By Renee Gold
I look good for my age*. By all accounts, in terms of my outer dermis — I’m aging “well.”
On the topic of beauty I am of the mind that there are things we can do to stave off the sands of time, and there are those things that have been given to us on a silver platter — like good ‘ol genes.
When it comes to the skin lottery I cashed in big with my mother, whose own family members often called her a “good witch” as it would seem that she defied the laws of aging.
My mother never had any work done, never had a facial (let alone let anyone touch her skin!) slept in her makeup and used the most inexpensive cleansers. She barely had wrinkles on her face even as she was passing from cancer this past April just weeks shy of her 78th birthday.
She actually looked luminous — it baffled the palliative nurses.
I credit her for my oily t-zone which has been a blessing in disguise — keeping my skin looking naturally radiant and dewy. Thanks to her, the texture of my skin is naturally thick and practically immune to crow’s feet.
I can also admit that not having children yet or as Louis C.K. so gently puts it: “having people come out of your vagina and step on your dreams” has definitely impacted my fountain au youth. Those little munchkins g-d bless them are wrinkles in a jar, and while I yearn for one on the daily, I know my skin is the way it is, based on the dearth of kidlets in my midst.
Some of us are born with unique physical gifts that do take us through life, to a point.
For example in my case…those two flotation devices you’re staring at where normal people’s lips exist? Yes, those puppies of mine are in fact REAL despite incessant naysayers to the contrary who constantly ask me “who does your lips?” and are mystified when I simply say “The Lord!?” These are my natural, born-this-way lips that until my late teens were actually regarded as a curse, but have ultimately served me quite well. Once upon a time I also had a naturally thin physique whereby I got away without working out way beyond what seemed fair to most of my peers, and again this too was a blessing.
Sadly, as the sands of time sift through this ephemeral spinning wheel of life, screwing with everything from my metabolism to my hair — even my flotation devices (my lips) are starting to get smaller. Mick Jagger’s lips were once gorgeous puffed up pillows and are now sad, thin, drooping prunes. I imagine this is the trajectory my lips will eventually take, but like the Great Wall of China, mine can still be seen from outer space (for now).
Now my mother was the rare exception of ageless beauty, not the rule. I firmly (pun intended) believe that after a certain age, you’re either working at maintaining your looks or you are letting mother nature take over — and that bitch is like bull in a china shop.
Like my mother, I have been very adamant in avoiding the sun, but unlike her I’ve tried every potion, lotion, snake oil and service available on the market. I have had over 50 facials, a dozen Microdermabrasion treatments, a stab at some facial filler (marionette lines and cheeks) and of course, there’s my boyfriend “Bo” — oh…have you two not met? Bo’, short for Botox, came into my life five years ago and we have been seeing each other twice a year now on the regular. Bo has been a saviour for my trouble spot the ’11 wrinkle’ right in between my eyebrows. My ’11’ has no real defense mechanism and in my opinion is the biggest indicator of ‘le aging.’
The 11 wrinkle shows up early in life but becomes perma etched in ones facial topography by a woman’s early 30s. After years of professional furrows, my 11 wrinkle made me look hard, angry and quite frankly permanently pissed off. Bo’ has changed all that, and even gives a slight lift to the eye area. My go-to-kskin-guru is dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett M.D., F.R.C.P.(C), D.A.B.D. from DLK on Avenue in Toronto, whose own skin is like a milky diaphanous dream. Her approach is subtle and is oceans away from the permanently alarmed look that’s all the rage with certain celebrities.
I think the biggest ruse that women try to sell themselves, and each other, is that WE are aging naturally. While some of us are ‘maturing’ better than others, my belief is that after a certain age most women are actively doing their personal best to slow down father time — they’re just not telling anyone about it.
I recently asked a woman slightly older than myself what her secret was after admiring her skin. She told looked me straight in the eye and said “absolutely nothing” — while her freckled and wrinkled chest, compared to her face which resembled an ice skating rink told a much different story.
It was a bold faced lie and quite obviously Profractional Laser work for which I’d sell my left buttock for. Now I know essentially her skin care regimen is really none of my beeswax, but who did she think she was fooling? A wink and a smile would have gone a lot farther than a liar-liar-pants-on-fire denial.
Dr. Kellett who is fiercely private on behalf of her clientele, believes these attitudes could be changing. Either way, she operates on the “don’t ask don’t tell code of ethics.” “It is an interesting question,” says Kellett who believes that a daily skin care regimen and sunscreen are still the best defense against premature aging. “In fact, the trend now is that many people are quite open about non-surgical procedures and like to communicate what they are doing to their friends. Because these procedures are non-surgical, many women do feel comfortable talking about it since the result is a fresher, more rested version of themselves. There is less stigma in doing these treatments as opposed to invasive surgery where the effect is more dramatic.”
I’ve always been one of those gals who is transparent — to a fault, when it comes to beauty routines. While I may strive for perfection on the outside, I’m the first person to expose those pursuits, and make fun of myself in the process.
Case(s) in point:
*Compliment me on my hair and 10/10 times I’ll tell you its extensions, “my weave,” or I’ll just point to my mane and say “F-A-K-E.” For good measure, I’ll probably tell you that I have always had ‘nervous hair’ that have slowly been committing suicide since 1991. I call them jumpers.
*Tell me how my skin is looking great, and depending on how self-loathing I’m feeling, I may point to a menstrual boil on my chin and possibly get out a handy black light to show you pores the size of gum balls. I tell everyone about my ‘BO’ or my Microdermabrasions, anything about any one of my connective tissues, really.
I can’t help it; it’s how I’m built. I love to share beauty secrets with my friends, strangers, OK, the mailman — anyone who wants to know! I don’t want to hoard the information I have, but spread it around like croutons on a big, leafy friend salad.
*As for my age, my big fat lips are sealed. Like my mother, that is one disclosure that I like to keep private.