Tales of the skin

I have always been extremely particular about skin care. So much so in fact that the day I crawl into bed without having cleansed the face and applied a night cream, the spouse knows instantly that I am really and truly ill and deserve sympathy and a wide berth. It all started when I was getting into my teens, with my foreign returned aunt initiating me into the world of creams and lotions and potions and the application of. I was hooked. And given that she was so attractive in her prime, she was a good advertisement herself for the wonders of a good skin care regimen. In comparison, her sisters back in India, without access to the miraculous serums and lotions and creams she applied seemed to be double her age and totally rundown. I was a convert.

I would apply my moisturiser religiously every night, after having cleansed my face, I would wash my face whenever I returned home, and I never stepped out of the house without coating my face liberally with Lacto Calamine. In fact, I swore by Lacto Calamine. I still do. I use it like I use a sunscreen. It has always served me well. The relatives coming down from abroad indulged me, bringing down Nivea, Creme 21, Oil of Olay and Dove soap, all unaffordable for a teenager being brought up by a mother on a single salary. I hoarded them like gold and snapped at the mater if she dared even reach for one. Yes, I was an absolutely repulsively behaved teen.

I grew and my skin care routine got rushed. I no longer had the time to cream and indulge my skin. Occasionally I would slap on a home concocted face pack, and wash and clean the mug before dropping off into a tired stupor every night. I would apply a moisturiser, whatever I could lay my hands on, whether body lotion or baby lotion. I was democratic in my selection of whatever was available. But I stuck to my Lacto Calamine religiously, slapping it onto the mug every morning before stepping out. But the face had changed. The skin had changed. It used to be oily, so oily you could fry eggs on my face on a hot day. But now it was drying out. It was getting wrinkled. Patchy. There was uneven pigmentation. The area around the eyes had cobwebbed lines staying put everytime I smiled. The skin under the neck was getting crepe papered. I was growing old. And it was not a happy realisation.

I wondered if it was time to change the skin care regimen and include some new products. But I was hesitant to rock the boat.Then one day I walked into a departmental store and a Pond’s representative called out to me and proceeded to list out all the multiple reasons why my skin was horrible and reduced me to a blubbering mass of tears on the shopfloor, convincing me that I could never step out in public without a face mask and making me conscious that wherever I went people were pointing out to me as the woman with the yucky skin and hyuck hyucking behind my back. Of course, her sales strategy didnt work and I bought nothing from Pond’s and never will. Despite their age miracle ad which has the husband taking off candles from the birthday cake which is an aspirational moment for any woman of a certain age.

Then, bumped into a friend who was newly glowing. After ascertaining it wasn’t pregnancy hormones that was responsible for the glow, I snitched her new found skin care regimen. Sunscreen and Olay Total Effects she confessed. I was sceptical. Then another friend who I thought had genetically great skin confessed she was using it, and I was tempted. Then I got into a discussion on skin care on twitter and ended up being sent Olay Total Effects to try out. For the first time in 20 years I think, I’ve stopped the Lacto Calamine. It is my second week into the new product and the new regimen. I’m giving myself a month to check if it is working its miracle on me.  Right now, I’m pleased that it doesn’t leave my skin feeling like an oil factory when I apply it, which is what normally happened with regular moisturisers. Nor does it leave the skin feeling stretched and tight if I use it like a sunscreen which is what had started happening with Lacto Calamine. Whether it has made a difference or not, is too early for me to tell with my prejudiced gaze. Two weeks more and I will know. Till then I’m examining the skin with a magnifying mirror every morning. Will keep you posted if it works.

Have you changed your skin care regimen as you’ve grown older? Any tips to tackle pigmentation and wrinkles, do let me know. I’m sure as hell not planning to let them take over my face without putting up a stiff fight.



About Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective in 2011. Since then, she has published eight books across genres till date. Her books include romance and chicklit with Once Upon A Crush (2014), All Aboard (2015), Saving Maya (2017); horror with The Face at the Window (2016) and nonfiction with Karmic Kids (2015), A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up (2016) and True Love Stories (2017). Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey (2017) and Boo (2017). Her articles and columns have appeared in the Times of India, Tehelka, DNA, Yowoto, Shethepeople, New Woman, Femina, Verve, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Conde Nast Traveller, DB Post, The Telegraph, the Asian Age, iDiva, TheDailyO and more. She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. She is a TEDx speaker and a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017.
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35 Responses to Tales of the skin

  1. Phoenixritu says:

    The DIL swears by it …. but she has oily skin. Do keep us posted. I am so lazy, thank God and my parents for the good genetics. All I use is vaseline winter care in the winters and some moisturizer in the summers. But I am at an age I need to start with some kind of skin care. Let me know how it works


    • Kiran Manral says:

      Ritu: I will. I have oily skin too, or had, but very sensitive skin. I’m using the Total Effects for sensitive skin now, lets see. Touch wood, hope it works.


  2. BlueMist says:

    Well., I have heard lot of good feedback about olay total effects. I am not sure of trying it given that i have dry and sensitive skin. I got myself this nutri-organics day cream from body shop and quite happy with it so far.


  3. Ms. Tic says:


    Olay was the 1st brand i worked on at P&G 5 years ago. I had just moved to Singapore and become aware that there were options beyond using Pond’s cold cream in winter. Total Effects was one of the best products in our arsenal so I decided to give it a try.

    5 years down, I’m close to turning 30, but Olay has literally taken a year off my face with every birthday. I LOVE this product and am so glad you’ve experienced the same. DO tell us what happens a month from now. I’m curious to know if you have an experience similar to mine. 🙂


  4. Ms. Tic says:

    Oh btw, IF you’re looking for tips to tackle pigmentation, wrinkles etc, Olay has another product you’ll probably love even more. I’m not sure this is in India yet, but I’m happy to pick it up for you from Singapore the next time i visit Bombay. It’s called Olay Regenerist. Check it out when you have a chance.


    • Kiran Manral says:

      Ms Tic: Aww, that’s so kind of you. But am sure I will be able to find it somewhere in Mumbai. Alfa or New Beauty Centre or somewhere. Let me see if this Total Effects works. I really need this pigmentation to even out….


  5. sscribbles says:

    I have just started using Nutri-Organics cream from Body Shop and I love the way it just spreads on the skin without any oily blotch. Body Shop claim its for early ageing. have been using it for a week now, will keep you posted, if it works any wonders on my skin.


  6. BEV says:

    I use olay regenerist daily regenerating serum, started using it a few years ago and love it. No oil and skin glows…I highly recommend it. I buy stashes of it everey time I travel out, or get my sister to send it. Another great skin product is Boots No.7 AHA facecream


  7. Rachna says:

    Hi Kiran,

    This is really helful, I’ve been looking to try some myself but never knew where to start- since there are so many and I don’t know how to figure out the good from the bad.
    So the Olay Total Effects that you are using, is what? Cream, moisturiser, serum, eye treatment? Which are you using, so that I can also try the same.

    Thanks a lot!


  8. Rachna says:

    Also, I did not knwo you get B&B in India. Where?


    • Kiran Manral says:

      Rachna: I dont think you do, I have kind friends and relatives bringing me my stock whenever they come into town from abroad.


  9. Gigi says:

    I used to exfoliate my face with scrubs 2-3 times a week to prevent breakouts. Recently a beautician told me I don’t really have oily skin and it is better to have a dewy look as I grow older.
    So i’ve started using serum under moisturizer. I’ve also cut back on the exfoliation. Maybe besan is a gentler option.


  10. Indu says:

    Been a silent but faithful lurker . Bath n Body works can be found in shopping sites like 99labels .


  11. swathi says:

    Hi Kiran,

    I always thought that the creams you get in the US might tan you as you know they are so crazy about the tanned look. So I am trying to stay away from them, including the Olay’s family of creams that you get in the west. Do you think it is not true? Please let me know. Thanks Bunch!


    • Kiran Manral says:

      Swathi, no clue, but I dont think they might tan you. Doesnt make sense if they do. Dont they have specific creams for tanning?


