“We Are All Things”: An ode to lost love 

"We Are All Things" by Elliot Colla. (Supplied)
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Updated 29 January 2020

 “We Are All Things”: An ode to lost love 

CHICAGO: In a room in Cairo, a man sits alone surrounded by items that fill his house. His relationship has just ended and, as he laments, he doesn’t realize that he isn’t the only witness to his latest tragedy. The objects in his house that he interacts with every day but pays little attention to, all watch on as the remnants of moments fade away from the room but remain imprinted in them. In “We Are All Things,” a graphic prose poem written by Elliott Colla and illustrated by Ganzeer, ordinary objects are brought to life with their own opinions, memories, and quirks.

The first image is of a black lamp with a pink shade which illuminates the room as it “soaks up the shapes and colors of the rest of the room and wears them as a funhouse reflection.” Colla’s words and Ganzeer’s pink and black illustrations jolt awake objects to tell their side of the tale.

Each object has a special personality, the bed that harbors not only humans but also the weevils that have eaten away the cotton in the pillows. A stereo that plays Umm Kulthum’s voice from a cassette tape, her pink figure in the middle of the page passionately singing of a longing that has repeated itself in the room countless times. The oldest object is a mirror, which not only sees things but keeps images and memories, making the room seem as if it is “full of ghostly reflections and optical echoes.”

Colla’s words ignite everyday objects, giving them spirited personalities, such as the clock that must endure “obscure comments” about itself, such as: “Time standing still. Time flying. A stitch in time,” while it holds time together with its “wires, coils, and levers.” Ganzeer’s illustrations capture the moments and objects so intricately in a charmingly unique atmosphere created by a collaboration that is peculiarly delightful.

Ganzeer and Colla push readers to think beyond existence to where secrets can be held by the objects in their lives in this remarkable chapbook. Molly Crabapple sums up the book perfectly in the introduction: “This is Elliott Colla and Ganzeer’s nostalgic ode to a lost love in a city that for the last two millennium has been the focus of every variety of love, longing, and loss.”


Expert advice for dealing with stressed-out skin

Updated 7 min 2 sec ago

Expert advice for dealing with stressed-out skin

DUBAI: If you felt like as soon as lockdown hit, your typically flawless complexion went haywire, you’re not alone. The effects of the current situation can affect more than just your mental health — it can also take a toll on your complexion. “Stress affects the skin in many ways,” said Dr. Constantin El-Habr, cosmetic dermatologist and FOREO brand partner, to Arab News. “Stress causes our body to produce more cortisol, the stress hormone, which can lead to several skin issues.” 

The increase of cortisol not only causes our body to produce more oil, which leads to breakouts, but it also increases inflammation. El-Habr explained, “Stress reduces our immune system causing inflammation to flare up. So if you already had a skin condition like psoriasis, eczema or dermatitis, it will get worse.” Furthermore, by causing inflammation in the dermis, stress directly affects the skin’s natural aging cycle, leading to premature wrinkle formation.

To deal with stress-related skin issues, the doctor suggests maintaining a healthy skin regimen by paring back our routines, thoroughly cleansing the dermis and exfoliating regularly. “Clean your skin diligently, followed by an adequate moisturizer for your skin type,” he said.

El-Habr also stressed (excuse the pun) the importance of regular exercise. “By staying active and sweating regularly, you are releasing toxins from your body and stimulating your blood circulation, which has the biggest effect not only on stress but also on your overall wellbeing,” he said. And don’t forget to incorporate a healthy diet into your daily life. “Drink plenty of water, limit your caffeine intake and eat a varied and seasonal diet of fruits and vegetables,” suggested the doctor. 

Here are more expert tips for dealing with stress-related skin concerns.

Breakouts

Acne and oily skin are the most common side effects of stress. “Breakouts are often the result of pollution and clogged pores, which have only one solution: A very good cleansing, toning and exfoliation treatment, morning and night,” expalined El-Habr, suggesting formulas with salicylic acid. “You can opt for a sonic brush, such as Foreo’s Luna 3, to blast away any dirt or makeup residue,” he added.

Dryness

According to El-Habr, “dry skin can lose its glow and look wrinkled.” Those who have dry skin should look for products with AHA and retinol to soften fine lines and boost collagen. Just don’t forget to apply sunscreen when using these products as they can make the dermis more sensitive to the sun. 

Supplied.

Redness

Those who have irritated, sensitive and flushed skin need to be gentle with their dermis. The doctor suggests paring the skincare routine way back and sticking to natural and soothing products like niacinamide and squalene.  He also swears by the FOREO UFO 2 facial treatment, which offers a Cryo-Therapy option. “It’s heaven for irritated skin,” he proclaimed.

Dullness

Should your skin need a little boost, El-Habr suggests reaching for a vitamin C-infused serum followed by a hyaluronic acid moisturizer. “Apply a hydrating mask at least twice a week,” he said.