Making peace with my laugh lines.
At the tender age of 25, I noticed my first wrinkles of expression, tiny creases around my mouth that seemed to appear without warning. Not really wrinkles, no, just little laugh lines.
I’ve been trying to love my “laugh lines” with varying degrees of success ever since.
Many years later I was reminded of the progression of these little laugh lines when by chance, I bumped into a very old and dear friend. We’d worked together in the beauty industry for a few years. 10 years or more had passed since we’d seen each other. So it was with surprise and delight, by chance we met again. After exclamations of, “it’s so amazing to see you after all this time” we settled in over a coffee. It didn’t take us long to get to our second amazement.
“You look great.
…Oh, thanks! Really?
“Yeah, you look fantastic.
…Oh no, I’m so much older now…
“Nah, you’re fine, your laugh lines are just longer…
Bam!! There it was. My laugh lines had just got longer.
Believe it or not, this was not said to insult or offend me. It was as a compliment of sorts, and from where my dear and long-lost friend was sitting, quite sincere.
At the time, fast approaching 50, I felt strangely comforted in the fact that if the worst thing about my changing appearance was a few lines that traced my face where laughter had been, well, I felt happy. All my efforts to win the campaign against premature ageing were working!!
I just had longer laugh lines. Cool!!
The truth is, after working in the beauty industry for nigh on 25 years or more, we’d both developed a kind of ‘beautyspeak’.
In the beauty industry, you learn pretty quickly the vulnerability and horror the naming of wrinkles can elicit.
Using just the right turn of phrase to describe what is there, but must never be spoken of, can be quite the art form.
My friend, with her ‘beautyspeak’ as finely chiselled as the best laugh line you’ve ever seen, could have said, “Nah, you look great, your frown lines are just a bit deeper” Ouch!! Clearly sensing my vulnerability, she knew just what to say.
As we parted and wandered back into our own lives once again, I thought to myself, “what a lovely friend she was, I need more like her…
I’ve never been to a school reunion and I probably never will. The call from the class of 76 at my old high school college just never came. Trauma averted!! But meeting up with a friend from long ago.. well, it got me thinking?
I’ve come to understand, that to embrace our vulnerability and let it show for all to see is not only liberating but quite healthy.
But why do I feel so vulnerable? Why do you?
Or do you?
Maybe you don’t care about your long laugh lines or wrinkles, maybe your sensitive spot comes in the form of the battle scars left from teenage acne, or what was once a lovely tan has now turned into blotchy, uneven pigmentation and you hate it. Or, it’s something else. Your dress size? Your hair?
It’s exhausting, but right or wrong, there is truth here.
Vanity? Sure. But perhaps our vanity is getting a bad rap (or is that my own little narcissist talking)? Probably. In a world obsessed with youth, beauty and success the ultimate prize, it’s almost impossible not to feel a little vain and insecure.
But in my defence. Isn’t a little bit of vanity and ego the very thing that gets us up every morning, gives us the motivation to keep striving to achieve and hopefully contribute something good in the world before we exit? It’s just a question and one to which I don’t have an answer.
All I know is I do care and I am vulnerable. Perhaps I shouldn’t care, but somewhere in my DNA, it seems to be hardwired. I know what you’re thinking and I hear you. “Be proud of them, after all, they’re who YOU are”. Of course, I know. This is true, but there’s no need to rush things. Is there?
So, how do I feel about my long laugh lines? Do I love them? No, not really. Are you kidding? Give me back the skin I had at 25, any day!! Of course, as long as I can keep my wisdom, life experience and my iPhone.
Love them or just erase them?
Sure, I could get them erased? Fill them in with dermal fillers and relax them with a little injection here and there. Build back my missing collagen with laser treatments amongst other things. Turn up the filter on every photo of myself. Yep, I can do all of that.
But is it the answer?
Mostly, for those long lines that were brought about with smiling and just as often through frowning, the best thing I can do is accept them.
Acceptance is good. We’re all ageing and so is our skin. Our attitude to the changes in our skin and our appearance is absolutely crucial if we’re to be happy.
But even so, have you ever wondered what makes one skin look youthful at forty, fifty and beyond and another ‘not so much’? It’s the texture, the tone and loss of collagen through sun damage that ages the appearance of the skin more than any laugh lines and it’s unnecessary.
Healthy skin ages well. Sure, you’ll have laugh lines, why, you may even call them wrinkles. But, overall a healthy skin will be vibrant and luminous, not dull and lifeless.
Wondering what to do?
Want to make a little peace with your laugh lines? Or at least soften them? Then head on over to my article on the 6 Essential Habits for Great Skin at any Age. It’s a pretty good starting place for keeping your laugh lines beautiful; failing that, just keep laughing; nothing more youthful or beautiful than that!!
And to my friend. Adieu. Thank you for reminding me. Every wrinkle tells a story and every story is told somewhere on our face. Everything is how it should be. Peace at last.
How about you? Have you ever felt that little bit of trepidation at the thought of seeing someone again after a long hiatus? Wonder whether you’ll shape up? Will they notice the years that have gone by? Should you even care? Or, have you made peace with your laugh lines? Shoot me an email, I’d love to hear from you.
Make peace with your laugh lines. Every wrinkle tells a story and every story is told somewhere on our face @thebeautyissue
See you next time,