I always imagined that zits would fade by the time I was old enough to value (and afford) matching underwear. Not so. In fact, they can get worse under the hormonal onslaught of peri-menapause. And Clearasil just won't hack it. On the contrary, oiliness stopped being a problem years ago. Most zit treatments dry out the skin and that's the last thing you want when you are trying to look dewily youthful. So what to do?

I really like the acne zapping products in the Murad range. I don't have acne but, in my experience, you have to reach for the strong stuff. The great thing about Murad is that the range is mostly aimed at aging skin and that means the products do not contain Benzoyle Peroxide, the dehydrating agent in most acne treatments. There is even a product called Anti-Aging Acne Treatment and I have found this extremely effective. I also like the Skin Perfecting Lotion.

While we are on the subject of spots, I am prone to outbreaks on my back and cleavage - the result, says my dermo, of exercising a lot and clogging up pores with sweat. Murad has two products that I have been using for years and find really help: the Acne Body Wash, which I use every second shower and the Clarifying Body Spray for after shower (the bottle is cleaverly designed so that you can spray your back without having practiced yoga for the last 20 years).

The active ingredients are retinol (see earlier post) and salicylic acid, which is a beta hydroxy acid that sloughs off skin and prevents pores from clogging (also used to combat dandruff).