Skin Care Guide: Enhancing Your Beauty [transcript][audio]

Guest: Dr. Ginni Mansberg

Presenter: Tabetha Moreto

Guest Bio: Dr. Ginni Mansberg is a GP, medical & parenting expert with a special interest in women’s and family health, and six children of her own in a blended family. She is an authority on everything from sleep to beating stress, wellness, life balance and a range of general health and medical related topics; always packaged with a dose of reality, practical and helpful tips and delivered with her customary sense of humour. Aside from her practice in Sans Souci, Ginni is also an accomplished writer, having written 3 books and having worked extensively as a medical journalist and columnist. She is an experienced TV presenter working with Channel 7 as their resident GP for many years and as one of the hosts of Embarrassing Bodies Down Under.

Segment Overview: In today’s interview, Dr. Ginni Mansberg joins the program to share some advice on the most important parts of a skincare routine and also busts the common myths and misconceptions regarding skin care we should not believe in. Anti aging is one of the main skin care issues that she highlights.

Tabetha Moreto: Hello everyone. Welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host for today, Tabetha Moreto. Our guest today is Dr. Ginni Mansberg, a GP and also a Medical and Parenting Expert with a special interest in women and family health and six children of her own in a blended family. She is the “Authority on Everything” from sleep, to beating stress, wellness, life balance and a range of general health and medical related topics. Today, we’re going to talk about the myths about skincare and some tips on how to take care of your skin. Without further ado, welcome to the show Ginni. It’s so nice to have you here.

Dr. Ginni Mansberg: Thank you so much for having me.

T: My pleasure. So Ginni, please tell the audience more about yourself and your background.

M: I’m just a plain garden-variety GP but I guess I’ve got a particular interest in skincare. I do a lot of media and it was interesting. I developed a really big interest in anti-ageing skincare. Number one because I’m a chick and number two because I want to go on telly and my face needs to not make everybody run away screaming. And I guess also because I’m really into scientific evidence and the more we would do segments on TV about what really works, for example in anti-ageing and skincare, I’d get like maybe a hundred emails going, “What should I use?”. And I started looking into it more and more. I got really interested in skincare. That’s actually how it all started but I’m still, at the end of the day, a garden-variety GP. I see lots of children, do lots of HAP tests, see lots of women and really lots of normal stuff.

T: Wow, very interesting. You mentioned a while ago that you’re a GP, can I ask do you have a background in dermatology?

M: No. So in Australia, you either go and specialise in dermatology or you do family medicine as a specialty. So I did family medicine as a specialty. I wouldn’t even say that I have a particular upskilling in dermatology either. It’s just an interest that made me read voraciously in that space.

T: Wow, that’s very interesting. This is a topic that people especially women are very interested in, including myself because this is an important part of our regimen.

M: Absolutely. I could not agree with you more.

T: Doctor, can you please tell us what are the most important parts of a skincare routine?

