I'm a fan of the exfoliant - mechanical or chemical - and have a list of firm favourites I return to 2-3 times a week. There's the Vit C System from Agera and the Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Gel Mask (both mentioned in other posts too) plus Korner Sparkle Brightly Renewal Mask which is a skin staple.
Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant is extremely good at creating an even surface and instant brightening boost, but DO NOT buy into the DAILY part. When used every morning (as recommended) my skin started to feel a little wind-whipped and thin around the cheeks, nose and chin. Save it for special occasions - although, I've also noticed that if I've used it in the morning, I'm more prone to a shiny t-zone throughout the day.
Then, last week I found myself at Energy Bodies, atop John Tsagaris' Treatment Bed, having 80 fine acupuncture needles placed in my face in a bid to fade pigmentation marks, even out pores and address the hormonal blips I'm prone to in the week prior to my period. There were a lot of pluses on the day, not least that he's intuitive, nurturing, kind and puts you at ease. On the down side, he is rather a bit too keen on talking about himself and sharing the miracles he's worked on other clients. He is 40 years old and looks good on it, but is not the boy-child other beauty editors would have you believe he is: he has strong, smooth skin, but it is far from flawless. Nor is the treatment painless (which appears to be the experience most reviewers have had at his hands) - there were at least 5 yelps as needles went into sore spots (when pressed through old scar tissue it really stung), but for the most part it was bearable. In fact, for me, the worst bit was the perfunctory cleanse (with a 2-in-1 cleanser/toner cloth) and speedy slap of moisturiser post-treatment. When he showed me my treated face in a mirror, in bright daylight, I could have cried. My skin was flushed and flaky and all I wanted to do was run home, give my complexion a loving cleanse + steam, chased with a generous massage with ESPA's Balancing Face Treatment Oil (I have been using it morning & night for 6 weeks & it's RIP oily t-zone! Hooray!).
But, the next day, the most bizarre thing. The old forehead patches that marked faded spots had almost disappeared, a looming blemish on my chin had bitten the dust and my brows seemed raised, eyes wider and brighter, and cheeks more chiselled. It was not a 'wow, have you just come back from holiday' style change, more of a subtle 'salad for lunch' shift... for which I was thankful, and retrospectively impressed.
Oh, and there is another thing I ought to thank Mr Tsagaris for: his recommendation of Origin's Modern Friction. You see, while working on my face he felt that my skin was slightly sensitized and asked if I used a scrub that contained Salicylic Acid. I nodded - that morning, I had used Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant. He suggested I try this instead. A call to the lovely PR later and I'm four uses in. I've noticed that 1) less is more - I've had better results from thin layers (which emulsify nicely when water is added as directed) than thick layers which over-scrubbed certain areas; 2) it's great before a moisturising mask (I have just discovered Nude Intense Moisture Mask - very very good at getting rid of dehydration lines on the forehead) and 3) it did not irritate my skin even the least bit.
So, though I may not return to Energy Bodies for another sticking (or getting stuck with a plus-£100-a-pop bill), I'm more than happy to stick to a regular installment of Modern Friction.
10 hours ago