Monday, October 24, 2011
Oh Girlfriends, it is my firm belief that the age of a woman directly correlates to the price of her face cream. The older you are… the higher the price.
Here’s the deal...
When I was in my twenties- moisturizer was like a mother’s advice…. It was some I used when absolutely necessary and only if in a crisis. I would get a sunburn on my face and find myself at the pharmacy with a jar of “after sun/aloe vera” in my hands ready to lather rinse and repeat.
In my thirties- I began to dabble in moisturizers. I never really knew which one to buy. Do I need to regenerate or should I just use a regular day/night cream? Did cost really mean that I was getting a better product or was my money better spent on footwear? Which company should I choose? Do I go for a French made fancy name that I can have several pronunciations depending on whom you ask or should it be a straightforward Oil of Olay kind of product?
Finally my cybersisters....WHERE should this product be bought? Should I consult a fancy make up counter for advice from some lovely woman who was wearing far too much perfume and equally far too much make up or should I fend for myself in the cosmetics isle at the pharmacy?
Decisions loomed in the air as my thirties whizzed by. I dabbled in one cream or another feeling that time was on my side as promises were made all in the name of youth, beauty and a good few dollars spent.
And then came forty. At 40 I was no longer dabbling. I was not leaving my face’s texture or future to chance. I was spending no less than $100 on something French and something with a name that had both a clinical edge and a bunch of accents over its letter.
There would be Chanel’s REGENERISTE whose price is that of a car payment for 2 fluid ounces of hope in a bottle.
The jar that holds this precious serum (insert sarcasm here) is stunning. It is a champagne coloured glass square with a gold embossed top. It weighs as much as a watermelon and holds only 60ml of cream. My science brain knows that whatever is in this little jar/brick/paperweight of broken dreams really will not keep its promises.
That does not stop me. I happily hand over my credit card and let the dream begin.
There we are in Holt Renfrew at the scene of the crime. The woman helping me at the CHANEL counter is called Maria and she is lovely; sweet, considerate and kissing my ass just enough to make me feel special. She comments on my handbag and tells me I ‘ve lost weight. Yes, somewhere another fairy gets her wings and here I am the latest sucker to be born that minute.
After an obnoxious amount on money is spent, I am sent home with my new jar of REGENRISTE (insert French accent here) and the cycle of madness continues.
According to an expose in the British Daily Mail, a jar of Crème de la Mer which retails for 350 British pounds contains only 25 British pounds worth of materials.
The skin care market in the US is a $2 billion dollar annual industry. Sales in 2008 in the premium skin care lines (defined as products over $70 per unit) grew more than 8%. Recession? Not when it comes to the face….
According to Information Resources, Inc. in 2008, Americans spent a total of $605.7 million for facial anti-aging products, $569.6 million for facial cleansers, $345 million for acne treatments, $320.4 million for facial moisturizers and $27.8 million for body anti-aging products.
A study published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in 2010 looked at the ingredients of the high end face creams on the counters today.
Moisturizers are based on occlusive substances (petrolatum and dimethicone) and humectant substances (glycerin) with a variety of sunscreens and botanicals for added functionality and marketing impact.
Among the moisturizers examined (over 200 brands in total) 80 percent of the formulations had remarkably similar products regardless of what was added to the cream. The study found that regardless of whether the product is a facial foundation, an antiaging night cream, a sunscreen, a topical antioxidant, or a skin-lightening serum, the formulation is basically a moisturizer with some added botanicals and sunscreens.
There is no randomized trial in existence that compares one moisturizer to another.
And so my girlfriends this leaves me with my usual leap of faith…. Marketing. Am I weak? Perhaps. Easily influenced? Somewhat. I’m just a girl at the big 4-0 trying to find her way at the cosmetic counter. That being said as with most of my shopping endeavors I am always in search of a better way of life.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Confession time dear girlfriends… yes it’s Tuesday and I feel the need to spill. Who needs a shrink when you have the Internet I always say? I’m worried that in my older years I may becoming a little bit cynical.
Don’t laugh out loud…. I realize I am not the eternal optimist of our generation. I do have my hopeful qualities nonetheless…. I have faith that my perfect outfit is just around the corner.
Still somehow I have come to believe a fairytale is that bullshit story we tell ourselves in order to go to sleep at night. (Personally, I like to fall asleep to the sound of reality television playing in the background).
Remember when we were kids and the fairytale reigned supreme. Remember our role models growing up? Cinderella and Snow White and Rapunzell?
