Overiszed cotton shirt
We are sitting here with Dr. Frances Prenna Jones, or the “Doctor” as she is known to her staff, at her Mayfair Clinic. Aging. It’s something that is inevitable and what many women fear most. With many of us on the search for that miracle elixir to give us the fountain of youth, in steps Dr. Frances Prenna Jones, London’s go-to cosmetic dermatologist.
It is here behind these discreet doors where the world’s bold and beautiful come to well, stay that way.
Semaine: You’re a daughter of two doctors, perhaps medicine was always in your stars. But why the switch from cardiology to cosmetic dermatology?
Dr. Frances Prenna Jones: When I decided to give up my place at art school to then study medicine, it wasn’t because my parents were doctors, it was more of just an innate desire to help people I think.
Semaine: So, you were a cardiologist before?
Dr. Frances Prenna Jones: I studied internal medicine so basically how the body works and sort of general medicine. I fell into cardiology. I loved the hustle and the bustle and fast paced nature of it when I was a junior doctor. I think internal medicine was my first love.
Semaine: What prompted the switch from internal medicine into cosmetic dermatology?
Dr. Frances Prenna Jones: It was when I went back to university to finally pursue an arts degree and a chance encounter with the founder of the College of Plastic Surgeons, who said to me that my two skills of artistry with internal medicine would fit amazingly with this new speciality of cosmetic medicine that’s coming together. This was 15 years ago and I was incredibly lucky that he introduced me to some amazing people at that time. I could study with them and home my specialities because 15 years ago this whole specialty of anti-aging medicine didn’t exist. When I was in medical school it wasn’t a speciality you could discover. If you are able to combine all your special sets of skills into one profession that you just love then you are very lucky and that’s what happened to me.
Semaine: Is it accurate to say that you are an expert in both internal and external aging?
Dr. Frances Prenna Jones: I would like to say that it is my USP if you like because I don’t just look at the outside, I look at the inside because I think the two are so intimately linked. It’s all very well that you have to look good on the outside but it is also how your body is aging internally and the two reflect each other.
Semaine: When your clients come in, you advise them on how to treat their skin topically or treatments but do you also talk about their lifestyle and look at what they put in their body?
Dr. Frances Prenna Jones: I absolutely do. I have to work with my patients and not against my patients. I want them to live a better life and I use my own grandmother as an example of that. She died, bless her, last year and she was 105 years old. She was such a stylish lady who got up every single day and would say “the Dior, the Dior, I am going to wear the Dior jacket today, I want to wear my Dior and my pearls and I want to do my hair” and I think that’s because she felt good about herself every day. Her priority was feeling good about herself. She didn’t look like a 20-year-old, she looked like a mature lady but she looked well and she looked healthy and that’s what I am about.
I am about looking, feeling and living well. I am not about changing the way that they look. I think that’s wrong and I think there is too much on the internet now about trying to distort the way that we look in trying to not actually show the way we look physically through filters and this that and the other. That is not what I am about. It’s about reality and what we look like when we look in the mirror. So, no I don’t agree with changing but I do agree about feeling good about yourself. In the same way, we buy an expensive jacket, it looks good on us, it is well cut and it makes us look a size smaller.
Semaine: Do you feel a responsibility with your clients to say stop?
Dr. Frances Prenna Jones: Huge, a huge responsibility and I do that. Firstly, I tell people to go away and have a think about it and they might say “I don’t want to do anything Frances” or “yes I want to do this”. They could also even say “actually Frances "I just want to take care of my skin, I just want great healthy looking skin, I do not want any procedures” and that’s OK too. It’s having that opportunity to go away and have a think about it. I say it’s a bit like going to the hairdressers. If you have never had a fringe before and the hairdresser suddenly says let’s have a fringe today and you think no let’s go away and have a think about it rather than walking out and thinking why did I do that! It shouldn’t be impulsive. It should be an informed decision that patients make.
Semaine: I know that you have a private practice so maybe you can’t divulge things like this but what would you say is the most common treatment that your clients come to you for?
