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Q&A with Dr Anita Sturnham, Founder of Decree Skincare

Q&A with Dr Anita Sturnham, Founder of Decree Skincare

By M. Borriero

This week we spoke to Dr Anita Sturnham, an internationally renowned Doctor specialising in dermatology and aesthetics and Founder of Decree Skincare. Find out more about the doctor led brand that simplifies the skincare regime, encouraging compliance by providing a luxurious, sensorial yet highly efficacious routine.

What is the philosophy behind Decree?

Dr Anita Sturnham

Decree is a doctor led brand that cuts through the cluttered skincare world and simplifies your skincare with an elegant, yet efficacious daily and weekly protocol. Decree uses clinically proven active ingredients that are designed to feed, nourish, restore and protect your skin at a cellular level, offering the ultimate daily and weekly skincare routine. The products are designed to work in synergy with one another and the formulation design supports your skin’s 24 hour biological clock, for optimum skin health and radiance.

Decree skin care philosophies:

  • Every dose matters
  • Consistency is everything
  • Each pump is prescribed
  • Radiant, smooth, plump, firm... always
  • Effective skincare, simplified
  • Hydration is absolute

How often should you exfoliate your skin and how do you know if you’re over-exfoliating?

When I first meet my patients, I spend time going through their current skincare and one of the common findings is the tendency for people to over exfoliate. The obsession with having flawless skin is driving this trend. Exfoliation is the process of removing old, dead skin cells from the surface of your skin, using a chemical or mechanical exfoliant, or exfoliation tool and whilst exfoliation in moderation can be a good thing, it can boost skin radiance, reduce congestion, boost fibroblast function and improve skin tone, overdoing it can send your skin into meltdown. When you exfoliate you remove old, tired looking skin cells but you also take away some of the good stuff too, the important hydrating lipids that keep your skin barriers strong. If you are using multiple exfoliation products in your skincare regimen on a regular basis you may be obliterating your skin layers and this can lead to dryness, inflammation, sensitivity and even breakouts from over exfoliation.

All skin types benefit from exfoliation but remember less is more when it comes to our skin.

My top tips!

  • No exfoliation in the morning - this is when your skin needs to be strong and protect you from the environmental aggressors.
  • Avoid exfoliating toners- they serve no purpose for most skin types
  • Avoid serums in the morning with lactic acid, glycolic or salicylic acid and retinoids.
  • Use a gentle exfoliating cleanser at night time, a mixture of Alpha Hydroxy Acids such as Lactic and Glycolic acid and Beta Hydroxy Acid Salicylic acid can work well.
  • Once a week use an exfoliative mask system, such as the Weekly Decree, to stimulate a healthy cell remodelling cycle. I recommend fruit acids rather than mechanical exfoliation. Look for a combination of Alpha Hydroxy Acids, such as Lactic and Glycolic acid and Beta hydroxy acids, Salicylic acid or Alpha Keto Acids, such as Pyruvic acid, allowing you to exfoliate both the superficial and deep skin layers at the same time. Always follow your exfoliating mask with a barrier restoring product. Look for Ceramides, Fatty acids and Cholesterol to replenish the epidermal layers. For an extra boost, follow with a hydrating sheet mask.

What is the main difference between morning and night skincare routine?

I designed Decree to work with your skin’s 24 hour circadian rhythm and as a result, we have a Daily Decree, which consists of an AM and PM strategy.

For your morning steps, Decree starts the day with a gentle and hydrating cleanser, the Decree Light Cleanse. This is followed by our PH balancing and hydrating Preparatory Mist toner. Stick to one serum, rather than layering several products and look for formulations that contain multiple key actives. My top picks for a day serum are all found in our Decree Protect Elixir, packed full of antioxidants, such as Vitamins C,B,E, Coenzyme Q10, ferulic acid and copper peptides. Follow with a humectant and emollient rich moisturiser, selecting the Decree Peptide Emollient Veil or Veil +, depending on your skin’s needs on the day and finish with our Decree Day Shield SPF30, to protect your skin from environmental agressors.

Decree Skincare

At night time, your products need to focus on rehydrating, building and repairing the skin. Your night time skincare can go up a gear. Here, we introduce the Decree’s Deep Cleanse. This is designed to detoxify your pores and gently exfoliate, using fruit acids, Lactic acid and Salicylic acid. Following your Preparatory Mist toner, I recommend a multitasking serum formulation containing vitamin A, melanocyte stabilisers, such as Alpha Arbutin, ingredients to repair, such as plant-based stem cells and barrier hydrators, such as Hyaluronic acid and Squalane. You will find all of these in our hero product, The Decree Treat Tincture.

Your moisturiser should be hydrating and non-clogging in the morning and a slightly richer texture at night. Avoid thick and gloopy formulations and opt for hydrating ingredients that won’t clog, such as Apricot Kernel, Jojoba and Rice bran extract. Peptides are also brilliant ingredients to use in your night time moisturiser and can be found in the Decree Peptide Emollient Veil and Veil +.

