Monday, 17 March 2008

#67 Cut Your Nose Off...

Any beautiful person will tell you that the problem with chasing perfection is that you'll never be satisfied. If you make a living from your face, your eyes become magnifying instruments - honing in on every pore, blemish, discolouration and fine line. We all want that preternaturally airbrushed look - a complexion that can withstand analysis in blaring sunlight sans maquillage - but how realistic is this wish? The fact is, perfect skin is achievable. You just need a lot of money, a lot of expert attention and a lot of time. The downside is that you'll become so impossibly anal about your skin that it may well begin to dominate your every waking thought. If you rise with a clear complexion, it is as though a minor miracle has occurred. All is good, the world is benevolent, the skincare range you are using is magnificent. If, however, a pre-period pimple appears, or you get a patch of stubborn, subcutaneous lumps and bumps along the chin, life stands still. Your mood falls. Your regime is crap and you are already on the look out again for another miracle cure. So, when does it become time to break the cycle - to step away from the mirror and accept that we are all human and will all have good and bad skin days?

In my case, the penny has yet to drop. I have always had calm, clear skin. The odd spot throughout my school years, the odd rash from a heavily fragranced product. Then I became a beauty writer. Every time I met with a PR or an industry expert, I felt as though my skin was in the spotlight. Luckily, most of the time it withstood the attention. I was told I had the skin of an 18 year old. That my skin would age well - it's olive and slightly oily, for which I thank the genetic lottery - and that in general, everything was A-OK.

However, recently, the playing field has become more competitive. I met one of the world's leading cosmetic dermatologists yesterday in a dark, dusky back room in a hotel as he was in town to launch a new product. Nothing prepared me for the surprise of meeting this lauded and legendary man face-to-face. I loathe bitchy blogs, so I am not disparaging this premiere facemaker for the sake of venting spleen - I am merely remarking on how difficult it seems to be to find a sane, sober, sensible solution to skincare in this bizarre beauty world of mine... and this is made plain as day when faced with an 'expert' who is playing god, perhaps a little too freely, with his own face.

My other pet peeve? When an 'expert' takes a cursory glance at your skin and announces that s/he has precisely the solution for your blocked pores/shiny nose/circled eyes... et VOILA!.. here it is, 'My new skincare launch!' Puh-lease. Not only will I pay no heed to a nano-second consultation held in a candlelit, cavernous room, but I'm telling you now, that attitude won't have me spending a penny on your products either. I am, for example, extremely allergic to retinol. I break out in rashes whenever it goes anywhere near my skin - yet I have, in the past, been blindly prescribed several retinol-rich products, without so much as a question as to my skin's history or common reactions. These short-cut, and scrappy, skincare analyses - very common for Beauty Eds who are always dashing from press event to expert's office and are always having products recommended (i.e. HARD-SOLD) to them - really get my goat.

I propose something radical. An industry of skincare experts who tell it like it is. Someone who says, 'This may not work for you - it doesn't for everyone - but try it and see.' Or, 'I think your skin's just fine - stick with what you're already doing.' At the very least, have the professional courtesy to take a good look at my skin before sending me off with the entire product range and promises of an epidermal epiphany. I'm tired of this over-sell, over-kill, over-exaggerated attitude. As ever, I would like a little truth served alongside my beauty...even if it hurts.

3 comments:

www.mybeautyblog.de said...

it is like it is - never change a running system. those content with their johnsons baby cream are the happiest persons in the world. you can fix a part of the skin problem with an outer treatment, but most of it is diet, sports, happiness. this has not appeared in a bodylotion-bottle as far as I know. i will never have perfect skin, I stiskc to what helped me and ignore every sales-rep trying to tell me peelings are good for me or whatever...

Miss Malcontent said...

Touche! There is no doubt that minor miracles can be worked with an amazing dermatologist, cosmetician and stringent regime - but if you're unhappy, run down, have a poor diet, hormonal issues etc etc - it won't mean anything at all.

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