Monday, February 8, 2010
THE POWER OF RETINOL?
I was standing close to the magnifying mirror this morning putting on my mascara when Jerry said something funny and I laughed. GOOD GRIEF, I thought, LOOK AT MY WRINKLES! The smile flew off my face and I was caught looking at a very glum face where those wrinkles had been. Sure enough, they were there, although to a lesser degree when not smiling. This was NOT a good way to start a new week.
I have always thought I was lucky to have relatively good skin. To be honest with you, I have beaten it up quite a bit in my life. I did not come from a family whose female role model creamed her face to take off make-up, creamed her face after a bath, and creamed her face before sleeping and after arising.
Now in a little aside I will tell a tale on my mother, may she rest in peace. She had a younger sister, my Aunt Marie, who was the beauty of the family. She and my mother were very close and they loved each other dearly. But my mother envied Aunt Marie’s looks, which she attributed to the fact that my aunt worked in the beauty industry and had access to amazing creams that she used diligently on her face to make it so beautiful. My Aunt Marie’s skin stayed beautiful until the day she died. She did, as a matter of fact, care for her skin, but she was truly blessed with the kind of looks that don’t depend on expensive creams. No amount of cream my mother might have used would have changed her own looks.
But neither my sister nor I were taught to care for our skin by putting cream on it. It was just our good luck that we were born with decent skin that managed to survive summers lying on the sand for hours each day at the beach. Neither of us ended up with the leathery look of some older ladies who appear to have lived on the golf course from puberty to hospice.
So to be honest with you what I saw in the mirror this morning was, in the scheme of things, not as bad as it could have been, but frankly, to me, seeing it up close and personal like that, I thought I had turned as wrinkled as a shar-pei. Now compare the wrinkles:
See? It’s close, don’t you think.
It’s been a couple of hours since I looked at my face, and I’ve been trying to decide whether I should try to stop smiling so much, which I think is what accentuates these lines, or whether I should just give in to it and let the wrinkles fall where they may. If I had any idea that one of the retinol creams would erase some of them, I might grab my wallet and hustle down to Rite-Aid. (I’m sure Aunt Marie’s creams didn’t come from a drug store, but I am just not the kind of person who can walk into the face-cream department at Bloomingdales and feel anything but out of place). Actually, I think there is little that I can do. The sun and the wind and the genes and the years have done what they have done, and I don’t think there is any going back.
So I suppose it is just a matter of letting nature take its course and making peace with that. I am not inclined to smile any less (except at that exact moment when I see the smile lines on my face in the magnifying mirror!).
And I do confess that my body is pretty much following what is happening to my face. In spite of Jerry’s urging that I let him take a picture of my backside to illustrate THIS blog, I will simply substitute the picture below – and tell you that if the face looks like a shar-pei, do you think the body would look like a greyhound?