January 30, 2015

Garnier Pure Active Neem Wash---Your Zit Kit!

Around a fortnight ago, I received a call from the 'Best Friend'. She was hysterical.
"Out of all the days in all the months in all the years, it has to happen now," she wailed.

"Relax Dimpy, Take a deep breath. Now exhale," I said.

There was silence at the other side.

"You can tell me now," I giggled, familiar with similar episodes in the past. The last time Dimpy had been so upset was when her favorite lipstick shade had sold out.

"No Pri. This time, the problem is really serious," she breathed. "Pushky's folks are coming to see me."

"Wow!!! But isn't that a great thing?" I was confused. My friend Dimple was in a long term relationship with the man of her dreams, Pushkar Solanki, and it was about time things moved to the next level. Dimpy would often tell me that Pushkar and she would even have heated arguments regarding the same issue. Coming from an orthodox family, Pushkar did not know how to spill the beans to his folks.
However, it seemed Pushkar had now not only told his folks about his long term relationship, but also managed to convince them to come and meet the girl. I was happy for my friend. It seemed to me like it would be a 'Jhat Mangni Pat Byah' scenario. But I still couldn't understand the reason for panic.

"It would be. But unfortunately, the timing is all wrong. It's 'Spotty' time," she cried.

Now for those of you who'd think Dimple might have been overreacting again, trust me, she was not!
'Spotty' is an old nick name which we had fondly coined for her back in our school days, Like all major events, Dimple had responded to it first with anger, then denial, then resistance and finally acceptance. The name had stuck on just like the breakout of pimples that would unfailingly appear few days before her periods that were as regular as clockwork. The spots on her face caused more concern than a positive pregnancy test, and we would often kid by calling it the unsafe period of social activity.

It was during these few days every month that Dimple would not make any kind of outdoor appearance. She would try and stay indoors as much as possible. She would shirk away from gatherings and functions, develop camera phobia, run away from meeting new people, and try all sorts of liniments and homemade concoctions on the crop of red pimples...all in vain. Hormonal assays had shown there was nothing wrong with her hormones. The irregular eruptions proved that the zits had a mind of their own, leading to Dimpy stressing and hiding whenever they made their appearance. Had we not known her that well, we would have labelled it as another case of 'menstrual exclusion'.

"Damn! When are they coming to meet you?" I asked, now feeling sorry for her.

"Right on time. I just can't believe my luck. Pushky says that have already booked their tickets. When I told him about it, he laughed and said it was okay. But you know it's not, Pri. It's so not. It is going to be my first impression with my to-be in-laws."

I understood what she was saying. This was an occasion she had been waiting for since ages. All these years, Dimple would have died for just one meeting to impress her in-laws with. I knew they would approve of her once they met her. All their anger would melt when they realized what a sweet person their only son had chosen to be their daughter-in-law. Dimple could charm her way into any one's heart. But right now, she lacked confidence. With so many years of bad experience with oily skin, there was no way my consolation would be effective, even if it meant I tried every single day for the next two weeks. Pushkar's angry parents would be here in a fortnight, around the same time as the mad break out..

"Chill Dimpy. We will come up with something," I tried in vain. I myself was unconvinced. Having been witness to Dimpy's breakout's in the past, I had been a partner to her woes of egg-white, honey, curd, lemon, apricots and all other sorts of face packs, that did nothing else but leave her smelling like a rotting fruit basket in a garbage can. She had even tried taking blood purifiers, but had given up because she could not stand their terrible taste.

That very evening we met up with a skin consultant friend who suggested different treatments for acne. While it was a good revision of my medical knowledge, I realized that a busy life and daily stresses had caused even me to neglect my skin. The only reason that I did not have these regular eruptions that Dimpy  experienced was because she had an excessively oily skin type to begin with. I did have whiteheads though, which were a type of acne, just not as obvious as the papular and pustular variant (thankfully).
'Dr Skin' (yes, we have nick names for every one) told us that it was quite common to experience a break out during menstrual cycles. She also told Dimpy that excessive stress causes worsening of acne (which Dimpy readily agreed with from past experience. I thought it was more cause for worry since the anticipation of meeting Pushkar's parents was only adding to her stress.) When asked about cosmetics, I also realized that Dimpy used an oil based foundation which isn't suitable for acne prone skin.
We discussed chemical peels, laser, Dermaroller for scars, and other therapies which normally cost the moon, and Dimpy was afraid she would have no money left for her wedding trousseau. Besides nothing was guaranteed. So we decided to give that a skip and stick to the basic and least harrowing.

