Monday, 17 September 2012

Unwanted exfoliation

One week ago I made a big mistake. Friends had been urging me to put something on my face. If not foundation and other cosmetics, then at least some moisturiser. Otherwise my face would dry out and mummify.

Now I had never been much sold on cosmetics. Yes, their power to cover, conceal, and transform was miraculous. But the cost was significant, applying the stuff needed real skill, doing it was time-consuming, and it was high-maintenance, needing touchups throughout the day. And then it all had to come off at night, to be reapplied again next morning. In between one looked disturbingly different, so that an unexpected early-morning knock on the front door might be something to dread. 

I was happy to use mascara and lipstick, but considered the rest not worth the effort. It wasn't just an inclination to save money and keep life simple. However skilfully applied, the large amount of makeup some people wore looked artificial to my eyes - not at all the natural look that I wanted for myself.

And another thing: I couldn't see how layer upon layer of makeup could be good for the skin. I had a naturally greasy skin, so it was supple, and the oestrogen was clearly helping to ward off the ageing process. I ate a good, balanced diet with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit. I drank a lot of water. Surely that was all I needed to look fine? I certainly didn't like the notion of clogged-up pores, and skin struggling to breathe under a crust of chemicals. Or worse, those chemicals corroding the skin. I knew that my skin was sensitive to cold winds and a salty atmosphere, as was the case when in Cornwall over Christmas in 2010. My face became red, puffy and eventually much of the skin flaked off. So I had reasons for being circumspect about smearing anything onto my face.

But couldn't do any harm, could it? I was in Boots killing ten minutes while my monthly prescription was being made up, and naturally I wandered over to the skincare shelves. And there were pots and pots of moisturisers for day and night use. For some reason I set aside my good reasons for not using anything on my face, and I bought a pot of daytime moisturiser. I thought I chose sensibly. It was by Simple. It ought to be all right.

That evening, I rubbed some onto most of my face. At first it seemed OK. But next morning I knew I had been stupid. My cheeks were bright red, I looked puffy around the eyes, and various parts of my face were tender. Soon they felt positively raw. The worst was over in a day or two, but much of my face then felt itchy for almost a week afterwards, and patches of skin began to flake away. It's only just stopped. Mostly.

I suppose you could say that I'd had a cheap acid peel! But I don't look any better for it. My face looks as if I've just emerged from a bad cold, after plenty of sleepless nights.

I gave the pot of Simple moisturiser away. It clearly is quite unsuitable for my own facial chemistry.

I won't be repeating this experiment in a hurry. From now on, I'm going to be deaf to anyone urging me to beautify myself.


  1. Oh how awful Lucy. I am sorry that moisturiser had that affect on your skin but I am not surprised, some moisturisers can affect certain people. It is always best to test these things on a small area of skin to see if you get a reaction. It is the same advice given for hair treatments and dyes or any other topical application. It shouldn't put you off moisturising your skin for there are many other applications which do not cause a reaction. Personally I use Astral cream sparingly both before applying make-up and after removing it before retiring. It does help keep the skin supple and of course moisturised. As for foundations and other similar applications, they do indeed block the pores and look really awful as you say. The advice I got from a dermatologist was to use the cream I was using but only apply a compressed powder, again sparingly on top as this doesn't block the pores. Not looking after your skin can be worse than using the wrong things on it. I, like yourself, eat wisely and get plenty of fruit and vegetables in my diet but of course that is only useful if we avoid certain other foods too. The outdoor life and the weather together with ageing all take their toll and we can end up looking like prunes, old before our time unnecessarily. I have said this before but reiterate that I am very often if not always taken as someone 15 to 20 years younger than my age and whilst the hormones make a tremendous difference all the other things I have mentioned above are strong contributors to looking good. E almost never wears make-up unless she is off out somewhere special. She is ten years my junior and I have to say her skin isn't half as good as my own. She does however use a little moisturiser I think and she has taken to eating a better diet of late too. So there you are but of course you choose the way you want to go. I can only say it has worked for me.

    Shirley Anne x

  2. You were unlucky, Lucy. I regularly use Simple cream from Boots with no harmful effects. I even like to imagine it does me some good... but that's probably wishful thinking.

  3. Not sure if it might be the same in the uk or not but baby moisturiser was a good recommendation for my skin - you don't pay for packaging and the formula is simpler, though it does take a little longer to absorb.


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