A paramedical esthetician with more than 18 years experience in clinical skin care, Kate Somerville is the founder of Kate Somerville Skin Care and operates a skin health clinic on Melrose Place in Los Angeles, where she’s responsible for the glowing complexions of such celebrities as Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Debra Messing, Kate Walsh, Lisa Rinna, Kirsten Dunst, Jessica Alba, Paris Hilton, and Jennifer Coolidge. As a leading expert in her field, Somerville understands the importance of a healthy diet—the foundational first step toward healthy skin. We caught up with her at a recent appearance at Neiman Marcus Northbrook, where she was promoting her new KateCeuticals Multi-Active Repair products.
Hinsdale Living: How does diet impact the health of our skin?
Kate Somerville: It’s huge. It’s interesting because, growing up in the medical field, I would always hear dermatologists and doctors say, “It doesn’t matter what you eat. It doesn’t change your skin.” But then my father-in-law got prostrate cancer, and he decided that he was going to heal it naturally, so he completely cleaned his diet up. In fact, he would only eat meat from animals that were wild, like buffalo and other grass-fed animals, and nothing that had hormones. He also ate a lot of raw foods, green leafy vegetables, and drank lemon water. I watched his skin completely transform, and I knew diet has everything to do with the skin. Our skin is our largest organ, and what you put in is what’s going to feed your skin. Your vital organs are the first place that nutrients go, and the skin is the last place. So if you don’t have a balanced diet and aren’t supplementing, your skin is going to show it, especially as you age.
HL: What are a few key foods that everyone should incorporate into their diet to promote healthy skin?
KS: Generally, a good amount of protein is beneficial for skin, because protein builds collagen. And you should also eat lots of green leafy vegetables. In the morning, I’ll make a fruit smoothie and throw in spinach, green apples, celery, and cucumber—and you don’t taste it because the fruit masks everything else. I do it for my son, too, so he doesn’t even know he’s having fresh spinach. Green leafy vegetables also have chlorophyll, which helps get rid of toxins and prevents breakouts. You should limit fruits—to avoid too much sugar—but eat lots of berries; the darker the fruit, the more nutrients it has. Try to eat organic, as well as whole grains (such as oatmeal in the morning). And drink lots of lemon water because lemon keeps your body alkaline. If you stick with that, you’re generally going to have good skin.
HL: Do you recommend vitamin supplements for healthy skin?
KS: For sure. I wish that we could get everything that we need in our food, but I don’t feel that we can. I don’t think we eat enough omegas (3, 6, 9). I’m now 41, and I used to take flax seed pills and would put ground flax seed on my salads and toast. And I still do that, but I’ve now moved to fish oils. I think that’s really important, because it has amino acids and helps with your skin. I have eczema really bad, and I notice a change when I’m taking a lot of fish oils. If you can take a whole food multivitamin, and your omega 3 and 6s, at least you have a basic routine. And then you can go to a nutritionist or doctor to make sure you don’t have any vitamin deficiencies.
HL: You’ve worked with a lot of celebrities. Who has the best complexion?
KS: They all do; I can’t name one. Jessica Alba, Eva Mendes, Lea Michele, Felicity Huffman, and Kate Walsh all have beautiful skin—and these are women who don’t do surgery; they’re natural. Kate is one of my favorites because she’s never done Botox or Juvéderm. She just comes in for her laser treatments and her facials, and she’s very regimented about it. When I first saw her, her skin wasn’t fantastic, and now I can say that her skin is fantastic. So, she’s very diligent about taking care of herself. All of [my celebrity clients] are very healthy. The clients I work with are very down-to-earth, and my clinic focuses on making you look like you—but fresh, natural, and beautiful.
KATE’S MUST HAVES
Kate Somerville is known for her effective, award-winning skin care products. Try these favorites to see what all the buzz is about. To check out the full line of products, visit katesomerville.com.
ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment
There’s a reason this is one of the most popular products in Kate Somerville’s line: It not only gives you a glowing complexion, but it also hydrates and thoroughly cleans your skin. Plus, the rosewood and cinnamon extracts help diminish fine lines and wrinkles. Need we say more?
Nourish Daily Moisturizer
When treating yourself to a day at the spa isn’t an option, this moisturizer is the perfect tool to achieve spa-like results. The refreshing smell and lightweight formula leaves skin feeling healthy and hydrated, never greasy.
KateCeuticals Multi-Active Repair
Loaded with peptides and antioxidants, this cream is an effective anti-aging tool. Its powerful ingredient, mica, helps diminish the shadows that develop when aging skin loses volume and elasticity.
—Words by Jenna Schubert