Those of you who follow me on Instagram may remember a day last month when I was worried that my horrendous jawline acne was a sign that I was slowly turning into a grotesque sea monster of Greek myth.
Then suddenly it cleared up and I stopped moaning about it. What happened?
It was my friend Madeleine who is a beauty person. Both beautiful and into beauty. In fact, it always makes me laugh, these beauty editors who are about 25 and shimmer like dew-covered roses, winking in the summer dawn even after a night on the espresso martinis and fags until 2am. What do they know?! (They do, though.)
Mads stepped in, like Athena but less scary, and recommended a few changes to my skin “routine” – not so much a routine as a desperate scramble for anything to stop my skin from behaving like Patrick Melrose on a bender.
The advice: change absolutely everything you’re using. Instead cleanse with Exuviance Gentle Cleansing Creme and use this quartet of skin serums from Alpha H. No moisturiser. Don’t forget your sunscreen!
I completely do.
And, I’m not joking, within 48 hours, my skin was getting better. And over the next week it improved beyond measure.
But I am the sort of person who doesn’t believe that topical treatments can help spots. I assumed the improvement was due to a hormonal shift, because I think all skin things are just hormones and that’s that.
So I didn’t want to write about it until the next period was due, (I mean I say period, with the coil it’s sort of academic, but that’s a story for another time), to see for myself whether it could possibly be the case that a topical treatment had worked.
And anyway my period is supposed to be roughly now and yes, okay, I have a few small breakouts but it’s nothing – NOTHING – compared with what I was dealing with before.
I have never heard of Exuviance nor of Alpha H. Ever. But they are both marvels.
Exuviance is a non-foaming cream that you put on, slop around a bit and then take off with a hot flannel. The serums come in four little bottles. The Vitamin E serum goes on every morning and then at night you rotate Vitamins C, A and B (the Vitamin A, to my delight, really does smell like carrots).
This recommendation rather lends credibility to all those people who go round claiming that magazines and newspapers are not to be trusted when it comes to beauty products.
It goes like this: in the current debate about the trustworthy-ness or not of Instagrammers who are gifted left right and centre and moreover paid to promote certain things, online punters say “I prefer magazines and newspapers, at least adverts are clearly marked.”
Well, actually, say industry people, they’re not.
Because every so often the editors will have a meeting with the advertisers and the advertisers will say “On your beauty shopping page you need 1 product from Lancome, 1 product from Clarins, 1 product from St Tropez and you can choose 1 for yourself.”
They are duly presented as the beauty editor’s personal favourites, but they have been chosen because Lancome and Clarins and St Tropez have just bought £500,000 worth of ad space each. Whereas Exuviance? Hasn’t.
I mean, I don’t know if that’s exactly how it goes and I’m sure it’s not all bogus – there are plenty of independent, opinionated beauty writers who don’t look to me like they are strong-armed into anything – but it has the stink of truth about it, don’t you think? It doesn’t sound like it’s never happened.
Anyway, like all skin miracle solutions, my dream team of Exuviance and Alpha H will, too, stop working in a bit.
Fighting against bad skin is a little bit like being in the Intelligence Corps during wartime – every time you come up with a new code to fool Jerry you know he will eventually crack it and you will have to come up with a new one.