My college roommate once stood before a mirror staring at a single blemish that had recently started forming on her face. Distraught over the tiny bump, she was fashioning a wall of concealer and foundation to block it from saying hello to society. I, in turn, stared at her without sympathy, feeling the burn of the mountain range-like cluster of pimples that had taken up permanent residence on the side of my face.
We were preparing for the first round of sorority rush, and heading in, I was feeling less than confident. The entire time I was making conversation and attempting eye contact, I had a sense that the potential future sisters had their eyes locked on my blistering blemishes. Uncomfortable and hating their perceived judgment, I ended up dropping out after the second round.
Eventually, after a slight shift in my developing hormones (apparently, I was a late bloomer) and giving lots of attention to my skincare routine – a gentle cleanser and light moisturizer, morning and night, even late nights when I desperately wanted to fall into bed – my skin began to clear and my self-assurance was on the up and up. I was able to look those sorority sisters in the eye the next time rush came along with enough self esteem to know they should be excited to welcome me with open arms. Added bonus, I could talk to boys – though calling it flirting might have been pushing it.
Content with my routine through graduation and as I entered the working world, it never occurred to me to make a change. My skin felt relatively stable with only a small blemish here and there. That is, until the working world took its’ toll. Late nights at the office combined with the stress of making sure every piece of work I tended do was my absolute best resulted in a second wave of skin dilemmas.
During one of many facials I’d started getting, my aesthetician mentioned that my skin could really benefit from regular exfoliation. There wasn’t a chance that I would let the spa technicians talk me into their over-priced products. I’m just not that kind of girl. So I set off to the drug store in pursuit of an affordable exfoliant, despite not having a clue what I was looking for. I wound up with the tried-and-true staple, St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub.
In my late 20s I no longer worry about feeling judged by petty sorority girls – just some clients, cute guys on the train, and sometimes the cashier at the local bodega. Mostly though, I don’t even have time for that. Deep down I know that working out, healthy eating, and tending to my skin (Cleanser, lotion, exfoliant, repeat) leave me feeling pretty good. Now, instead of keeping my eyes to the ground, I go about my day, head up, feeling vibrant in my own skin.