I recently finished reading I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron. In her book she laments the fact that one of the first things to go, physically, in women is the neck, resulting in turkey wattles, sagging crepey skin and all manner of unsightly phenomenon.
Nora confesses that when she is alone in front of a mirror, she will pull the skin of her neck and face upward, giving her, however briefly, some approximation of what her younger self used to look like.
I’m also guilty of this maneuver, but I can tell you right now it’s more scary than soothing. Sure, the sags and wattles are gone and your face may look ostensibly smoother, but not in a good way. You’re left with a decidedly Joan River-ish or, even worse, Mickey Rourke-ian countenance. You’re just one step away from Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard —“I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille!”
Nora goes on to enumerate the many expensive creams, lotions and treatments that she has tried in order to stave off the ravages of aging. I’m too cheap to pop for $100 per microgram face cream, no matter what the claim may be for its effectiveness. For everyday moisturizing I use WalMart’s knockoff of Oil of Olay, or as my daughter has called it, “Oil of Old Lady.”
And just this month I’ve started using Neutrogena’s Clear Pore astringent for that pesky T-zone area. You know, everywhere else on your face is as dry as Death Valley, but your nose and forehead are doing their best impersonation of the Exxon Valdez oil slick. Clear Pore gets in there and takes no prisoners. It’s like a jihad on your sebaceous ducts. It stings at first, but its a good sting. The old saying “beauty knows no pain” certainly applies here.
The neck isn’t the only area that can sag and bag, unfortunately. I’ve always had pretty good gams, but after attaining the 60 milestone, they’ve been hitting some speedbumps by the name of cellulite. So I went online in search of something that might help with that problem and came up with a fairly new product from Nivea called My Silhouette. It’s supposed to “recontour” those saddlebags and dimply (yuck, I even hate to write that) skin on legs, hips, butt, and even stomachs. (The stretch marks on my stomach have finally faded, after 38 years, but they used to be so bad that every time I saw a new doctor, he or she would inquire if those were stretch marks or did I have abdominal surgery. They looked like a topographical map of the Mississippi river delta.)
My Silhouette is a green gel composed of certain herbs and flowers that you rub into the skin one or two times a day. The smell is not unpleasant, but it’s not something I would like to go around exuding into the atmosphere, so I only use the product at night before going to bed. I may be hallucinating here, but I actually think it has helped.
So I’ve started to add my arms to the nightly rubdown regimen. I don’t yet have what is euphemistically known as “bingo arms”, those dolman sleeves of skin that hang down and wave in the breeze when you flap your arms, but the skin has certainly become less taut over the years. Couldn’t hurt to try anyway. The product costs about $12, which is really the upper reaches of expense for me as far as beauty enhancement products go. I told you I was cheap.
Then, on top of everything else dermatologic, I have that scar from my melanoma surgery that doesn’t want to go away. It appears that it’s called “hypertrophic scar tissue”, meaning it has remained red and angry looking long after it has a right to. When I hold my little magnifying mirror up to it, the scar seems to be glaring at me. I can almost hear it say “Are you lookin’ at me? ARE YOU LOOKIN’ AT ME?” in its best Robert De Niro voice.
So I’ve opted to try one of those creams that’s supposed to lighten up scars and make them go away. This one I have to rub on the scar twice a day for two to three minutes at a time. It goes without saying, I don’t do it for that long. My attention span for things like that is one of a gnat, so it gets about fifteen to twenty seconds–if it’s lucky. Consequently, not a lot of improvement yet. And, of course, this cream is one of the cheaper ones on the market. I couldn’t see paying eight bucks for something that a four dollar cream could do just as poorly.
In honor of all of us ladies who are fighting the good fight against chicken skin and turkey wattles, I dedicate this ATC to Nora Ephron, who had the guts to come forward and tell it like it is.