These bitches messed us up big time.
Good old Cinderella works her ass off for a family unit that treats her like a slave and one night POOF she goes to a ball in a great dress, leave her shoe at the door and walks away two days later as a princess.
Snow White cleaned up after 7 little men in what can only be considered a Disney version of a frat house. One day she meets a witch who poisons her (literally) but is rescued by a prince and with one kiss hits the mother load.
Rapunzel was locked in a castle with the need for a deep condition and sure enough she let her hair down and her world became magical.
Were these the women we were supposed to emulate? Work hard; suffer for the cause and one day your prince will come?
Remember the saying “Shoot for the moon and if you fall, at least you will catch a star’? Who in their right mind tells a child such horseshit?
Thereafter my bedtime fairytales became a series of aspiration indices. I remember from then on instantly thinking that the world owed me big time.
If I worked hard and paid my dues…. The world would stand and deliver. I studied hard in school and made sure I aced most tests. When you are in grade school doing exceptionally well on a scholastic endeavor is really not the sport of champions.
Let’s be honest- as long as you have a decent memory and are not into drugs and alcohol- junior high is pretty much a sure thing. Apart from my big hair, bad fashion choices and chubby misdemeanors, grade 7-10 were mine for the taking.
Years passed and I went on going to bed each night thinking that life was mine for the taking and I should in fact get a return on my investment whatever that may be.
It seemed like a logical thing in my mind- if I tried my best and worked hard and did what I was told…. Life would pay me back big time.
And then I learned that the world did NOT owe me and that sometimes…. Despite our best intentions we shoot for the moon and fall on our ass.
Case and point: I turned 16 and went for my drivers test. I had read all the manuals and practiced the drivers test until I was blue in the face. I was ready to be a licensed driver. I could parallel park for Canada. I was number one in my Drivers’ Ed class. I was the best student driver they had ever seen.
I failed my test on the first try. I hit the pylons trying to parallel park and was immediately ejected from the contest so to speak. I was crushed. Life was shit.
I shot for the moon and caught…. Shit. No stars, nothing. The world had officially let me down.
Yes, this was my right of passage and little did I know at the time that my first failure of many would not leave as big a scar on my psych as I thought.
Now a days I am faced with the constant realization that life sometimes does not make sense. Good decent people get really bad cancers and Snooky has her own book deal. Enough said.
I don’t mean to burst your optimistic bubbles… I do still want us all to dream big. I just think it’s time once in a while for us to face the fact that sometimes- our dreams are just that…. DREAMS.
Look- I would love to be a fashion stylist. I would love to spend my days sitting in the front rows of designer shows from Paris to Milan. But try as I might the closest I am going to get to New York City Fashion week is drinking a skinny latte while reading the fashion section of Sunday’s New York Times.
Once we learn that not everyone gets what she deserves in life we can in fact soldier on. I think it’s okay to dream as long as I realize it’s only just that- it’s me in my head and not me planning ahead.
Do remember Barbie? The bitch had everything? She had a great body and a perfect boyfriend and she looked good in polyester sparkles? Hell she even had a pink camper van. Did I want to BE Barbie? Not really…. But for the hour or so each night that I dressed that blonde bombshell up and pranced her around my basement- I was okay with a world where a broad like Barbie just did not exist.
Back then my expectations were suspended and I could just dream.
I wonder when it all went wrong…. When we no longer just wanted to play with the blonde in the sequence ball gown- instead we got it into our heads that we wanted to BE the blonde in the sequence ball gown.
Remember how I told you I failed my drivers’ test the first time out? Three months later- I took the test again and passed. Twenty-five years later- I hate driving and would prefer a driver to a license any day.
As study published in the New York Times in 2010 showed that 70% of women were disillusioned with their sex lives, 30% were disillusioned with their relationships and 45% were disillusioned with motherhood. 65% of women were disenchanted with their jobs and career… there is a unity in what we want to do over, no?
Should we tell our daughters to just settle in or should we still encourage them to “dream big”? I wonder. I have two nieces whom I love to death and I am always telling them that they can be whatever they want to. Am I doing them a big disservice? Should I instead tell them to balance their expectations with their level of commitment taking into account their own limitations from a socioeconomic standpoint?
What the Fuck? I catch myself saying those words out loud; dear girlfriends and I want to smack my own mouth.
