|Burning in progress!|
I had come down to Brum with my friend Gillie, to meet our new friend Maureen, a crime writer who lives nearby. The weather was intermittently sunny and cloudy, with a light wind. When the sun came out it did feel hot on my face, but I thought I was protected...or rather, I was so engrossed in our animated and wide-ranging conversation that I didn't really think at all.
A few days later, after a brief phase of redness on my cheekbones and under-eye puffiness, I was left with a lattice of new wrinkles under each eye that weren't there before. When I used to smile, I'd just have a little pouch of fat form under each eye, while the skin below that was near enough smooth. Ironically, the photographer at my godson's wedding the other weekend remarked on this very fact. Well, sadly that is no longer the case...or not when I smile. 'So don't smile!' volunteered ex-Mr Bonkers helpfully. And to be fair I don't really feel like smiling much at the moment. I am too busy kicking myself for this latest sun-related folly, the last one being in 2001 when I fell asleep in the sun on a bench, and woke up with swollen eyelids like angry red balloons. They eventually imploded - like punctured balloons indeed - but that incident kickstarted the crepeyness of my upper eyelids that is slowly worsening over time. Oddly it doesn't bother me nearly as much as what is now going on underneath my eyes.
|Me (with makeup) a year ago. My skin certainly is 'dryer' now!|
I guess I shouldn't be surprised at this latest lapse, for I am a person with appalling 'form' for self-abuse in the sun. In the 70s, a Health & Safety-free decade, as I recall, I used to use Factor 2 sun tan lotion on my body and Factor 4 on my face. As a hedonistic teenager I would spend all day in the sun, and when I went into the exam hall to sit my university finals, the staff jokingly asked me for my passport, a rather politically incorrect reference to the deep bronze colour I had turned thanks to my al fresco revision. In the early 90s, I remember being shocked and indignant on a visit to Australia to find that Factor 8 was the lowest strength of sun cream on sale over there at the time.
And now the laugh is on me...I should have listened to Baz, I should have had Undina with me(!), urging me to keep to the shade with her. My friend Suzanne is also very sun-aware, and would surely have plonked a big floppy sunhat on my head, after ensuring I was slathered in SPF50. As it is, I am slathered in coconut oil (at her suggestion) in a bid to rehydrate the taut, dehydrated delta where the new wrinkles lurk.
"Ladies and gentlemen of the class of 2007, wear sunscreen
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it
The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists
Whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable
Than my own meandering experience, I will dispense this advice now"
Baz Luhrmann: Sunscreen
So yes, on to the wistful thoughts part...I recently started taking Colladeen Visage, which doesn't contain collagen, as the name might suggest, but rather a selection of collagen-boosting natural plant compounds that can supposedly 'play a protective role against the damaging effects of sunlight on skin'. The leaflet that comes with the tablets goes on to say: 'But please note: Colladeen Visage should only be used as an additional protection against sun damage. It certainly does not replace your normal sun protection regime.' Hmm, I think I should have listened to the makers of Colladeen too!
I should explain that the 'Visage' version of Colladeen differs from the regular one through the addition of lutein as well as anthocyanidins and OPCs. I know, I had to look them up too, They are bioflavonoids of some kind, basically plant extracts with antioxidant properties. Here's a link to all the different types, though I have to say it largely washes over me. The PR blurb for Colladeen Visage continues to mock and reassure the user in one deft (sun-) stroke:
"UV rays and over-exposure to the sun can be especially harmful to our skin, and it’s nice to know that there is a supplement which can help provide an internal SPF and help skin cope better with exposure to sunlight."
So I haven't half put it through its paces then!
|Me, no makeup, not smiling - bags under the eyes!|
|Me, no makeup, smiling - multiple wrinkles|
(Editor's note: I promise I have other, grimmer-looking photos than these, but can't bring myself to show you in case the act of publishing them sets the wrinkles 'in stone'!)
And now it is a week and a half since that day in Brum, and I am carrying on with the Colladeen Visage, in the hope that it can mitigate the damage even after the fact, ditto the coconut oil, while also applying that Dr Organic Manuka Honey Rescue cream I mentioned in my eczema post. It is soothing and has the right amount of richness for my ultra parched skin. Finally, I have ordered some organic, cold pressed rosehip oil, which is supposed to have healing properties.
It may be too early to tell to what extent I can reverse the ill effects of that one act of thoughtlessness, though I will report back if these latest interventions seem to have helped. I think there may even have been a slight improvement since these photos were taken a few days ago, but I may be imagining it**. Meanwhile Gillie says I should be philosophical about the whole business, taking a leaf out of Buddha's book. You know, shit happens (those may not be his exact words), accept it and move on.
Sali Hughes, my go-to beauty guru, also has timely wisdom on the matter in her book 'Pretty Honest', reminding us that the wrinkle count on our faces is still very much a first world problem:
Oh, and in case I find myself in the sun again - though I shall do my best to avoid it now, despite my reckless past! - I will be slapping on my (brand new!) tube of Avene's Eau Thermale SPF50 Emulsion (see photo below)...
Hmm, going back to Baz, I think my knees - while not an attractive feature of mine as such, and once famously described by a boyfriend as 'serviceable' - are in good nick at least, and I am working on the jealousy and the flossing. ;)
Have you ever really burnt yourself and lived to regret it? Especially on a delicate area of skin?
I would love to hear about your tried and tested sunburn remedies, especially any that help reduce wrinkles caused by sun damage!
Here I am on Day 11, slathered in coconut oil, enormous hands, gormless expression, and with no makeup except lipstick. I think the oil may be helping a bit after all.