Coppertone‘s new campaign, “Embrace the Sun“, is irresponsible. Of course, the brand is saying, “you’re so protected by us that you can go outside and soak up the rays.” Well, any dermatologist will tell you that no matter how much sunscreen you shmear on, you’re not 100 protected from the sun. I, for one, put gobs of sunscreen on my face AND wear a hat, and I still return from a few hours of sun with color.
I’m all for embracing the summer. But the sun? No way. Coppertone, you’ve gone to far. And it’s not just annoying. It’s dangerous.
Remember “Project Erasure”? Recall my quest for skin perfection?
Well, 4 laser treatments didn’t quite cut it.
But there’s good news. The laser treatments did erase quite a bit of damage. See the before and after “reveal shots” above that I took at Dr. Prasad‘s office. What you’re looking at is the sun damage beneath the surface of the skin that will eventually rise to the surface if I don’t take care of it. To put it simply, lots of brown stuff is bad. Less brown stuff it good. As you can see from the “after shots” there’s considerably less bad stuff! Yeah! There’ was so much improvement that we believe (ok, more like hope) that another 4 rounds will do the trick.
If we weren’t getting the results we wanted, we’d have to resort to whitening cream, i.e., Hydroquinone, which doesn’t cure, but just temporarily fades the spots. So if you forget to wear sunscreen one day, the spots come right back. And to make matters worse there’s been a lot of news about it being kinda bad for you so I’d rather stay away. The only other option after that would be to just live with the darn spots. Well, I’m not willing to go down without a fight. I want it all gone.
Over the course of these treatments many of you loyal readers and friends have commented that maybe I’m getting a wee bit obsessed. My immediate reaction to these comments is oy, am I one of these high maintenance crazies?
OK, so maybe this is something that I’m a bit “focused” on. But then again I’m not super high maintenance in other ways. I don’t dye my hair at salons and I don’t even cut it very often for that matter. I don’t remember the last time I bought make-up and my bathroom essentials can all be found at the local drugstore! Am I starting to sound defensive or what?
Sure, I may have my 1 pet peeve, that is, my skin. But who doesn’t have at least one? So, I guess I can’t qualify yet as a high maintenance lunatic, right?
Well, time will tell if all this “obsessing” is worthwhile. Who knows, maybe me and my clear skin will be having the last laugh!
That’s a pic of me during a great night out with my husband and two of our friends, Adam and Rebecca. Sure, this image brings back some good memories, but to me it also points out my annoying freckles, aka sun spots! My husband thinks I’m crazy, but the sun damage drives me bananas!
I started expressing my frustration with these pesky spots in an earlier post, Erasing the Past, and my desire to “go back in time” and get rid of them once and for all. So, finally I decided to launch my own quest for beauty, which I’m calling Project Erasure. The project consists of me visiting my favorite plastic surgeon, Amiya Prasad, and getting IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) for once a month and tracking my progress — physical and emotional.
Well, I had my first official session. At first I was excited. I liked the idea that I have the power to make myself more attractive. Sitting back in the chair awaiting my treatment, I felt like a pro. First, I’ve done this process here and there a few times so I knew the drill. Second, I’m pretty tolerant of pain (except that of lip threading, which is more painful than childbirth!), so I predicted a pretty painless process.
Boy was I wrong! It hurt like hell. What was different about this time? I had restarted my Retin-A program just a few weeks ago, and my skin was sensitive with a capital S. I had to run back to work right after, and I looked like a truck ran over me! When my husband saw me that night (at a parent-teacher event — probably not the best place to showcase my new look), he was horrified.
I had no idea I would look so scary. I had a real problem on my hands. While the redness subsides in a day, the scabbing doesn’t. Here I had a face full of dark brown scabby splotches (look down below for a pic of myself a whopping 5 days later). How am I supposed to walk around with that? As you can imagine, I worked the concealer and powder like I was a Kabuki actress, but nothing was stopping those scabs from poking through. Even my kids have been asking “what’s up?” I donned a hat for a few days to cover some of my face, but even that can only do so much.
It’s now about a week after the procedure, and I still look scary. But I’m not upset. For one thing, I realized that I’m not as vain as I thought. I can actually go about my business looking like something out of a 70s horror movie (okay, slight exaggeration). It didn’t really make as much of a difference to me as I thought. And, of course, despite the questioning looks from the fam, I do believe a better skin future awaits.
I was sitting in my plastic surgeon’s office yesterday (now, don’t start visualizing images of body dysmorphism, I’ll explain why I was there in a bit…) seeing the results of major sun damage via one of those special cameras that can see beneath the skin’s layers. And let me tell you, the image wasn’t pretty.
Why was I at a plastic surgeon’s office? Well, I actually interviewed Dr. Amiya Prasard a few months ago to get an understanding of his patients’ hopes and desires when it comes to their appearances. Given that he deals with the extreme measures of transformation, I thought he could shed some interesting light on the matter. Indeed he did and I’ll share his insights in a coming post.
Now back to my sun-damaged skin. The doctor was quite astute in showing me these images. He was, in effect, acting as a prophet by letting me know that the skin damage would continually come to the surface in my future. I’m not naive. I know that medicine is a business as well as a calling, and I was a potential customer. But I couldn’t resist: “Can it be reversed?” I asked/prayed. “Yes, it can.” I was hooked. Not only could I prevent more damage or cover it up, I could go back in time and erase it! I was ready to roll.
This notion isn’t new. Skin care companies talk about reversing the signs of aging often. But it struck me at that point that there are very few parts of our lives that we actually CAN reverse. Can I take away the hours slaving away on a pitch instead of spending time with my children? Can I reverse the hurt I caused one of my best friends? No. Now sometimes that’s a good thing because these experiences teach us something. And they force us to see that there are consequences to our actions. But I would still prefer to have done these – and many other – things differently.
Perhaps my eagerness to take immediate action on my skin isn’t just to protect (or reclaim) my youthful looks. Maybe it’s a form of catharsis. It’s a way to erase at least one mistake when I’m powerless to erase all the other, more significant ones.