A Question About Wrinkles.

I have always heard women complain about their wrinkles or their chicken neck or their dark circles or whatever and whenever any woman complains about it to me I always think, “I wouldn’t have even noticed it if she hadn’t pointed it out.”

As I started getting wrinkles it didn’t phase me too much. I’m getting older. It happens. That’s a sign of getting older, right? I mean, we’re SUPPOSED to have wrinkles. Some people are fine with this, others feel they should use a plastic surgeon like Dr. Ramsen Azizi. We should all do what is best for us. But then there seemed to – overnight – be an increase in ads on every web page I visit for products that help get rid of wrinkles or bags under the eyes and suddenly, I’m looking at my face differently.

AND I DO NOT LIKE THAT. Does the internet know I’m 40 now? Why are these ads on every page I visit? I was reading an article about the income gap in the middle class and right there on the sidebar: BEFORE/AFTER WRINKLE/NO WRINKLE AD. What the hell internet?

We all know I’m not the most secure person in the world. But I like my face. I know my eyebrows need shaping or shading or whatever, but I like my smile and my face. And I don’t want to hate my wrinkles or the bags under my eyes or the skin under my neck (SKIN THAT WESLEY LIKES TO PLAY WITH…STOP THAT, KID) because those are just signs of aging and I don’t hate aging. I don’t hate aging at all, I’m proud of every year and I celebrate every birthday. I loved turning 40. That’s a GREAT number!

Nikki had to take some picture of me for work last week. I put my camera on “auto” and she took this one. I’m wearing some powder/foundation stuff, some mascara, and some lipgloss. And y’all? I like this picture. I don’t see wrinkles, I see a happy lady who is not 20 anymore. That’s it.

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But I keep seeing these before/after picture in ads on every page I visit (maybe I need to clear my cookies?), and these women have less wrinkles than I do in the “before” pictures. And I’m suddenly looking in the mirror differently and wondering: Do these women look at my face and think “I could do something about those wrinkles.”?

Here’s a much less flattering picture. Bathroom lighting. Morning pillow wrinkles. Last night’s mascara. Red skin which I’ve never loved. But y’all? I still don’t hate the bags under my eyes or my wrinkles. I mean, I definitely want to wake up a little and maybe get out from under that terrible lighting, but that face…that face is the face of a woman who is no longer 20. I’m learning to love myself, my smile, my eyes…And I don’t want to hate the wrinkles. I AM 40. Isn’t it okay that I look 40?

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I don’t like that I’m doubting myself suddenly in ways I didn’t doubt myself before. I’m trying to LOVE myself more, so this new voice in my head that’s whispering about my wrinkles or the bags under my eyes…this voice needs to go away. I’m working on getting rid of those voices, I don’t need new ones.

The ads that show the acne scar treatment in 10 minutes or the sun spots disappearing, I get those. Those are more than signs of aging. I get that women want to get rid of those…but the wrinkles that we all get? I hate seeing those in before/after photos. I also hate that the creams and stuff those ads are promoting are super-expensive so – basically – are we also creating another economic hurdle for women? Is this industry now basically offering middle class women a way to look young forever and poor women are just screwed? Because none of these ads I’ve seen are for lotions under $10. I use cetaphil moisturizer. $10 for a tub that lasts me a couple of months.

What are your thoughts? Have you always seen these ads so they don’t phase you? Is the “increase” happening only to me or is there really more marketing and promotion to “get rid of signs of aging” on the internet? Aren’t we supposed to age? I don’t understand what happened now where every ad I’m seeing is constantly showing these before/after pictures of “Pretty Woman With Wrinkles” and “Pretty Woman Without Wrinkles” when I’m just seeing pretty women who are not 20 anymore. AND ISN’T THAT OKAY?

There’s a lot of talk about fat shaming and how we’re doing an injustice to our girls for talking about how we want to be skinnier when we should be talking about HEALTH. But what about this talk of wrinkles? If we’re constantly bombarded by ads telling us how to get rid of them, do we suddenly set these unrealistic visions of how a person is supposed to look as they age? As in…they’re not supposed to look like they’re aging?

I DO NOT KNOW BUT I DO NOT WANT TO HATE MY WRINKLES. And I find myself starting to hate them. So…do I just have to stay off the internet forever now? I CAN’T QUIT YOU, INTERNET.

