Oh, y’all. Sometimes this beauty business weighs heavy on my heart. Not only did I hear just this morning that Scarlett Johansson is dieting off her famous, fabulous, enviable curves, but I also got this email from our pal J. Gold:
I’m young. I take good care of my skin. Apparently, though, I must walk around with a quizzical, eyebrows-raised expression on my face at all times because for about a year now I’ve noticed faint horizontal wrinkles on my forehead when I get all up in my bizzness in the mirror. I tried to will away my concern about this as vanity, I gotta deal with aging, you can’t see them if you’re more than two inches away from me blahblahblah until two weeks ago, when I met a 25-year-old (or so she said) who had canyon-deep forehead wrinkles. It aged her terribly and was all I could focus on when I looked at her. It wouldn’t have wigged me out if I’d seen wrinkles like this on a forty-year-old, but this woman was 25. I am now terrified of developing wrinkles like this. Is there anything one can do to prevent wrinkle formation or help smooth them out if you’ve already got ’em? I’m a fanatical sunscreen wearer; is there any other goop I can put on my face to improve the linage situation? I don’t want to be a Nicole Kidmanesque botox-head when I’m older, but I definitely, definitely don’t want a forehead with huge horizontal lines in it. Help!
Siiiiigh. Insecurities are such a bitch. But J. Gold’s concern is a legitimate one, and it’s one I happen to share. See, if there’s anything J. and I have in common (besides living in the same state, having mutual friends, and possessing a shared love of sequins and general air of radness) it’s our skin type. So don’t get upset by what I’m about to say. I’m not jumping to any misguided conclusions, I know exactly of what I speak. In short, J: you are so WHITE. I feel your cracker pain, girl. Of every trait I could have gotten out of my crazy-mixed-up heritage, I had to get the Irish-ass skin. Native American cornsilk hair, potato famine skin. Dammit! Oh well, my point is that pale skin is akin to porcelain in both appearance and fragility. Structurally speaking, typically the fairer one is, the thinner and weaker their skin. You know how they say ‘Black don’t crack?” Well it’s pretty much true, and as you follow the color spectrum on down to the truly melanin-deficient, you get more wrinkle-prone skin.
Basically what I’m saying is: your genetics have predisposed that you’re kind of screwed. Sure, there are things you can do to try and stave off wrinkles, but when your dermis is a structurally sound as onion paper, acceptance of the inevitable is the only true path to sanity retention. Now that you’ve been diagnosed with a terminal case of Honkey, I’ll walk you through the coping strategy after the jump.
My fine lines (on the forehead, too!) have been creeping up on me for a while, and coping with the fact that I’m going to get beaten with the Age stick a lot harder, faster, and sooner than other people has not been an easy pill to swallow. I see the difference that skin type makes every day, played out in the faces of my mom and my eldest sis, versus my dad and my middle sis: alabaster versus olive. All four have smoked, drank, stressed, sunned and abused their skin equally, yet Team Olive looks at least 10 years younger than they should, and Team Milky 5 to 10 years prematurely withered. However, I think I’ve finally come to terms with my vanilla-facedness enough to walk you through the steps, (and to request that my mom not sew the number 24 on my Team Milky jersey, because I think Kobe Bryant is a punk. “It’s 23, mom, LeBron!”) which I’ll present in the classic structure of the Kubler-Ross grief cycle:
Denial: Some may disagree, but I think Botox use is a form of denial. Not only are needle-happy people in denial over the fact that some of that lethal toxin is bound to seep in and eff up their bodies and brains, but they’re delusional if they think expensive injectables are a sustainable option. To me, the best and cheapest form of forehead wrinkle-denial is cutting yourself a set of bangs. Like I just did! Yesterday! And they are so cute! Not only do they handily cover up my burgeoning flesh canals, but they are also just so delightfully immature. I am one Jonas Brothers lunchbox away from looking like weapons-grade jailbait. It’s totally hot. In a French sort of way, not a sad old cougar in a Catholic schoolgirl uniform sort of way.
