Of all the things I thought I'd have to deal with in my thirties, I never imagined bad skin would be one of them. I blame not sleeping through the night for several years. Because, well, I like to blame that for most things. It seems like a likely culprit.
As a result of these break-outs, I've developed a habit of slathering on make-up to hide it. It's become a daily ritual - a part of my morning routine. Whether I'm going to a playdate, to drop my son at school, or go to work, I won't leave the house without it.
It was around the same time I first laid eyes on boys that my skin started to misbehave. It was as though the universe was sending me a warning sign. And of course I ignored the universe. Because... BOYS! And the universe in return punished me for not listening by awarding me with bad skin as punishment.
By the time I was nineteen it was official, I had acne. Which, when you're nineteen, you want about as much as you want a chaperone on a date. Eager to do away with it, I applied the medicated skin creams my doctor prescribed, which smelled kind of like paint stripper and truthfully did nothing for me.
So I discovered foundation and began to wear it all the time. My mother took me to Estee Lauder, where the lady at the counter took one mascara-laden look at me and smothered me in the heaviest foundation she could find. And then added about four layers of blusher and other colourful powders and I walked away looking not unlike Dolly Parton.
Nevertheless, I was in love with my new foundation.
And not just foundation, but I fell for make-up in sort of a big way. I loved the packaging. I loved the way I could smooth out the uneven patches and change the way my face looked with eye liner and shadow, and it was almost artistic, the act of applying it. I got a kick out of treating myself to a new Rubie and Millie lip gloss or a Mac eyeshadow, and that in turn became a rather expensive habit.
It was my way of covering over the pimples and the ugliness I felt. With make-up I was prettier and more confident.
After graduating and into the first few years of my career, my skin began to improve a little. I know this, because in my wedding pictures (in 2003) my skin looks decent. Then we moved to Canada. And then I was pregnant, twice, and the pregnancies seemed to agree with my skin (at least in the second and third trimesters). For a while things were looking up.
But having babies meant being up half the night. For several years. And several years of not sleeping through the night took a sledgehammer to my skin. And now? Back to square one.
Go straight to skin prison, do not pass Go, do not collect $200 or good skin.
Yeah, thanks universe.
I never imagined that in my thirties, my skin would be as bad as when I was a teenager. I never thought I'd still be slapping on the greasepaint like my sanity depended on it. I never imagined I'd still be afraid to step out of the house bare-faced for fear of what people might think. Never thought my skin would still cause me to lack confidence in myself.
But it's okay. It won't last forever. I mean, there's NO WAY this will still be happening when I'm forty. Right? Someone?
Ever the optimist, I have faith that one day (please one day), sleep will return - good, consistent, healing sleep. And when it does, my skin will recover and be amazingly fabulous. Or something close to that.
Until then, there's make-up.
Has anyone else suffered with bad skin in their thirties? How did you deal with it?