#16: Prevent wrinkles
I took a trip to Target today for the usual Target-y stuff: laundry detergent, a bed skirt, shampoo, a sweater dress, Archer Farms fancy organic junk food (can you say “lemon cookie straws” or “peanut butter dipped peanut butter bites”?) and, of course, an overpriced candle that smells like fall. I was trying my best to stick to my list but was doing a fairly poor job of it (hence the aforementioned dress, junk food, and candle). And then things took a turn for the worse: I reached the skin care aisle.
I say “aisle” but it was really three (more if you count the aisles that mix makeup with lotions, toners, and other concoctions). One whole aisle was made up of soap and other cleansers . . . for your face. The body washes are a few aisles down, across from the body lotions. No, I was in the face wash vortex. And across from it? The eye cream, wrinkle remover, acne fighting lotion black hole. If you’ve ever waltzed into such a place without a favorite brand and product in mind you know what happened next: I spent 30 minutes picking up tubes and jars and little spray bottles trying to figure out the difference between “Restore & Renew Beauty Serum” and “Time Resist Day Cream,” or what set apart “Olay Regenerist Deep Hydration Regenerating Cream” from “Olay Definity Corrective Protective Lotion” besides $6 (yes, they were $17 and $23, respectively . . . for 1.7 oz of goo)!
Now, I had great skin once. You know, up until I was about . . . 10. I was lucky enough to launch into puberty at an embarrassingly young age and the blemishes of adolescence came with it. A friend of mine who also has “trouble skin” jokes that she and I are old enough for anti-aging face wash but not mature enough to stop with the anti-acne products. I’ve been reading women’s “health” magazines (a la Prevention, Shape, Health, Self, Fitness) long enough to have seen several feature articles on “beautiful skin at any age.” Each one of them had a list of “must do”s for women in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and so on. But now that I needed it, here at the beauty product mecca, none of the advice was coming to mind besides drinking water and wearing sunblock. So, did I find the fountain of blemish-less youth in the Hyattsville Target?
After sorting through countless citrus-colored packages and marketing promises, I settled on a few items:
- Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser (recommended by my dermatologist);
- Aveno Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15 (I used this once after a nasty New Mexico sunburn and it really does what is says);
- Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Wash (an old standby);
- Garnier Nutritioniste Nutri-Pure Microbead Cream Scrub Oil-Free with Vitamin E and Green Leaf Extract (I like to use scrubby, exfoliating stuff in the shower; plus, who can resist a soap with a name so long??);
- and a new experiment for my nearly 30 face, Neutrogena Ageless Restoratives Energy Renewal Eye Cream.
I don’t even want to tell you how much washing and moisturizing my face is costing me. . . and this was all purchased at a “discount retail chain.” Can you imagine what I might have dropped in a department store?
When I got home I put my newly purchased products away, shelving them next to my whitening toothpastes, protective leave-in hair conditioning spray, shea butter foot cream . . . and all of it together just made me feel exhausted. All that energy spent renewing, revitalizing, clarifying, smoothing, brightening!
A thought came to me as I stood in front of the jam-packed medicine cabinet. It was a memory of a conversation I had with my mother years ago, when I was a mopey and pimpled teen envying my mother’s blemish-less, wrinkle-free, supple skin. I asked her what she used to care for her face.
Growing up I always used Palmolive.
You mean to tell me you used dishwashing detergent on your face and it ended up looking like that?!?
It turns out that what she used was, in fact, Palmolive but that the particular formula wasn’t the same harsh, green soap we use now to soak our lasagna pans. Still, who knows what the stuff was made of at that time? This was the same company that launched Ajaz in 1947! It doesn’t matter what the ingredients were, though. I realized even then, as a clueless teenager, that I would never have my mother’s complexion. But then again, I wasn’t going to stop trying.
Lesson learned: (In the words of Douglas MacArthur) “Years wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.”