M: I think if you’re talking about an everyday skincare routine, I guess it depends on what you’re trying to get out of it. So if what you’re trying to do is simply avoid skin cancer and Australia is the “Skin Cancer Capital of the World” including melanoma which can be fatal. If that’s the ballgame for you, then really what we’ve got to look at is a sun protection, because well, we can’t prevent 100% of melanomas. We can prevent the vast majority of them by protecting you from the sun. A lot of us do that naturally by working, so whenever in the sun, we’re just in front of a computer in an office, but there are a lot of people who inevitably have to commute to work or like do some sport which as a doctor, I have to approve I mean I think it’s great getting out in the great outdoors, but it’s all about your sunscreen. Within sunscreen, there are a lot of different elements. So they are what we call “Physical Sunscreens.” There’s this thing that you put as a physical barrier between the sun and your skin and they tend to be zinc-based or titanium dioxide-based. The titanium ones can irritate your skin and a lot of them are formulated there, they do, what we call “Ghosting.” They make you look really white. They’re sticky, greasy and they’re disgusting. So if you want to find a physical sunscreen, try before you buy because some of them are absolutely foul. And then you’ve got your chemical sunscreen. So they have chemical ingredients to interact with your skin to create a barrier to the sun. The problem with a lot of those is that they have a bit of a cloud over them in terms of safety and a lot of them do irritate sensitive skin. So if you want to know which ones to avoid, there’s a huge list, and go to which is the Environmental Working Group and you would look at which sunscreens to avoid. But that’s just people who want to avoid skin cancer, right? So for you and I, it’s about more than that. We don’t want to look like an old shriveled prune in our 50s. We want to look young, right? So we want to combat fine lines and wrinkles. I think they’re the ones that everybody knows about. But what a lot of people don’t realize is how important pigmentation. Prevention and treatment of pigmentation is to not looking on pigmentation makes you look old. And the other thing is just skin will look rough if your pores are big. That kind of that’s really in that anti-ageing space. So what do you do? In terms of smoothing skin and making sure that your pores are not too big and really addressing some of the more common anti-ageing issues, we like hydroxy acids that are hard to view. Have you heard of the Alpha Hydroxy Acids or Polyhydroxy Acids? There are a lot in cleansers and stuff. The thing about cleansers are high in alpha hydroxy acids. You need to leave it on your skin for 10 minutes and then wash it off – that’s a chemical exfoliator. We don’t like exfoliating physically anymore. We’d like to scrub or a face wash except irritate the skin. So that can be really difficult to do. I use a leave on polyhydroxy acid serum which is smoother and then I use a vitamin A at night and which formulation of vitamin A, the evidence is mostly for retinoic acid which you can only get on script from the doctor. The problem with retinoic acid is 50% of people will stop using it after about a week because it’s too irritating. It causes a lot of redness and a lot of dryness. You have to use it really slowly so that using a tiny bit every three nights and then maybe a tiny bit with every two nights and you just build up from there and use lots and lots of moisturizer. The good thing is we now have an ingredient called “Retinal”, “Retinaldehyde” and it’s equally efficacious when you do have studies between retinal and retinoic acid but it doesn’t cause any of that burning, and redness and dryness. So that’s a good thing, if you can find a product which has retinal in it, that’s great. Retinal is not retinol, retinol is fairly ineffective. We don’t really have any good evidence to support the use of retinol as an anti-ageing. The other really big anti-ageing ingredients that I would go for is vitamin C. Again with vitamin C, I’m really specific about it. It has to be L-ascorbic acid. So make sure that you look for the form of vitamin C. There are a lot of what we call Stabilized Vitamin Cs that are ineffective. They do not work. They won’t go off. It will make you vitamin C go brown or dark orange but at the same time, they’ll be ineffective for your skin and then they need to be in a water in oil emulsion. They need to be a very acidic formulation and they are destroyed by lights. You can’t have them in a dropper. You need to be in an airless and light repellent bottle. There’s a whole lot of things when you’re choosing a vitamin C that you need to make sure you pay attention to. And the last one is the “Niacinamide” also known as the “Nicotinamide”. Also really powerful for our pigmentation and for fine lines and wrinkles and just for generally improving the tone of your skin. You can use that day or night. Vitamin C has to be used in the morning. Vitamin A has to be used at night and they should not be used together.

T: Excellent advice. Thank you so much for sharing this skincare routine with us. I’m definitely going to follow this. Thanks to you.

M: No worries, have a great day.

T: Yes, thank you so much. Now Ginni, let’s talk about myths and misconceptions. Are there any misconceptions or even myths about skin care that drives you crazy and it keeps you up at night?

