In my skin

Thursday, October 02, 2014

I confess that I prefer to have the imperfections of my face covered up but a great number of photos on this blog are taken with minimal and often no makeup. Under normal conditions I'm fortunate to have reasonably easy-care skin but as I discussed with my partner the other day, there are times when it can become very problematic.

The conversation arose when he was looking through some of our old photos and happened on a few taken eleven years ago when we first got together. "Gosh, I didn't realise at the time but your skin was quite pimply back then," he said. I rolled my eyes and replied that I had mentioned on a number of occasions that my major bipolar episodes seemed to also display itself with an acne break out and that this last episode had been no exception. "Do you really mean to say you didn't notice?" Apparently not. Love is blind.

I realise that my skin requires even more care and consideration as I get older. Time is taking its toll not least of which is on my skin's ability to repair and therefore not leave long-lasting reminders of breakouts. So when my mood started to fall and my skin started to react to whatever imbalances had started in my body, I promptly had my GP prescribe me the pill. After four years, my chemistry is reasonably stable and I've come off it and this time (fingers-crossed) it looks like my own body's ability to weather the internal hormonal storm is back in place.

About six years ago, a mole had halo-ed on my right cheek. As I was already going under the knife to have a lymph node removed, the surgeon suggested that we remove the mole at the same time. Although both the node and the mole had had active cells, they were thankfully benign. He did an excellent job: the scar is barely noticeable. I did my bit too taping, oiling and rubbing that scar so it's a fairly malleable part of the fabric of my face.

What woke such focus when it comes to my skin was an episode of Country Calendar that I sat through when I was about sixteen. The lady being featured was asked what she regretted and she mentioned that she wished she'd started looking after her skin when she was much younger. The lesson stuck and I have duly endeavored to keep the largest organ on my body in a healthy state. I'm particularly diligent about cleansing and moisturising not just my face but my whole body.

In today's environment, between the pollutants in the air, the drying air-conditioning systems, and the harsh sun we certainly put our skin through a lot. Where in the past we may have expected to live in it no more than to a ripe forty-something years, these days we could expect to reach close to three digits. Although I've no particular ambition to live another thirty-five years, if I do, I want to be in good shape when I get there.

When I look at my bare face, I see the surgery scar, the acne blemishes, the sunspots from the summer I foolishly decided to see how tan I can get. I also see the sag beginning and my particular 'signs of aging' with pores that are enlarged. But all in all I think I'm reasonably happy with how it's looking. Certainly, the other night when I took a bunch of pictures for a workshop I only bothered with some eyeliner and left the rest au naturale.

I guess what I'm saying is that effort is expended to look good with or without makeup.

Which leads me to now and my 36th birthday. As part of my birthday treats, I booked in for some beauty treatments at a Nelson salon. Although I'd been keen to try microdermabrasion, the lady talked me into a peel instead. I was reasonably pleased with the result, although I wouldn't gush in the way she was doing that my skin was amazing afterward. It did feel more complete than my standard shower exfoliation routine.

As part of my birthday review I've introduced a serum to my facial skincare routine and this year have begun to use caffeine-imbued firming body lotions to help with the inevitable onset of cellulite. These things cannot hold back time or undo what's already been done but I believe that as long as I continue to care for and protect my skin, I will continue to be comfortable in it.

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