That Youthful Glow

When I was 15, my family took a vacation to Hawaii, which was a very big deal. It was one of the few vacations I remember that didn’t involve an epic cross-country road trip to visit relatives spread across the Midwest. Not that we didn’t enjoy those trips too.

But Hawaii.  H A W A I I. This was huge.

While we were on this much anticipated, memory-making trip, I acquired an unfortunate souvenir.

My very first case of pimples. Topped off with a very nasty sunburn, as a consolation prize.

So now when I tell people that I have the skin of a 15 year old, they think I’m kidding. I wish that were the case, but it’s not funny. Not at all.

See, now I have fought the good pimple fight for over 30 years. Even when I think I am winning the war, it’s only temporary. They get stronger, bring in their nasty in-laws, set up shop, and start their voodoo. Why they call it “adult acne” I have no idea, since this is the same acne I have had since way before adulthood. What, did it grow up with me or something?

I have tried so many pills/creams/potions/acne systems/witches brews over the years. Each time something works for a while, I relax and forget about my face.

And the zits get angry.

I think even my zits have zits. There is probably some dermatological term for that, but I’ll just call it zits on zits. When I spackle make up my face in the morning and attempt to cover them up, they wind up looking like small wasp nests on my chin, covered in mud. If they were on my forehead, I could go back to bangs and hide them, but I am NOT willing to grow a beard.

Since I work with elementary school kids, of course these trophies on my chin often become a source of discussion. Not in a polite way, either.

“Mrs. K, what is that thing on your chin? Does it hurt? Why do you have that? Eewwww!” It takes everything I have to keep from saying what I really want to say……. “Get ready kid, because by my calculations you are only about 7 years away from having a crop of your own!”

The last few prescriptions I had worked pretty well together if you did them in the right order. But now there’s a new catch. You could get these new prescriptions at a reduced price, using a special card, for three months.

And then they go up to $50 a month. Each.


I think the acne drug manufacturers must hire former drug dealers as their marketing and sales dudes. Think about it; the premise is almost the same. Lure you in with cheap promises of happiness and clear skin. String you along for a few months, as you keep coming back for more of that good-looking, zit-free skin.

And then…..BAM! Fifty bucks, please. Oh, times three.

You want it, you know you do. But there is that little voice inside your head speaking ever so softly “think of all the other things $150 could buy.” So maybe you do it once, but then you quit cold turkey. Swear you can do without them, those clear skin pushers.

It’s tough for a while; you try and go back to the basics of skin care and beat them at their own game. You feel victorious and proud; maybe buy yourself a few new jars of spackle makeup items to help. Things seem to be really going your way….maybe you are finally going to outgrow your teenage acne, after all these years!

And then they come back. With all their nastiness, bad karma, and voodoo. The Adult Zits.

Maybe they’ll give me some more free samples. You know, just to try them out for a while.

Fountain of Youth?

As I have settled into my forties, I am finding that a simple trip to Target to replace any makeup item or face cream isn’t so simple anymore.  Throw in the body lotions and sunscreens and I can spend the better part of a morning making decisions!

My face is a mess anyway….I have been friendly with the dermatology community since I was 15, and the nasty pimples of my teens have been replaced with what they now call “adult acne”.  Not sure why we need a new name for it, since to me it’s the same old thing I have always had.  Should I be worried that my latest prescription for acne is also recommended for Anthrax exposure?

Park yourself in front of the facial creams for a moment and try to settle on the one cream that will solve all of your current complaints.  Anti-aging?  Deep wrinkle treatment?  Oh, it has to have sunscreen too…..but what SFP?  Do you want to be radiant, or glowing?  Do you want your skin tone to be even, because there’s a cream to help with that.  Now I wonder if my tone IS even, since this isn’t something I have ever worried about or noticed.  Now you also need a different cream for night, which apparently is the time when the DEEP wrinkles can be banished.  I think when I am sleeping is the only time I don’t have deep wrinkles, and nobody notices.

Then there are the eye creams.  Gel, for firming?  Or do you want to fade those dark circles and moisturize?  Do you want to soften lines and wrinkles?  Not really, I just want them gone.  When did those crows put their feet on my face, anyway?

By the time I have chosen one or two products, I am exhausted.  It feels like such a commitment, since I will most likely be using this same bottle of potion for months. How will I really know if it’s working?  So far, I haven’t had anyone come up and tell me I look radiant, youthful, or glowing.  The last time I think I was radiant, I had a fever.

Maybe once the hot flashes hit, I will look radiant every day….