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.
It’s time to make peace with my laugh lines.
A few years back. I bumped into a very old and dear friend. We had worked together in the beauty industry for a few years. 10 years or more had passed since then, so it was a great delight and surprise for both of us to, by chance meet again. After the obligatory “it’s so amazing to see you again 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.
This was not said to insult, it was as a compliment of sorts and from where my dear and long-lost friend was sitting, quite a sincere one.
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 walked away happier, all my efforts to win the campaign against premature ageing were actually working!!
I just had longer laugh lines. Cool!!
The truth is, after working in the beauty industry for nigh on 20 years or more, we had both developed a kind of ‘beauty speak’. In this industry you learn pretty quickly the vulnerability and horror the subject of “wrinkles” can elicit.
Using just the right turn of phrase to describe what is there, but must not be spoken of truthfully, can be an art form in itself.
My friend, with her ‘beauty speak’ finely chiseled like the best laugh line you’ve ever seen, could have said, “you look great, your frown lines are just a bit deeper” Ouch!! Clearly sensing my vulnerability, she knew just what to say. “What a lovely friend she was, I need more like her” I thought to myself, as we parted and wandered back into our own lives once again.
Personally, I’ve never been to a school reunion and I probably never will. The call from the class of 75 at my old high school college just never came. But meeting up with a friend from long ago.. well, it got me thinking?
I know embracing our vulnerable side and letting 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 maybe 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.
I have my fair share of vanity, but to be honest, vanity gets a bad rap or is that my own little narcissist talking. Probably; but in a world that is so obsessed with beauty, youth, success, it’s almost impossible not to feel a little vain and insecure.
In my defence, isn’t a little bit of vanity and ego the very thing that get’s us up every morning, gives us purpose to keep striving to achieve and to hopefully contribute something good to the world before we exit? It’s just a question and one to which I don’t have the answer. All I know is I do care and I am vulnerable.
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 the week, of course, as long as I can keep my wisdom, life experience and my iPhone.
Perhaps I shouldn’t care, but somewhere in my DNA I’m hardwired to. I know what you’re thinking, I hear Ya! “Be proud of them, after all, they are who YOU are”. Of course, this is true, but there’s no need to rush things. Right?
No need to love them, just erase them.
Sure, I could get them erased? Fill them in with dermal fillers and relax them with a little injection of anti wrinkle stuff? Build back my missing collagen with Laser treatments? Yes, that too. Photoshop every photo of myself. Yep, I can even do that. But is it the answer?
Mostly, for those long lines that were brought about through smiling and just as often through frowning, the best thing I can do is accept them. There I’ve said it. I’m making peace with my long laugh lines. Loving them? Now let’s not get carried away.
How well your skin ages is more than just accepting the appearance of a few well placed laugh lines and the fact is, we are all ageing and so is our skin. Our attitude to the changes in our skin, and our appearance is absolutely crucial if any of us are to be happy. But even so, have you ever wondered what makes one skin look youthful at 40, 50 and beyond and another ‘not so much’?
It is the texture, tone and loss of collagen through sun damage that ages the appearance of the skin more than any laugh line.
But really, as always, vanity aside, for me it is about healthy skin because a healthy skin ages well. Sure, you will have laugh lines, why, they may even be wrinkles, but overall a healthy skin will be vibrant and luminous, not dull and lifeless.
Now, I wouldn’t dream of leaving you hanging, wondering what to do.
Want to make a little peace with your laugh lines? Then head on over to my 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, once again is how it should be.
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? Or have you made peace with your laugh lines? Leave me a comment 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,