"You should avoid fried foods, you know?"
"I hate fried foods."
"And don't eat too much spicy food."
"Then you should drink more water."
"I drink about two litres a day!"
"Is it stress?"
"Maybe, but I've been through worse."
"Then what happened?"
"You tell me!"
Still, the novelty wore out by the fourth facialist or so and I took recourse to a dermatologist. Interestingly, facialists seem to think that dermatologists should come with a health warning while dermatologists(yes, in plural)have indicated that they would like to see the former bricked into a wall. Although I am inclined to believe medical professionals, they prescribe the most MORTIFYING items to ever grace one's bathroom counter bearing names in highly-legible font such as Anti-Bacterial Cleansing Gel, Acne Wash and Acne-Aid.
In case you couldn't tell that the red, inflamed pustules on your host's face were real pimples, perhaps this bottle will convince you. When you're done using the bathroom, try calling your host Mr. Pimply McPimply to his face. Go on. He'll find it REALLY funny.
Over the past few years, the skin on my face has been Differined, Clindamycin-phospated, AHA-ed, Glycolic-peeled, Benzoyl-Peroxided with varying degrees of success, but I've come to appreciate a simple, non-irritating cleanser that promises nothing more than it can deliver. For the past three months or so, I've steered clear of skincare products containing anything ending with "acid". The downside of it is that my acne scars are taking a much longer time to fade, but my skintone's evened out and I've regained most of my skin's elasticity. Once I've finished the course of my current skin care regimen, I'd like to start one incorporating one or both of these cleansers:
1. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
The website sums it up best, that this cleanser is "great for daily makeup removal or as part of a skin care regimen to treat the dryness caused by topical medications used in the treatment of acne, fine lines and wrinkles." Nothing dramatic will come from using this soap-free, non-foaming cleanser, but it is a great dirt and makeup remover that won't leave an oleaginous film on your face after you tissue it off unlike most cream cleansers, even the ones supposedly formulated for oily and problematic skin (I'm looking at YOU, Clarins.) In my experience, this cleanser very effectively banishes undereye oil seeds. The Gentle Cleanser has seen me through several harsh New England winters, and was the first bottle I grabbed after I aborted my Pro-Activ experiment. On a shallower note, if you care about things like that, using this cleanser puts you in the same league as celebrities like Kyra Sedgwick who are avowed fans of the Gentle Cleanser. I also read somewhere that it's good to shave your legs with...
Guardian Pharmacy in Malaysia carries a limited range of Cetaphil products, which are also probably obtainable at your nearest dermatology clinic.
2. Shu Uemura Beauty Cleansing Oil
I was first introduced to Shu Uemura's Cleansing Oil in college. I wasn't convinced then because my friend who recommended it was genetically blessed with good, seemingly poreless skin. Years later, the cleansing oil was vouched for by a co-worker who had succeeded in clearing up her own problematic complexion, and it gave me the courage to try a bottle. This is the best blackhead remover I've encountered so far, and I would even venture to say that it is the only thing I've used other than the Biore pore pack that has actually removed blackheads. It makes perfect sense: blackheads are not caused by dirt. Blackheads, or comedones, since we're getting a little science-y here, are caused when sebum, an oily substance produced by the sebaceous glands, is trapped in the hair follicle. Oil, not soap, adheres to oil, a concept which one needs to get used to. Like the Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser, Shu Uemura's Cleansing Oil thoroughly removes makeup without drying out the skin. A note to sticklers who NEVER combine skin care products: there is no eye-makeup remover from Shu Uemura. This is it. Apparently, the Cleansing Oil is able to dislodge even the toughest waterproof mascara. I'll take the company's word for it, but emulsifying the oil on one's lids and eyelashes is a tricky manoeuvre to say the least.
Shu Uemura's Cleansing Oil for various skintypes is available at the Shu Uemura boutique in One Utama shopping centre, Petaling Jaya and Gurney Plaza, Penang.