by marcelle soviero • More.com Member { View Profile }

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I squeezed a drop of serum, the consistency of an egg white, onto my pinky, dabbing it into the pleats in my forehead. This better work, I thought, staring in the mirror.

Two tubes and a silver-lidded glass lined the sink: a peptide solution, vitamin E serum, and a moisturizer.  A $600 investment that might prevent me, 15 years from now, from having wrinkles burrowed deep enough to hide a dime.

I’d never done this before; spent money on my face. But I’d hit 40 and something needed to be done. I’d committed sins of the skin for decades; sun worshiper, sporadic smoker, a diet that consisted of too much caffeine, not enough legumes and no beauty rest, ever. Plus, a lifelong skin regimen that revolved around Noxema, the thick white menthol-smelling cold cream my mother used.            

Earlier in the evening I had brushed my daughter’s hair, her face next to mine in the mirror, skin smooth as a tulip petal, the color of cold milk. I could not help but compare her dewy face to my own, age spotted and corrugated. We were the story of replacement.           
I’d purchased the skin products on a recent business trip to Chicago. Walking to my hotel after work, I’d passed a “medi-spa,” where, I supposed from the details in the window, I could have a facial or facelift surgery.            

I walked in. Ocean sounds steamed the lavender scented air. A women behind the counter, facial features finely sculptured and sealed, as if someone sprayed her with polyurethane said “Here for your facial?” “Just looking” I said. She handed me the services menu, a tri-fold list of treatments written in gold ink on gilded cardstock.

“What are your facial goals?” the woman asked. “To look a decade younger,” I said. “A series of glycolic peels will bring back the radiance,” she said. Clearly, she’d noticed my skin lacked luster, she explained that peels are booked in packs “like Pilates classes.” “Or, these are topical solutions” she said, taking a small jar, backlit on a shelf of its own, like an ancient artifact.  “A favorite of Meryl Streep” she whispered.

“What do you use now?” she asked. I coughed. Dare I blurt out Noxema, and an occasional indulgence of the original Oil of Olay in the pale pink plastic bottle? “I’m revisiting my skin regimen,” I said.  In the end I left with three of the most expensive products.           
Lying beside my sleeping husband, hemmed in on one side of the bed, head propped, computer on my stomach, I distracted myself from my real work, switching gears to search Google for skin care, maybe I’d missed something, a treatment that might make the big difference. Such as blepharoplasty, eyelid surgery, essential for hooded eyelids. I stretched my lids to my eyebrow, did my eyes droop? I read the small print: In rare case, one can have trouble shutting their eyes during sleep. This result may be permanent. The research was absorbing; Cleopatra took milk baths to absorb lactic acids, the earliest known alpha-hydroxy, women in Turkey singed their skin with fire to promote exfoliation. 

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