Christa D'Souza finally sees results from the Obagi Nu-Derm skin system, proving that beauty really does hurt

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Well, PHEW. Crisis over. The burn victim is no longer a burn victim. I don’t feel I have to go out with a bag over my head anymore and my mouth doesn’t crack every time I try to open it.

I guess there are some of us out there who have to go through that baptism of fire with the Obagi Nu-Derm system . In fact, I managed to find myself an Obagi buddy. They’re out there you know. Others who have been through the process themselves and can, as it were, hold your cyber hand throughout.

As per Vicki’s advice I have pulled way back on the Tretinoin (Retin-A) at night and I’ve cut out the toner (too astringent for my surprisingly sensitive skin). By week four, yes, there is still a little peeling, but I am not shedding the way our pet python does anymore by any stretch; and my goodness does barrier cream plus Lycoderm - that medicated foundation which Vicki gave me for my last emergency - do wonders. Time wears on and every day I can feel those little fine lines and age spots disappearing, my thus far rather patchworky skin tone gradually evening out.

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And then one day, it might be the 27th day, I wake up and OH MY GIDDY AUNT. I’m so smooth I feel like a  boiled egg! As a friend tells me at dinner that night, I looked positively foetal compared to the way I’d done only a week previously. Of course now I’m beginning to feel like a bit of a hypo. Poor Vicky and her lovely assistant Lucy must have rather dreaded my barrage of emails and phonecalls.

The fundamental question now, though, is will I be able to keep this up? On a long weekend to Mykonos, I can’t bear having to walk around town in a hat, glasses and scarf Joan Collins-style.  And it’s a bore having to put on factor 50 even when it’s bloody snowing outside.

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Another small but crucial thing. My freckles. The one thing I categorically like about myself. They have gone. Not to worry though, says Vicki. This is only week five. I’m to back off on the hydroquinine  (the lightening stuff) and come in next week.

Was it worth it? If you’d asked me two weeks ago I would have probably said no. Now I’m wondering why everyone doesn’t do it. I do want those freckles back, though.  No point in having a boiled egg face if the rest of one is the colour and texture of a Merguez sausage, after all. But I have tremendous faith in  Vicki. I think I’ll take in a recent picture of Gwyneth; one of the ones that have been circulating to promote her new non-gluten book. That’s sort of the look I’m aiming for, not so much Joan.