Today I am guest blogging at The Story Siren, and Kristi is guest blogging at Lenore's blog. And of course Lenore is guesting here! She's a woman who needs no introduction to most of the blogosphere, but for those who don't know here . . . Lenore writes a grand ole blog and posts pictures of her cat Emmy. She's highly personable and always has something to add to the discussion. I couldn't be happier to be hosting her on my blog.
When I was 17, if a genie had appeared and given me one wish, I would have used it on perfect skin. Goodbye oily t-zone with visible pores prone to clogging. Goodbye milky white skin tone that burns instead of tans. Goodbye stretch marks on my inner thighs left behind by an extreme tween growth spurt.
My imperfections were relatively minor, but they were so big in my teenage mind that they would have come before world peace or a lottery win. So I could only begin to imagine how Terra, teen protagonist of Justina Chen Headley’s novel NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL, must feel about a port wine stain that covers half her face. Her instinct is to hide, to cover up around other people, to retreat from life. Then she meets an adopted Chinese guy with a cleft palate scar who ends up being a catalyst for her journey towards self acceptance.
Reading about Terra’s struggles to feel comfortable in her own skin, it occurred to me that I don’t run across many YA novels about skin afflictions or oddities. Sure, a huge pimple erupting before a big date is a classic plot point that we are all familiar with, but what a about a novel from the POV of a burn victim or someone with severe acne?
In the last novel I read, Laura Whitcomb’s THE FETCH, two of the protagonists are affected by a supernatural phenomenon called “The Brightening” that makes their skin glow. So as to not freak others out, they dust themselves with heavy powder. And of course there is always the sparkle problem that plagues the vampires in Twilight. Julia Hoban’s WILLOW has to wear long sleeve shirts to cover up her cutting scars. And one of the twins in Jacquelyn Mitchard’s LOOK BOTH WAYS puts toothpaste on a pimple because she heard it is a miracle cure. It does dry out the pimple, but it also gives her a scaly, red rash. The only thing that helps is undertaker make-up borrowed from a funeral parlor.
I too have tried the toothpaste trick. In my quest for model-worthy skin, I’ve experimented with astringents, scrubs, cleansing pads (Oxy anyone?), masks, moisturizers, concealers, foundations and powders. Rabid fashion magazine consultation led to product overload, which just irritated my skin and made it worse. In fact, I found once I started just using a gentle skin cleanser, my skin was a lot better off.
The genie never granted my wish, but I am generally happy with my skin these days. So to sign off, I’ll leave you with some tips for fresh, glowing skin that have worked for me.
Use a facial moisturizer with sunscreen every day.
Avoid excessive sugar.
Do an elimination diet to see what foods might be affecting your skin (I discovered my skin is sensitive to dairy).
Drink plenty of water.
Get adequate sleep (I need 7-8 hours).
Read more YA novels ;)
PS: If you know of any other novels that deal with skin issues, let me know in the comments. Thanks!