In Search of the Fountain of Youth

As I was in the middle of my early-morning ritual of cleansing, toning, moisturizing, plucking and other random acts of torture forty-something women do on a daily basis, I noticed a new, perfectly round, perfectly brown, age spot right in the middle of my left cheek. This wasn’t the first one that has appeared out of nowhere, but this one, though a bit smaller than the others that have taken up residence on the other side of my face, came as more of a surprise. I’ve been dutifully following my dermatologist’s orders of applying 15 SPF sunscreen every morning, and this one just popped up, like a bratty child sticking his tongue out at me, daring me to do something about it while knowing he’s got the upper hand.

One former dermatologist, who basically fired me as a patient for reasons I don’t care to go into, suggested laser treatment when I went running to him with the first brown spot. When I asked how much, he replied, “Two,” as he studied my disfigured cheek with his x-ray goggles. I wasn’t exactly sure what “Two” meant. Two visits? Two spots? “Two hundred,” he snapped as he ripped off the goggles. “And you’ll probably need at least six treatments.” I looked at him wide-eyed while doing the math in my head. He left the room, leaving me alone with his young, porcelain-skinned female assistant. As my mind grappled with the decision to either forgo food and electricity for a few months or to laser my face, with the very real chance of “minor scarring,” as he blithely put it, the young nurse brought me back to reality.

“Just the fade cream today?” Her tone was apologetic. I was the terminally spotted, middle-aged woman who had exhausted all her medical options. I took the prescription, deciding to forgo Darth Vadar lasering my face. With a new determination, I continued my quest for the spot-free face.

My search took me to No Name Nutrition, my new favorite store filled with shelves upon shelves of alternative youth-in-a-bottle. “It’s your liver,” the owner said as she studied my spots, her reading glasses teetering on the end of her thin nose. “You need a good cleanse.” I purchased a bottle of horse pills guaranteed to remove impurities from my liver, thus eliminating the brown spots. After three days on the pills, much was eliminated, though my brown spots remained.

My next attempt at alternative treatments was an appointment with an esthetician for a deep, exfoliating facial. “You need Vitamin-E oil. Put the oil on your spots twice a day,” ruby-haired Renee said. “It will take a while, but they’ll fade.” I followed Renee’s advice religiously. One month later, my cheeks were covered in pimples, but the brown spots were still there, though now bright and shiny.

“You need a good micro-dermabrasion kit at home.” This from Dr. Oz, and since I trust Dr. Oz with my life, I guess I can trust him with my brown spots. One hundred bucks later, I was back in front of my bathroom mirror, now with a “resurfacing” tool and accompanying attachments. The directions said to use every day for one week, then take a day off. After day four, my face was hamburger, and after the redness subsided, there in all their polka-dot glory, the brown spots.

Although I haven’t admitted defeat just yet, I have declared a truce with the brown spots. I’ve learned to tolerate them, along with vertical nail ridges and random hairs. But I heard good things about Boots Anti-Aging Serum from Dr. Drew on The Doctors, and Dr. Drew seems to know his stuff.

Hey, I’m not going down without a fight.