Reparing Sun Damage: My Latest Skin Pics and Routine Update

It’s been a while since I did an update on my current skincare routine, so I thought I’d regale you all with a ramble and some photos of how my skin care quest is going.

For those of you who missed the backstory, in May of last year I was washing my face one morning, and when I finished I looked up into the mirror to find that my face was still looking down. Confronting times! The Australian sun had finally wrought its damage on my skin: sunspots, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, loss of facial volume, the lot. This is what you get when you go for years without wearing sunscreen.

Fed up with skincare products that were expensive and not particularly potent, I started to educate myself about proper skin maintenance and care, and it was at that point that I started to DIY my own serums and products.  To understand my journey in more detail, you can find my previous skin pics by clicking on the ‘skin pics’ tag at the bottom of this post.

So nine months on and in the height of an Australian summer, here are some photos to illustrate how I’m going so far.

Previously, I haven’t used full face shots like the ones below to describe my journey because I’ve found that they didn’t show enough detail. However, I’ve included some this time because I think they help to show the diffence in my facial volume. This photo was taken in May 2011:

This photo was taken yesterday:

Everything appears lifted. My brows are higher, I don’t have so much slackness around the jawline, my forehead looks firmer, and my whole face looks more sculpted.

Below is a photo of me smiling back in May 2011. Guess which side received all the sundamage whilst I was driving around for years without sunscreen. Yup, the left. Can you see how it scrunches up more that the right side when I smile? Not pretty:

The photo below was taken yesterday. You can see how my left side still scrunches up more than the right when I smile, but the effect is much less obvious than it was. I’m very happy about this.

Here we have a closeup of my eye (on the ‘sundamaged side’) in May 2011:

And below is a photo of the same area I took yesterday. Note the lessening of hyperpigmentation, the lift of the eyelid, the reduction of the nasolabial fold, and the refinement of the texture of my skin:

Below is a photo I took last October, a few months before I started incorporating facial exercises into my routine. You can see that the skin is in quite good condition, but the nasolabial folds are quite pronounced due to residual sun damage and genetics:

Here is a photo I took yesterday of my nasolabial folds. The are still present, but are significantly reduced. The facial exercise programme I’ve been doing has made a huge impact on this area. The nasolabial folds are still present, but much better:

The picture below was taken in May 2011, and I’ve included it because it helps to illustrate  what facial exercises and good skincare have been able to do for my hooded eyelids. Observe:

In contrast, the photo below was taken yesterday. Oh eyelids, how I missed you! There is so much more vibrancy and energy to my face! You can see here that the brow in the photo below is much higher than the photo above. Other facial exercises have also given me more fullness in the cheek, forehead, and mouth area. Love it:

Here we come to the more difficult stuff.

The photo below was taken last October. Again, note that my skin  is in reasonably good condition, but when I smile my lack of facial volume is immediately apparent. Rather than walk around looking like Posh for the rest of my life, I’ve been hoping that facial exercises will help to address this problem too:

And they have! Yay! there are still wrinkles present when I smile, but I’m a lot more comfortable with the way they look now:

Lastly, I wanted to smile and take a photo of the resulting wrinkles on each side of my face. This is my ‘driving side’ when I smile:

And this is my ‘non-driving side’. See the difference? I’d love for all the skin on my face to be like this. Learn from my mistakes people! Wear a zinc oxide sunscreen every day!

So what does all this mean in terms of makeup application?

Well, these days I don’t apply much. I used to apply full coverage foundations as a matter of course, but these days I skip the base. In the photo below I just have some concealer on under my eyes (I love you Ellis Faas concealer) but sometimes I don’t even bother with that. Eye makeup continues to be a must though (as you can see from the photos above) and I’ve been wearing eyeshadow, gel eyeliner, and lashings of mascara as usual.  Cheeks are usually just a little bronzer or blush, or perhaps both.

I’m really enjoying the extra size to my eyes, and my new-found eyelids! Makeup just looks so much better now, and my brows do a much better job of framing my whole face.

