FROM FRECKLES TO FRAXEL
A mini-journey of aging.
When did adorable freckles morph into not so adorable and truly obnoxious brown spots? (I will refrain from calling them age spots ok?) I blinked and I was no longer a blonde, curly haired, freckle faced, 6- year old. I became the blondish (thank you Miss Clairol etc.), brown spot faced 50- something year old. Hmm….You know what I mean even if you weren’t the freckle faced kid.
When I was doing that growing thing, in Miami Beach Florida, I was constantly asked by “grown-ups”, where did you get those precious freckles? I, of course, thought they were icky and made me look like a little kid (which I was), or Pippi Longstocking, or a Dalmatian. My mother prompted me to answer that God gave them to me. So, I thought they just arrived when I was born…seems like I always had them sprouting across my nose and cheeks.
When I came to find out that those cute little freckles were a result of sun damage, too much sun exposure and not enough sun protection….well you could have knocked me over with a bottle of Sea and Ski (reference for those over a certain age). Now, note, I did not find out that they weren’t always a part of me, until I was much, much, older. At that point, the baby oil we used to promote our “tans” was long gone, and I had moved on to Bain De Soleil with a protection of SPF 4 (and I thought that was a LOT!) The freckles continued to sprout.
While in college, my freckles were cute (I think), and going to school in the cold of upstate New York and being from Florida, well it somehow fit that I had freckles and frizzy blonde hair. These freckles stayed with me no matter the weather, ie lots of snow. I embraced them, they became a part of who I was, and it was how I was described. Oh, you know Kim, the one with the curly blonde hair and freckles, kind of funny and out there, the one from Florida. Yup, that was me.
A few years later I landed in NYC where I tried to be an actress for a brief time. Tried also to get an agent and had lots of head shots taken. 1979 – headshot with curly hair and freckles. Agent says, nope your hair is too curly and you look too young for commercials. Thank you freckles! Side note - that acting thing didn’t quite work out unless you consider drinking coffee on “All my Children” and “Ryan’s Hope” a successful acting career. Well there was my stint with the ever fabulous St. Bart’s Players Community Theatre…but that’s for another time…
Oh back to freckles - I still loved them. In my 20’s, I thought it was ok to look younger – I had the foresight to know it would be great to look younger in my 30’s (yeah, that’s so old). No one was writing about the damage that the yellow orb in the sky would do to us. Or if they were, I wasn’t reading it!
My friends and I still tanned on the beaches of the Hamptons and the Jersey Shore, no SPF 15 for us. We went for the burn/tan/peel look. More sun damage, upon sun damage.
Time continued to fly, as you all know it does, and I got married, had babies (slathered them with sunscreen) and now they are young adults (who hopefully still slather it on).
Now, here I am – proudly in my 50’s. I still like to believe I look younger than I am, thank you freckles and products to disguise the gray hairs I have earned. I also have a pile of wrinkles – of course – and I don’t plan on going under the knife anytime soon.
HOWEVER, this brings me to the Fraxel portion of the blog. A few months ago, a friend of mine tried to wipe something off of my cheek. It was a brown spot, a larger than can be described as “cute” freckle. Imagine my disbelief that my adorable freckles had changed into something that looked like dirt, or excess make-up. Hello wake-up call! Time to put on my glasses and really take a look at what was taking over my face.
The next day I called my beloved dermatologist (side note, I go in every 6 months and have those pre-cancer things burned off, hooray for growing up in Florida!) and signed up for a Fraxel treatment. Fraxel is a laser thingy that reduces (hopefully rids) your skin of brown spots. That treatment occurred yesterday. I spent my well earned dollars to have a laser pulsed over my entire face, resulting in a “sunburn” unlike any I had back as a wee one on the beach in Miami. I managed to get through the very quick treatment (focusing on the new more beautiful me), with ice packs and advil. Today I still look as if I spent the day baking with baby oil (and iodine to give myself a good bronzing!). I forgot (on purpose?) to take a before photo, but I will know. I’m really glad I took action. I am embracing the aging and I feel great. Did I HAVE to do the fraxel to feel great. NO, but I say why not? We can only do what we feel comfortable doing to ourselves. Will it make me a different person? Absolutely not. But I did it for ME.
I will always think of myself as the freckle faced curly haired blonde girl. I also know that it is important to love and embrace yourself with all of your fabulousness and flaws.. I am all about encouraging women to live well at any age, and if a little laser treatment helps, or a new pair of shoes, or a walk on the beach – GO FOR IT. Express yourself and shine!