How can you take care of your skin during seasonal transitions?

It’s a myth that you need to switch your skincare as we move through the seasons. Your cleanser, toner and serum steps can remain the same all year round. The point of difference really comes at the moisturiser step. In the winter your skin can be more prone to dehydration and dryness due to the change in humidity, exacerbated by moving from central heating to the cold outdoors. Just as we add a few extra layers of clothing to prevent heat loss, adding a thicker textured moisturiser is key to optimising your winter skincare regimen.
Choose a moisturiser such as the Decree Peptide Emollient Veil + to use AM and PM, packed full of plant based skin conditioning and protective humectant and emollient ingredients, such as Squalane, Hyaluronic acid, Safflower and Jojoba. These will prevent moisture leaving the skin by blocking transepidermal moisture loss.

What are the ingredients that everyone should incorporate into their skincare routine?

I have so many ‘favourite active’ ingredients but I my ultimate favourite ingredients are ones that your skin cells have receptors for, making them ‘essential’ and beneficial for optimal skin health, regardless of your age, sex and skin type. Vitamin C is your ultimate morning serum active. This offers free radical protection, pigment stabilisation and skin brightening properties. If you have sensitive skin, avoid L-ascorbic acid and use a Vitamin C derivative instead. At night time, my hero is Vitamin A.

The Retinoid family comes in different strengths and has multitasking skin benefits, preventative in your younger years, great for breakouts, pigmentation and in later years it helps with skin texture, tone and collagen production. Most skin types don’t need a punchy Retinoid that will give you side effects. You should opt for a modern form of Retinoid, such as Granactive Retinoid found in the Decree Treat Tincture, which gives you a clinically active dose of Vitamin A daily without the downtime. You can use this ingredient on any age and any skin type, even sensitive skin.

What’s the best way to get rid of sun damage?

To tackle sun damage, it is important to prevent further damage by wearing daily sunscreen. This will help to block the UV rays and visible light from damaging the skin further. A mineral or physical sunscreen with UVA/B and visible light protection is essential. Look for ingredients such as zinc oxide, Iron oxide, titanium dioxide. Decree Day Shield SPF 30 utilises mineral UV protectors in a fine mist spray.

Another essential step is to use a good quality antioxidant serum in the morning, to prevent free radical damage and stop the damaging triggers that boost pigment production. Vitamin C 10 % works well, particularly when combined with Ferulic acid and Niacinamide. This helps reduce pigmentation by blocking the transfer of melanin to the keratinocyte cells. These ingredients can be found in the Decree Protect Elixir serum.

At night time, retinoids are key and I like combining this ingredient with alpha arbutin in serum form for pigment cell stabilisation. You can find these in Decree Treat Tincture. Another great pigmentation reducing ingredient is Resveratrol, which is derived from the skin of the red great. This superhero antioxidant can be found in the Decree Peptide Emollient Veil and Veil +.

The product you can’t live without?

This is like asking a mother to choose a favourite child, you simply can’t! I honestly love the whole range but in terms of the products that make the most difference to my skin, I would say I couldn’t live without the AM serum, Protect Elixir and the PM serum, Treat Tincture. A well formulated serum provides the active deeper dermal layers of your skin, with active ingredients that will really make a difference to your skin. Our AM serum is loaded with antioxidants Vitamin C,B,E, Ferulic acid and coenzyme Q10, mineral cofactors, copper peptide complex, Hyaluronic acid, chondrus crispus extract in a rose water base, what more could your skin ask for in a day serum!

What makes your range different from any other doctor range?

Many doctor-led skincare brands have complicated regimens to follow and come in packaging that isn’t particularly luxurious, textures that don’t absorb easily into the skin and often smell of their unpleasant raw materials. For this reason, people don’t use the products consistently and we know that consistency is key to seeing the true benefits of a product. Decree is a dr led brand that simplifies the skincare regime, encouraging compliance by providing a luxurious, sensorial yet highly efficacious routine. In a world that demands more transparency than ever before, Decree’s messaging is confident and clear, proudly displaying our dosed actives, their percentages and purpose on our secondary packaging. Our aim is to build a relationship based on trust with our consumer.

Decree is a range that empowers the consumer to become an expert in their own skin. Decree will allow the consumer to enjoy their simplified yet effective skincare regimen and to see the skin benefits that following a consistent skincare regimen can bring. The carefully formulated products, with luxurious textures, moorish botanical extract scents and beautiful soft touch packaging, makes following a structured skincare regimen a pleasure and not a chore.
Decree is committed to challenging boundaries that surround skincare. For example, the widespread belief that consumers must buy multiple products to target different skin concerns, for different ages and skin types. When in fact there are a number of key ingredients that are multi-functional and beneficial for all ages, sex and skin type. Skincare can be simplified.

Decree Skincare


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