Fed Up with Elders Today
Twitching Through the News

Elders Should Not Be the Enemy

category_bug_ageism.gif In the matter of wrinkles, fair-skinned people like me have the advantage; wrinkles don't show as much as on those with darker skin tones. That is, until we smile. Then they pop out all around our eyes, our mouths and cheeks.

That's okay with me for a couple of reasons: mostly I don't care, which is good because I have no patience with skin care beyond clean; and I am curious, as the years roll by, to watch how my appearance changes.

For example, until a year ago I had no permanent smile lines – those parentheses that frame most old people's mouths. Then, washing my face one evening, I saw a faint, curved line left of my mouth and in the months since then, I've watched it deepen into permanency even when my expression is in neutral. The right side is gradually catching up now and soon they will match.

Far from bothering me, I think it's interesting. Most of the time we don't notice changes in our bodies until after they have happened. When did my waist get this thick? How come I didn't see those little jowls coming?

If you've been hanging around TGB for awhile, you'll have read an occasional rant about anti-aging products and services. It's a several billion dollar industry that is almost entirely bogus, barely regulated, full with lies and sometimes harmful.

About six weeks ago, planning an experiment for a story here, I bought a small bottle of one of the most popular and well-known anti-aging skin creams. I wanted to see for myself if it softens the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as the hype maintains, and if my skin would appear “significantly firmer after just five days.”

Five days later, my face was no firmer, but it and my neck were as splotchy and red as I might look if I'd been a heavy drinker for many years. I gave up the experiment, tossed the bottle of cream and three days later my face was clear again.

Two of the customer reviews on the company's website mentioned red, blotchy skin as a result of using the cream but, astonishingy, went on to rave about the product's firming results. It's amazing what people will endure in the name of false youth.

A Google search for “anti-aging” returns more than 17 million results. Among the claims on just the first page of the search (all emphasis is mine):

• anti aging tips, treatments and techniques to help you look younger and feel fantastic - whatever your age.

• Russian scientist discovers anti-aging wonder drug

antiaging programs, natural bioidentical hormonal replacement therapy (BHRT) and human growth hormone (hGH) programs. (Ronni here: using human growth hormone for anti-aging treatment is illegal)

• anti-aging and skincare treatments that can help rejuvenate and restore your youthful appearance

Restore Your Skin's Natural Beauty Today With Regenerist Skincare

• Resveratrol Review. Read about probably the best anti-aging product nowadays

All lies or, at best, gross exaggerations. Just as bad is that word used to describe all these products – anti-aging – is hateful. It makes aging and by extension, elders themselves, the adversary, an enemy to be defeated. You can figure out for yourselves the many ways constant repetition of this word harms old people.

People who buy anti-aging products are not only wasting their money, they are supporting discrimination. Old people are not the enemy.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Nancy Lazinsky: Autographs


You could do as I have done, if you're a bloke, and grow a beard. That covers up quite a number of wrinkles (and lets you sleep in an extra 10 minutes each morning).
Okay, I didn't grow it to cover wrinkles, as I had none 40 years ago when I last shaved.

I worried more about having wrinkles before I had them than I do now when my face and arms look like a road map. Once they appear and you get used to them it's rather interesting to watch the changing scenery in your mirror as the years go by.

Totally agree. The makers of skin products for women (and men) play on one ridiculous illusion.

Faces must look 30 forever, even if said hands are obviously 80.

Ageism. Pure and simple.

"Doctor Machette, can you make my hands look 30?"

"Hmmmm. No. Just keep em in your pockets, or wear mitts with a string around your neck."

"But for $60 grand, I can sculpt you into Catwoman."

Ah, where do we go from here?

The underlying media message says "women become old boats, always needing calk, sanding, a general overhaul.

Nail guns.

"Never good enough."

Nothing wrong in wanting to look your best. However, after working for an international skin cream company, observing how the stuff is made, marketed, I know that there is NO cream that will turn back time.

