‘50s and ‘60s, it was going to the hairstylist once a week and having your hair set and disguising yourself with makeup. Now the busy woman wants a tinted moisturizer, wash-and-go hair, lip gloss and mascara.

LN: What are some common misconceptions women have about beauty?

AK: The biggest is lying out in the sun without a sunscreen, wanting that momentary glow and thinking that being tan looks healthy. Teens, particularly in the Midwest, are still quite addicted to tanning salons.

    Another thing I see here in L.A. is women in their 40s, 50s, 60s who have flawless, wrinkle-free skin. There’s a lot of pressure to aspire to the same kind of appearance that women on TV have. But it’s not about having wrinkle-free skin, it’s about having healthy skin.

LN: What’s your best beauty advice?

AK: You can spend your money on bags and clothes and shoes and cars; but those are all replaceable. Your skin is not, and you’ll have it for life. There’s  no excuse not to take care of your skin, there’s no excuse not to wear a sunscreen every day. If there’s daylight, you’re getting UV exposure. Understand also that your skin is a mirror of what’s going on in your body, so taking care of yourself through diet and lifestyle and water consumption is going to give you more glowing skin.