I am lying on a facial table and my skin is getting scrubbed. Hard. Really hard. I’m at a salon trying out a Botanical Skin Resurfacing, a treatment that has promised, in four easy sessions, to give me the equivalent of microdermabrasion for a fraction of the cost and a fraction of the pain. That means smoother skin, smaller pores, and fewer fine lines and wrinkles. That’s why I am laying there trying to relax while the aesthetician spreads a layer of the scrub over my face, waits for it to dry, and then rubs back and forth until the product (and my dead skin) rolls off like eraser shavings. Yummy.
I haven’t always had the best skin. As a teenager, my acne was so bad that I finally had to go on Accutane just to look like a normal human being and not, you know, a pustule with eyeballs. (Did I also mention that I had braces and glasses at the time?) Accutane was a last resort after years of over-the-counter and finally prescription creams and potions that never made the slightest dent in my skin problems. Not that is was easy. Accutane dried the crap out of my whole body. I had to slather myself in Crisco-like lotions to keep my skin from cracking and peeling. I went through stick upon stick of lip moisturizer in a futile effort to keep my lips from splitting and bleeding. In fact, the Accutane was so potent that blood tests showed my liver was leaking enzymes after three months and they made me stop taking it. Luckily, it had been in my system long enough to work and I was blessed with relatively clear skin.
And it was all worth it. All the horrible things it did to my body were worth it because the acne had been so damaging, not just to my skin but to how I viewed myself.
Years later, I was speaking to a holistic healer/yoga teacher/aesthetician who, not knowing that I had ever taken Accutane, explained to me how lazy people with acne must be. I wanted to punch her in her smug little face. She told me that people who took Accutane just wanted the easy way out. That if they were really serious about clearing up their skin, they would go on a green juice fast and detoxify their bodies. Et voila! They wouldn’t have to deal with the pustules they had clearly brought on themselves with their sloppiness and lack of hygiene.
I bit my tongue. I wanted to say, “Listen, people with acne aren’t lazy. I would have done anything, ANYTHING to have clear skin. I would have bathed in the blood of a thousand virgins by the light of a full moon if I thought it would have cleared things up! So don’t tell me I’m lazy!” And Accutane was not the easy way out! It sucked. It sucked HARD. It did terrible things to my body before it started working. But to me, I would have suffered through anything.
Whew! What?! Where was I again?!
Oh yes. Back to me on the facial table. The aesthetician finishes peeling all the gunk off my face and leaves me to change. I touch my face. It is smooth. I mean really smooth. I mean really, really smooth. Do I look microderabrasion-ed? I don’t know. I look a little pink. And kind of shiny. But in the best possible way. Huh. Maybe there is something to all this facial stuff. We shall see.