Q: What's bothering you? Why so glum today?
A: I'm aging badly. Only 44, I look nearly 50. Moderate to severe acne starting at age 12--relieved only by pregnancy and nursing--ravaged my skin. For as long as I can remember, my skin lacked smoothness. Serious scars on my chin and temples, coupled with sun damage, have ruined my looks. I'm doomed. My appearance will get far worse by age 50. My neck, arms and hands are sprinkled with sun spots and wrinkles, despite fairly consistent sunscreen use starting in my late twenties.
Q: Surely the acne has stopped by now?
A: It had. But now that menses has returned, the acne has as well--though less severe so far. To say I'm depressed by this development is an understatement.
Q: Why do you share this pain here, in this space?
A: I want my bloggy friends to escape this pain. No matter their current age, they need to know that the damage they allow now will begin to show up quite cruelly in the mid-forties.
Friends, whatever your skin type, keep it protected! Take vitamin D supplements, use sunscreen, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses. I was never taught to use hats as a child, and I don't remember anyone applying sunscreen on me. 80% of the damage occurs before age 18.
Q: What else would you like to share?
A: If you know an acne sufferer, be especially nice to him or her. Acne leaves lifelong emotional and physical scars. It is becoming more prevalent in adults, especially in adult women, due to hormonal imbalances.
Q: How can a woman deal gracefully with aging and skin damage?
A: I'll get back to you on that one, as soon as I get used to an uglier me. In the meantime, give thanks for the things you don't struggle with. Are you free from body weight concerns? Rejoice! Are you free from chronic diseases? Rejoice! Do you have great, full-bodied hair? Rejoice!
And work on your heart. Pray for a gentle and quiet spirit. A beautiful heart will soften looks, however compromised they are.
When we get to heaven, we're all beautiful! Praise the Lord!