Dr. Frances Prenna Jones: Nowadays, and there has been a big shift in the trends, but 100% it is what I call mesotherapy and that’s when we inject active vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, proteins and ordinary hyaluronic acid into a cocktail for the skin. More so than anything else we are doing this now. It is like having a cocktail of vitamins injected into the skin rather than taking them orally. I am pro oral supplementation but the problem is when we take something orally our heart, lungs and kidneys think that they are more important than our skin. In truth they probably are because our skin is the poor cousin to the rest of our organs as it never gets the most concentration. So, I would say that is the number one treatment that I do because it gives a subtle but fresh-faced healthy glow to the patient as opposed to removing away from things that are changing the way they look, it is just about freshening up.
Semaine: How do you feel about Botox?
Dr. Frances Prenna Jones: There are things around whether starting earlier with Botox prevents wrinkles further down the line and I say there is never any right or wrong answer. I think when you are ready you are ready. For 18,19 or 20 year olds though it is wrong, I would never do that.
Semaine: It is interesting this notion that a face is like a canvas and you are optimising this inherent beauty, how do you approach each client when they walk through the door?
Dr. Frances Prenna Jones: The first thing I make patients do when they walk through the door, which plenty of them roll their eyes at me for but no one ever says that wasn’t a really a good exercise, is that I make them do homework. What I make them do is bring photographs of themselves from 5, 10, and 15 years ago. Nothing airbrushed or framed, they bring me the real thing so we look towards that. That’s not to say that there are not patients who want you to do something slightly more cosmetic for them because they have got anomalies and then again this is the more topical debate that you have with them because there are these things called the phi proportions on our face that we are subliminally trained to look at. Our eyes do it in a nanosecond. They see a young face or an old face then an attractive or non-attractive face and so you could say that we could proportionate that to some of these proportions and arguably that comes from an artistic training.
Having done an undergraduate foundation course being taught how to do life drawings and still drawings, I learnt what to focus on, what not to focus on and attention to detail. It’s a party piece of mine, I can feel something that is a millimetre off in a nanosecond and I can carry that in my head. I can literally say to somebody ask me a colour and I’ll pick it by closing my eyes and picking it out of a line of colours.
Semaine: Do you have male clients?
Dr. Frances Prenna Jones: Yes, and my experience has been that men are more likely to recommend to other men than women are to other women. Women want to keep things secret and not talk about things, whereas, men if they decide to do something they take complete ownership of it and they tell all their friends. Whereas women tend not to be like this.
Semaine: Can you talk to us about your skin care line that you launched?
Dr. Frances Prenna Jones: It was an accident. I was learning about ingredients and how ingredients worked and I was teaching patients about how they work because they were so confused about what they should and shouldn’t use on their skin. I tried to narrow it down to this is what you need to do in the morning, this is what you need to do in the evening and this is how it works. I would get them to bring their products with them and I would go through the good, the bad and the ugly. They kept looking at me asking if there is just one thing they should use and where they should start. I said to them there is not just one thing. So, I initially started making a formula, and I worked with a formulating chemist because I didn’t know how to formulate and I came up with this one formula.
I would give this to the patients so they had something simple to use once or twice a day. Initially I would give it away and not charge for it but then suddenly I had realised I had created a monster because more people wanted it, it was evolving. I then started to manufacture it because no one would make it for me. It came more organically and grew that way so I am proud to say we made it all ourselves, we make it all in the UK and all the ingredients are sourced as locally as possible as well as the packaging. It is pure science, it’s an organic range. We don’t use nasty chemicals; we use honey suckle as a preservative so everything that we use I can stand behind it as an ingredient. Consequently, there are a lot of actives in there. My day cream has over 45 active ingredients in there.
Semaine: If there was one product you could recommend to your patients what is it?
Dr. Frances Prenna Jones: Always start with Formula. It is a cleaner, a treater and a preventer all in one so it makes it really simple. It is not a toner. It is a liquid that you put on with cotton pads and that you sweep all over your face. It has everything you need to clean, exfoliate, protect and hydrate the skin all in one. You can use it morning and evening.
Semaine: So, you don’t even need to moisturise if you have no time, you just put Formula on morning and night?
Dr. Frances Prenna Jones: Cotton pad with Formula and you are done. That’s how it came about because my patients were like “one thing, one thing!” so I thought OK what can I do. Everything else in the range are the add on’s if you want to go that extra mile. If you want to extra things during the day to protect yourself and extra things to help at night. I have a range called Enhance, which is about enhancing what we have. It is tinted hydraulic acid that hydrates the skin during the day but also has the capacity to fill out all the fine lines. It’s cosmetics with a difference and then there is an anti-oxidant spray which boosts the anti-oxidants to work.
