At 27, I Purchased My First “Anti-Wrinkle Cream”

“What are those… those… red creases in my forehead?,” I silently scream to myself as I study my aging face in the mirror, reflexively squeezing my forehead flesh in a worried expression making the thin lines even more pronounced. “Since when did I have wrinkles?” I’m 27 and my face shows it. I’m not sure how a 27 year old face is supposed to look, but I do know that my friends who are in their 30s look older in a way that makes them look like actual adults, and that suddenly people in their 40s don’t seem all that much older than people in their 30s to me. Meanwhile, my 27-year-old face is, well, it’s changing. It’s slowly but surely turning 30.

I remember about five years ago when I had caught my reflection in the bathroom at some random party after drinking one too many glasses of wine, and I didn’t recognize myself. I’ve spent far too many hours of my life looking in the mirror, either slathering my face with makeup or watching tears fall down my cheeks during a depressive outburst, so it was terrifying not to recognize my face. I look old, I thought. And then I was maybe 20 or 21…

There was a time when I thought it was silly to spend money on anything to keep yourself looking youthful, but I’m beginning to understand the trend. In a report by iData Research, a leading authority in pharmaceutical market research, the market for Botox injections is expected grow to an estimated $543 million by 2017. Clearly, those pharma companies know how to prick us in our sore spots.

While I’m not quite ready for botox, the other day I did find myself, for the first time in my life, staring at the aisle of overpriced wrinkle reduction creams and products designed to make you look youthful on my latest trip to the drugstore. Every skincare line offers some retinol product that promises “RESULTS.” After staring at the selection for a good half an hour, I went with a Neutrogena wrinkle cream product that set me back $23, more because I trust the brand (go marketing) than the label that said “100% of women noticed results in one week.”

From a personal finance perspective, this has me worried. Surely I can let my face age naturally, I can stay out of the sun from this point on (though the damage has, to a large extend, already been done) and just accept that I’m getting older… or, I can do what many other women do, and spend somewhere between too much and a ridiculous amount of money on attempting to look young forever.

My mother, who is in her late 50s, complains how she doesn’t have the money to spend on Botox… $600+ for a few small areas, twice a year, but she still spends (likely) nearly that much in various creams and sessions with her dermatologist, even without the overpriced muscle-freezing injections. Damn, it’s expensive being a woman. It seems the options are to either marry rich and look young forever, or just accept that one day you will look in the mirror, and you will have to look a lot deeper into your eyes to see any evidence the girl you once were.

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2 thoughts on “At 27, I Purchased My First “Anti-Wrinkle Cream””

  1. I don't spend a lot of $$ on my face creams, but I do make an effort to use them. And I give myself a facial massage when I put them on…just to feel glamorous. I will admit that I'm considering getting an in-office peel at a dermatologists office to get rid of some of the discoloration on my face…getting so close to 30 (only a few more months).

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