Question: What’s the most annoying thing about having skin? Is it the fact that it is weak and thin, the only thing standing between your innards and the outside world, a horribly breakable membrane? Is it its sensitivity to environmental damage, whether that be cold, central heating, air conditioning, low humidity, excessive humidity, insect bites, gorse bushes, or axe-wielding maniacs?
Does skin’s weakness to poor diet, food intolerances, and contact allergies get you down? I’m not even starting on the internally generated quirks skin can inflict, from the well known yet remarkably varied and unpredictable reactions to hormonal changes, to auto-immune generated eczema and psoriasis. And there’s a whole catalogue of things that I’m not even medically qualified to mention, although I recommend that anyone curious browses the dermatology section of a medical training textbook sometime.
Annoying skin, while obviously not the worst issue facing humanity, is… annoying. Having a dry flaky face makes me feel less able to face the world. I already have social anxiety, feeling my skin split when I smile doesn’t exactly make social encounters feel mutually rewarding. Eczema makes me itch and then people on public transport back away in case I have fleas. Spots make me feel like an idiot teenager. Wrinkles make me feel like an idiot teenager trapped in the body of an ageing Auntie.
So, in an effort to cure my many, many problems I tried making my own skin stuff. Stuff from shops is all either way too expensive or made of garbage that doesn’t help in any way. And that’s without even starting on the animal testing, plastic packaging, petrochemical byproducts, and so on. Just trying to choose the correct, non-poisonous, effective skincare product is enough to cause a stress-induced breakout.
So the news is that I’m becoming a punchable middle-class hippy cliche making my own skincare line. The good news is that you too can try my stuff. It’s made out of ingredients that I understand, and that are not toxic or massively destructive to the world (as far as is possible while having to negotiate capitalist structures while doing this). I got no illusions of this being an amazing revolutionary act, but it’s my new venture, trying to support positive stuff in the world while unfucking my fucked up skin. Mainly it’s fully reactionary, because fuck looking like I have some kind of face disease and walking around trying to subtly scratch myself under my clothes.
Since I was a kid I’ve loved making potions, and I finally managed to make a useful one. I want to share that joy with the world. I’ve had eczema for years. And I haven’t managed to cure myself, probably because it’s caused by eating dairy, and you can pry my cheese from my cold, dead, horribly blistered hands. But my Unfucking Salve at least gets rid of the pain and inflammation and itching and shame for a while, when steroid creams have long become useless. This may be one of the first practically useful things I have ever created. Sat here now trying to think of any genuinely useful inventions I’ve got to my name, and really drawing a blank. If i can help the increasing legions of people who are annoyed by their skin, cumulatively that could make the world a very slightly better place. And if I can also persuade people to use stuff made out of local, non-carcinogenic, traditionally made ingredients, maybe the environment and humanity will be better off. Of course, burning down Unilever would be more effective, but that would also release a lot of toxins and particulates into the atmosphere, as well as landing me in trouble because ‘arson is illegal’ or some such bullshit.
So instead of a campaign of pyromania, I’ll now be trying to formulate, alchemize, compound, invent, and whack together, some more beneficial skin stuffs. I’ve got a face cream trialling on myself at the moment, and I’ve had a shockingly low amount of spots so far. Like 2 tiny dots all week, rather than the usual uncountable multitude that outnumbers the very stars.
In the interests of ethics and scientific enquiry, I’m testing all products on myself, my friends,and my mum. Which is way more ethical than these bunch. For once, I am not the literal worst, and that is quite heartening.
All right, I’m off to research the most environmentally friendly and non-toxic types of lotion containers, because this is my life now. Peace out, and if you have any skincare needs, give me a shout, I could provide you some amazing miraculous snake oil, mates rates, organic, and locally produced.
All I need now is a name for this lil enterprise. Suggestions on a postcard (or in the comments section). Selected winner gets a prize!