Upon turning 30 a little over a month ago, I vowed to serve my skin better in this decade than in the last. My 20’s saw late nights, generous pours, sun promiscuity with little protection, and a diet that could get away with anything. I didn’t see the value of putting my hard-earned and meager income into expensive skin products or treatments. I sort of just hoped my parents gave me good derm-genes, like a party gift bag you cross your fingers has some quality stuff in it, and carried on with my everlasting youth.
The thing is, everlasting comes to a cartoon character, screeching, heel-digging halt around 30. there’s a reason why that word – everlasting – is so often used in fairytales. I began to see some wrinkles creep in around my eyes. Nothing to sound an alarm about and not noticeable to others but they were there. One day they weren’t and then one day they were. It made me think about the future of my face. The wrinkles I have now are insignificant overall, but they are a teaser for a wave thats going to break up ahead, and now is the time to get in front of that wave to have the best chance of riding it out gracefully. I began thinking about pre-emptive care for my face so that I feel prepared for when I’m 50, 60 and beyond. As an added benefit of taking action now, I can get glowing in the meantime – since I’m certainly not rolling out of bed with that 20 year old dew anymore. So I went out and surveyed friends in their early, mid, and late 30s on what they are doing to help support their skin’s longevity and combat the onset of wrinkles. I heard one consistent thing: “regular peels” and “regular facials”.
My history with facials is probably similar to a lot of you. I went when someone got me a gift certificate or when my health insurance flex account would cover it, or when I got my tax refund back. But I never made it a regular thing. I would have rather bought a pair of shoes or even new “going-out” eye makeup before splurging on a facial. It wasn’t until this shift in age that I understood I needed to re-categorize facials from pampering (manicures) to maintenance (dental cleaning) in my mindset.
So, this month I had my first peel with Marcia. Let me tell you about Marcia. Everyone needs to find a Marcia. Because skin aside, she puts me into a zen place for the whole day. Her voice soothes, her skin glows and she is kind, healthy and knowledgeable. She uses the word “natural” often. When I leave, a pure, natural, self-assured halo hovers over me as she sends me into the world. I had heard similiar descriptions about other friends’ facialists. My new york girls all go to “Joie” with cultish fervor. The enigmatic “Joie” seems to lift their woes from their skin and from their souls. And another friend here in Chicago says her facialist is like her therapist. I have given it some thought, and it’s not uncanny that we can feel refreshed inside and out after going to see these skin gurus. The skin is the largest organ of the body, and our faces – lit and clear complexions or dim and congested – are inherently tied to our self-perception.
Marcia is a huge believer in peels. There are tons of different formulas (fruit, acid, glycolic, chocolate, etc) to target different problems (exfoliation, moisturizing, pore-refining, etc) so they’re easy to customize for each person’s needs. We charted a course of 3 peels over the next 8 weeks and I will try a set of glycolic based products since I am too sensitive for Retin A (I know I know, Retin A is the holy grail, and we should all use it). The brand she recommends is GlyMed Plus and the key product for my anti-aging and cell renewal goals is called AHA Accelerator, a glycolic/lactic acid serum to apply before moisturizer at night. I will update more on the results of the peels, but so far I am loving the post-peel freshness and the new care regimen.
So here is what I have to say. Go forth, ask your friends who their Marcia is and go get some of that guru in your life! Her wisdom and her methods will relieve those age anxieties that come with milestone birthdays. You will feel good that you invested in yourself. You will feel responsible and grown up, like you did the first time you contributed to your 401K or got a credit card to build your credit. You will feel that you chose the contents of your own party gift bag instead of hoping with crossed fingers for superhuman DNA under all that tissue paper!