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Saving Face: A Guide to Clearer, Younger Skin

Bid farewell to the last numbered cool days of “Winter”, and brace yourself for the rising mercury and exponential humidity that is coming your way, because you will no longer be able to control the shine-effect even 1 hour after you’ve just washed your face, and chances are that your complexion is starting to show some irregularities like bumps and even wrinkles if you are over the age of 30.

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Moving to Dubai has brought me a flood of skin problems which for some time were either under control of the cold dry weather or just simply concealed , waiting to erupt like a volcano. If you have experienced at any point the following symptoms, you will probably go on reading this post, and even if you don’t have these manifestations, I would still invite you to read further if you’re looking to reverse the signs of aging… aha!

Skin problems in hot and humid weather include:

1-      Constantly greasy skin, especially on the T-Zone (forehead, nose and chin)
2-      Small bumps on the forehead and chin, that can sometimes turn into squeezable spots
3-      Unsightly adult acne, erupting as frequently as the annoying Icelandic crater Eyjafjallajökull
4-      Deep expression lines and wrinkles due to the damage of constant exposure to UV rays and the harsh desalinated tap water we bathe in sometimes twice a day.
After spending fortunes on caviar creams and collagene-infused potions, that all came in the most expensive of packages , I first made a pit-stop by my beautician at Bliss Spa in London (god bless that Triple Oxygen Mask) who provided a quick fix for about 2 weeks: exfoliation, extraction, deep moisturizing mask and a prescription of Hyaluronic Acid (better known as Vitamin B5), which I was told to put as a layer under my daily moisturizer to help bind the water to the skin’s cells. The result was very quick and visible but unfortunately this crash rescue alone was not sufficient to keep my skin clear.
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After 3 months of braving the humidity, the symptoms only got worse and I was officially going through a second bout of puberty acne. This is when my dermatologist basically broke my heart and my bank account when she declared that: 1- moisturizers with built-in SPF were causing the skin bumps and whiteheads, 2-all these fancy luxurious creams and even the more accessible brands were basically money down the toilet because none of the effects of the ingredients are actually active (they neutralize each other when the jar is opened and comes into contact with the air), 3- facial scubs can not peel away the volcanoes and the wrinkles, 4- At 33 I am too old and sensitized to Retin A which was once our saving grace as teenagers (don’t try it at home if you want to avoid serious burns and even bigger eruptions).

The first phase of rescuing my face involved a fruit acid chemical peel, that left me itching like a monkey and smelling of burnt matches. However the effect the day after was stunning: my face turned into a clear and smooth mirror-like surface!
Next came the hard work and out came my credit card: an armada of 5 different highly-potent remedies that had to be used religiously morning and night.

Day routine:
1-      After a regular foaming facewash, an antiseptic anti-bacterial lotion on a cotton pad, across the face with insistence on problem areas, Bliss Steep Clean Matifying pads work like a miracle and clear out skin instantly, use them 3 times a week.
2-      For Day: a couple of drops of fruit acid concentrate, to peel away the dead skin cells and stimulate the production of healthier cells. We recommend SkinCeuticals retexturing activator. if your skin is sensitive, use twice a week at night when you are not using the matifying pads.
3-      On highly polluted days, I also use an antioxidant serum like SkinCeuticals’ Serum 10 to ward off the aggressions.
4-      Then to fill in the cracks of my expression lines a couple of hyaluronic acid drops or an emollient cream (without any added fussy ingredients) , to moisturize the skin and keep it supple and elastic. Try SkinCeuticals’ Hydrating B5 gel.
Anti-shine tricks:
     5-   I wait for 10 minutes for my skin to absorb all of the layers and for the surface to start shining like a greased pan… this is when I start blotting away with the Body Shop’s Tea Tree blotting tissues. The thin sheets of absorbing paper literally look like waxed papers used in baking and cooking, the effect is instantaneous without wiping away all of the good stuff you’ve just applied on your skin. The best bit about these blotting sheets, is that they’re usable anytime and anywhere even over make-up, so they are a great way of keeping your make-up fresh and matte all-day.
6-      I was also ordered to keep hair away from my face and jawline to stop hair products and oils from clogging the pores.
Anti-inflammation trick: always keep in your purse Clearasil Rapid Action Treatment Cream , which promises to reduce the size and redness of spots in just 4 hours.
Night routine:
1-      I wash away the day’s grime and make up with soap or a foaming facial wash and stay away from the milky make up removers
2-      I make sure that my pores are super clean by using the antiseptic and antibacterial lotion again, which smells a bit like surgical spirit
3-      Then comes the piece de resistance and the ultimate treatment for both acneic and wrinkled skin: a highly-concentrated Retinol cream that will moisturize the skin, reduce sun spots and help build the collagen in the skin, in addition to keeping your skin young it will exfoliate the pimples leaving you with clear supple skin. Try Vichy LidtActiv Retinol HA night.
Last but not least, if you still want to look half-decent at the age of 50, never ever go out without a powder SPF sunscreen.
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