Anger: Another way to deal with lines is to get aggressive. As fellow beauty blogger Babyassface recommends, “Alpha hydroxy acid will burn the years off your face”. That is one way to do it. I’ve also heard that biannual chemical peels are something to look into. However, in the same way that anger itself is a double-edged sword, these aggressive methods can backfire like “whoa.” With AHA, the scary truth is that any benefits from it’s use will be undone if you expose your skin to the sun. Worse than that, though, is the fact that AHA + sun exposure = actually speeding up the aging process in young skin! (< I’d cite a source on this, but since I’ve read it so many different times in so many different places, it’s hard to retrace my steps there, but ask any derm if you’re skeptical) Chemical peels? Well, the sun is not your friend there, either. And I’m not talking, “Oh my Hope in a Jar has SPF 15 in it and I wear it every day” type of sun-shunning. If you’re going to peel or use AHAs, we’re talking SPF 55, shades, and a big floppy hat level sun protection. This method does not play.
Bargaining: We’ve all been here: “Mom, if I clean my room, then can I go to the movies with my friends?” Or, “If I work out extra hard today, then I can probably get ice cream later…” Only in this case it’s more like, “If I quit smoking now, will it be enough to slow down the formation of all these wrinkles?” Although the outcome may not always be what you want; mom doesn’t let you out dressed like Louise during the party scene in Teen Witch, the ice cream makes you gain weight despite time served at Crunch, and the lines keep coming, bargaining is still a great idea.
The lifestyle changes which affect the health of the skin are great for your overall heath, too. Drinking more water, not smoking, drinking alcohol only in moderation, getting enough sleep and keeping regular bedtimes, eating a healthy diet (with lots of fruit, veggies, nuts and fish), and most importantly- not tanning in the sun or in a tanning bed are good things to do regardless. And I swear that it does help your skin. My eldest sister and I are only 4 years apart in age, but you couldn’t tell that to look at us. She does the opposite of everything I’ve described, but chief among her sins are smoking and tanorexia. Sad to say it, but you could do the “pencil test” to her forehead wrinkles (albeit with a toothpick, but still). She cannot understand why her skin looks so bad at her young age, because she downplays the importance of lifestyle. And I will be willing to put money on the fact that the 25-year-old wrinkle PSA girl that J. Gold met has led a lifestyle very similar to that of my sis. I’m not saying you have to live like a monk, but healthy choices do pay off in the long run.
Depression: If the thought of giving up late nights and bronzed skin has you feeling bummed, why not have a lie-down… On a silk or satin pillowcase (OMG. Cheesiest. Segue. Ever.)! But really, sleeping on a pillowcase with some ‘slip’ is said to decrease your creasing, leading to less wrinkles. It’s a cheap solution, so why not try it? Also depressing: looking for anti-aging products in department stores, getting the hard sell (read: shakedown) from the makeup counter succubi, and then paying insane prices for shit that may not work. Which is why I’ve yet to try Strivectin. Some BCP commenters and beauty buffs alike swear by this stuff, but I’m just too scurred to pony up the cash to try it. My mom did buy the deep wrinkle serum ($130 ka-ching!), and it did make a difference. On one side of her face. How freaky is that? We have no idea why it erased a fine like on the left side of her mouth but did nothing for the right. It’s so sad that you just have to laugh through the tears. Anyway, maybe also try a cheaper but just as well-loved anti-aging cream: drugstore heavyweight Roc’with Retinol. Our dear Sigourney Fever swears by it, and that girl doesn’t look like she’d be allowed into an R-rated movie, so it’s worth a shot!
And finally, Acceptance: You’re porcelain white. Your skin is thin. You’re already creasing up at 22. You’ve committed to do the best you can by your skin, and that’s all you can do. But don’t despair! You can, in fact, be a wrinkled, mature white lady and still be gorgeous and hot. Proof:
I don’t know about you, but I’m not so worried anymore. I am going to work those wrinkles out. ( * shakes finger *) FIIIIIIIIERCE!