Proportioned features, a V-shaped visage, and smooth, wrinkle-free skin. These are just some of the determining factors of a celebrity when it comes to age-defying beauty.
Unbeknownst to many, or rather often forgotten, the ‘unsung heroes’ behind these celebrities’ glass-like, youthful complexion are the practitioners.
Between meeting Vogue’s legendary Anna Wintour, hosting intimate networking events, spending time with her loved ones, and dedicating her life to her work, it almost seems that Dr Georgia Lee is living a double life.
Is there anything she can’t do? If you ask us, Dr Lee’s a true multi-hyphenate personality worthy of our love and admiration, especially when it comes to showing the skin TLC and making seemingly impossible goals come to fruition.
To say that Dr Lee has a keen interest in skin is an understatement. She lives, breathes, and practices beauty and everything there is to know about the skin.
Having looked after skin for almost 25 years with an impressive clientele of personalities and motivated individuals who share the same ethos of preventative care, we are excited to have Dr Lee share some current beauty tips!
Read on for an exclusive interview with Dr Georgia Lee and the beauty tips you can follow for that makeup-free radiance, including sustainable regimes for a natural anti-ageing outcome.
Beauty tips from Dr Georgia Lee
According to Dr Lee, flawless skin is a myth. “There will always be some areas of enlarged pores in the oilier T zone, especially in our climate or some fine lines under the eyes. And expression lines are not always age-related either,” said Dr Lee.
Touché, but that doesn’t mean nothing can be done to improve our skin’s quality. One look at Dr Lee’s porcelain skin and you’ll find yourself wanting to learn and follow every single thing she does to maintain and take care of her skin.
She advocates for the “less is best” notion
“Less is best — aim for good skin without the need for coverage. The most important step in a skincare regime, in my opinion, is sun protection. You’ll want to also follow with a suitable cleanser for your skin type,” shared Dr Lee.
Then, comes exfoliation for skin renewal and moisturisers if your skin requires it. If your skin is acne prone, like Dr Lee’s was when she was younger, skipping moisturisers is entirely fine.
She recommends using products that can help to increase the penetration of other products that come after, like activating or skin-conditioning serums.
Other skincare products like toners and serums are considered add-ons that your skin may not necessarily need. After all, you don’t want to end up aggravating your skin’s barrier by piling on too much or using products that will have adverse effects on your skin.
She tweaks her skincare routine based on current skin conditions
For the uninitiated, our skin and skin type can change over time due to age, hormones, medications, environmental factors, or health-related issues.
To make sure that her skin gets what it really needs, Dr Lee has changed and evolved her skincare regime over the years. In her 30s and 40s, when her skin was oilier, she used products that prioritised oil control to counter excess oil production that can lead to acne, scarring, and pigmentation.
Speaking of oil control and pigmentation, to this date, she uses the products from her own line — DrGL Cleanser Brightening and DrGL Toner Brightening.
This brightening cleanser thoroughly removes dirt and grime while protecting the skin against photo ageing, using only the best available grade of stable vitamin C for reparative benefits.
Meanwhile, the Toner Brightening has a high concentration of two types of stable vitamin C to address uneven skin tone and fade hyperpigmentation caused by UV damage.
She suggests layering moisturisers
In an interview with FEMALE Magazine, Dr Lee mentioned that “it is important to understand that the skin undergoes changes during the cycle and not all areas of the face are suitable for one particular type of moisturiser.”
When it comes to moisturisers, depending on pore size, she believes that we shouldn’t apply only one type of moisturiser and recommends the concept of layering.
You’ll begin with a light, gel-based moisturiser and add a lotion or richer creams only on the areas that require more attention or need specific product types to address certain skin concerns.
According to an interview with High Net Worth, Dr Lee explained that this is due to how women’s hormone levels and skin change during our periods, so it’s important to adjust our skincare routine accordingly.
The week before our periods, our hormone levels fluctuate, which causes our skin to be more oily. In this case, one layer of moisturiser is sufficient. However, when we menstruate, our skin can get a little dry, which is when we can add a second layer of moisturiser.
She uses a lactic acid chemical peel twice daily
Here’s how Dr Lee got her glowing complexion and younger, plumper skin!
Suitable skincare with lactic acids, like DrGL’s Post Cleanser Step 2, is touted to be reminiscent of the milk (natural source of skin-smoothing lactic acid) that Cleopatra bathes in for amazing skin.
This refreshing serum and liquid exfoliant work to prevent buildup, refine pores, and gently slough away dead skin cells.
With clarified skin, you’ll notice that it’s primed and optimised to receive the full benefits of all subsequent skincare products.
