A new year is upon us, and this transit is always a time of reckoning, not to mention the occasional epiphany. So here’s mine: I have sun-damage.
This shouldn’t exactly be shocking news. I’ve lived in Los Angeles for three decades, and have spent much of that time commuting to various work-lives via the 405 San Diego Freeway travelling south, the sun warming my skin through the car window.
Did I wear sunscreen? No. I was inside the car. At least that was my reasoning then.
And, okay, here’s the confessional aspect. All of those adventures which involved basking on the decks of yachts owned by Greek shipping magnates never included sunscreen, either. Again, simpler, more innocent times, and my melanin-rich skin which simply deepened to the color of hot cocoa as the summers flew by. No hat, no shame, more ouzo! Opa!
But, now, I am so busted. Yet dermalogica.com tells me it’s not too late.
In my case, we’re not talking wrinkles, crinkles, or those papery fine-lines that Anglo-Saxon people get. What I do have, clustered along my left cheekbone and jaw (on the side that took the brunt of all of that solar-commuting): a peppering of darkened areas, and one good-sized, chocolate-hued blotch the shape of Oklahoma.
Oh, and in all fairness, taking the Pill all those years ago, in combination with brazenly naked UV exposure, also contributes to this sort of camo-leopard spotting effect. Yes, I can easily cover it with makeup, by the way. But can the leopard change her spots?
Dermalogica offers a range of gentle brightening products, which I am checking out-- they're all at the Dermalogica flagship on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica, making my last shopping binge in that choice district an actual medical necessity, or so I tell myself. Try it.
They make the distinction between these “brightening” ingredients, which are all botanicals-based (rice, for instance, in Daily Microfoliant, which also whisks away dead skin debris as it brightens!), versus the scary, old-school whitening, lightening and “fade” creams which literally bleached the skin with hydroquinone. Yeesh. Safer than mercury, but no-thank-ee!
Most importantly, Dermalogica is now putting the cherry on the sundae with new oleosome technology which will allow them to formulate SPF50 without irritating the skin. While lots of other manufacturers offer sun protection products with supersonic SPF ratings, Dermalogica’s love of skin-safety thus far has capped it at 30--until now.
Planned for Spring, 2013, Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF50 will bump up the protection from 30 to 50, thanks to oleosomes. This formulation technique is basically an encapsulation process which allows the product to deliver more sunscreen without causing inflammation. Also good, since they tell me that inflammation, especially in mature—oh, I’ll just say it, go-go granny skin like mine—can cause even more weird color hiccups. They tactfully call it “extrinsic” aging, meaning that it you could have prevented it, but you brought it on yourself anyway. Not that Dermalogica judges. They forgive, but do motivate you to do better next time.
The new year is, of course, an opportunity for renewal. So I’m making a promise to my skin to guard against mid-life UV, whether I find myself dropping anchor somewhere in the Aegean, or merely driving to Van Nuys.
And, as if that weren’t enough, next month there is ANOTHER new year celebration, as the Chinese zodiac ushers in Year of the Snake. A creature known to literally shed its skin and start over. I plan to do the same.