The Catalyst

A Writing Teacher Writes (plus some writing prompts and recipes)

Promises in Tiny Bottles June 19, 2015

Filed under: Vignettes,Writing Prompts + — Christopher P. DeLorenzo @ 4:31 pm
Tags: , , ,

The prompts this time were:   skin-whitening-forever-93

Promises in tiny bottles

Miracle skin cream

I hope he/she likes older men

What I wrote is below.


The skincare aisle at Walgreen’s is a double-sided wall five shelves high filled with promises. Softens lines. Brightens complexion. Tightens skin along the jawline. Evens out skin tone. Fades dark spots. And these products come with scientific data: 97% of those surveyed saw results in three weeks. Younger looking skin. Noticeable difference after 30 days. 12 days. 7 weeks.

I’ve learned about the ingredients too: glycolic acid, lactic acid, fruit enzymes (AHA), kojic acid, evening primrose, hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, ferulic acid, retinol A, and every vitamin from A to K. Younger looking skin. Sun damage. Marionette lines. Crow’s feet. Turkey neck.

Some men and women I know have beautiful skin and they exfoliate, moisturize, block out UVA and UVB rays, while others wash with whatever is in the shower. Some have microdermabrasion, acid peels, and laser treatments. Some just have good genes. I fall somewhere in the middle. But the amount of time I spend reviewing face cream ingredients on the Sephora website is arguably bordering on obsession. And as much as I denounce the capitalist Western perspective on selling products that tell us aging is bad (read: unattractive, weak, undesirable), I still buy more of these products.

I know that no beauty cream is going to help me accept the inevitable with grace; I am growing older. Unlike my mother, my best friend, and my older brother, I may live to be a very old person, as old as my father (nearly 92 when he died). I might even live to be older than Pop. If this is a possibility (and based on my hairline, my calves, my hands and my belly, it looks like my genetics are leaning that way), then I better get used to it.

Okay, I may never get used to it. Partially because it is a moving target, and partially because we’re taught to fight it with all the ammunition we’ve got. But I can at least accept it. I can settle on a cream and stop searching for a time-reversing miracle. My face and my body will change. They will keep changing, The goal is to love and respect myself while this is happening.

A lifelong project, and not an easy one.


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