All winter long I’ve been complaining about dry skin, especially following a swim, when the chlorine from the pool leaves a nice, flaky beard on my face, in spite of slathering moisturiser all over it. It’s not just me, apparently; the Day Job office is so dry and full of static that we’ve all been experiencing unattractive skin this year, comparing dry patches with spots and red zones, all of which only flare up while we’re at work. In desperation, I’ve even tried wearing night cream during the day – unheard of! But, hey! It worked. For a while.
To coincide with the return of Flake Face, a package from Shiny Red PR arrived on my desk, as if by magic. Out of it spilled Aveeno skin products (bath salts, small tube of cream, large tube of daily lotion) and American Colleague was by my side in a flash. “Ohmigahd, you’ve got Aveeno!” she cried with what I consider to be excessive enthusiasm for body lotion in boring cream packaging with dull, hippy-green accents. “I always keep it in my drawer.” She pulled out a tube of Aveeno to prove it. “Do they sell it here now?” I, the Aveeno novice, shrugged. “I used to have to get friends to send it over from the States but it looks like it’s crossed the pond, so GREAT!” American Colleague is a super girl, always keen and bright as a button, so I was heartened to have this encouragement to try a product I had never once heard of.
The bad news is: the packaging; it looks like it walked out of a cream and green health food shop. In fact, it looks like it should smell vaguely of linseed oil and carob. The good news is, Aveeno is made by Johnson & Johnson so it should be safe. More bad news – the creams are marked ‘fragrance free’, something that I find off-putting because it’s one of those claims that don’t always turn out to be true and even if they do, ‘fragrance free’ makes me think of allergy sufferers. Then again, I suffer from stress-induced eczema at times, and having recently made the third round of redundancies at the Day Job, I was starting to believe that the Itchy & Scratchy Show referred exclusively to me. Anything was worth a try, especially if it was going to help my skin, but oh-oh, more bad news: the packaging uses the word ‘colloidal’. What on earth? Instead of sounding alluring and feminine, Aveeno was beginning to make me wonder if I’d just walked out of the local hospital’s dermatology clinic. Out came the trusty dictionary, to find out what ‘colloidal’ meant exactly (I was never that great at chemistry, but I can generally tell if a word related to that dreaded subject). The definition according to the Collins Paperback Dictionary is:
COLLOID n A mixture of particles of one substance suspended in a different substance. COLLOIDAL adj.
In this case the particles of one substance are oatmeal and the different substance seems to be a whole list of chem-lab ingredients, from allantoin and glycerine to Distearyldimonium Chloride. This wasn’t looking good, given that I prefer natural skin products made from things like olives.
Still, I promised to give the Aveeno range a test run and test it I have. Here are the results:
- 1. The Aveeno bath salts – unless you enjoy bathing in brown water, then I’d recommend passing on this product. Some of us still like sweet-smelling oils and bubbles. I got out of the bath feeling in need of a shower to wash off the good-for-you brown stuff.
- 2. The Aveeno Daily Moisturising Lotion – this has been showing some minor improvement on my elbows but remember that a little goes a long way and you need to give it a few minutes to soak in.
- 3. The Aveeno cream – looked and felt to me like the same product as the 24 hour cream (remember I’m not an expert), only in a smaller tube. Now, credit where it’s due – this is great stuff. In the three to four weeks that I’ve been using Aveeno cream as my daily moisturiser, it’s done wonders. My skin has returned to normal, smooth and flake-free. However, it does feel a bit gooey going on and the total lack of fragrance, even a no-fragrance fragrance is not a good thing in my book. I prefer things that smell nice, like olive oil face creams that smell fresh, not necessarily of flower beds or apricots, just fresh and that I do like very much.
So the result of my experiments with Aveeno is that I will be interested to continue using the cream to counteract post-winter facial flakiness but the jury’s out on whether or not to buy a replacement once I’ve finished the tube. The packaging puts me off a bit, as does the healthy look’s conflict with a rather off-putting list of extra chem.-lab ingredients on the reverse. If the packaging were a bit less oatmeal-y and the oatmeal particles could be suspended in a friendlier group of substances, you could probably count me in as a new customer. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if I miss Aveeno when I’ve used it all up. For the moment, however, not a flake in sight.