Plus, lactic acid-based products in the appropriate concentrations are also proven to improve hyperpigmentation and stimulate collagen production by increasing the hyaluronic acid deposition in the skin.
She applies sunscreen everywhere
Unsurprisingly, alike many other professionals, sunscreen is Dr Lee’s favourite, must-have skincare product that she can’t live without.
Her go-to sunscreen is the DrGL Sun Protection Anti-aging SPF30, which is a hybrid of an age-defence moisturiser and a chemical sunscreen.
This powerhouse product features a multi-peptide blend to relax tense facial muscles, stimulate collagen production, and eliminate wrinkles. There is also liquorice root extract to regenerate new skin cells and ginkgo biloba leaf extract to reduce the occurrence of acne.
She noted that other than hydrating and regenerating the skin, this sunscreen has just the right amount of SPF for her indoor-based work.
Every morning, Dr Lee applies this sunscreen moisturiser onto her eyelids, rest of the face, neck, and entire body (yes, your eyelids and whole body need protection from the sun too!).
She never neglects the eyelids since UV rays can accelerate collagen degradation as high as five times.
She exfoliates her skin weekly
Dr Lee shared that it’s essential to deep cleanse the pores regularly as using sunscreen will clog the pores over time, and more so for those who wear makeup.
For clearer, brighter, and more well-balanced skin, Dr Lee consistently exfoliates her face and body with DrGL’s universal and refining Cosmos Scrub.
Formulated for a customised exfoliation experience, this scrub can be added to one’s favourite cleanser and is suitable for all skin types.
Without the use of microbeads and an exfoliator that’s 100% biodegradable, the Cosmos Scrub has finely milled cellulose, which is a natural exfoliant and a strong humectant that increases the moisture content of the skin.
It also features French rose petals that fight acne, boost collagen production, firm the skin, and promote a healthy glow.
She advises reading the fine lines for aesthetic treatments
You might have seen a lot of “trendy” aesthetic treatments that pop up every once in a while. Sometimes it can be hard to resist a temptation, especially if the treatment is being marketed extremely well. Still, it’s important to be wary of what the treatment entails and who provides it.
“I don’t follow trends. There are many “new treatments” which are repackaged by existing technology. Go for curated devices based on technology that is approved by the local medical governing bodies,” said Dr Lee.
Some disallowed treatments Dr Lee listed were intravenous (IV) vitamin C infusions, stem cell harvest from the skin, and PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injections for non-medical indications at this moment.
In these cases, practitioners may not be covered by the medical indemnity for treatments that aren’t approved by prevailing guidelines, leading to patient risks.
Before you decide on any sort of treatment, it’s pertinent to find the right practitioner, understand the treatment and what it can offer, the limitations, your comfort level, and the long-term commitment required.
Once you’ve found a suitable doctor to meet your beauty needs, plan the treatment regime timetable with your caregiver to ensure it’s sustainable in the long run.
She does ‘lifting’ treatments annually
You may think that celebrities go for aesthetic treatments to drastically change how they look, but that’s a rather dated misconception.
In fact, there are many treatments that can help with managing ageing and skin maintenance rather than augmentation.
Every year, Dr Lee lifts her face, neck, and the areas above her knees and eyelids to delay or completely avoid the need for more invasive methods.
She does this with 2cc of hyaluronic acid dermal fillers, which are known to significantly improve the skin’s moisture levels.
Regarding where the filler is injected, she spreads them out around the face in safe areas and adjusts accordingly to her skin’s current needs — a personalised approach, so to speak.
Dr Lee also uses botulinum toxin for hyperactive muscles in her forehead and frown lines, which has proven to have a lasting effect over the years for certain muscle groups.
She recommends trying different devices and treatments to tackle different signs of ageing
For those in their late 20s and 30s, early prevention is critical as volume loss happens insidiously after 25 years old and becomes more apparent in the later 30s.
To combat loose skin, lax jawlines, and marionette lines, look for light-based devices or therapies that are considered gentle face-lifting treatments to help with superficial collagen stimulation.
And in keeping the skin more taut, you can also opt for curated focused ultrasound or monopolar radiofrequency treatments with added volume or intensity as needed, based on your current skin needs.
“Work out a plan to treat different aspects of the skin at different ages, since our facial features change as we mature. The two most important, in my opinion, are tightening the skin and volume replacement at a logical and reasonable timeframe,” stated Dr Lee.
Go for products that degenerate naturally over time like hyaluronic acid dermal fillers. These are safe, last up to a year, and can restore volume in the face for a naturally lifted appearance that doesn’t seem “frozen”.
“Don’t add fillers on skin that has laxity to avoid looking distorted. And whenever possible, use small amounts of dissolvable hyaluronic acid-based fillers from established manufacturers and approved distributors,” she added.
