Monday, January 30, 2012

beauty is deeper than skin

I am a woman who doesn't spend a lot of time on skin care. You would think that at my age I would be interested in preserving what bit of youth still lingers around the edges of my face. A face that is beginning to resemble a paper bag that's been folded one too many times.

Most of the time I can't be bothered. I don't even use any kind of cleansing cream. Usually I just shampoo my face in the shower while I wash my hair.

But yesterday I was in a mood. Usually that type of mood means I end up "adjusting" my haircut. Yesterday I decided that I was going to give myself a facial instead.

Just because I don't use them doesn't mean I don't collect beauty products. I have quite a nice little collection of face goops which have promised me over the years to:

1 erase lines
2 tighten skin like a facelift
3 shrink pores
4 peel away dead skin and erase 10 years
5 brighten skin
6 make skin soft as a baby's butt

(I never could figure out what #5 meant, but I envisioned my face lighting my way to the bathroom at night like a lightbulb.)

I lined up my selection. That was when I made my first mistake. I decided that if one product worked well, then using three would just triple the benefits.

I started with a facial peel. This was a tube of goop that smelled like Elmer's school glue, and felt like it as I smeared it on. I didn't bother reading the directions. I mean, you just smear this stuff on, let it dry, and peel it off. Easy peasy.

Easy peasy if I had read the directions that is. (Mistake two.) The directions that clearly stated not to use it around the eyes or hairline. The eyebrows are part of the eye, and are hair. I discovered my mistake when I tried to peel it off and ended up almost brow less with bald spots in my eyebrows. I also managed to pull out some of the hair on my head, where I had smeared the goop too close. Just what I needed. A higher forehead on a face that already looked like a space alien.

I should have quit, but I have the stubbornness born of my genetic ties to my mother, and after the screams died (mine) and the laughs died (Stevie Wonder's), I forged forward to step two.

The microdermabrasion scrub. Simply put, it's a jar of sand and goo mixed together that enables the user to scrub dead skin away. What I didn't realize was that I had just peeled that same dead skin away with the Elmer's Glue. It went on nicely. A thin layer the directions said (you better believe I wasn't going to skip the directions again after round one) spread evenly on the face. Let it dry, then wash off in circular motion with a warm wet wash cloth.

Yarright. The harder I rubbed, the more skin I scrubbed away. I was beginning to feel like an onion being peeled, layer by layer, wondering if there would be any onion left.

Finally, I got it all off. And my skin DID feel smoother. Like a baby's butt. Well, that is stretching the truth, but it did feel better. That was when I made my third mistake. I decided I could fine tune my new skin with a chemical peel. I mean, c'mon, how much skin could I peel off by rubbing a little cotton circle lightly over my face.

A heck of a lot of skin, evidently. I didn't really notice anything to begin with. A couple hours later my face started to itch. Then it began to burn. Hours later, it had settled back down. I took a quick look in the mirror on my way to bed.

And saw a glowing red reflection staring back at me. My face looked like I had been laying in the hot July sun for hours. I just shut the light off and went to bed. Right after I threw all the face goop in the garbage.

From now on I'll stick to cutting my own hair, with a good supply of hats on hand.

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