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Tuesday, 3 May 2011

...just add a sprinkling of skin sparkle

When it comes to getting fresher and youthful looking skin the shortcut lays in exfoliation. Played out in its simplest form, it’s an act that will quickly remove dead cells on the skin’s surface to improve texture and give luminosity. The downside? You can over do it by mixing a smorgasbord of fix-it all ingredients and clinical inspired treatments, making the skin more fragile than a one ply tissue.

Catching up with Tom Ogden, brand manager of the cosmeceutical skincare company, Alpha-H, it’s easy to see why exfoliation can have the reserve effect of the radiant complexion you so desire. Just a quick word on Tom here: he is every beauty aficionados dream interview as a) he doesn’t stop talking – always a good sign when wanting information, b) he knows how to string a sentence together and gives great sound bites – another big  tick and c) he’s also a scriptwriter on the TV series Doctors! But getting back to the subject in hand, Tom reveals you can literally polish to infection. “Exfoliation is the cornerstone of any good skincare regime,” explains Tom, “but when people initially see the results, it can quickly turn addictive.” And it seems some people will try anything for that elusive glow. Tom recalls one woman he saw who had been cleansing with a nail brush. Not a good look! “Skin is a resilient organ,” says Tom, “but if you are consistently ‘wounding’ it with aggressive behaviour you are putting it at risk by breaking down the acid mantel. This is the oily film on the surface of the skin acting as a barrier against bacteria. If upset, you leave skin vulnerable to the threat of irritation and inflammation.” Every night your skin has to repair itself which it cannot do efficiently if the barrier has thinned from being ‘sandblasted’ away. Before long, your complexion looks injured rather than irresistible.

The newest offering from Alpha-H is their Gentle Daily Exfoliant which as the more observant amongst you will notice says you use every day. Only exfoliating two or three times a week, I was dubious. My skin being of a sensitive nature, I was worried it would appear over processed and prone to dryness. But not a bit of it! Let me tell you, it’s a quick way of getting rid of a groggy looking morning face. And the best thing, it’s doesn’t even feel like you’re scrubbing as there’s zero scratchiness. Why? Because it boasts a fruit enzyme formula (FYI unripe green papaya and the skin and leaves of pineapple) that’s water activated. This means you mix with water and it goes on like a smooth paste – so confident have I become, I now mingle two doses of powder in with my cleanser for a super boost and wash it off all in one go. Tom even suggests leaving it on for a few minutes to work as a drawing mask. With hand on heart, I can honestly say it brings a wake-me-up-before-you-go-go brightness to my skin and leaves it not a tad dry, flaky or red. Daily skin genius indeed.

Gentle Daily Exfoliant costs £32.50 and is available from this month from,, and QVC.

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