Beauty is only skin deep (but lotion helps)

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There’s no easy way to say this, so I’m just going to dive right in: I’m not a baby anymore. Suddenly, I’m paying attention to those ads on t.v., the ones that talk about erasing wrinkles and giving you a glow and turning back the hands of time.

It wasn’t so long ago that the thought of looking ten years younger was ridiculous. Why would I want to look like a twenty-year-old with four kids, I’d mutter, turning the channel. All those products were for older women, women who played bridge and ate fiber and complained of aching joints. (Which reminds me, my hip is aching today.)

And then, I don’t know exactly when it happened, I noticed a few crinkles. Nothing major, except once where there were none, lines now appeared.

This has been going on for a few years, almost more of an observation of tiny little details on my face than any else. Recently, however, I feel like things are picking up. Over the holidays I became acutely aware of lines and bags and a general ennui, on my forehead in particular. Looking back, we might also call this fatigue or holiday-stress-disorder, but I will admit that for a few days it really threw me for a loop.

What I finally realized, after discussing this at length with a few trusted friends who are dealing with this same thing (and also, my eight-years-younger sister, who is not dealing with this at all), is that this problem is universal, which is reassuring, and also that there are some things we can do about it.

Here is a list of thoughts I’d like to share with you. They are in no particular order, and cover the wide range of my musings and suggestions on this matter.

1. I realized after spending a few days of acute-skin-awareness that in ten years, I will look back and wonder what in the world I was so worked up about. That’s what finally got me out of my funk.

2. According to my sister, things are seldom as bad as you think they are.

3. According to my brain, and also the writings of wise men and women: We should not be so vain! (blah-blah-blah. oops, I mean: so true, so true!)

4. Do you really want to have cosmetic surgery to get rid of this stuff? That will most likely result in you looking surprised. All the time.

5. Some of those lines are smile lines. They are happy lines! They show how happy you are!

6. Having said that, two words: wrinkle. cream. In theory, I’m too young for this stuff. But the truth is, I’m not. There, I said it. I’m totally starting to read articles about which wrinkle creams work the best (and also all about how great Geritol tastes with your bran flakes at breakfast).

7. A few thoughts on wrinkle cream: put the heavy duty stuff on at night. Don’t wear it during the day under your foundation. If you do, this will result in you looking like you just climbed out of a vat of Vaseline. Trust me on this. I made this mistake and have the awkward pictures to prove it.

8. It’s so unfair that I need a wrinkle cream for people with breakouts. Can’t I just have one or the other at this stage of the game?

9. Find a good oil-free moisturizer to wear in the day, and then put that wrinkle gloop on at night.

10. Drink a ton of water.

11. Don’t take yourself so seriously.

12. Drink some good red wine. The wine won’t take away the wrinkles but it will diminish your fixation on them.

Do you have anything else to add? Comments are open for a great, big, therapeutic group hug.

UPDATED TO ADD: a special thanks to my good buddy who sent this picture my way asking how much time I thought this guy spent worrying about wrinkles. Point taken (gotta keep things Testosterhome-y around here).

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  1. Sunscreen! Everyone should wear it everyday to help prevent new wrinkles. Of course, I just need to take my own advice…

  2. kateschmate says:

    I just posted on my blog this week about the rapidity of my gray hair onslaught at the ripe age of 26. You didn’t mention hair color, but I don’t think I’ll dye it. I think I’m going to get a lot of flack for that, but I’m not gonna. Nope!

    Your sister is a smart one!

    Good luck, but I think you don’t have anything to worry about!

  3. Rachel–I love it that you're so on the same page as the rest of us. Yep, about a year ago after the birth of our fourth child(and only girl)I gifted myself with a facial. I kept thinking how OLD I looked in the mirror, and figured it was a.)lack of sleep–she was only 6 months old–or b.)a severe need for a nice exfoliation and some skin-plumping pampering. The woman who did my facial chided me for not taking care of my skin, yelled at me for my occasional use of Dove soap as a facial cleanser, and for not exfoliating enough. Then she recommended I start using "night cream". I was so bummed at first. I'm 34 and just didn't think I'd hear that for a few more years. BUT! I have been using it every day and night(Aveeno's age-defying stuff is great as well as the under-eye cream)& I'll never go back to day cream only. I agree, drinking water–and wine–are also helpful. 🙂

  4. I’m probably being WAY too serious here, but whenever I get down about aging and the wrinkles and so forth that go with it, I think of all the women of the world who are dealing with HUGE issues…feeding their children, walking across deserts, fighting cancer…and then you immediately stop feeling sorry for yourself and think, “I’ll take the wrinkles ANY day.”

  5. That’s a good point Sarah. That’s another good way to get out of the rut — a great big reality check! Probably more important than the lotion.