15 Comments

  • Bobbie

    I just turned 57. It sounds so old! I have wrinkles, the neck thing, etc. I wish I hadn’t stayed out in the sun as much as I have (believe it or not, we used to put baby oil on and sunbathe on our neighbor’s blacktop driveway!), but it’s too late for that now. Sometimes when I have the picture thing flipped around on my iPhone I scream when I see myself up close.

    I’m mostly an upbeat and happy person, and I know that my friends don’t care about my wrinkles, so why should I?

    • supertiff

      I was watching American Horror Story on my tablet the other day, so I’m starting down at it, no make up, etc. The screen went black and suddenly I was staring at myself. Most terrifying image of the whole show.

  • Colleen

    I’ve found myself more concerned about my wrinkles lately too. I hadn’t realized there were more ads but perhaps they are having a subliminal effect on me? I am getting older, and at 46 I don’t think if should look 20 & think I get more respect at work now that I don’t. I haven’t gotten any wrinkle cream yet & don’t know if I will.

  • ccr in MA

    Since I turned 40, I’m much more concerned about the deeper physical ailments than the surface ones. I may not always love the way I look (the me-facing camera has showed me that I hold the tablet in a way that unnecessarily magnifies the double chin, ugh), but I also know I can be harder on myself than I am on others, which makes me feel that others will do the same to me. I like both of those photos of you! Even the morning one is more noticeable for the smile, and smiling eyes, than anything else.

  • Jennifer S

    I turned 50 in June. I never paid attention to those wrinkle ads because the cynic in me doubts their validity. I believe that aging is natural and beautiful. Growing old gracefully, IMO, does not include injections, potions and procedures. I look in the mirror and see gray hair that reminds me of my mom’s. And a crease between my eyebrows that matches my brother’s who I lost a year ago to cancer. I could do without a few of my chins, but in the scheme of things, who really cares? We are all beautiful. Period.

  • EC

    Don’t listen to the targeted ads! After I got married (at 23) my Facebook was peppered with ads for baby products … then when I hit 28 without getting knocked up, I started getting ads for fertility treatments, ads which stressed that “time was running out”. So rude!

    • Meg

      Ha! I’m a 34-yr-old newlywed, so the other day my targeted ads just flipped from 100% WEDDING!!!!! to loads of fertility treatments. Ugh.

  • Susan

    No one look good first thing in the morning without makeup. You can’t go by that.

    You look beautiful in the other picture. Your wrinkles are evidence that you’ve laughed and smiled a lot. Who wouldn’t want to be around a person like that?!?

  • Amy in KC

    I was recently on a girls vacation with family and over cocktails the convo turned to “what would you change” – eye bags, dark circles, necks, and wrinkles came up. When it was my turn I just said, “I like my face.” I have my days, too, though – and those ads are targeted and terrible. I prefer to think of all the time I save wearing only eyebrow pencil and mascara every day! 🙂

  • Kelly

    I’ve been reading this site for a looooong time, so I’ve watched you age. Honestly, I had the thought the other day that I think you are one of the rare people who looks even better as you age. I think you are beautiful and the wrinkles are a great part of it (not that you have too many 😉 ).

  • Christina

    I’ve always looked much younger than I am. I’m 35 and people guess early 20s. I get carded ALL the time.

    I’m kind of looking forward to more wrinkles, to be honest.

  • amycjane

    I think both pictures are beautiful! And that one in the blue shirt is so great – you look like a happy pretty person who enjoys life! I LOVE that you are happy with how you look. I just turned forty too and…I also like my face! Even my ‘early-morning-leftover-mascara face’ 😉 But I always feel like I am supposed to *not* like how I look? I’m definitely not young anymore, but…why would I want to be? 🙂

  • Rebecca

    I don’t refer to my “crow’s feet” as wrinkles, they’ve always been my laugh lines. Because I love to laugh. And live. Just turned 35 and while I am WAY more diligent about sunscreen use I don’t feel the need to cover or do away with the signs of my having lived a life.

  • LC

    I may look old but by golly, I refuse to act my age!

    Oh, and I don’t mind the wrinkles so much……it’s the chicken neck that I don’t like! And the only way to get rid of it is with plastic surgery. Oh well…guess I’m stuck with it.