40 Is the New 40

I did something really dumb the other night. I told my husband that I was going in for a glycolic peel this week. “Oh…OK?” he said, as his face involuntarily twisted into a look of complete puzzlement. And it wasn’t about the cost, though I doubt he’d be dancing on the ceiling if he heard how much a glycolic peel goes for. It’s a very real, tangible acknowledgment of aging. I’m no longer his young wife.

When we lived L.A., it seemed like everyone was getting treatments like facials and chemical peels. At the time, I sneered at all that attention to the face, writing it off as a waste of time and money. It was an “L.A. thing.” I had nothing to prove and besides, wouldn’t spending that money on a nice dinner or a pair of shoes prove far more satisfying than getting a really expensive face wash? Ironically, now that we reside in glamorous Philadelphia, I have discovered these treatments for myself. If fact, they may be my new obsession. The only difference is now I’m in my 40s.

It’s easy to be judgy when your skin is still relatively unwrinkled and smooth. Sun damage hasn’t quite risen to the surface. Your face hasn’t begun to submit to gravity, which always makes me think of my 20-something, offhand, bratty remark about Heather Locklear when she made one of many triumphant comebacks joining the cast of Melrose Place in the 90s. “Her face is falling,” I announced to my roommates as we sat in front of the TV. I still cringe when I think about it. It’s a thoughtless, ignorant, woman-hating throwaway line aimed at a person who is so far in the stratosphere of attractiveness, that it wouldn’t have even made any sort of minuscule dent on her beautiful, and probably bulletproof, veneer. But I was sporting 22-year-old skin.

No longer. And I can’t even say I’m obsessing over these peels, facials, and expensive creams to improve my skin. No. I’m trying to hang onto what I’ve got for as long as possible. In fact, it takes effort to just hang in there. Now that my own face is falling, I understand why people pump their faces with Botox and fillers. Is it better to have a face that doesn’t move than a wrinkly one? I don’t know, but I can tell you, I’m not so judgy anymore. Plastic surgery? Face lift? I don’t think I want to go that far just yet. But hey, I get it. For the time being, I’ll stick to my regimen, but who knows how long these tricks are going to work.

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