  6. I had the same feeling about my, uh, bosom after nursing 3 kids–it wasn’t much to begin with, but now has shrunk and “fallen.” My husband pointed out that it’s pretty obvious this wasn’t a critical thing to him when we were dating. If it were, he would have found something more substantial.

  7. Party of Eight says:

    My husband tried to wipe away a “spot” on my forehead I’ve had for a few months…
    Also, with what Jenny said, the chestal region is not what it used to be…but my husband makes me laugh by quoting Creed on the Office “Swing low sweet chariots”…

  8. I think I hate gray hairs more than wrinkles, maybe b/c I have dark curly hair and tons of it. For your skin enhancement I would recommend a real good glycolic peel kit from Loreal. It might not take away the wrinkles, but will remove the dead skin over them which makes them look much worse. You can do the peel at home ever two weeks. It works nicely. And yes, load up on the water for sure!

  9. Mary Ellen Barrett says:

    I had this same realization a while ago.

    Now nine months pregnant, I’d take the face and figure I was complaining about then back in a minute.

  10. This post is timely! Just today, someone forwarded me this quote:

    “Don’t regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.”

    That said, I feel ya on needing the combination wrinkle/breakout creams. Not. Fair.

  11. Christine says:

    I’ve been zealously wearing sunscreen for a good 20 years now, but still have more freckles (age spots?!?) and wrinkles than I want. Whenever I look at them in the mirror and start feeling down, I remind myself that all of those monents at the pool and beach with my kids, afternoons biking, picnic lunches, and so on are more than worth the imperfections on my face.The same is true for laugh lines. Better to be outside smiling than inside looking flawless.

  12. I don’t have forehead wrinkles, I have…neck wrinkles.


  13. Amanda M. says:

    What oil-free wrinkle goop do you suggest? Like I totally need goop for people with breakouts- do tell!

  14. Ruth Anne Adams says:

    I suggest you talk with your favorite Mary Kay consultant. People often focus on the wrinkles and completely miss how the skin tone has darkened and also aged. There are products for overall tightening [control top pantyhose for your face] and spot help [spackle]. Finally, hydrate and rest. Just wait until menosemicolon when you have to start plucking stray eyebrows from your chin.

  15. the Mrs. of the House says:

    Have you tried the Philosophy product “Hope in a Jar” ?
    It exfoliates, brightens and feel soooo good on your face. It’s a lil pricey, (38$ for 2 oz) but you can skip a couple days…wear it day or night..You can find it at
    But you don’t look old at all. Not. A. Bit. You don’t look any older than 22.

  16. One word: Tazorac.

    I use it for acne but it also works for lines and wrinkles and also to hear sun damage on the cellular level (and prevent skin cancer!)

    Highly recommended!

  17. Wrinkles I could deal with….it’s all these black wires growing out of my face that I could have less of

  18. According to my mom, who has incredible skin, alcohol ages you. She rarely drinks (has the occasional glass of wine with a friend) and drinks a lot of water.
    She also uses Albolene to take off her make up and moisturizes like the end of the world is near. To top it all off, she takes CoQ10 and fish oil, each of which she swears by. Actually she swears too, but I don’t think that has anything to do with the dewy look to her skin… but I could be wrong.

  19. Wine does age you, I read a study on this and for other reasons as well drastically reduced my wine intake! So I wanted to second the above, I also second water, water, water!

  20. christine c says:

    I say wine is worth the wrinkles.

  21. “Be known for the Beauty that comes from within.” 1 Peter 3:4

  22. Nice one Fr D. I guess we all need to hear that once more often, specially in this day and age.

  23. margaretjdmom says:

    Thanks for this timely post….I am really starting to notice the breakdown of the skin around my eyes (maybe its not having slept through the night for the last 7 years) but alas all the wrinkle stuff I see looks very bad for people who who still have acne prone skin. Oh yes, over 30 and still fighting the breakouts. So do tell- what do you use? Or at least who or where did you go to get the good stuff???????
    One of my favorite saints said that older facades need more work….might as well get cracking!

  24. Dawn in PA says:

    I, too, am noticing that my face is changing – and just experienced a milestone birthday myself. The scariest thing that I’m noticing is in friends just a few years older than myself – how much “older” they look. I see face deterioration hitting fast and hard in my near future! Ack. We are lucky that these are things we worry about, rather than how to feed our children and keep them out of bomb’s ways. But I also suffer from the breakouts AND wrinkles – what’s up with that??? Should I have both at the same time? Where is the fairness in that? 🙂 Anyway, Rachel, you’re in good company! in my opinion, anyway.

  25. Pro Activ (for the adult acne – I’m almost 40) and Bare Minerals Night Minerals for Aging Skin.

    Aveeno Mushroom complex for eyes is good for emerging crow’s feet.

    Makeup – Swear by Bare Minerals, which you can buy online through Amazon or Sephora.