  12. Alisha says:


    I too used to try Vaseline and other products but I have started using Olay after a Beauty counselor recommended it. I totally love Olay Total Effects too! I have been using it for about 6 months now – and just love it. Even I have very oily and sensitive skin so I use the Gentle variant they have. It makes my skin feel moisturized through out the day and just he right amount.
    I highly recommend it – spl for anyone who is looking for a good moisturizer that gives u glow.

    But do you get the Olay Eye cream in India yet? Do let me know if you get it – would love to get one. Ms Tic – Regenerist I heard is good but its expensive right?


  13. A says:

    You might want to try Mary Kay Ash, they have a product called timewise, for wrinkles. This product has both night & day creams. Know of someone who uses it and swears by it. The only problem is its not available in shops. They do the Amway kinda stuff. Their under eye cream is brilliant as well. I use it and believe me the dark circles so disappear.
    And if you find anything to kill the pigmentation let me know…


  14. chandni says:

    Well, you know that I am hardly interested in beauty products so to speak….but I have been using the Olay moisturizing lotion ( diff from total effects I think) for over 6 years now and I love it like anything. Be it summer or winter, that’s the only thing that touches my face and works like a charm!


  15. Rajita says:

    Very interesting and informative post :0 I have been the same..trying every new cream and cleaning my face.

    Touhcwood..skin is quite ok.though I cant attribute it to just one thing..it must be regular care over the years

    Startes using elizabeth arden’s prevage. seems good, just 10 days into it


  16. JLT says:

    I’ve been meaning to START a skincare regimen for ages now, but am too lazy…. I cleanse randomly, moisturise randomly, sunscreen randomly.. and my poor skin is starting to grumble at teh neglect.
    Olay Total Effects, you say? I can vouch for its effect on you- like I said, you looked RADIANT! in that pic of yours. So me gonna buy it too. Thanks.


  17. Ms. Tic says:

    Alisha – I can check with my colleagues in Olay coz I now work on Whisper, but Regenerist would be marginally more expensive than Olay Total Effects. I can check tomorrow at the pharmacy to be sure. Not sure if the Olay TE eye cream is in India, but it’s pretty good as well. I went for my 1st facial in 10 years in Sep 09 before my wedding and the woman was amazed at how not 30 my eye area looked. I’d never really thought about it until then!

    Chandni – The Olay pink lotion is different from Total Effects. TE was a later invention (2001/2002 I think) while the pink lotion has been around for donkey’s years. They’re both good, but I’ve heard RAVE reviews about TE, esp. here in Singapore.


  18. Ms. Tic says:

    Swati – to your question on tanning, no they don’t tan you. Tanning products are an altogether different category within skin care and probably don’t sell in Asian markets at all (the American tanning category is replaced by the Asian whitening products, alas)

    (Sorry to sound like such a know-it-all. Just that I worked on skin care for about 2 years and know a little bit about the science behind the products.)


    • swathi says:

      Hi Ms.Tic,

      thanks for answering. I live in the US. So, I was wondering about the Olay TE that we find here in the west. What do you think about that?


  19. nirupama says:

    Hi Kiran ,
    yes i am well aware of your so called love of potions and lotions and all things cosmetics. And here is a free synopsis for you of my visit with the dermatoligist here in London on issue of brown spots / pigmentations – the standard side effect of PCOS as you are well aware.
    Advice given to me was more than seeking application of cosmetic solution — it was better to totally avoid certain types of cosmetics — main one being the ones all cosmetics containing MICA or forms of Mica in them. Translated in my lay speak – all product containing sheens, of shimmery/ glitterly nature.
    Sunscreen an absolute must — on recommendation i’ve been using the Garnier Amber Solaire 30/50+ face protection anti aging sun creme (not moisterising sun lotion) In last 8-9 months spots on my face have totally cleared up! I only use this as it is also anti aging creme in combination with sunscreen. His advise was to keep it simple and stupid my care regime, hence i am quite a happy larry with just one creme regime for morn /night and under foundation.


  20. Alka says:

    Ah!! A post after my own heart!! 😀

    Total effects is good. So is their Regenerist brand.

    Have you tried Ponds gold radiance serum? I just started using it before bedtime and so far I like it.


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