I spent $450 on my face last week.
I feel sick about it., as any normal person who prefers to spend her money on food would. $450! On a patch of skin that measures less than a square foot.
I always felt sorry for those people with skin problems. Not that I didn't have my fair share of pimples and visible pores both as a teenager and an adult, but it wasn't ever a serious issue. Nothing a little makeup and strategically placed bronzer couldn't fix. While I knew I would never be one of those girls with a "dewy glow," I told myself that at least I didn't have... acne.
The word horrified me. I felt uncomfortable even hearing Proactiv commercials, as though I could somehow catch it from the TV screen. In comparison, my few pimples and lightly cratered patches of skin didn't seem all that bad. I could live with it. I could even live with the shininess that would inevitably plague my face by the end of each day.
"At least I won't get wrinkles!" I told myself in praise of my oily skin.
A few months ago, all that changed. I started to get more pimples, and they didn't go away immediately like they had in the past. My skin went from tolerable to intolerable in a matter of weeks, and I desperately slathered on foundation and a myriad of products that ran the gamut from aloe vera to tea tree oil. Every morning I raced to the bathroom mirror, hoping my skin had miraculously transformed back to its former self overnight. And every morning I was met with the same blemished complexion.
I was angry. Confused. Disgusted that I had become so obsessed about something so vain and of no relation to quinoa or Bar Method or Nancy Silverton.
That word that shall not be mentioned didn't happen to me. That sort of tomfoolery was for teenagers. People who gorged on potato chips and rubbed their greasy fingers all over their pores.
Clearly there had been some sort of mistake.
Last weekend, I finally hit my breaking point. Mortified to even go to the gym without makeup, I frantically contacted a facialist who Ashley had found on Yelp. As I nervously explained my situation during my appointment last Wednesday, the facialist, Karina, began asking me about my skin care regimen. About makeup remover and the lot of egregious products that I had lugged with me that day. I sheepishly admitted that I didn't use makeup remover - that I usually just bought whatever Neutrogena or Clean & Clear cleanser was on sale and used that to clean my face.
"Is your face always this shiny?" Karina asked, carefully surveying me.
I nodded, suddenly wondering if I'd been doing it wrong all along. If my skin didn't need to be shiny. If maybe I should have been paying attention to my face long before it staged its current rebellion.
"You have acne," Karina announced, the word reverberating through the room like the shrieking note of a violin. It hung in the air, pointing an accusatory finger at me as she continued her assessment.
"And rosacea on your nose and chin."
Her words continued to shriek in my head throughout the rest of my appointment.
"My name is Diana and I have acne." I thought as though it was an addiction I needed to acknowledge and embark on a 12-steps program for -- which, in a way, I did.
Karina kept telling me how glad she was that I came, but that I needed to be committed if I wanted my complexion to improve.
I nodded emphatically, desperately wanting her to think I was a good pupil -- that despite my offensive past with aloe vera and generic cleansers, I was serious about using makeup remover and seaweed masks and things that I'd formerly thought were superfluous and girly.
I was going to be the best patient ever - a epidermis devotee the likes of which she'd never before extracted.
A trip to my dermatologist and three prescriptions later, I'm now fully (and financially) committed to squashing the rebellion on my face.
I'm using the mint and oatmeal cleansers.
I'm taking the supplements.
And I'm drinking kale juice.
I can practically taste the impending dewy glow.
Fresh Kale, Cucumber and Apple Juice
Notes: During one of my post-facial emails to Karina, I asked if there were any foods I should eat to promote good skin health. In addition to the zinc and primrose oil supplements she recommended that I begin taking, she encouraged me to eat healthy - a lot of greens, not processed food. This fresh pressed juice is reflective of that recommendation. It takes a bit of effort, but is a great (and surprisingly tasty!) way to add some extra greens to your diet. Consider it a fountain of dewy skin.
1 small bunch of kale, rinsed well and finely chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 small honeycrisp or other juicy apple, peeled and chopped into chunks
1 cucumber (about 5 inches long), peeled, seeded and chopped into chunks
1 cup water
Toss finely chopped kale with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Refrigerate overnight or for four or so hours to soften.
Combine apple, cucumber, kale, and water in a blender or deep container to blend with an immersion blender. Blend until thoroughly combine and the drink has the texture of a smoothie.
Gradually pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve or strainer to remove the solids. Press to extract as much juice from the mixture as possible. Add additional water, pressing through the solids, as needed.
Pour the juice into two glasses. Serve at room temperature.