Saturday, March 6, 2010

Beauty in a jar—but which jar?

A part of me is excited to be aging at a time when the market is filled with affordable anti-aging products. But it’s so confusing! Between TV ads for the lotions and creams, and articles in More and O touting over-the-counter products that are (supposedly) dermatologist-endorsed, my head spins.

I’ve been reading a lot about peptides and hyaluronic acid that are supposed to work wonders on age spots, undereye bags, lines, and all the other uglies that settle in. With this in mind, I look for products that contain these ingredients. The problem is, it takes a long time to browse the skin care shelves at Walgreen’s or Ulta—especially because the ingredients, if not blazing across the front of the package, are in tiny print (in other word, not for older folks) on the back.

But here’s the dilemma: What if I spend weeks—months!—using a product and it’s not the one that will work best on my wrinkles? I’ve actually lost time, and time’s running out. But it’s also not helping that I keep switching. I’ll use one lotion or cream for a week or two, and then, prompted by an ad or convincing commercial, I’ll buy another and use that for a while. For night creams, I rotate using a product with Retinol and one much milder. And if I get a sample as a bonus gift? I switch to that until it runs out.

This fickleness came back to bite me. I developed flaky patches on my cheeks that sting when I use any of the anti-aging products. It wasn’t during the coldest days of winter, and I hadn’t buried my face in a fuzzy wool scarf recently. I didn’t change laundry detergents, so my pillowcase wasn’t at fault. So I’m thinking it must have been a cosmetic product. But which one? I had no clue. Now I’m putting nothing but Eucerin on my face until the dry patches go away (and losing time that I could be seriously battling wrinkles and brown spots).

In my forties, I relied on Noxzema day and night. Ah, the good old days. Life was less complicated. And I was younger.