You know when you look at old photos and you cringe and laugh and get nostalgic all at the same time?
That was me on the weekend.
I think you can see why below.
That trawl through the albums (I have actual printed photos) was the best thing I’ve done in weeks. Because I might have had dewy cheeks and a firm neckline and an enviable absence of jowl back in my 20s, but I actually prefer the way I look now.
Anne in her 20s. Image: supplied.
Yes, I have a few wrinkles. I don’t so much ‘glow’ as occasionally ‘flush’. And yes, ‘dewy’ is a bit more ‘dullish’ these days. The sunspots haven’t made it to my face yet, but they’re there on the back of my hands, so I know it’s probably only a matter of time.
But I have a face I’m happy with. And I think it’s because I’ve taken good care of it.
I wonder if my mum could have said the same thing. The products in her skincare arsenal were, well, pretty basic. I remember a moisturiser (the same one used morning and night) and soap. And a pathological aversion to the sun.
Me? I have day and night creams. Eye cream. Serums. Exfoliators and toners. And I use them all. Because good-looking skin is the holy grail of every woman, and the skincare companies spending squillions of dollars in research aren’t doing it just for fun.
Lately, I’ve stepped my skincare up a notch because the good ship perimenopause has sailed into view. It’s had impacts I didn’t anticipate. I knew about flushes and mood swings. My partner has been on ‘sensitivity’ notice for months.
But what I wasn’t expecting was the changes to my skin.
"I wasn’t expecting was the changes to my skin." Image: iStock.
It’s drier. It’s less likely to bounce back after a night when I’ve agreed to a third glass of red. And it’s itchy (especially around my jawline). No one told me this might happen, so for a while I thought I’d developed some kind of allergy. My doctor told me different.
Just to be certain, I checked in with three of my closest friends (because what would a doctor know anyway?). Two of us are itching, but we’ve all noticed our smile lines are smiling long after we’ve stopped.
There’s a lot of research out there about the changes that happen in maturing skin. It pretty much all comes down to falling levels of oestrogen and collagen and everything that goes with that - slower cell turnover, thinning skin, hyperpigmentation (aka those sun spots), declining elasticity. It’s something most women will experience to some degree or another.