Just like New York ­– where expert dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross works and resides – London, in skincare terms, is a city of free radicals. Rush hour traffic pollutes the atmosphere, and the tainted water that happens as a result is inexorable; it’s a hotbed for skin issues if we aren’t armed accordingly. 

The antidote, as Dr. Gross proves in his extensive skincare range – which not only tackles the usual suspects of acne, redness and wrinkles, but also targets loss of firmness, rough texture and enlarged pores – is an alliance between skincare’s best bedfellows: science and nature. Employing a state-of-the-art approach to making acids work alongside the body’s natural pH, his mantra is to protect, prevent and repair at any age.

To get under the skin of the science of acids, we met with the man himself who revealed how to get the best out of our beauty regime.

Introducing acids to skincare can sound slightly daunting, however your product range makes use of the full gamut – ascorbic, hyaluronic, and alpha and beta hydroxy. How do these work to the skin’s advantage?
Acids keep the skin in balance – if done right! The reason being that the skin is naturally acidic; when I create an acid-based product it’s because I know that the skin’s natural pH is 5.5. Everything I do maintains that pH and, in turn, that maintains the skin’s balance. A pH of 5.5 is mildly acidic, which tells you that the skin likes an acidic environment – in fact it’s actually how the skin fights bacteria, so acids are good if done right. The body wants to stay within a certain realm of normal concentrations and normal physiological ranges. That’s how it works best. 

When you improve the pH – and maintain that 5.5 pH – the skin’s own ability to hydrate itself is maximised. When you remove that top layer, you have better penetration of all these wonderful ingredients to better hydrate it as well. ‘Acids’ as a word does connote irritation, harm and redness to some people – but how about ascorbic acids, or Vitamin C? Hyaluronic acid is also a great humectant.

How can we get the best out of our beauty and skin health using your range? Where do we start?
I’m a firm believer that you have to use all of the ingredients; there’s no such thing as a magic bullet that’s the ‘all-you-need’. I love peels, because the two-step process stimulates fibroblast cells to make collagen and the results are instant; I also love Retinol with ferulic acid because that’s an antioxidant, hyaluronic acid that plumps the skin, and azelaic acid to kill bacteria.

My cleansers are built with exfoliation. It’s a wonderful thing for skin beauty and health, because it gets rid of the top layer of dirt, debris, and dead skin. Dullness goes away and skin becomes smooth and radiant; lines and wrinkles look better, and it even helps moisturisers work better. Then you have Vitamin C and peptides. Basically, you gain a little something from every one of the products in a range. I love creating tailor-made regimes around those central anti-ageing ingredients to allow you to get that multi-Vitamin approach.

What do you consider the worst culprits for damaged skin?
First of all, sun exposure; there’s no doubt about it, no secret there. Airborne pollutants – nitrogen monoxide, carbon monoxide and ozone in cities – are a huge one now. The antidote is still antioxidants, because all these airborne pollutants are free radicals. Free radicals are the enemy of youth. Applying a Vitamin C serum in the morning is a great way to protect from pollution. Water pollutants are also free radicals that injure your own collagen and contribute to ageing. All of my products contain chelators that detoxify the skin, as well as phytic acid to soften water and help to reduce the amount of calcium that makes water so hard.

More often than not, skin issues are born out of your skin being thrown off balance – usually because of the products you're using. A lot of skin issues are, without a doubt, self-infliction; people need to be taught that irritating the skin isn’t the answer. 

If you had to share one piece of advice for everyone in terms of looking after the skin they’re in, what would it be?
The one thing I’m learning is that people start late to the game; I tell women to start with anti-ageing ingredients in their twenties and not to wait. My advice is that you shouldn’t wait for the lines to appear, you should start to treat that area of vulnerability and start stimulating collagen to prevent them. Fine lines, wrinkles, lack of elasticity and even large pores are due to collagen loss, so ingredients that stimulate collagen are great.

Protect, prevent and repair with Dr. Dennis Gross. Shop the full range here: