Surface Tension


Lauren Oakey learns what to do in a dermergency

My skincare regime has come a long way since I was a child, when a parent or babysitting older brother would scrub my face with a soap-soaked flannel, while sloshing tepid water from a plastic measuring jug over my head to sluice away the suds.

Thankfully, I escaped the water torture and followed in my mum’s footsteps with a proper routine of a good cleanser and a pot of moisturiser – albeit with some ill-advised flirtations along the way, including Clean and Clear Blackhead Solution, Sudocrem for a rare spot and plasticky face masks from Boots for a quid. I’ve always been aware that skin needs to be looked after, and although on occasion I’ve definitely scrubbed too hard at my face with a baby wipe until I’m blotchy and bloodshot, or used a squirt of body lotion as an emergency moisturiser, things are generally all quiet on the dermal front. But a couple of weeks ago my skin had an out-of-character meltdown that I can only now manage to talk about.

I had a lovely few days at Babington House in Somerset (where we’d been filming with Pearl Lowe) but as we were leaving at the end of day four I noticed that my skin was really sensitive and sore with big, dry, tight patches all over it. I put it down to my skin not being used to soft water but as I got home to Brighton the dryness on my face had become so irritating that my eyes were watering and the itchiness was driving me mad. Anything and everything I put on it felt like hot sauce on an open wound and I’m not exaggerating when I say I wept. My recently-beloved Suqqu foundation did its best to hide some of the damage but it was no match. I had to stop using everything.


Thankfully, Hughes came to the rescue with some emergency products. I started with Clarins SOS Sensitive Skin Beauty Repair Concentrate on the worst bits (all over my face, basically), which soothed and calmed my skin and stopped me wanting to tear it off. On top of this – and I swear I could hear my skin crying with joy – came Creme de la Mer Soft Cream.

235157746It was exactly like when those cartoon firefighters on the Gaviscon advert defeat heartburn by hosing it with soothing liquid. In the following days, these total dudes completely stopped all itching, burning, dryness and the general feeling of dread of having to go outside into daylight (I had to be under fluorescent lighting for one of the days. I nearly wept.) After about four days, new skin air-punched its way through and I felt like I’d got my old face back, but better. Sadly, I had also acquired a level 10 obsession with SOS and Creme de la Mer that probably means I have to stop watching Netflix and buying 10 coffees a week. I’ll take the skin, thanks.


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