M: I guess the Retinal that we just talked about, the ineffective form of vitamin A and all the stabilized forms of vitamin C – ascorbyl palmitate or other forms of stabilized vitamin C because people are just wasting their money. So that kind of really frustrates me. I think the other thing that really frustrates me is an evidence-based claim. So you’ll have a celebrity endorsement, so I would say to you that really Nicole Kidman could use just plain soap on her face and she’ll still going to look amazing because she’s got amazing skin and she’s one with amazing skin. And so I think, when you have a celebrity endorsement, you don’t even know that that person has been using the products but let alone what’s behind it. I think there is so much rubbish in skincare. It drives me absolutely nuts. Things in droppers, bottles with droppers or just a cream that you squeeze out of a tube that’s clearly not airless, it can’t possibly only in proper cosmeceutical skin care should be in an airless bottle loads. That’s kind of a pump packed and it should be a non-opaque, pump packed you shouldn’t be able to see through it. It should be like a full color, so that they can’t get through of light. Otherwise really, what’s in there is rubbish. I think it is really hard for women who are really empowered, really smart, well-educated, prepared to put in the time to go and find the right information just finding it, it’s so hard. It’s really difficult. I think those are the things that really, really drive me nuts. The other things that I think are interesting is the organic space. There’s a huge demand now for organic skin care. The organics are good if you like to support the organics movement. There is no evidence that organics are superior. And I think what I would not be getting confused is the word “organic” with “cruelty-free” which I think is really important to be cruelty-free and ethical. I think the exclusion of harmful ingredients is really important but I’ve seen a lot of organic skin care products that have really ingredients that have a very high rating on the EWG, the Environmental Working Group. They’re a not-for-profit in America. They looked at all studies on ingredients in everything from tablets, to skincare to household items and rates them for how bad they are for you or potentially bad for you. A lot of those are really potentially harmful ingredients or non-harmful ingredients that actually in organic skin care. I think everyone knows about Parabens and phthalates, which are preservatives and we do need preservatives in skincare, otherwise it will go off. But those ones are really particularly harmful in a lot of organic skin cancer. Just because it says that it’s organic, don’t think that that means that it’s healthier for you. The women I know who are listening to us today and the men are very well-educated, well-informed, intelligent, able to critically analyze the stuff that they’re using but you need to go a little bit deeper than just the word “organic” from a pack of it and look at the ingredients. Are they safe? Are they healthy? Are they effective? And if they’re not, don’t pay that money. You have your hard-earned cash. You want to be putting something in a place that’s actually going to make a difference to you.

T: Yes. I absolutely agree with you. If you’re going to spend money on something, it has to work. It has to be worth it.

M: I couldn’t agree with you more and it really breaks my heart women who are often not flush with cash. They’ve got other things they could spend their money on and they’re buying absolute rubbish. Now just because your skin feels great the next morning, that’s good, that probably means it’s done a good job of moisturizing but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be anti-ageing. With the anti-ageing you need cosmeceutical which has active ingredients. That’s the important thing, you do want to know that beyond the next day, it’s going to continue or you want people after three weeks of a new skin care regime to look at you and go, “Wow! What have you done to your skin? Your skin looks amazing.”. That’s what you want and that’s not going to necessarily come from a moisturizer that smells nice and says the word “organic” comment.

T: Excellent. Well doctor, I would love to talk to you more but we’re running out of time. But before we go, what is your main takeaway message to all of our listeners out there? What would you like to tell them?

M: This is a really hard area but if you’re going to choose ingredients, choose wisely and make sure that if you’re using a vitamin C, it’s L-ascorbic acid in a water in oil emulsion, 5% to 10% L-ascorbic acid if you can. And use a vitamin A. Do not use retinol. Either use retinoic acid on prescription from your doctor or retinal because they’re both are equally effective. Use Niacinamide or Nicotinamide, they’re the same thing and use alpha hydroxy acids but leave them on your skin,. Use an alpha hydroxy acid serum. They’re my top tips and use a really good sunscreen. I would go for one that is with a physical barrier but not not a chemical sunscreen but make sure that it’s one that does not leave you looking and feeling really slimy and greasy like you’ve just put a tray of glue on your face.

T: I’ll keep that in mind. Thank you so much. For those of you who want to contact you, how can they do that?

M: I’ve got a website. It’s

T: Fantastic. Thank you so much Ginni for coming on the show. I really appreciate it.

M: No worries, have a great day.

T: And that was Dr. Ginni Mansberg. She just clarified some common skincare myths and offered excellent advice how we can take care of our skin. If you liked this interview, transcripts and archives are available at We are on all social media platforms. So don’t forget to follow, like and subscribe. Show with some love by subscribing to our HPR YouTube channel. We’re also available for download on SoundCloud and iTunes. I’m Tabetha Moreto and you’re listening to Health Professional Radio.

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