Pick up a magazine, turn on the television, click on your computer and sure enough, they’ll be the latest and greatest news about skin care, complete with a long list of dos and don’ts.
For me, the list has always seemed ridiculous. If you followed all of the rules and latest finidngs, it would take an hour’s worth of preparation just to go outside and check the mail, let alone get your children ready to head to the park.
“Bah,” I would say, the Ebenezer Scrooge of sunblock. And normally, the stress of trying to be a good mommy would force me to squirt down my kids a little, leaving me too tired to apply even the slightest bit on myself. I would simply take the leftovers that had accumulated between my fingers and rub it on the top of my ears.
“I don’t burn, I TAN.” Somehow, that made it all better.
And somehow, things were better. And they remained better until a couple of weeks ago when I finally cashed in a Christmas gift for a facial.
I’m not typically the person who dotes over skin care. Makeup, schmakeup. Lotions and creams are for old ladies…right?
I’m laying there in the chair and the facial lady is looking at my skin with a magnifying glass and strange lighting, she points out the group of poison ivy scars I have down the left side of my face. She points out the freckles, the spots, and the remnants of my adolescent years.
Feeling that we’ve bonded over my face, I ask my question. “I’m turning thirty this month and seeing as this is an extremely large number, when should I start using anti-aging stuff? I don’t want to wake up one morning and see that I’ve aged and say ‘whoops. I look old and it’s too late’.”
I fully expected her to tell me that I shouldn’t worry, that my skin looked great (despite the poison ivy scars), and that anti-aging creams were for old people, like those people who were at least 35.
Instead she said, “oh, you should probably start using them now.”
WHAT?!?! You’re kidding, right? I’m still 29! I’m desperately trying to hang on to what little shred of youth I have left, trying to fight off every urge to celebrate my birthday and buy a minivan, and she tells me, right to my apparently aging face, that I should start using eye cream on a daily basis.
I am devastated. I am crushed. Gone are the days of my youth, when I could rub my eyes in the morning and do Pee Wee Herman impressions with Scotch tape at night. Gone are the days of making funny faces in the mirror when my mother told me my face would stay that way because NOW I KNOW IT WILL.
My mind flashes images of my grandmother’s bathroom, with her counter full of Oil of Olay products and her Avon bath soap and instead of her standing in the bathroom, it is me. Crows feet and laugh lines, and nothing is very funny.
Once the shock had settled, I asked for directions on how to take a proactive approach to not looking like the little old lady who had a face like a shoe.
She told me to use lotion, lotion, and more lotion. Moisturizing lotion. Eye lotion. And most importantly, sunblock lotion. I left her with the energy to go home and start the lotion process that seemed it would take over my bathroom and my life.
And since that fateful day, I have been applying and reapplying. My children are now thoroughly rubbed down before they head out into the sun, and when they ask why it takes mommy so long to put on their sunblock, I tell them the honest truth.
“Sweetie, I want your skin to be healthy and radiant. And hopefully, you won’t have to feel old until you’re at least 35. Now stand still and stop making funny faces…”