SKINCARE AT 39

One day you wake up and you have heartburn, a knee that doubles as a meteorologist and more grey hairs than regrets. You smile and the laugh lines around your eyes and mouth stay in place long past the joke. Your chin may not double but it grows - hair. Happy 39th Birthday!

On that momentous day, I decided sunblock, moisturizer and eye cream were no longer cutting it. I needed a stronger plan of attack if I wanted my face to outsmart Father Time and that brought me to New York's Rescue Spa for the Biologique Recherche Le Lift Facial. A recent convert to Lotion P50 1970, I decided a little micro-current and facial massage could only help. I'm not trying to look younger - I've earned these smile and laugh lines and the wrinkles tell tales of wisdom hard-earned over the past 4 decades. I want something even more elusive: the look of a well-rested, stress-free woman. I want to roll out of bed sans cavernous dark circles; skin glowing and cheeks blushing. I want to run out for coffee, makeup-free, and not scare small children and large dogs.

What I don't want is artificially plumped cheeks so voluptuous, I'm perpetually squinting. I'll also pass on lips so obese and smooth, they look like two oblong balloons ready to pop and the Madame Tussaud's wax face that comes with too much filler and an Upper East Side address. Just make me look like I didn't wake up at 4AM and eat a spoonful of almond butter while playing MineSweeper on my phone.

After an hour of cleansing, masking, electrifying and toning my skin at Rescue Spa I learned I had oily, dehydrated skin (despite my 10-12 glass a day water habit). Apparently my moisture barrier opted for an early retirement and, in turn, my oils glands are working overtime. The result is red, irritated and angry skin - a 2017 theme. Some changes were made and while I am still not well-rested (YouTube makeup tutorials at dawn are a thing in my apartment), my skin appears to be on the mend. 

The new regimen focuses on daily chemical exfoliation (out with the deadbeat skin), heavy moisture triage via a daily and nightly serum and a lightweight but super-strong moisturizer. Ready for it?

Morning: I cleanse my skin with Bioderma on a puffy cotton pad from Muji (or Shisheido or Chanel if you're bank account is bigger). I apply five drops of my day serum to my palms and gently press it into my skin (Bobbi Brown Skin Reviver No. 91 Power Greens Ferment). This serum plumps, energizes and increases radiance and doesn't put me in debt to my dermatologist. I then moisturize with a pea size drop of BR Creme Dermopurifiante, which is formulated for oily skin that is prone to clogged pores. It deeply moisturizes and protects skin without irritating it or causing breakouts. I apply an eye serum (currently using this) and an eye cream (this is my eye cream on repeat, on repeat, on repeat), let it absorb and then finish it all off with sunblock. Makeup application ensues.

Night: I cleanse with whatever cleanser I reach for first (new product - stay tuned) . This is just prep for the amazing thing about to happen - a chemical exfoliation session with BR Lotion P50 1970. Make no mistake, this is NOT a lotion and it smells like death-by-gasoline but it will transform your skin. I put it on the cotton pad and you sweep the pad upwards from the chin to the forehead and from the apples of the cheeks to the temples ("Lift - you always want to lift!," whispered the French facialist.). Your skin tingles and burns as its PH comes back into balance and you're left with exfoliated and hydrated skin. I then lock that masochistic goodness in with another pea size dot of BR Creme Dermopurifante, which smells like the aforementioned gasoline and rotting mushrooms had a love child and it's nursery is your face. Lastly, I dab on my stand-by eye cream, some heavy-duty lip balm and, depending on the night, I style my hair to resemble an 80s Wall Street trader by slicking it back with some oily goodness. I rev up my lavender essential oils and bow to my dream catcher in hopes of a solid  seven hour slumber.

In the three weeks since adopting this new routine, the redness in my skin has decreased dramatically and the tiny laugh lines around my eyes now make a polite appearance and then leave to head to a better party. My skin's mood swings (oily but quickly dry and tight when provoked) have calmed to a more predictable tenor. I still can't sleep but didn't some famous feminist once say, "women can't have it all?" I'll keep you posted on the skin and the sleep. Until then, sweet dreams.