My friend loves to drop a couple hundred bucks on gnat butt sized pots of face cream. convinced the more she pays, the more the stuff will work.

This may come as a stunner.

Aveena or Nivea products are inexpensive, non-greasy and mix with water.

Save your money.

If you look up exactly what goes into expensive skin creams, you will be shocked.

Big scam moneymaker.

My mom, at 88, has beautiful skin. She washes her face, uses a frugal drugstore brand cream overnight.

I listen to her.

She's arresting.

I have discovered organic natural coconut oil!

I take my make up off with it. I reapply for a night and/or day cream. The trick in the AM is to wait a bit to allow the oil to penetrate before applying makeup. The fat molecules take a few minutes to dissipate into your skin.

Good for rough elbows, any type of dry skin.

I eat it too! A spoonful a day keeps Metamucil away.

I mix about three ounces of cheap gin with several drops of expensive vermouth; stir, not shake. Sip slowly for about 30 minutes.

Then I look in the mirror.

It's amazing to note how the wrinkles and age spots have disappeared.

The same effect can be produced with wine, but it takes longer.

The difference when you Google anti-aging and pro-aging is very dramatic, as you probably know. With millions of people aging, I sure hope we elders create a shift to pro-aging perspectives, and that that more positive, age-friendly paradigm percolates into the culture. So much focus on passing for young ignores the deeper dimensions and meaning of human life.

Well I have the things I do that help the skin and face but nothing that you cannot buy in a drug store. I haven't ever tried anything that made my skin blotchy but would sure quit it right away if I did. I stick to simple moisturizers and (for the last year) Oil of Olay deep cleansing cloths (come in a box for daily use) which are probably wasteful environmentally but my skin has always had the potential to be too oily in the T zone and these cloths are easy to use, feel good and I like how my skin feels afterward better than when I used Cetaphil which I also liked. I have lines and my face shows my age but I am not about to stay out of the sun; so it's the price I pay as that is not just aging but also environment that does that. Want your skin to stay really soft, avoid the sun. My mother-in-law, when she died at 95, still had good skin, not to say no lines but definitely not the sun damage signs that I had by 50. For me it wouldn't be worth the trade-off but she didn't like being in the sun that much; so it wasn't sacrifice but just how she lived.

Like other commenters mentioned, I do find the aging process fascinating on my own face; and when I see movie stars that I have watched through the years who are aging naturally (rare breed). It's just really an interesting thing how we age and our faces do change. Nobody beats it because face lifts don't really make people look younger but just undefined. I guess that's what some want.

On this skin topic, I need feedback on what everyone does with the long hairs now sprouting on chins and cheeks?
Sugar paste?
I don't do plucking well being a lifelong pain avoider.

The phrase "anti-aging" is truly insidious Ronni. We're set up from the beginning.

I remember how my Irish grandmother looked as she aged, beautiful, fine lines on her face, pink cheeks, she's my role model. Spotty hands, mine look just like hers. I like it, those hands loved people, took care of babies and dying parents, and washed more dishes than can be counted. They are badges of honor.

The best thing going for my extra dry hide is sunscreen. The waterproofing seals in any moisture and helps prevent skin cancer. I use it on my face, neck, ears, and arms. The rest gets Aveeno or the like. Crisco works very well too, ha, ha, seriously, I tried it, but is too greasy.

I use a moisturizer every day and night. Nothing to do with aging but my skin is extra dry and I am outside in the sun a lot. Use Cetaphil to wash face at night and like Aveeno lotion for body. Usually buy what is on sale. At present am using Eucerin spf 30 moisturizer on my face.
In the winter I use coconut oil a lot. Have been dilegent with skin care because of dry skin - but hands look like they are 100 years old. I have 3 hairs that surface on my face bout once a month. I just use the tweezers to pull out.

Like you, I wash my face and that is all. I wash with the least expensive face cleanser and it keeps my face moist enough. In our family, there are several people who have underdone surgery (some more than once)to fend off looking their actual age. So sad. At least in my opinion. I don't want to spend any time thinking about how well I am looking at my age. Or not so well as the case may be. Ha.

