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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

This.... This is Awkward

Watching television this morning, I saw a commercial for some skincare product. I want to say it was Neutrogena, but I really don't know. Skincare products and antiwrinkle creams aren't really my scene, being a hip 20something and whatnot, although I think the time is going to come when they're going to start marketing these things to middle schoolers.

Anyway, the commercial featured an impossibly attractive girl, who could not have been older than 21, rolling about seductively on a bed in a pair of pajama pants and a white tank-top. Obviously, the only skincare product this sumptuous female requires is a bar of soap and some eager, panting beau's saliva, but there we are. Anyway, the voiceover was peddling a cream that, supposedly, "diminishes the occurence of brown spots."

Did I mention that the girl in the commercial is African-American?

This..... this is awkward.

Now, I may be making an awkward something even more awkward by dipping my toe into the color pool, but we all, I think, can agree that African-American people, or "black people" are more brown-hued than black, right? So, then, what exactly is this cream, I wondered? Does it progressively make you.... less brown? Is it some sort of Michael Jackson re-pigmentification ointment?

I decided to Google the phrase "diminishes brown spots" and I got 51,400 hits, and I learned that the phrase "brown spot" is being used by the cosmetology and, possibly, dermatology industry (aren't they basically the same thing?) as a synonym, or quite possibly a replacement for "age spots." Which, of course, used to be called "liver spots."

As you can see, the Nasty Factor "diminishes" with the progression of terms.

This got me wondering about these spots, spots which I started to notice years ago on my mother, and, more alarmingly, more recently on my eldest sister. Liver spots, according to the Mayo Clinic, have nothing whatever to do with the liver or liver function. They are, however, vaguely liver-colored. Sometimes. According to the Mayo Clinic, liver spots are completely benign and result from the skin's decreasing ability, with age, to regenerate after sun exposure. The website also stated that the only way to have liver spots removed is through "cryotherapy or laser treatment," both of which, to me, sound like procedures best left to serious medical issues and best performed by Clark Kent's dermatologist.

So, I'm left to wonder the following: if "brown spots" are really "age spots" which are really "liver spots" and, if the only way to get rid of those fuckers is to freeze them or zap them, then why are companies like Neutrogena and Olay marketing creamy goop that supposedly "diminishes brown spots?"

Of course, if they ever get snagged for false (and racially dubious) advertising, they can always say, "Well, we only said it 'diminishes' brown spots... if you really want to get rid of them, you have to visit Dr. Evil." Damn lawyers. They're so.... damnably good.

As I was going through my Google results for this post, I became alarmed and dismayed by the disturbing array of products, services and seemingly medical procedures available to women who, because of the media and pop culture, are extremely succeptible to thinking that they look like desperate, sagging dogs when compared to the airbrushed celebrisluts we see on television and in magazines.

Take, for example, "pixel resurfacing."

This sounds like something I need to do to my computer monitor... or my house.

According to the Grand Rapids Vein Clinic, (I'm sorry, "vein clinic?"), Pixel Resurfacing "improves skin texture and tone, smoothes wrinkles, and diminishes brown spots. In short, this procedure erases those factors that add years to our appearance, restoring the skin’s youthful vitality."

Apparently, it also "then triggers the body’s natural healing process, stimulating the growth of new, healthy skin tissue."

Well, if it's so awesome-blossom, why should the body's "natural healing process" need to be stimulated?

This just in: faces ought not to be "resurfaced." Your face is not a Chippendale chair, or an antique sideboard or a laminate fucking countertop. When you are in your dermatologist's office and s/he starts describing a skin treatment, the "Home Depot" logo should NOT flash before your eyes. If it does-- run.

You also, in my opinion, should never have any need for a person who calls himself a "Paramedical Aesthetician." Especially one who is trying to slather you with something called "Whipped Oxygen Cream."

In the United States, at least, there isn't a recognized degree or certification to become a licensed "paramedical aesthetician," which is surprising to me, since we make up all kinds of meaningless jobs here, like "Lottery Specialist" (an actual civil service job in Michigan) and "Vice President."

By the way-- for the record, I didn't see any freaking "brown spots" on that nubile, ebony princess in that commercial.

And, believe me, I was looking.


  1. If they keep trying to diminish the Nasty Factor with brown spots, eventually they'll be calling them beauty bitlets or something equally absurd. Or maybe just freckles, although freckles might already be taken.

  2. awkward and untrue. fucking scam artist skincare bitches!

  3. Anti-aging creams are such a racket. I once saw a teeny, tiny jar of cream (held, like, a teaspoonful) that sold for $85 in Macys once.


    I'll take my crow's feet, thank you very much. I earned them fair and square through years of good, quality living ;-)


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