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Kissing Camels: Or How I Got Here


It all started in seventh grade with Bonne Bell's Ten 0 6 cleanser. At first, I would sneak into my mother's bathroom, cotton ball at the ready, and rub it vigorously over my face. Soon I was at the drugstore buying it myself with my meager allowance. I loved the sharp, astringent feeling as it dried on my skin and the floral scent underscored by alcohol. The slight stinging sensation gave me confidence that there were powerful agents at work on my then unlined face. There was the added attraction that it was named after the month and day of my birthday which made it seem as if it had been formulated just for me.

After three decades, and allegiances to skin care products too numerous to count, the skin care industry has grown up with me, always providing a new "miracle" solution to my problem through advanced chemistry. And while my needs have become more complex (dry skin, oily at the t-zone, puffiness, wrinkles, sensitivity, UVA and UVB blocking), there has always been an ingredient with promise, including Vitamin C, minerals from the ocean, crystals, ground gold, green tea, caffeine, along with a host of acids and things I can't pronounce.

It was the .5 oz $250 eye cream promising "stress repair" through the latest technological breakthrough from Switzerland that finally made me decide there had to be a better way. I was already using a cleanser, serum, day cream, and night cream, but decided I needed something stronger, meaning more expensive, to combat my serious crow's feet. I made the purchase and brought it home. Opening my medicine cabinet in which to place my newest addition, I saw it -- the pile of unused products I had already bought and given up on. There were serums, toners, gels, and creams. They were from Japan, France and Germany. They had names like Amine Complex Face Lift, Face Firming Activator, Renewal Gel, Universal Anti-Aging Moisturizer, Deep Wrinkle Eye Repair. The ingredient list included hydroxy acid, DMAE, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Avobenzone, Octinoxate, Oxybenzone and others.

I hate to think of how much money I have spent chasing after the fountain of youth, but even more so, all the chemicals I have put on my skin and therefore into my system, in the meantime. So I have made the decision to use only natural and organic skin care products from now on, and only the ones I need. As my mother always told me, I'd have to kiss a lot of camels before making the right choice -- or something like that.

If you've had similar experiences with your skin care products, I'd love to hear them.

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