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F is for Foolhardy. And Flaky (skin, that is): A My-Face-Fell-Off Confession

Why more tretinoin (prescription Vitamin A cream) on skin is not a good thing; thank goodness for Rodial Glam Balm
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Note to self: More is not necessarily better when it comes to skincare.

More broccoli at dinner? Sure. Healthy. More icing on a cupcake? Bring it.

More prescription Vitamin A cream when I was told to apply it sparingly and only use it every other day?

Oh dear. Why did I not listen?

I was so excited to get a prescription for tretinoin. The real thing. The one that has been shown in peer-reviewed studies to actually improve collagen production and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

Ask beauty editors for their skincare regimen and many will tell you it involves alternating between a Vitamin A preparation one night, a glycolic acid the next. In fact, when all this subsides (because I know it will) I will tell you how to do it properly. But back to my face falling off.

There I was, thinking I'm so tough. Thinking the rules don't apply to me, because I don't have sensitive skin. So I massaged in generous blobs of .05 per cent strength tretinoin for three days straight. And voilà -- my face fell off. Not in chunks like Liam Neeson in Darkman (a silly 1990 monster movie that I kinda liked. Sue me.), but it flaked, it peeled, it (gasp) wrinkled. Which is about as far from dewy and glowy as you can get. Lesson learned.

Rodial Glam Balm

So now I sit, chastened, with my handy tube of Rodial Glam Balm (my savior) of calendula, myrrh and vitamin E on my desk to soothe my angry skin as my sad, peel-y face gradually heals.

And when I return to using the tretinoin cream, I will believe the-people-with-letters-after-their-name-who-went-to-school-for-this-and-know-their-stuff. I will listen when they tell me "one day on, one day off."

I will be glowy, not flaky.

I will obey.

Rodial Glam Balm, $64, is available at Gee Beauty in Toronto and Murale; for more info.