Here I am working it through. Most of the time this blog is for my cyber sisters… to learn and be entertained… Today this blog’s for the little girl in all of us who lost her way along the way… for the one who forgot to dress up last week just because she could.
For even I, on this moist cynical of Tuesdays, I have learned that I should still dream. I can still put on a great pair of Dior boots after a bad day and walk around the house and pretend I have somewhere fabulous and important to go. I can forget about matching my expectations with my reality and I can suspend belief for long enough to know that although that skirt is not age or work appropriate…. I am Cinderella and my time is now.
Thanks for listening to my rant, my sisters of mercy. If you will excuse me- I must fetch old Barbie out of storage and go dwell in the possibilities.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Yes, I have been to the Dentist. I do try and go every six months for a good cleaning and check up. Unfortunately as my lovely Dentist will attest to- I suck at keeping appointments. I am forever changing and rescheduling. It’s not that my teeth aren’t a priority…. They are. It’s just… well… I suck at the self maintenance thing.
Here’s the deal… between the hair root touch up every six weeks, the hair cuts every 8 weeks and the eyebrow groom (don’t poke fun- have you seen my brows?) every 3 months…. I’m tapped out. Factor in a routine medial exam annually along with time for fasting blood work (I hate going without the coffee in the morning) and I’m fully booked. Then my bike needs a tune up every 6 weeks. Along with all the other duties a girlfriends gotta do and I’m locked up. After a while, the dentist becomes an after thought.
But here’s the thing…. My gums are receding. No shit…. I kid you not. I have spent a lifetime trying to make every other part of my body look smaller (my hair, my uni brow, my ass) and here I am finally getting my shrinking wish. MOTHERFUNHOUSE. What is that? Is God now a girlfriend with shitty cell phone reception.
There I was a hefty little kid lying in bed praying to the goddess for a smaller waist size… Did she finally get the message all these years later only to screw it up? I said BUM God damn it NOT GUMS? What is that?
Yet here I am being told that I have “pockets” between where my teeth should be.
This is not the first time I have heard such news…. When I was in my twenties I had to see a periodontist who did some God Awful gum work surgery on me (the surgery I am sure was excellent- it was god awful in that it was truly unpleasant) because I am told that I have small gums to begin with.
Great. The goddess divides. Big ass… small gums…. Huge hair… no chest…. Big Brain…. Small attention span. Big shoe fettish… small closet space… Lovely.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics in 2008, gingival recession (fancy words for gum shrinkage) is actually quite common. Approximately 15% of young people presenting to a dentist’s office for routine exam have it. It is most commonly related to previous orthodontic treatment or oral piercing.
This study looked at risk factors for gingival recession in a young healhy Israeli population. Of the 303 people randomly selected the most common risks for recession included age and whether or not the subjects had had braces. The average age of people in this study was 32.
There was no correlation in the study between smoking habits or gingivitis and gum recession.
An older population studied in Turkey of 831 people with an average age of 52 showed a much higher rate of gingival recession.
The average rate of recession was 78.2% in this population. The study involved a statistical model that looked at a multiple regression analysis to look at what risk factors contribute to gingival recession. The analysis showed that age, smoking duration and traumatic toothbrushing increased risk of gum shrinkage. Gingival recession has also been linked to a high frenum. ANATOMY ALERT Girlfriends… a frenum is that ridge between your two front teeth that connects your gums to your upper lip.
So there you have it. I’m getting older and maybe I’m brushing a little too hard… either way… one day I will have to have plastic surgery on my… gums. No breast implants, no facial fillers…. Just a small intimate gum enhancement.
Life has a fabulous sense of humor. Doesn’t it my sisters? Have a fabulous week and don’t forget to floss… be good to your gums my girlfriends. You never know when they will disappear on you.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Greetings from sunny Florida dear girlfriends…. I must admit, I did not think I’d ever find myself in Orlando anytime soon.
Afterall, I am nowhere near retirement (as a work-a-holic, perish the thought) and well, quite frankly, Disney gives me a rash so Florida was never really one of my travel destinations.
You do never know where life will take you and so when the Obesity 2011 conference is being held in the “happiest place on earth” I convinced myself that my Roberto Cavalli caftan needed one last spin before winter and here I am…poolside….learning.
Let’s be clear girlfriends- I’m not going to DisneyWorld. I realize it is not just for children but I’ve never been a big fan of Disney. Never mind the marketing and the weird twisty message (all those sad maidens cleaning houses waiting for their Princes) I just don’t get it. It really is not my scene.
