Gray Hair and Pimples

I haven’t minded aging.  My life has gotten better each year except for one thing.  Well, two, which if they were one or the other, I’d still be okay with aging.  But they refuse to break up.  REFUSE.  So I am left to age with the awesome combination of GRAY HAIR and PIMPLES.

When I was 24 years old, I was getting my hair cut at my mom’s favorite salon right before I got engaged to my wonderful S (you know those two wonderful months where I alternated between wanting to be asked RIGHT NOW and being convinced S was NEVER GOING TO POP THE QUESTION) and BAM.  My mom’s hairdresser rips a hair from my scalp and dangles it in front of my face.

He states matter of fact: It’s gray.

And I am HORRIFIED.  S is NEVER going to ask the old biddy to marry him.

The hairdresser wraps the gray in a paper towel so I can bring it home and CRY over it.  Perhaps burn it in effigy.  Or as a sacrifice to the I’M READY TO GET MARRIED GODS.

I hesitate to show S, but I finally do and he LAUGHS.  And asks me to marry him a few weeks later.  (I hid the hair under his pillow.  It works ladies.  TRUST ME.)

Right around this HORRIFIC discovery, I also BROKE OUT in small resilient pimples all over my forehead.  Worse than anything I have EVER had (except for seventh grade but who could even remember my face in seventh grade behind the POODLE PERM and PINK BRACES and ANDREA GLASSES).  It’s like the hormones of the last ten years suddenly said HOLY CRAP WE ARE LATE TO THE PARTY.

I was in medical school at the time and RAN to the best dermatologist in the affiliated hospital (after the prerequisite visit to my PCP and three month wait for a derm appointment).

Me: I’m getting married in three months and I don’t want small moguls on my forehead on my wedding day.

Dr. Dermatologist & his entourage (seriously there were like fifteen people staring at my forehead): No problem.  Here is my miracle cure.  It takes eight weeks and will get worse at first.  Oh and if a zit shows up the week before your wedding, come see me.

Me: But I thought you could only use that gel once a day.

Dr. Dermatologist: Who’s the dermatologist here?

Me: Uh, you? (Is this a trick question since you never formally introduced yourself?)

And with that answer, he left the room.  An entourage handed me the script. And our time was over.

(Now, a zit did not show up on my wedding day, but I kind of wished that it had because I want to know the SECRET MIRACLE of getting rid of a zit in two hours.)

Once I was able to put the vanity aside around the acne GETTING WORSE and get a little long-term thinking on board, I used the gel and got good results.  HOORAY!  Until I am not on birth control anymore.  But the pregnancy hormones were slightly different than the ACNE IN MY TWENTIES hormones so it isn’t THAT BAD off the miracle gel.  (Although I did have a hairdresser say: What’s going on up here? in reference to my forehead when I was 12-weeks pregnant.  And then she cut bangs.)

I also was plucking my eyebrows a few months before this and turned to my not-friends-anymore friend and said: A blonde hair!

She replied: It’s gray.

At least she didn’t add: And it’s below that MASSIVE GROUP OF PIMPLES.

My current hairdresser insists that my hair does not need to be dyed yet.  And since I pick hairdressers who have NO FILTER, I am inclined to believe her.  Perhaps my gray hair radar is a little OVERSENSITIVE (you know, like the rest of me).  And I’m in no rush to start dyeing my hair.  The cost.  The commitment.  The color choices.  TOO MUCH.

On the other hand, I am getting to the point where I want to keep the TEENAGE SKIN at bay.  I may look like my children’s babysitter, but I’m pretty sure it’s not for my figure or hip clothes anymore.

Yesterday, two zits GOT MARRIED AND HAD A BABY ON MY FACE.  At least my forehead seems to have calmed down this week.  (My skin must know that I can only handle one crisis at a time.)

I truly want to grow old with grace.  But my HEAD is getting in the way.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

8 thoughts to “Gray Hair and Pimples”

  1. Ok, no pity card for you lovely lady. 1. I have NEVER seen a gray hair on your head. 2. You have gorgeous skin. 3. YOU are NOT pregnant. 4. I am SURE this baby is a girl because she brought stretch marks on my BACK and ZITS all over the place. 5. My hair isn't falling out (+) but now it grows so I look like either a poodle or a chia pet. Neither is attractive. So there. You are lovely. AND you pretty much stink right now.

  2. OK preggos. You clearly have not looked closely at my head. BUT you are very sweet.
    And you probably are having a girl. I felt like doo-doo the entire time I was pregnant with N. It's like that much woman hormone is just not sustainable in one body.
    And i would totally buy a Schmoo Chia Pet.

  3. Oh, boy, does this strike a chord with me. One day, I got a frantic voicemail from my best friend having a crisis. I thought someone had died, but it turned out she had just found her FIRST GRAY HAIR. I was very unsympathetic, having been (stoically) pulling them out of my own head for several years. And at 32, I still have zits too. I'll probably have them when I'm 87, if I'm lucky enough to live that long.

  4. I don't think I have grey hairs yet but I do have the lovely combination of pimples and wrinkles. I thought one had to stop before the other started?! Apparently not.

  5. Genetics should work like this: acne gene is ON. gray hairs and/or wrinkles is OFF. and the latter genes are not activiated until the acne gene is OFF. How this did not occur in our evolutionary path is beyond me! Ridiculous!

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