Discover more from How Not to F*ck Up Your Face
The Young and the Restless
plus, new self-tanning territory?
To the more than 150 new readers who’ve landed here in the past week or so, here’s a brief description of what you might expect. If you’re glad you found HNTFUYF, please tap the little ❤ above. Thank you!
Now, before we get to the strictly beauty-related portion of the program, I’d like to introduce you to my dear friend and future grandpuppet-in-law, Monkey-Monkey.
Casting about for a way to virtually connect with my four-year-old granddaughter, M, who lives with her parents (my son and daughter-in-law) in Tokyo, I discovered the enduring potential of hand puppets. Monkey-Monkey and I have spent many delightful hours with M as she engages volubly with various ideas—from the difference between humans and puppets (bones inside the body versus a bony hand, and a curious inability to speak without someone hovering nearby) to, lately, matrimonial norms. According to M, one is never too young to marry, nor are there ever too many prospects. This led us to a conversation about M and Monkey-Monkey’s upcoming nuptials.
“You could wear that really cute outfit Mama sent me a photo of the other day,” I suggested. “You know, the tweed dress with the matching jacket and beret.”
“No, no, no,” said M firmly. “I will wear a dress with flowers all on it,” she said, slapping her chest to indicate the floral arrangement.
“Ah! Good choice.”
“And Monkey-Monkey,” said M, “will be wearing a suit.”
I wonder aloud if Monkey-Monkey is too young for a suit. Or (to myself) too simian. It doesn’t matter. Youth be damned. A suit it is.
Which leads me to a youth-oriented reader query…
“Ask Val” answers your urgent questions, Vol. 27
Q: I'm 32 and starting to see the first signs of aging. I’m not interested in Botox or fillers at this point—but I am wondering if there are specific treatments you’d recommend for a person in their early 30s?
A: Thank you for your excellent question! Come on up and sit on my wrinkled old knee. To begin at the beginning: You may think you’re starting to see the first signs of aging, but they’ve probably been there long before you noticed them. You began losing collagen (a crucial protein for supporting the skin’s structure) in your 20s; cell turnover, which contributes to a bright complexion, also slows before you hit the big 3-0. My guess is that you’re just now noticing a few fine lines and wrinkles you haven’t seen before.
I’m glad you’re not interested in neuromodulators like Botox or in fillers—though statistics show that doctors are seeing younger and younger folks ask for them, as there are some people (including doctors) who believe using them at an early age can prevent facial aging. My take: If for some reason you have the kind of wrinkles in your early 30s most people get in their 50s or 60s, you might want to do a deep dive into your skincare routine to discover what’s causing them. (And if you think you have such wrinkling but you don’t, well…that’s another problem.) Otherwise, there isn’t a definitive study on the effects of a lifetime of injectables, but one thing we know for sure: It’s expensive. I advise dropping those coins into a 401K for now.
Most important, the only “should” I can think of is wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen SPF 30 every day, rain or shine. That’s the best thing you can do to preserve a youthful countenance. Many skincare experts also recommend applying a prescription retinoid (vitamin A) cream at night, as that has been proven to help generate collagen and elastin, and increase cell turnover. I’ve used one for more than 20 years. Judging from the amount of dust in my apartment—composed of anywhere from 20-50% dead skin—my cell turnover is satisfyingly high.
I encourage you to appreciate your youthful face, rather than scan it for imperfections and indications that you are—lucky, lucky you—getting older. Learn how to look at yourself with loving awareness now and you’ll save yourself hours of unhappy scrutiny later.
Wait for It…
Speaking of unhappy scrutiny: You’ve probably seen the click-baity and idiotic headline about ☠️ advocating that men expose their testicles to infrared light to raise testosterone levels. (This story is the best I’ve read about it.) And it got me thinking, if you (not you, but someone) are supposed to get a testosterone boost from tanning your (not yours, but someone’s) testicles, how long will it be before a beauty company debuts fake tanner specifically for the scrotum? So you (not you, but someone) can look as if you’ve had your testosterone boosted—and benefit from the attendant…admiration—without having to submit to the infrared treatment. Bets, anyone?
And if you now need a palate cleanser…
Good, Clean Fun
When the weather turns fine, as it just has, I tend to miss the fine weather in places I used to visit. So I’ve pulled out a few of these soaps I bought the last time I was in Lisbon, Portugal. They smell divine—and if you’re careful about unwrapping them, you can admire the empty packaging on your bathroom shelf as you lather up in the tub or shower. What a lovely Mother’s Day (or wedding) gift for some deserving relative or friend!
Val Asks You
Don’t be shy! What’s your most vexing or intractable appearance issue? Send your beauty-related questions to email@example.com. If I don’t have a good answer, I’ll find someone who does.
HNTFUYF, a Payola-Free Zone
Readers, a few of you have wondered aloud to me if I get a cut from sales when I mention a product. I do not. I only mention products I’d like to buy myself, and therefore think you might like, too. I share this so you know my recommendations are offered without obligation. The only financial contributions I receive from these posts are from those of you—thank you!—who have generously subscribed. All posts and the archive are free; there’s no paywall. If you like what you’ve been reading, you can always let me know—and I would love to know—by hitting that little heart button and then sharing the post. I heart you, too. xo
An App Update
The Substack app is currently available for iOS. With the app, you’ll have a dedicated inbox for my Substack and any others you subscribe to. New posts will never get lost in your email filters or stuck in spam. Longer posts will never get cut-off by your email app. Comments and rich media will all work seamlessly. Overall, it’s a big upgrade to the reading experience.
If you don’t have an Apple device, you can join the Android waitlist here.