Afterall, the only fairytale character I could ever identify with was the witch in Hansel and Gretel. I know many of you are now horrified, but really… you build a dreamhouse out of gingerbread and some little bitch comes by and takes a bite out of it? Who among us would not stick the little shit in the basement and use her brother for bouille base?
No, this afternoon I will not be going to Epcot centre to tour the world…. If I want to see the world, I can be sure it will not find me in Florida. Florida is for sunworship and oranges. So here I sit pooliside (yes I was at the conference ALL day Sunday and Monday) with an orange Margharita , some sunblock and a very good book.
SO! I thought I’d take this break from learning for a little bit of my own research…
Do you ever notice dear girlfriends that at a pool or beach, you are never the one with that fabulous deep tan? Are you? No worries, I am not THAT one either. Make no mistake- I AM the one with the fabulous sunglasses and an unrealistic sense of self esteem when it comes to being in a bathing suit… (I blame my parents, by the by, for instilling in me too much of the “you can do anything” attitude- yes, that and the margarita I usually have on an empty stomach…. In a woman who has the alcohol tolerance of an eight year old…. Put it all together and I think I’m waaaaay too okay for being a chubby white girl in a bikini.)
But here’s the deal with tanning….
As I get older I’m starting to get just a little bit sun shy. Not enough “sun shy” to keep me out of the sun entirely… I am an ethnic girl after all and we do look better when our olive skin is in fact more olive. But I have noticed that once you start tanning- you find it a challenge to stop.
I had a wicked tan this summer. I did after all spend three weeks on a bike and sunscreen be damned I got me some colour. It is now almost a month since my “days in the sun” and I notice my healthy glow is starting to fade.
SO here I sit poolside…. On a mission. Darken it up one last time before I settle in for a long winter. It is like a Vitamin D binge fest before hybernation, No?
No. According to a study published in 2005 in the Journal of Addiction Biology… I may indeed have a problem. A substance abuse problem. And to think my shoe issue was not enough to handle.
The evidence suggests that frequent exposure to Ultraviolet radiation has the potential to become addictive. The researchers looked at Magnetic resonance Imagery and PET scans of people exposed to UV light through tanning bed before and after a treatment and found that the brain “lights up” in the reward centres of the brain in response to regular UV exposure. The results are similar to when a person is given a drug or a dessert.
The subjects in this study were repeated tanning bed users. The subjects were also subjected to study questionairres. Based on their answers more than 75% of the “frequent tanners” met criteria for a substance abuse disorder based on their answers. The investigators decided to go a step further.
They recruited a small group of people from tanning salons who frequent tanners (meaning they liked to go three times a week to maintain their tan… yes… think Jersey Shores). These subjects agreed to be injected with a radioisotope and then were subjected to both PET scans and MRI’s to look at where the brain activity was most stimulated after tanning. This allowed researchers to monitor how tanning affected their subjects’ brain activity.
On one occasion, the study subjects experienced a normal tanning session. But on another occasion, the researchers used a special filter that blocked only the UV light, although the tanners weren’t told of the change.
Brain images later showed that during regular tanning sessions, when the study subjects were exposed to UV rays, several key areas of the brain lighted up. Among those areas were the dorsal striatum, the left anterior insula and part of the orbitofrontal cortex – all areas that have been implicated in addiction. But when the UV light was filtered out, those areas of the brain showed far less activity.
The researchers also found evidence that the tanners appeared to know — on a subconscious level, at least — when they had undergone sham tanning sessions and not received their usual dose of UV rays. The tanners, questioned after each session, expressed less desire to tan after the real sessions, indicating they had gotten their fill. But on days when the tanners were unknowingly deprived of the UV rays, their desire to tan after the session remained as high as it was before the session began.
Where does that leave me? It leaves me poolside battling a new addiction that I am less than comfortable with. Never mind the skin cancer risks…. I’m forty for Shit’s sake. My skin can’t handle the pressure.
And so dear girlfriednds… figuring my Dorsal Striatum has enough to deal with and is already pre-conditioned, you will excuse me if I go upstairs to my room and change out of my Roberto Cavalli caftan and into my shoe shopping outfit…. I hear there is a fabulous outlet mall just a short cab ride away from my hotel that should do just fine to appease my midbrain’s need for addiction….. Screw Disneyworld, my cybersisters…. THAT mall is the happiest place on earth.