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Oops - Exfoliate, exfoliate! You should pick up something inexpensive in Boots. I use the dermalogica daily microexfoliant which while a bit pricey initially lasts for ever and is a very gentle yet effective exfoliater.
I'm the same age as you and understand where you're comign from - I'm starting a course of glycolic peels next week which hopefully will transform my dull skin also!
LOL - exfoliate gently and then moisturise - its very effective and wont tear your skin or anything. You can get very gentle exfoliation scrubs, Boots will have a good selection. I think someone on another thread here suggested one of the Boots Soap and Glory range? Again not too pricey.
There are some beauty therapists/experts who post regularly on MN so hopefully one of them will come to your aid also with more advice!
Well, another top tip to moisturise the body is to add baby oil to your bath, so as you get out you have a lovely coating of oil that you can just rub in as your dry yourself. Supermarket brand is fine and you save money on body lotion.
I think the easiest way to exfoliate is to use a muslin/flannel with whatever your cleanser is - v. gentle and no extra cost! I am a Liz Earle nut and am obsessed with her Cleanse and Polish, toner and moisturiser - C&P comes with muslins so I tend to use those rather than flannels as they're slightly less rough and I have quite sensitive skin.
Oil and salt (instead of sugar so it's finer) is great for your body - if you ever get those annoying little bumps on your upper arms (which I do and I hate) then rubbing that mixture on damp skin for a few mins before rinsing in the shower makes a huge difference.
You can also use oil as your facial cleanser - almond is great but it could really even be olive (though you might smell a bit salady!). It won't make you oily despite what you'd think, and actually is great at encouraging your skin to produce exactly the right amount of sebum, where strong cleansers can strip natural oil from your skin, encouraging it to over-produce oil to make up for it, resulting in spots. Just massage in a few drops and then rinse off with a flannel/muslin/cotton wool. Doesn't work for eye make up though!
My face also tends to get a bit dry and blotchy in winter, especially when I spend time in places with central heating. By far the best (and definitely the cheapest) treatment I have found is Vaseline, smeared on my face before bed. Be liberal- it feels like it's too greasy but it sinks right in overnight and really improves the look of the skin. A litte tub lasts forever, too.
I have v dry skin and use oil on my face at night. Clarins Huile Santal is my fave (pricey but my mum got me some for xmas - yay!) but when I don't have the cash I use the facial oil by The Sanctuary (from Boots) or good old Bio Oil. Using it at night means it has time to absorb and you don't have to worry about being shiny. You wake up soft as a baby's proverbials ...