Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Paring down my skincare routine

I've been told on many occasions that I look younger than my age. I have my parents to thank for youthful genes. I think that having a round face and chubby cheeks rather than a high cheek-boned, angular look also helps. (That's why Jennifer Aniston will look younger than Angelina Jolie in time to come!) Even so, I am always on the lookout for anti-aging tips and beauty aids. Who isn't? Even though I have no looks to speak of, I do want to preserve what I have for as long as I can. But in my older, hopefully wiser years, I have learned that the genie of youth and beauty doesn't reside in a bottle.

I think I've mentioned before that I'm a sucker for advertising. I really should know better, having been in the business and crafted copy for consumer products from detergents to fashion and skincare products. No, that revolutionary new anti-wrinkle cream won't get rid of lines. It's just hope in a usually very expensive jar but that doesn't stop me from devouring the label copy and yup, being willing to fork out the money and give it a try because it does say "proven to have visible results in 14 days" and "more than 90% satisfied users".

Believe me, I've experimented with quite a few anti-aging products, including some that have cost an arm and a leg. Vials of serum. Unguents enriched with caviar, gold flakes, you name it. The minute a technological breakthrough is announced in skincare, I'm eagerly waiting the first FDA-approved application of it.

I have extremely sensitive skin that turns bright red and itchy when I apply something that doesn't agree with it, which is pretty much most of the new-fangled products out there. I've tried BB creams and CC creams, products with collagen and other vitamins, and  have had to either give them away or chuck them because they caused an allergic reaction.

After years of experimentation, I've come to rely on just a few tried and tested products that keep my skin clean, toned, moisturized and protected. They're available at the chemist or drugstore rather than beauty counters in department stores and cost a fraction of what I used to pay for cosmetic name brands.

For cleansing, I stick with Cetaphil. Its mild, non-irritating formula is gentle enough for babies and people with sensitive skin like me.  I can even use it with or without water, and it leaves me with cleansed, softened skin. For once, it's advertising copy that isn't bullpoop. Being in the ad business, I am familiar with the care and thought put into the design of a product. Colors chosen say a lot. Cetaphil's blue and green design is justifiably clean and honest.

For eye make-up removal and toning, I use Simple products. Also meant for sensitive skin, they have no artificial coloring or perfumes and work great. Actually, all the Simple products are pretty good. And affordable.

I rely on Eucerin Hyaluron-filler day and night cream for moisturizing. They're supposed to "plump up the appearance of the deepest wrinkles from the inside", something I know probably is too good to be true. I don't even know what the heck Hyaluron is, but these two creams do keep my skin wonderfully soft and moisturized without feeling oily, which is more than I can say for much of the more expensive stuff I've tried.

I'm also using Neutrogena rapid tone repair moisturizer. Surprisingly, my skin can take the combination of retinol and Vitamin C and it does seem to even out my complexion and reduce the look of dark spots and discoloration. One lives in hope. Always.
If there's one piece of advice I would offer teenaged girls and young women, especially those living in the tropics, it's to use a sunblock. In my youth, it was all the rage to look dark and tanned. I would even douse myself liberally with suntan oil to accelerate the tanning process. Years of doing this has caused premature aging of my skin, as well as an alarming number of moles and age spots that have warranted a visit to the dermatologist to discount the possibility of skin cancer. I only started using sunblock on a regular basis in my forties and have kept doing it religiously since, even if it's just to stave off even wrinklier skin. I find Neutrogena's Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch sunscreen with an SPF of 55 great on the face because it's lightweight, absorbed quickly and non-oily.

I've never been a big fan of facial salons. While I enjoy the feeling of being pampered, steamed, stroked, patted and massaged, the treatments usually leave my skin drier than before. I'm sure it's great for those who benefit from facial treatments, but I stopped going a long time ago and don't intend to start again. So I'm entrusting my face to these few products. Until the next new-fangled face cream is announced and I'm rushing out to get it, hoping for a miracle to turn back the clock!

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