One thing that I looked forward to about ageing was the absence of spots. I imagined that there was a magical age, twenty-five perhaps, where my skin would clear up and I’d be totally blemish free. It was a false hope. I’m in my early forties and am sporting a ridiculous collection of pimples around my mouth.
I managed to miss acne vulgaris. I was lucky enough not to suffer those rashes and colonies of ugly spots during my teenage years. What I got instead was the uber-zit. I’d grow these massive headless spots that would take root and stick around sending me running for the nearest chemist to peruse the chemical warfare agents that promised clearer skin. I had two giant spots on the end of my nose for so long during my late teens that I christened them (Bette and Joan if you must know: they were bickering mean spots).
I scoured my skin with bright pink lotions that left me with a complexion like a flaky pastry sausage roll but the spots remained, red and shiny as ever. I applied medical concealer that was designed for the cast of TOWIE (i.e. bright orange). Having a bright orange, powdery pimple was clearly so much more discrete. I applied acidic lotions that burned and sizzled but seemed to feed the spots. I avoided grease and chocolate, ate fruit, drank water and squeezed/didn’t squeeze till I was blue (and still spotty) in the face.
The advent of facial hair made things worse. The spots would come and go and were occasionally joined by their more vicious friends: the ingrowing hairs. The only delight with these is the sating of my love of picking and prodding. Hot flannels and savage attacks garner a lot o satisfaction.
I’m less vain and self-conscious than in my youth and I have a more philosophical outlook to things. I tend to go with the phrase: It is what it is.
I’ll sport my pimples with pride today. I don’t love my glue sniffer type rash but I can take it. It’ll go in time.
Chris is a theatre and book obsessed Midlander who escaped to London. He’s usually to be found slumped in a seat in a darkened auditorium.
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