On returning back, we stopped at my regular beauty store to pick up my usual Garnier skin natural sun control moisturizer and Fructis fortifying shampoo. That is when I noticed another product from my favorite range of beauty products...a face wash---Garnier PureActive Neem. Tube in hand, I searched for  Dimple and finally found her sulking at her reflection in the display mirror.

I took her aside and showed her the product I had in hand. It was a conveniently packaged flip-top tube from Garnier. On knowing it was an anti-acne face wash, I had immediately googled to see wonderful reviews.
Dimple was overjoyed on reading it contained real Neem Leaf and Tree Tea Oil extracts:

"Just what I need," she said pointing out to the mechanism of action at the back of the tube.

1) Fights germs: washes away problem causing bacteria to help prevent pimples.
2) Fights Pollution: deep cleans pores to remove impurities caused by pollution.
3) Removes excess Oil: it washes away excess oil which attracts dirt, germs and bacteria.

Having used Garnier products since a long time now, I trusted it enough to believe its effectiveness. Besides, we did not have anything to lose. Dimpy had tried all the home remedies and care routines in the past. But there had been no significant effect. Here was a face wash that promised to help us deal with the harmful stresses that pollution and a busy life have on our skin.  Reducing the excess oil would prevent the accumulation under the skin follicles, thus reducing eruptions. Also, our age old sciences vouch for the purifying effect of Neem. I recalled my Grandma boiling Neem leaves in my bath water every vacation spent at our ancestral house.
Besides using the face wash, I suggested that Dimple go on a detox diet. Dr Skin had adviced her to stay off oily food, as eating healthy was very important for skin care. Plenty of water was to be consumed.
"Oh yes, I am ready to starve as long as it works," she promised, her dramatic self again.

Dr Skin had warned us of the side effects the topical antibiotics and retinoids could have on the skin. Besides the cost factor of the laser and Dermaroller therapy, the topical skin products could leave redness,  skin rash, and some other serious side effects as well when used long term.
Dimpy had left the skin clinic, a little dejected. But on finding this Neem Face Wash, her chances to a clearer skin looked promising. Accompanying Dimpy to the skin clinic had also made me aware of the effects of environmental pollution had on my skin. So I billed an additional tube of the face wash for myself.

Since then Dimple has been following a cleansing and purifying routine. She has been following a healthy diet of fresh fruits and vegetables. She has switched over to makeup products that are not oil-based, even this she uses she uses occasionally, taking care to wash and dry the make-up sponge and brush clean after every application. She drinks around three to four litres of water every day and practices yoga to relieve stress. End result, the eruptions have been very few and far in between. Her skin has been showing significant changes.

I met her just a couple of days back, and she no longer seems nervous anymore. Pushkar's parents are going to arrive in a week's time, but I noticed that she is no more jittery about it. When asked about it, she told me she is going shopping for their visit. It was nice to see her glowing.

"Pri, I feel beautiful," she said. "I don't know if Pushkar's parents are going to approve of me or not. I don't even know if my face is ever going to be completely zit-free. But what I know for sure is that I feel great about myself...just like I felt when I first met Pushky." She let out a mischievous giggle.
Then taking out the face wash from her hand bag, she gushed,"This has become a must-carry now. I don't leave home without it."

"Yes, I can see the improvement," I grinned and hugged her good luck. I knew she would be busy the next few days now. Mr and Mrs Solanki were about to be floored by their soon-to-be daughter-in-law.

On returning home, I was smiling to myself thinking about Dimple. It was nice to see Dimpy being so stress free and confident again. I had hardly seen her like this before, except when around Pushkar. Somewhere I felt that we owed it to her, the return of her confidence. The jabs during school days, all in good humor, suddenly begun to seem crude. 'Dimple and her pimple' , 'Spotty' etc were plain inhuman even coming from friends.
'Beauty is only skin deep,' I could hear my grandma saying. But then why did she make me bathe in neem leaves every morning? Probably because she knew that the world does not see it that way. .
Perhaps because she was aware that even though beauty was only skin deep, a hurtful word could slash you deep within your heart and mar your self esteem forever.

I took out the Garnier PureActive Neem Wash from the cabinet. Standing in front of the washroom mirror, I flipped open its cover and squeezed a little on my palm, and inhaled it long and deep.

"So, this is what confidence smells like," I smiled and proceeded to gently massage it on my damp face, avoiding the eye contour area.

'Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder,' an inner voice reminded, making me smile again. As I rinsed thoroughly, I felt a strange tiredness slip away.

 I felt fresh...from within!

The post has been submitted as an entry for the 'Garnier Pure Active Neem' contest on Indiblogger 
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