Here is my current routine:



-FlexEffect facial exercises (see the website here)

– Cleanser: ‘Easy Rinse’ Oil Cleansing Method using DIY cleanser with whatever oil I’m liking at the moment, Castor Oil, and Polysorbate 80. Applied with Tanaka Massage. (tutorial here)

– DIY MAP 10% Vitamin C serum

– DIY moisturiser with hyaluronic acid, macadamia nut oil, sea emollient, CoQ10, and Grape Seed Extract. Base recipe is here, but I changed a few things around for my version.

– DIY 20% Zinc Oxide Sunscreen (tutorial here)



– Cleanser: ‘Easy Rinse’ Oil Cleansing Method using DIY cleanser with whatever oil I’m liking at the moment, Castor Oil, and Polysorbate 80. Applied with Tanaka Massage. Removes makeup and whatever else I slapped on my face that day.

– Retin A 0.05% applied to face, neck, and chest.

– Kinetin/ NAG/ Niacinamide serum (tutorial here) OR Idebenone/ NAG/ Niacinamide serum (I haven’t done a tutorial on this, but visit Jen’s blog to see her excellent tutorial)

– DIY moisturiser


– Cleanser: ‘Easy Rinse’ Oil Cleansing Method using DIY cleanser with whatever oil I’m liking at the moment, Castor Oil, and Polysorbate 80. Applied with Tanaka Massage. Removes makeup and whatever else I slapped on my face that day.

– Kinetin/ NAG/ Niacinamide serum OR Idebenone/ NAG/ Niacinamide

– DIY moisturiser

– Occasional exfoliation: Microfibre or Muslin cloth

– Lip Balm: Lanolips 101 Ointment

I also sleep on my back, rather than my side, every night (supported by a pillow under my knees) to avoid creasing on my face.


Moreover, I’ve also been applying my serums and moisturisers (except Retin A) to my hands, which are notoriously difficult to keep pretty:

My hands also suffered from years of sundamage, and along with applying all my facial skincare to my hands, I wear gloves every time I drive to protect them. I wash my hands so much that sunscreen would be quite ineffectual, so gloves keep my hands sun free.

By the way, the polish is OPI Dulce de Leche, thanks to Angela. Isn’t it great? Thanks Angela!

My approach to skincare can be boiled down to three points:

1. DIY, potent actives, and a zinc oxide sunscreen every day;

2. Facial exercise to help address a loss of facial volume as I age;

3. Proper diet and exercise (details on that here)

The serums and skincare I make have gone a long way to promoting collagen production and improving the look of my skin, but years of sundamage had left my face looking a bit slack. I’ve only been doing the full FlexEffect programme for a week (a week!) and I’m already seeing amazing results: more fullness in the cheeks and forehead, the return of my eyelids, a brow lift, more neck firmness, sharper jawline, and significantly reduced nasolabial folds. Bear in mind that it does take about half an hour each day, but for me the results are worth it.

If you are interested in facial exercises but don’t want to pay for a full system, there are many on YouTube that you can try to see if it’s the right thing for you.

Oh yes, and do try out some DIY skincare. It’s easy to put together, very potent, and cheap as chips 🙂


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74 Responses to Reparing Sun Damage: My Latest Skin Pics and Routine Update

  1. Renee says:


    Just wondering if you use the ‘Easy Rinse’ Oil Cleansing Method using DIY cleanser to remove your makeup and cleanse at the same time. Or do you remove your makeup and then use the oil cleansing method?


  2. Lucie says:

    Thank you so much for this! Seriously inspiring and informative.
    Also as am sat here with burnt skin reminding me to wear sunscreen!

  3. Taylee says:

    Hi! I was just writing to ask you about the scale you bought from SEA ^^ Is it easy to calibrate? And did you have to get additional calibration weights to use (other than the one that came with it?)

