by Liz Franz
If you subscribe to W magazine and/or have the February 2011 issue handy, I encourage you to step away from my blog and go devour the article on page 90, which shares the title of one of my favorite novels from childhood: A Wrinkle In Time. Just don’t forget to come back, please.
If you’re not, or don’t, here’s the gist: the always clever and amusing Sloane Crosley—author of “I Was Told There’d Be Cake” and “How Did You Get This Number”—weighs in on Japanese skin care company SK-II’s discovery that the actual age women really start to lose our looks is 35.09.
Yeah, you read that right.
But if you need the information run by you again in order for it to register, SK-II says they’ve got scientific evidence that our beauty goes into rapid deterioration mode about a month after the day we turn 35.
It seems we have a Skin Power Quotient (SPQ), which indicates our skin’s ability to bounce back from various forms of stress. To spare you from all the science-speak, I’ll simplify—skin in its 20s has an SPQ of 3 (usually) while skin in its 40s has an SPQ of 2. The point at which we, on average, go from a 3 to a 2 is age 35.09, so they say. The scientists at SK-II, I mean.
You can’t see my eyes rolling as I write, so I’ll come right out and say it: scientific as its supporting evidence may or may not be (scare tactic marketing is best taken with a grain of salt, I always say) I maintain a steadfast position with regard to this wholly morbid revelation.
I think it’s ridiculous.
For what it’s worth, I’m actually a huge fan of SK-II’s products—and keeping in mind the fact I’ve been privileged enough to try just about every beauty brand under the sun, that’s saying something. SK-II is widely known for their results, which is why women like their formulas so much. Even Cate Blanchett swears by SK-II, and I am inclined to accept beauty advice from Cate Blanchett. But honestly, I’m a proponent of cutting-edge skin care in all its forms. I’d have no qualms looking you dead in the eye and telling you that, no, your drug store eye cream is not on par with those offered by certain medical and prestige brands, and that, yes, retinol products will change your skin. That’s not what this is about, though.
For eons, men have been deemed by society the gracefully aging ones, developing a “distinguished” look as the years pass, growing all the more attractive and charming with every newly grey (excuse me, silver) hair and emerging laugh line.
Women, on the other hand, are plagued with the prospect of a shelf-life—for lack of a less barbaric way of putting it—and conditioned to treasure our youth while lusting after the much-more-youthful youth of days gone by. Oh, to be 21 again! And now this? A time-sensitive warning? Seriously?
Now, I admit I may not be in the best place to run my mouth, as I’ve still got four years and 18 days until my dewy good looks will purportedly spoil like a jug of sour milk. But I believe that taking care of yourself—exercising, eating healthily, having fun, committing to an appropriate skin care routine and giving in to the cosmetic surgery itch, if that’s your thing—pays its dividends in many ways, looking great being only one of them. Take Demi Moore. She’s always been gorgeous, and it seems like she just keeps getting hotter. She’s clearly had work done. She also married a 27 year old at the age of 42, which, if you ask me, warrants an emphatic high five. But I digress.
What I mean to convey is simple.
If there’s no merit to what the scientists at SK-II say, then, well, we can all carry on with our lives. Similarly, if there is any merit to what the scientists at SK-II say … we can still all carry on with our lives. What difference does it make? While you’re worrying about it, consider the fact that many people believe the world will come to an end in 2012. Maybe it will. Nobody knows for sure. It could end tomorrow!
So, should we all just run around like wild, gluttonous animals, rack up mountains of credit card debt, and commit to making heaps of fun/bad decisions we’d surely regret, should we live to see the light of day in 2013? No, I don’t think so. Should we do our best to live our lives to the fullest every day, though, just in case? Probably. Likewise, we should neither subscribe to this shelf-life nonsense, living in fear of our own personal apocalypse and believing every piece of marketing hype thrown our way, nor throw our hands up in defeat and give up on our looks. We should just keep on keepin’ on.
With that in mind, I leave you, lovely readers, with this: have a good time, and do whatever you need to do to take care of your face and body. Not because you’re afraid, not because some man in a lab coat in Japan says you must, not even because you feel it may boost your chances of marrying a man 15 years your junior. Take care of yourself because it makes you happy.