Pain is beauty, or so they say. Well, I have the Urgent Care bill to prove it. Three hours, 250 dollars, and two prescriptions later, I’m recovering from a facial gone wrong. And while bad reactions can happen occasionally, this one stopped me dead in my fountain-of-youth chasing tracks. This one forced me to put that hand-held, Snow White, mirror- mirror, up close, and look beyond skin deep.
As I eagerly waited in the parking lot for Urgent Care to open, I asked myself, how did I get here? Not literally. Literally, I had to call my dad to pick me up because my eyes were so slammed shut from the allergic reaction, and I couldn’t see more than the crescent moon-shaped sliver in front of me. But how did I get to a place where I was so consumed with how I was aging that I was willing to try something so against what I considered common sense? Chemical Peels. I agreed to a chemical peel knowing that 1. my skin is so sensitive it reacts to tomato sauce, and 2. everything in my beauty routine is chemical-free. And I get it, it’s not the same “type” of chemicals, but still.
As someone who painstakingly reads all the ingredients in every skincare product. As someone who preaches the skin is the largest organ so you should treat it the best. I knew the second the esthetician recommended it would be “gentler” than a regular facial, it wasn’t for me. But I agreed. Why? Because I couldn’t resist the idea of my skin cells rebuilding and rejuvenating like some co-ed that just found themselves after back-packing in Europe.
I told myself, you’re 37, it’s time to be proactive with aging. God forbid I allow the big 4-0 to arrive without an arsenal of tools to combat it. I’ve considered a lot of procedures over the last year, and the chemical peel, I’m reluctant to admit, was not the most intense.
So there I sat on the exam table explaining my quest for vanity to two sets of nurses and the physician’s assistant. I know they see all sorts of crazy circumstances and that I shouldn’t have been embarrassed, but I was. Because what was happening was the antithesis of what I set out to do: Look Better. And I didn’t. Like, not all. Scary looking actually. My face frightened my three-year-old. The irony is not lost on me.
Am I 100% “cured” of my pursuit of youth and good skin. No, not 100%. But enough to be really OK in the skin I’m in. So now, instead of examining my face in search of evidence that time is marching across it, I’m embracing it. What it really means is that I’m living, happily, and fully, with expression! Who knows, one day I may even name that crow who’s little feet are so cheerfully a part of my journey deeper in adulthood.