The Age of Perfection

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Shameful Confession #1: I wasted a mind-boggling 45 minutes in the skin care aisle of the local drugstore yesterday, mouth slightly agape, trying to figure out which cream, serum, paste, or potion would make me feel better about my  aged, haggard face.

Shameful Confession #2: I walked out nearly empty-handed, carrying only a bag of Two-Bite Brownies even though I’m relatively sure they will do nothing positive for me.

Seriously, what the hell?  Every product claims to be a miracle, every product claims to have the perfect cocktail of ingredients to produce a mathematically “proven” percentage of wrinkle eradication.  What worries is that female consumers (like me) now consider anti-aging products as necessities.  Twenty five year olds are having work done – and not just boobs – so it is no wonder that veritable relics like me wander the drugstore aisles in search of salvation.

My Man and I were watching mindless television recently when an advertisement for anti-wrinkle cream appeared on the screen touting the latest miracle ingredient as “fruit stem cells.”  I looked over at our fruit bowl, eyeing a pear with a long stem still attached and wondered how to extract a few fruit stem cells cheaply.  Could the fountain of youth really exist in my fruit bowl?  Well, more likely there than in the bag of Lay’s potato chips that sat in my lap…

In comparison to some of the really weird stuff out there, fruit stem cells sound quite reasonable. I scanned In Style magazine’s website in my endless search for  a foundation for “mature” skin that doesn’t slide off, cake on, or feel like I’m applying some sort of epoxy.   I encountered some interesting products.

#1:  Something called a “Skin Prepping Tool” that resembles a paint roller with “teeny medical-grade needles.” Roll over your skin “create tiny openings” that will allow the serum to sink in faster.  As I read this, I had two thoughts:  Isn’t that what pores do? and Is punching tiny holes in my face really safe? This blurb actually quoted someone claiming to be a dermatologist who, amazingly, said nothing about the stupidity of aerating one’s face.  Price of this gem?  $200

#2: A device that delivers an electric charge (“painless”) to deliver hyaluronic acid to the skin.  The device looks like a mini-defibrillator complete with adorable little paddles.  Do I shout “CLEAR!” before I zap myself?  Can it be used to restart the hampster’s heart? $129

#3 A cream containing “optical diffusers” and “micronized ruby crystals.”  I want to know if the ruby crystals were nicked from Dorothy’s magical ruby slippers…Hold on, I’ll just go out back and squeeze the unicorn until it farts and get some magical glitter.

#4 According to an expert at In Style, it’s the hollow, sunken look that makes us look older, not wrinkles.  Of course there is a cream available that employs hyaluronic acid to plump up the whole face.  If delivered via the device above (see #2), I’m sure it will happen much faster.

I understand completely wanting to look good.  Sure, its a drag when I look in the mirror and see wrinkles, creases, folds, and assorted other things that weren’t there 10 years ago. I dread the onset of warm weather for the first time in my life because I believe something truly awful happened to my thighs this winter.  Most of all, I want a do-over where I can bathe in a vat of sunscreen before leaving the house every day.  I want to erase the fact that I used to use baby oil and delight in the sizzling and freckling of my pale Celtic skin.  Always a bit delusional, I called it a tan.

It’s hard to avoid the hype – ads shout at us from magazines and the television.   All I can do is drink 8 glasses of water, get my required 9 hours of sleep (ha!), eat healthy (double ha!) and apply SPF 30 or higher every day.  Oh, and exercise (I always forget that one – my bad).

To those of us out there NOT zapping, aerating, or bankrupting ourselves in the name of youth, stay strong.  Eat a piece of dark chocolate every day not because of its anti-oxidants but because it’s freaking delicious.

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