13 going on 40

As an almost middle-aged woman, I find myself having to deal with zits and breakouts for the first time in my life. Last week I mentioned that I grew up using Noxema which must have done the trick because I never really had the issue of acne or zits when I was going through puberty.

Now before you get all like – oh, must be nice Jennifer, hear me out. While I may not have had to deal with zits, all teenagers have something they have to deal with amongst their cruel and heartless classmates that are so quick to point out things on your body that you have no control over and cannot change. For a lot of teens, that’s acne. But for me, it was that I had no boobs until pretty much college. 

I didn’t hit puberty until I was heading into high school so I would definitely be what they call a “late bloomer”. I remember going in the locker room for gym class and getting changed. All the girls around me would have their bras, they’d be using their deodorant and they would have their satin underwear. I don’t know why the satin under, in particular, stuck in my head but boy did I want a pair of satin underwear. I just thought they looked so grown up. And they did look grown up vs. what I was wearing, my cotton bloomies. You know which ones I’m talking about. The white cotton ones with the days of the week written on them?  So I would beg my mom to get me satin underwear, but she was not having it.

She always told me that I couldn’t get it because I was too young. Which is a bad strategy because if you tell a child or a teenager that they are too young for something, they just want it more. She should have just told me, “listen, satin underwear is not all it’s cracked up to be. It looks nice but it’s not comfortable, it doesn’t breath, you’ll get a yeast infection and trust me, you’re better off with cotton.”

So may lack of development in those years pretty much made me invisible to any boys. Except for one.

Let’s just for sake of story call him Tom. Let me paint a picture of you. You get changed for gym class. You’re sitting in a circle with your friends, although I was kind of a dork so let’s just say I was sitting with a group of peers. You’re waiting for gym class to start. You’re doing your stretches, stretching those hamstrings, getting ready for whatever your gym teacher is going to throw at you that day. Tom calls everyone’s attention, turns to me, lifts up his shirt, points to his chest and asks me if I was jealous.

Yeah, I was pretty much humiliated. The fact that I’m going to be 40 soon and I can still vividly picture this scene in my brain, even down to the detail of what color shirt he was wearing should speak to speak to how humiliated I was. It forever stuck with me.

I would like to say this story didn’t necessarily end with that. I was able to turn it into a happy ending because one year when I was coming home from college and at the gym, guess who I ran into? Lil Mr. Tom, which by the way wasn’t aging that well. Saw me in the gym, asked me on a date and I was able to turn him down. After the humiliation I was caused, it felt really good!

Anyway I digress. Now as an adult I look back and think about – was it better to be a late bloomer because I skipped the whole teenage acne situation? Or would it have been better to have acne as a teenager? When you’re a late bloomer, sooner or later you bloom, and it’s fine. You move on and it’s no longer an issue. But acne is something you could get throughout your entire life. Wouldn’t you rather have an opportunity to figure out what system works for you when you’re younger so you have that in your back pocket, in your tool kit, for the rest of your life?

But I didn’t have that. So as an adult, when I started getting zits, whether it was from stress or maybe it was pre-period zits, I didn’t know how to handle it. I didn’t know what were the best products. I didn’t know what to do.  I would just be googling it.

It’s crazy because as you get older and our bodies continue to change, you would think we could catch a break sometime. You would think we could swap it out instead of it being additive. Like for example, when I was younger I could pretty much eat whatever I wanted. There was one summer when I pretty much lived off of Sprite, Doritos and cigarettes and I turned out just fine.

But now, it’s this constant attention to detail on what I am putting in my body because at any moment, I could have some dairy, beans or gluten that will disagree with me and then I’m immediately feeling bloated and like I’ve gained five pounds. It’s only fair that if for the rest of my life I have to pay close attention to detail on the food that goes into my mouth so I can feel good, I should at least be able to get rid of zits.

For the most part my skin regimen seems to be working but every once and I will I still get zits here or there. In my FitFabFun box, I have now gotten these stickers for zits in two of them. The first pack I got was a mixture of black and red circle stickers. It reminds me of that game Girl Talk. I don’t know if you will know what I’m talking about or if they still sell it but as you went through the game, I don’t remember the rules, but as you went through the game, the worse you did the more red circle stickers you had to put on your face to simulate zits. Therefore the person that won the game had the least amount of zits on their face. Gee, no wonder we grew up being embarrassed if we had zits! We straight up had a popular game that shamed us for it!

The first round of stickers reminded me of that game and reminded me of that. But they didn’t really work anyway so if you got them just throw them away. I will say the ones I got recently seem to work better, they’re shaped like stars. Little black stars. On my last period, or pre-period, I got a couple of zits that were starting to form. I had three. So I was like “Ok, let’s try these out.”

So I put them on my forehead and I’m going to bed, which I realize these stickers are made for single people because if you are in a relationship when you’re wearing these stickers you look like a damn fool. But thankfully we have a very open and honest relationship so I feel comfortable enough in my own skin where I can wear these. So I come into bed, and my fiancé turns to me and says “Babe, your forehead looks like the galaxy.” Ha! He’s totally right! It did look like a galaxy. I mean, how romantic. What a great way to end the night. Hey, you feeling spicy? I have a galaxy on my forehead.

I feel like if they had these when I was a kid, that would have made having zits fun. Maybe that’s what they should do. Instead of having a game that shames you for having zits, they should have stickers that are stars so it can be a fun game. And maybe if they would have had something like this for late bloomers like myself, it would have taken the attention away from the lack of cleavage for the kids to focus on.

Anyway, there’s no way around it. Having zits as an adult sucks. And while you have your skin regimen, you have your Retinol and you have these stickers, and they all seem to help to some degree, I don’t think it’s actually possible to completely eliminate adult zits. Zits come from two things, stress and hormones. So once a month, as a female, your hormones are out of wack. But also stress. Stress, as adults, comes with the territory. So it seems like something you just have to live with.

But at least it’s something we can all laugh at together because unlike when you are a teenager, your fellow adults are not going to point out your zits in public so everyone laughs at you.

Until next week!

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