November 05, 2015

Spa facials at 35: the first of (I expect) many things to go downhill

A couple of years ago, after a string of alarming massage experiences, I invested in a membership at Massage Envy. Since my ribs kept coming out, it was causing a lot of strain on the muscles in my back and shoulders since they were fighting to put my skeleton back into place so much of the time, and massages helped with that. However, I eventually found what helped even MORE was going to a chiropractor who was interested in keeping my skeleton intact in the first place, which made everything in that region a lot happier.

...All of which meant I was not actually going to get a massage every month. So now I have some stupid number of stockpiled massages that I need to use up so that I can cancel the membership.

Which led me to my first facial in many moons the other day, since you can use your massage credits for facials there too. Now, I am under no delusions that I have good skin. I got acne at the very first sign of puberty - way before I got to enjoy other symptoms of puberty, like boobs - and it just kind of... never went away. I mean, it's not as bad as poor Teenage Alice Face, but I gave up long ago on ever having actual clear skin.

(As my first dermatologist - who had a wonderful Russian accent - told me when I came back once after college: "Ahhh. Before, you have bay-bee acne. Now, ees deeferent. Still acne, but now ees grown up acne.")

Furthermore, it seems that hitting the milestone of the big 3-5 has not done me any additional favors. The aesthetician pored carefully over my face, making comments as she went:
"Hmm. Combination skin. You have a lot of blackheads in your t-zone." 
"The pores on your chin are clogged."
"You have discolorations here... and here.... and here. And here."
"And wrinkles. On your forehead, and here by your mouth."
I wasn't sure what the correct response to this litany of shortcomings was meant to be. I made sort of non-committal acknowledgement noises at first, meant to convey a sentiment of "ah, yes, that pesky combination skin! What're ya gonna do??" But as the list went on, it seemed to be getting more and more.. accusatory. Like I had ALLOWED these discolorations to happen, and she was disappointed in me for it. Did I KNOW I had let these wrinkles form? Tsk, tsk.

LOOK LADY, I fervently wish I had gorgeous non-aging Asian skin like you. But alas, I am very very white, and Splotchy Irish does not age well.

So by the end I was just sort of moving my eyebrows vaguely in a way that I hope conveyed acknowledgement of my dermatological failings, without conceding responsibility for their emergence. I'm not sure it was successful.

(But. Um. As much as I suspect this face Is What It Is, and not much outside influence is going to help it at this point... what are your favorite face care items? I've been using Perricone MD Eye Lift and Vitamin C Serum, and they are fantastic - I see a marked difference in the fine lines around the crows feet area now. They are pricey, but last for ages. What other miracle workers do you like?)


  1. I have been using the Arbonne R9 line. I was suspicious at first, but then a friend sent me a sample of everything and after using it about a month, I could feel and see a difference in my skin. I also became a consultant (mainly for the discount).

    Another friend of mine recently gave me a face scrub from Rodan & Fields and it was lovely. I will probably end up buying it and using it every so often (too much and my skin will get too dry).

  2. Splochy Irish with straight hair sisters unite! I love Dermatologica. The ultra calming line.

  3. Favorite part: " a way that I hope conveyed acknowledgement of my dermatological failings, without conceding responsibility for their emergence."

    I like Oil of Olay. I tried their aging products, but didn't like them as much: some had SPARKLE in them ("We will reflect light off your face so people will be blinded to your wrinkles!"), and some irritated my eyes. But I love their normal Oil of Olay for sensitive skin, and their Night of Olay night cream. I also love Pond's Crema S; I don't know what "Crema S" means, but it smells like flowers and it's a great moisturizing night cream.

  4. I wish I had some insight into this for you! But alas my skin is still that of a teenager in which pimples pop up on a regular basis along with blackheads and I feel like it get so oily that I could likely squeeze it all out of my face. GROSS AMIRIGHT? The only thing that ever cleared up my face was birth control, but uh that stops baby making things so not really an option. Someone needs to make birth control that clears up skin so like pimple-blotchy skin-acne control. Yeah, that.

  5. "Splotchy Irish does not age well" haaaaa. I had a facial this year for the first time ever, and it was sort of... fascinating? In a detached, expensive way, that is.

  6. Haha! Oh dear, I'm trying not to giggle, but this is perfection. I had my first facial about 6 months ago and it was....humiliating. "No, I don't spend 20+ minutes and $384,283 of product on my face everyday...why? Can you tell?"