I compromise--just a drugstore-quality daytime facial sunscreen. After that, I'll take my chances. I've lived, and it shows. So what?

The world has real, authentic young people in it, and always has had. "60 is the new 40" can't win that race.

Wisewebwoman, have you tried those cute little clip on bows like they use on French poodles?

(You know I'm messin' with ya, right?)

I always dither about the colours but right now purple's where I'm at!!!

What to do with those long, Ford tough rogue hairs?

Tow your car in winter

Skip rope

Lasso a wart hog

Gather, roll a ball and knit a scarf

Dog leash

Just think of the possibilities!

I pluck the suckers with sharp tweezers.

Less pain than stubbing my baby toe on the fireplace hearth.


"Real liberation in our own lives comes from seeing our wrinkles and understanding their inevitability, and the seamless way they fit into our own lives, and the lives of those around us. As we see our children become young adults in their own right, we understand the passage of time and we move to new phases of our own lives. We move to having the position of the elder, with our wrinkles and, hopefully, the wisdom that comes with those wrinkles. Wrinkles are neither beautiful or ugly – they are the seamless ties of our lives to time itself. "

My mother and her friend used to pluck each other's chin hairs. What a loving act. I do my own plus use waxing strips for the mustache.

I have never been one to use lotions of any type, and I guess it shows. The worst is the arm skin that tears so easily due to too much sun for too many years out of doors. But I'm glad of the sun times, as I can't imagine any other lifestyle.

Any time I'm around someone commenting about getting older, I especially if they are youngish, I tell them, "Well, I'm old and old is good", hoping that's an opening to expound on what's good about it.

I pluck the chinny chin chin hairs and have had those since my early 30s. I also notice now sometimes an unruly eyebrow that doesn't quit growing when it should. Generally I pluck those too although I have trimmed them if the area seems thin anyway.

What I want to know is how do those hairs grow an inch overnight? lgroom daily then a hair at least an inch long appears. Wha?? Also old people can be the enemy, Ronni. Re-read your blog from yesterday (?).

Living in Arizona, I appreciate the sun, too. And smile wrinkles are great! Skin cancer, though, is not.One skin surgery was enough... I use Oil of Olay with SPF 15 every day after my shower, making sure to spread it on my neck and any part of my front that will show. Tans are not worth the risk.
Regarding facial hair, laser works wonders, is quick and easy, and then you don't have to worry about it.Not sure why I can't deal with the hair when wrinkles don't bother me at all, though! The "Ugh" factor?

WWW--My dad's old double-edged safety razor does the trick, although I must admit that I "only" have peach fuzz all over - so far at age 72.5.
I'm with you on the purple!

Thanks, Ronni, for "tellin' it like it is" with these crazy anti-aging products.

wisewebwoman, there's no substitute for "pluckin'" a few of those unwanted little sticklers before they become long flowing full-fledged hairs. Besides, they stay 'gone' longer than shaving. Only pluck the worse offenders 'cause shaving takes them all, then you gotta always keep shaving.

Recently did see a product that actually works for the crows feet and under eye -- $25.

I don't use any of this stuff or even makeup any more. If you're going to be on stage, in the movies, or on TV -- that's what makeup is for.

There's so much more I want to comment on this topic, again as follow-up to an earlier piece I wrote, so will put it there, otherwise I'd end up leaving a small book here.

I never worry about wrinkles on my face. The most important thing is always young at heart.

Gabby Geezer cracks me up! Oh! oops! That makes wrinkles. Too bad.

Who of the people who really love us, cares for anything but how our lives are settling into our faces and the light in our eyes? Are these impressions we seek really worth such an investment? Just askin'...

I don't use any anti-aging products, but must confess it is only because I have rosacea and the dermatologist told me they're irritating to my skin.

My pet peeve is the botox, fillers and plastic surgery that seems to have become the norm. What's wrong with looking your age?

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