Semaine: Any last words of wisdoms and secrets to impart on our Semaine readers?
Dr. Frances Prenna Jones: I think the biggest rule is consistency, whatever you are doing do it consistently. Don’t jump around from product to product. Try to have a simple routine because simple routines are what is going to work best for you so commit to it. Whenever I take on someone the skincare regime or regime of supplements I always say, start with one thing to begin with, get used to doing that, then add other things on to it.
Overiszed cotton shirt
Glove leather flats
Modernist 'Diamond' Chair
Pocket-print PVC tote
Miles wide-leg trousers
4pcs/set Vent Human Face Ball Anti-stress Ball of Japanese Design Cao Maru Caomaru-gray
850mL Glass French Press in Grey
Delta II Professional Massage Table
Round Mirror Black Large
Clean + Prepare
BNC006 Analog Wall Clock Black in Black
Besides her dog as being the one true essential in life, there are a few other things that Dr. Frances Prenna Jones cannot go without. Her notebooks first and foremost are of the upmost importance even though she gets through them at rapid fire speed. “This is a plea to Smythson…please, please, please can we have some new colours, I have been through all the colours!”. To jazz them up a tad up, Dr. Frances adds on Anya Hindmarch stickers of her own initials.
"F" Sticker by Anya Hindmarch
"P" Leather Sticker for Handbag
"J" Leather Sticker for Handbag
Short & Sweet Wee Notebook
L-Tryptophan 500mg, 120 Capsules
5 Tips for Better Skin
Who better to get skin care tips from than London’s most sought after skin guru, herself. From dusk till dawn just remember to “always wear a physical sun screen” and “more is not more when it comes to moisturiser” to achieve long lasting complexion perfection.
“Always clean your face twice a day. It is not just about removing dirt and make up cleaning is of paramount importance to set the pH of your skin and maintain acid mantle which means products will be absorbed better."
"Always wear a physical sun screen when exposed to the sun. A good SPF is a must! A sun tan is never a good idea if you want to keep your skin looking young so fake it if you have to! Carry a fold up hat in your bag, I carry a black Grevi roll up rain hat that doubles as a sun hat and takes up no room whatsoever in my bag and is super chic!"
"Don’t over moisturise, more is not more when it comes to moisturiser."
"Don’t use retinol products during the day."
“Subliminal inflammation is one of the biggest agers of skin, this can be both internal and external. Subliminal inflammation comes from things like eating dairy products or big swings in our sugar intake and bacterial over growth. To combat this, I recommend taking oral probiotics twice a day, every day.”
The Doctor's Beauty Cabinet
The Doctor's beauty shelf is as full to the brim as one would expect from one of the world’s top go-to cosmetic dermatologists. From hair care to secret perfume, everything is there for a reason and serves its own beauty enhancing purpose. Each product from her own skin care line is made entirely in the UK and all the ingredients are sourced as locally as possible along with the packaging.
Olivia Palermo x Ciate London Nail Collection Napa Valley
Flash Bronzer Transfer-Resistant Self-Tanning Lotion
Shade Variation Care - Baby Blond, 250ml
Ask the Doctor
In the winter months, we naturally produce less natural discretion so we tend to need more of what I call boot polish so not necessarily active ingredients but more just natural emollients on our skin. In the summer, the sun is high in the sky and we are out all day so you need to apply more sun screen and we tend to need less moisturiser.
You need to start with some sort of glycolic product as we need to lift off all the toxins of the skin to allow the nice new skin to come through. You know it is absolutely true that your summer body starts on January 1st. The glycolic’s are a group of products of alpha hydroxyl acids. What the glycolic’s do is lift off that dead skin almost like a tight jacket. So, the glycolic’s lifts off this tight jacket and allow our natural skin to come out.
I am really not pro dairy products. Dairy products are what we call pro inflammatory. Cows have been pumped with hormones that we then take in internally that infects all of our hormones which is why I much prefer a vegetable based protein and a balance. It’s more about what you shouldn’t eat rather than if you eat this one thing then you are going to be ok. Greasy food is usually not good for your skin because it is counter balanced with lots of salts and sugary things. Fats per say are not the enemy that people think think they are and even a little bit of animal fat isn’t the enemy that we used to think it was.