    Thank you so much! Sorry for all my questions xD

  4. Sabrina says:

    This is amazing! I had no idea anything like facial exercises existed, so interested in trying out your DIY Sun protection creams too! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  5. Dempeaux says:

    @Sabrina Thankyou!! I’m going to try and post my new sunscreen recipe today – stay tuned! 🙂

  6. Dempeaux says:

    @Taylee Oh yes! Just take it out of the box and it’s ready to go, no adjustments necessary! 🙂

  7. Dempeaux says:

    @Lucie I’m so glad! Learn from my mistakes! 😉

  8. Dempeaux says:

    @Renee Yes! Removes makeup and cleanses at the same time 🙂

  9. Dempeaux says:

    @Kelly I just got a cheap, small blender at KMart, but it has since been discontinued. There are lots around though 🙂

  10. Dempeaux says:

    @MP I am not a professional, nor am I selling products. My photos merely aim to give you a general idea of the improvements I’ve seen. If you would like to try these suggestions for yourself, that is up to you.

  11. Dempeaux says:

    @Joan Actually, yes, I have seen improvement with forehead lines! 🙂

  12. Dempeaux says:

    @Anita Thankyou! I’ve tried to order ingredients from Australian companies, but they’ve all ended in disappointing experiences 🙁 I would gow tih SEA 🙂

  13. jenny says:

    love all this info…thank you!
    just wondering if you still do the tanaka massage..?

  14. Dempeaux says:

    @Jenny No problem! And yes! Twice a day when I cleanse 🙂

  15. jenny says:

    you look great….
    my concern is nasal lines and wanting more plumped up facial volume.
    I only want to do Tanaka….do you think you got most of these results from Tanaka
    or Flex program.?
    sorry…! I know you are not a doctor…! But hoping to get your thoughts…
    I can really notice your cheek volume! fantastic!

  16. Dempeaux says:

    @Jenny The results I’ve noticed from Tanaka massage are subtle but noticeable. Flex Effect helps too. I would strongly suggest doing some DIY (even if it’s just a Vit C, Kinetin serum, and sunscreen) as a means of achieving more facial volume. It won’t get rid of NL folds completely, but will make a big difference and will really improve facial volume (which is one of my main concerns, and the best way of dealing with NL folds). I’m also thinking of starting some dermarolling in the new year as a means of achieving more facial volume and further dealing with those pesky NL folds 🙂

  17. jenny says:

    perfect, thank you!

  18. Sophie says:

    Hi! When you did FlexEffect, did you use the resistance gadget? Do you still do the program, and are you liking the results? Thanks!

  19. Dempeaux says:

    @Sophie I didn’t, I just used my fingers 🙂 I’m actually not doing the programme at the moment (still recovering post-PhD!) but I’m hoping to get back into it (along with regular exercise) before too long 🙂 The results were great!!

  20. Sophie says:

    Thanks! I would never in a million years have thought I would consider facial exercise, but every time I see a picture in your blog, I tell myself, “I need to do [exactly] what she’s doing!” You look wonderful.

  21. Dempeaux says:

    @Sophie Thankyou! Gosh, you are so kind! 🙂

  22. Pingback: Tanaka Face Massage: Zogan way | Songs to Download

  23. Joy says:

    Hi. I came across your blog while looking up flexeffect and tanaka. I’m wondering if you use any cream when doing the flexeffect since it feels to me like it’d be pretty harsh on the skin pulling and stretching without any massage cream applied..or is it meant to be that way? I tried googling this and didn’t really find any answer so I’m wondering what you did. Thanks!

  24. Maria says:

    Hello!!! I really appreciate all the details involved in your post and specially all the pictures uploaded. The results you’ve achieved are impressive. It really hard to find on the net testimonials like you, open to share their experiencies while face exercising. So a big big thank you, because you’ ve definitely encouraged me to restart again, fearless my face exercises. Impressed by your results, I want to give it a try, once again.I quited some time ago because I was not really sure wether they were worsening my nasolabial folds or not, and even noticed my face looked a bit more gaunted than before. I think what happened to me is that exercising just the areas of concern lead me to an unbalanced face, because some muscles have developed more than others. Fortunately, i stopped after a month. The exercises on my eyes worked wonderfully well. But, in my lower face, i would like to gain the lost volume and reduce my NL folds. I would like to try a different approach, that is Flex Effect. But before buying it, I would like to ask you something: For your cheek hollows and NL folds, have you followed the specific exercises from Flex Effect for these areas? Or have you done the whole program for the entire face? I think the routine is about 40-50 minuts a day. What would you recomend me? Thanks again and congratulations for your achievements!

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