If you are offended by vanity, please DON’T read this. But there is some good general advice here from my dermatologist.


I figured that as I am getting older, things will start happening to my skin to make me look older. My friend’s young wife made some remarks about the fine lines fanning out from my eyes and on my forehead – I have an expressive face; I pull funny faces all the time.

“You are glowing, but those crows’ feet!” She exclaimed.

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But I am not planning on getting botox or fillers any time soon, if ever: in my university days, I worked in a lab and from then, had a terror of the botulin toxin which paralyses human muscles. I don’t want that happening to my face; I won’t be me if I can’t pull funny faces.


I also learned, from those long-ago university days, that the human skin is an effective barrier – not much gets through the surface down to the lower layers. It’s designed this way to protect us.  Therefore, in my opinion, it’s kind of waste of money to buy expensive face creams – how much of it actually gets through to the lower layers, where things happen?

Thus, for the past two decades or so, I have stuck to using simple, natural stuff from Neals Yard Remedies.

But once a year, for the past three years, I consult a dermatologist for a skin health check.

She looked through my moles (I have plenty).

Then she looked at my skin. She used scans and equipment to see what’s going on beneath the surface. This is important, because what you see is not what you get. Read on….

Last year, I wrote about the difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin (link to this article at the end of this one). If you have dehydrated skin, putting oil on your skin will not make it better. In fact, it will make it worse. Imagine someone who is lost in the Sahara for weeks, parched and dying of thirst, and you give him a cup of organic almond oil infused with rosehip and ylang-ylang. You get the picture.

Getting water to the parched layers under your waterproof epidermis (topmost layer) is no easy task. So for the past three years, I listened to her tell me the same thing: hyaluronic acid, retin-A, micromolecules, blah blah blah, and no, she was trying to sell me anything, as she knows I only use brands of my own choosing.

This year, she lectured me for not extrafoliating my skin properly. My pores were clogged up with oil. This was because I got my hands on some lovely essential oils a few months ago and I couldn’t resist spraying them (mixed with almond oil) on my face.  It felt good and it smelled good, but the oil molecules were clogging up my pores.  No wonder my skin was parched, despite me using hyaluronic serum for hydration (I use Medik8 Hydr8 B5).

So my dermatologist gave my skin a good scrub, including using electric currents and light therapy for a deep cleanse (open up the pores and vacuum up the gunk). My pigmentation was a lot better and we decided to leave it for the moment.

“Not bad for a 50-year-old,” she said grudgingly. She reminded me not to wash my face too often (hard water strips the natural oils from the skin).

I walked from Harley Street straight into Neals Yard to buy face scrub and promised myself to be more diligent with my skin care regime, to drink less alcohol (ouch!), less tea (hmmm, OK) and no sugar (no problem). Exercise, get enough sleep, stay away from pollution, be happy.

But most of all, I think nutrition matters. Drink enough water, add adaptogens to your diet and eat lots of raw food (green smoothies).

Photo taken at my friend’s raw food cafe.

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