Aspirin. You can make a little paste with it and put it on your spot and it will literally lift off all the dead skin but also dry them out completely. It’s a great thing to do as little salicylic mask that you can make at home because essentially you aren’t doing anything different than what we do as a salicylic mask in the clinic. You just make a little paste, put it all over your skin then wash it off just like a face mask.
We are all addicted to them aren’t we let’s be honest. There is that guilty pleasure of seeing those things stuck inside our pores. OK let’s do the bad and the ugly, there is no doubt that if it is overdone and aggressively ripping things off your skin can cause damage and inflammation. However, if you want to shrink the size of a pore, you need to use products that open the pores and then you need to use products that remove what is in the pores. The key then is to put something on there that will help shrink down the size of the pore again. So, if you are going to use a pore strip, you need to be putting something on afterwards that is going to help close the size of the pores. Otherwise all you are doing is encouraging them to refill themselves up again even more. It’s like great I am going to pull all of this out then I have left this nice big hole again and what happens is our little salacious glands go into overdraft and they think right I am going to fill this up with even more stuff. So, you should put something on it afterwards that is going to help shrink the pores down.
DFPJ's Morning Energy Elixir
Get energised à la Dr Frances by discovering her very healthy but mood enhancing morning cocktail mix.
When I need energy in the morning… I through the following into my Sage juice extractor and add water to dilute Ginger, turmeric, kale, lemon juice, celery, beetroot, apple cider vinegar and 20mls of Extra dark grade C maple syrup it MUST be the extra dark
Nutri Juicer Plus, Silver
Maple Syrup Grade A Dark Amber
Whether she’s in the countryside of Dorset or her townhouse in London, Frances does not waste a single minute of her time. “I like to say that fundamentally I am lazy or rather I hate time wasting, consequently I am uber organised…”
"My alarm goes off at the same time every day. I think a routine is important otherwise your body gets confused. If I am in Dorset, I either get ready to come up to London or as a pure luxury I take my dog for a walk! If I am in London, I sit at my desk for a couple of hours and then get all my emails done. I love this time of day, it is so productive as nobody disturbs me and I can get everything done and be ready for the day ahead."
"I always start my day with a liquid diet of some sort. I am a complete advocate of intermittent fasting as it promotes your body to produce its own natural growth hormone. I fast at least one day a week for at least one month a year! If I am fasting I make up a cocktail of lemon juice, turmeric, cayenne, apple cider vinegar and a dash of extra dark maple syrup and sometimes I will have it warm. If I am not fasting I tend not to eat until 9am at which time I heat up frozen blueberries and organic oatmeal. I do drink coffee but never after midday and always black."
"My morning beauty routine will be as follows: I wash my face with my Clean & Prepare Cleanser, then I use my regular Formula followed by Day Work + moisturiser which has a physical sunscreen before applying my Enhance No. 3 and my Eye Day cream. I don’t wear a lot of make up but I am a big fan of Suquu eye makeup and also I’m obsessed with NYX, they have an amazing curved liquid eyeliner, then I follow by Blink mascara."
"I will arrive in London and head straight to my clinic and prepare for my day. I spritz my face with my Refresh 24/7 to boost and enhance my energy levels and continue to spritz this throughout the day."
"My first patient. I will treat right through until 7pm."
"I have lunch but often squeeze in another patient or check emails."
"I check emails/text messages again as I am seeing people back to back and I then check in with my friends. When I am in London I walk to and from work it clears my head and it is good thinking time. It is a 30min walk. The good and the bad is that it is down Sloane street so I get to window shop but it is probably a good thing the shops are closed."
"I don’t believe in eating a big meal at the end of the day so I usually prepare something simple and I never eat packaged food at all. I always prepare everything from scratch."
"I will always wash and cleanse my face every night no matter how tired I am. If I am wearing makeup or a heavy eyeshadow I first use my Express Clean to remove everything, then I follow with Clean & Prepare. If I am taking time to have a long bath or my skin feels a bit sluggish I use my Super Clean as a thick mask and leave it on for 10 mins before washing off with my charcoal sponges. I then follow with my Formula and Night work + and Eye Night. Finally, I spritz everything with my refresh 24/7."
"I am in bed and I am usually asleep by 10 as it is important to get a good night’s sleep and allow yourself to rejuvenate."