a Sailor's life off duty.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Age of My Skin

Because my birthday is this month, I thought it would be appropriate to look at how my skin has changed through the last 7 years, which is significantly. These last few years were marked with lots of profound life changes, a few sad events, and a lot of stress and heartache from my old position, which drastically changed the age of my skin. While the Darling Husband and I have debated that genes (his argument) and the way you live your life and take care of your skin (my argument) have a lot to do with how quickly you age and the way you look, I would be willing to bet that if I had never been placed in the position I was placed in at my last job, the grey hair and lines would not have appeared as soon as they did. But, as fate would have it, I was placed where I was placed, and now am facing an inner conflict: "Would I ever get botox or a face lift?" I am hoping the answer is no, but there are quite a few people I know who have been taking the risk and doing what they need to do to feel and look better about themselves. That's why I'm just going to move back to a small town in Ohio with the DH and hopefully grow old gracefully. If there is pressure anywhere in the world to look perfect and young forever, it's definitely in Southern California, although I would argue that that pressure is definitely stronger in places like L.A. I am from L.A. and grew up there, so that is what I felt and experienced when I lived there and whenever I visit.

And without further ado (my new favorite intro.....)

I didn't even notice my skin, probably because I had no problems with it.
 I didn't truly appreciate how great I had it back then.

Although I had spent 7 months in the deserts of Iraq and Kuwait, my skin
was still great after my 30th birthday. No problems and minimal care
required, except daily and evening moisturizer and, of course, the
the daily sunscreen on my face.

(Holy blown up face!) I still don't realize my skin is awesome for this age.
I attribute my nice skin to my genes, the fact that I am eating quite
healthy at this stage, and that I have continued running long distances.
A doctor's visit shows an unusually low HDL to LDL level and a low
resting heart rate. The nurse says I'm "so healthy, it's scary" and then
asks me if I'm a vegetarian. I tell her "No.I eat meat!"

On my honeymoon and wedding in Maui. After doing my own
makeup for the quiet, solitary wedding ceremony we had on the beach
and a few pictures, I realize that my skin is pretty nice for my age. I
vow to continue to wear sunscreen and take care of it as much as

Believe it or not, I'm actually a few years older than the DH! No, I'm not
a cradle robber, just a fool for love...Anyhow, a few months after my job,
working 12-16 hour days and hating my life (for the next 3 years, I might
add), I notice slight lines surfacing on my forehead and that I have to slather
on the moisturizer a little bit more. AHHHHH! But they are slight and I still
 get complimented on how young I look. I also lost 10 pounds in the first
month and then quickly gained it all back and then some.  Oh, but the
blemishes appear again! I don't know where I got the idea that pimples
stop appearing after one's teenage years....

Lines are more noticeable and skin is drier overall, thanks to my job and
lack of sleep. I need lots and lots of moisturizer! I notice that my skin
is drier and lines are more apparent when I don't get enough sleep and
when I don't moisturize enough. I am also using line-reducing cream,
advanced moisturizing cream, and hydrating\moisturizing masks.

I was being a bit careless because I was too busy and stressed out with
my former job. I was also neglecting to wear a hat and re-lather on facial
 sunscreen when running outside whenever I started increasing my mileage.
I've also noticed darkening of skin on certain areas of my face: melasma.
There's no "cure" for it, but there are ways to minimize the appearance
and lighten it. Some are expensive and some just require me to take
better care of my skin. Conclusion: I'm a dumb ass for taking for granted
my genes. Also, if I had given up or feigned craziness at my old job, or
just gotten fired, I might still have the perfect skin I had at 30.

Hopefully, I've scared all you 20-somethings into taking the utmost care of your skin. Genes may play a major role in how your skin ages, but so does the way you live your life. Alcohol, lack of sleep, sun exposure, and stress have a major impact on the health of your skin. So do hormones and smoking, although I don't smoke- my Darling Husband does. I'm hoping I can grow old gracefully. I'm also hoping that I have enough substance and brains for the DH to still be attracted to me after another decade.  

It's funny that other cultures don't place the same importance on youth and beauty. Cultures like my parents' value aging and wisdom and treat the elderly with the highest respect.  The fact that I am aging wouldn't even be an issue if I didn't live here. But I do and I don't plan on living anywhere else, and so I care about my aging face. Like I said before, hopefully there is enough inside of me for the outside to no longer matter....

What do you think:
Grow old gracefully or preserve your youth for as long as you can?

To truth and beauty....


  1. I'm not just being nice when I say this, but I honestly don't see anything wrong with your skin in ANY of those photos. I understand the pressure is probably high in S. California to stay "young" looking, but with all honestly, I think you are beautiful the way you are! Signs of age are a good thing. :)

    Cup of Tea

    1. Well, there are lines there that were not apparent before and my skin is just dehydrated, some days more than other, which didn't start to happen exactly until I started at my former job. I just hope it made younger women think to take care of their skin and be mindful of the things they can do to make it better or worse. Thanks for all the kind words! -Jessica

  2. I had perfect skin all though high school and most of my college years. I thought I was home free and then I turned 23 and my face, literally (okay, not literally but I felt like it did), EXPLODED. I was so upset with myself for not taking better care of my skin - ESPECIALLY in Hawai'i. Although the weather had an impact, I did a lot of research on adult acne and found that the majority of adults experience it! I felt relieved that I wasn't the only one faced with this... it was a tough year to get through but I made it and my skin balanced out.

    Thanks for sharing your struggles though! Although I might add that I know you in "real life" and you have beautiful skin! :-p

    Hope to see you soon!
    The Highs and Lows of the Scale

    1. Oh my god, you made me think for a second who this was. LOL.

  3. Aw if you're ever in the orange county area, I do facials! Amaaaaaaazing skin care line too!

    1. Thanks, I do plan on treating myself to facials every now and then.

  4. You are too beautiful to worry about this! You look amazing in all of the photos!

  5. I think it's good for us to take care of our skin, but for health reasons and not completely for vanity (though it's definitely hard here in LA). In the past year I've started breaking out which is something I haven't had a problem with since middle school! I know it's partly from stress and also being in a germy work atmosphere (I'm in customer service and shake hands with everybody -- ew). The pimples are embarrassing but there's only so much I can do.

    As for sunscreen, I don't always remember to put it on, though fortunately I don't go tanning anymore (I did back in Michigan and was WAY darker than I've ever been in LA -- go figure).