After months of neglect, my back was nothing I wanted to flaunt in public. As tempted as I was to write this trend off and simply admit defeat, I decided to see how much I could improve it in just 24 hours.
First step – call in the professionals.
I feared I was the only one who had been turning my back on my long-suffering back, but I quickly discovered I wasn't alone. Shula Starkey, founder of ARK Age Aware Skincare, admitted to me, "Women do tend to overlook their backs as part of their beauty regime. But skin is skin wherever it is, so it is vital to keep those hard-to-reach bits well looked after.
"My three secret weapons are body brushing in the morning and at night to give you an even skin tone and get rid of the winter layer of skin, investing in a good body wash that doesn't strip moisture and a nourishing lotion.
"Back masks are a great idea, but it would be very difficult to do by yourself so I recommend having it done at a salon. Unsurprisingly, I'm a fan of the ARK Back SkinResponse Facial, £60."
Unless you're blessed with superhuman shoulders, inaccessibility is a big problem for at-home exfoliating too. Fortunately, tanning range Au Courant has come up with an ultra-simple solution so useful it's hard to believe no-one else has thought of it: the Sponge on a Stick, £3.
With only 24 hours to make a wardrobe-expanding difference, I decided the best strategy was to go big on products. Today was not a day to stick with my old faithful favourites. After the initial brush I blitzed my way through a mind whirling number of back improving goodies starting with Perricone MD Cleansing Treatment Bar, £33 which contains glycolic acid and pure olive oil to target redness, blemishes and pigmentation without stripping away all the moisture.
Next I upped the ante a bit more with Molton Brown Warming Eucalyptus & Ginger body scrub, £28. There's lavish amounts of eucalyptus oil mixed into the sea salt, and after splashing it around the shower, my skin felt glowing and properly moisturised.
As the area that sees the sun the most, I followed up the scrub by giving my shoulders an extra anti-ageing helping hand with Ikove Acai Chocolate Body Polish £13.23.
As with a facial, the next step was an intensive mask. Sanctuary Spa Essentials Warming Detox Body Mask, £6.99, contains purifying Dead Sea minerals and heats up on contact with your skin, which is blissfully soothing.
Cleaned, scrubbed and detoxed within an inch of my life, it was time for some intensive moisturiser. Caudalie Nourishing Body Lotion, £18, contains anti-ageing grapeseed polyphenols plus circulation-boosting gingko biloba to leave skin more luminous, although for a cheaper everyday option, my personal favourite is Jergens Naturals Total Nourishment Body Moisturiser with Acai Berry, £4.99.
Pummelled into some kind of presentable shape, I still wasn't convinced this was the best I could do, so I handed myself over to the trained digits of a professional for a Crystal Clear Backshine Treatment, from £35. The microdermabrasion-based therapy makes short work of pigmentation and spots, without any of the rough scrubbing - and subsequent red, sore skin - you might expect.
I wouldn't go partying with a bare face, so before going backless I checked out a few more products to improve on nature. M.A.C's Face and Body Foundation, £23, comes in over 10 moisturising shades and is sheer enough to look natural while still covering blemishes and evening out the skin.
The foundation left me looking even but a little flat so dressed up my shoulder blades with Lacura Shimmering Day Cream, £1.99.
Last, but certainly not least, a bit of sparkle. To avoid looking like a 90s raver, steer clear of products with actual chunky glitter in favour of one that offers a soft shimmer. Try Lunar Dust, £30, from celebrity favourite Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics.
After packing what felt like a lifetime's work of back care into 24 hours I felt brave enough to bare this season's must-show body part. Now, if only I could work out how not to freeze to death!
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