Last Updated: Wed Jul 20, 2011 00:20 am (KSA) 21:20 pm (GMT)

Basra Haider / Arabian Beauty: Scrub away and defy your age

Women ask me all the time, do creams really work? Are they worth the cost? And I always answer the same, yes they are amazing but the most expensive cream in the world is not going to do a thing for you unless you follow a regimen, a routine. Using a cream now and again just does not cut it, using a cream without cleansing the skin does not count! The basic “cleanse, tone and moisturize” still applies, but the most important part of this famous phrase is never emphasized enough: do it every day, morning and night.

However, nothing is more important than cleanse, tone and moisturize except to exfoliate, something all dermatologists will tell you. Surprised? I guess it is kind of like when you expect a dentist to say nothing is important than brushing your teeth morning and night, but then to your surprise, he adds except flossing. Surprised?

After around the age of 26, the skin starts to slack off and get sluggish and thus the battle against time and gravity starts. A good dermatologist friend of mine once told me that I didn’t need to pay her a fortune to maintain my skin, that all my skin really needed to keep it taut and to stimulate collagen production while ensuring that the products that I slathered on were being absorbed so that I got my money’s worth from those lotions and potions, was to exfoliate!

The best kept secret by dermatologists and cheapest method of exfoliation, for those under 35 years of age, is to use a AED 20 ($5) cream found in pharmacies called Retinal A. Unfortunately, my skin cannot tolerate it. Knowing its magical powers, I have tried several times over the course of several years. My skin just does not tolerate it. So, I do the next best thing, once a year I get an intensive peel done where I shed skin for about 10 days. It is not comfortable, but the results definitely worth it!

My dermatologist friend told me that my flawless skin is due to the fact that my pores are so tightly packed, but this also is my downfall, because they do not allow my skin to absorb the expensive creams I just love to indulge in. Ideally, I should be doing the exfoliation every six months, but really I cannot bear the shredded toilet tissue look on my face for two weeks! I literally was sitting across someone at a meeting and he politely pointed out that I had some tissue stuck to my neck.”

So, given my busy schedule, I sometimes even skip a year! For marks and pigments that you really want to erase so that they don’t come hauntingly back, you need to endure the ordeal for a full 30 days, as skin tissues have a memory, anything less and marks will reappear after a week or so.

Do lotions and potions work? Absolutely! Skin care has moved forward in leaps and bounds. I am always surprised at educated, modern women turning up their noses at skincare products thinking they are above such marketing schemes. I mean if they discovered a new fuel to prolong the zest and life of your car and promised to keep the engine working like new, wouldn’t you start using it?

It is time that all women respected the advancements in skin care and learned to use the tools provided for them by the industry; believe me when I tell you, used correctly there are products out there that will reverse time for you, allowing you to literally defy your age.

(Basra Haider covers the beauty industry. She can be reached at:

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