Lastly, if you’re looking at any new ingredients or non-surgical treatments that just surfaced in the industry, give it a few years before deciding to commit to it, as certain negative side effects can take years to manifest.
She stays away from sugar
Other than sunblock, her other top skincare tip for healthy skin is to have a low-sugar diet.
Dr Lee used to have a sweet tooth for years and drank six cans of Coke every day. After turning 40, she went cold turkey and has drastically cut sugar from her diet since!
“When you consume a lot of sugar, it increases your insulin and displaces your testosterone, resulting in acne — and not to mention weight gain and also the risk of Diabetes in the long run,” said Dr Lee.
If you’re trying this out, do note that it may take at least three months to clean out your system before you can really see a difference in your skin.
She encourages taking supplements meticulously
For those who prefer to reach for health supplements as a skincare aid, Dr Lee advises that “supplementation should be guided by blood surveillance of the element or mineral supplemented whenever possible to avoid over-correction”.
That’s because several supplements actually have similar or overlapping ingredients! In tackling this, she coaches her patients to use Excel templates to add singular ingredients of all the elements in the supplements they’re taking.
This will total up everything and help them to be more aware of what and how much they’re ingesting.
She advises sleeping with the head in a neutral position
Here’s another hot tip to prevent wrinkles and facial ageing when you’re fast asleep.
Sleep with your head in a neutral position to reduce asymmetry build-up from progressive loss of volume or when your skin is being dragged on one side for hours.
Most doctors would also recommend propping your head up with an extra pillow (with the head slightly elevated 20 to 30 degrees) to prevent puffy eyes in the mornings and stop fluids from building up.
And as a bonus tip, Dr Lee also mentioned it’s important to chew evenly on both sides of the mouth to avoid overworked facial muscles and muscle asymmetry.
DrGL: a skincare line birthed from research, experience, and tenacity
Dr Lee started her practice in the ’90s and the skincare line in 2006, which was rebranded as DrGL in 2011.
“It all started when I developed an allergic reaction to an antibiotic, leaving hyperpigmentation over the right of my face. In the early 2000s, the available skincare product to treat my condition was not suitable for my sensitive skin. I started compounding a product which eventually treated my condition successfully,” shared Dr Lee.
From there onwards, her interest in skincare was piqued and she started reviewing all the products that her patients were using, creating an extensive library of the products in the market.
“I then documented the reactions that were tagged to the skincare products used by my patients. From there, I realised that some were using simply too many skincare or inappropriate skincare products or some ingredients seemed to be related to certain reactions in certain skin types. What started out as a quest to understand and then create a skincare line for my in-house patients evolved over time,” she added.
The intent and determined Dr Lee didn’t let her lack of knowledge and training in skincare development then stop her. She learned everything from scratch, from visiting factories and understanding the processes to learning what was needed to curate the products she shortlisted for DrGL.
An interesting fact she learned from visiting six different countries and multiple manufacturers? Water varies in quality, texture, and mineral content from source to source, which is why different serums need to be made in different places.
She’s even travelled to sites to learn from experts in their field or trade. For instance, understanding packaging, the packaging premises and processes of these skincare products, and how to prevent the integrity of the product from being affected over time.
About Dr Georgia Lee
With nearly 25 years of experience in the beauty realm under her belt, Dr Georgia Lee’s approach to key skin or beauty concerts is to fall back on logical simplicity; start by planning sustainable programs through consultative dialogues and choosing modular treatments to better observe the effects from each individual treatment.
Besides pursuing her passion for fashion, and being the first Singaporean to be invited into the Vogue 100 list in 2019, she carved out the time to co-found a DrBrand line of products and services that comprises the DrGL skincare, DrHair products, and the DrSpa chain.
Her brands are available in China, Thailand, Europe, the US, and on Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and Cathay Dragon flights that reach over 150 million passengers annually. The skincare range also carries the EU CPNP certification and is free from 1,400 harmful ingredients.
Since 2002, Dr Lee has lent her support to philanthropy through giving back projects for rental housing estates and volunteered as a trainer for the People’s Association between 2010 to 2016.
She has a keen interest in mentoring students and connecting people through networking sessions and has also served as the VP and a committee member for the Association of Women Doctors Singapore (AWDS) while supporting motivated students through the Dr Georgia Lee scholarship and bursary programs, which was previously offered at SMU since 2015.
She was also presented the Courage Award by Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong in 2003 for volunteering in the public sector as a private practitioner during the SARS outbreak in Singapore.
This article is brought to you by The Inner Clique.
Feature image credit: @maggiegiehu/Instagram, @drgl.globall/TikTok