From the previous posts over the last week, you can all tell that I’m pretty much a super fan when it comes to exfoliation. In my thirties, I’ve been afforded the luxury of being able to go a bit easier with it, but in my late twenties, I was still burning through Buf-Pufs like they were going out of style. I was using moisturizer with Alpha Hydroxy Acid in it to try and get even more skin to slough off.
Back then, slow-paced Sundays would be about calling a “spa day.” I would do my nails, put on a clay mask, an exfoliation mask and spend the day basically attempting to pickle myself in the name of not really having anything better to do. Also, in those days, I was keeping a palm sander in my bathroom, as I’d discovered that a nice 120 grit was not a bad idea on heel and toe callouses.
Eventually, two and two got put together.
I stood in the shower, gleefully exfoliating my face with a piece of sandpaper. It felt so tingly! So clean! It was DELICIOUS, I tell you. I could fairly feel my skin being all aglow and free of dead skin cells. I was all proud of myself for my cost-saving and delightfully out-of-the-box thinking. Screw expensive Buf-Pufs! I’ll get my cleansing pads at HOME DEPOT.
When I got out of the shower, my face felt a little hot, so I put on some moisturizer to try to calm it down. Just one problem. I had recently switched from Oil of Olay to a moisturizer with ACID in it.
I think, for a solid minute, all I could see was plaid.
There was just this all-consuming burning, burning that should be written in ALL CAPS. Burning that sent me running into the bathroom to see whether everything was really OK or whether my face was melting off like cheese on a pizza that aims to take a couple layers off the roof of your mouth.
“OK, remain calm. Just get this stuff of your face. Just rinse it off in the shower.”
AHHHH! Hot water!!! More burning!!!
Cold water!! Cold water!!!
I went to bed that night with my face slathered with the Neosporin that also numbs pain. Lying there on my back with my face throbbing, waiting for a couple of Nytol to kick in so I could sleep, I thought “perhaps this was not the best idea.”
When I got up to go to work the next day, I looked like I had spent a day in the sun without sunblock, and felt like it too. This at least gave me a decent and plausible lie for when people asked what had happened. I got too much sun. Yep, that’s the ticket. Too much sun. I certainly did not attack my face with hardware. No, sir.
The burning slowly subsided into my face being like a hard, itchy mask. Despite liberal applications of aloe vera gel, my face peeled off in thick pieces, revealing fragile pink skin that peeked out at me from the crusty, brown, dead skin above. When my entire face had finally peeled down to new, tender growth, it was as smooth as a baby’s butt.
I never sandpapered my face again.