LS: Bruce Cameron Column September 14, 2008

Best face forward

While I’ve never felt my face was perfect, I certainly don’t want it removed. But I’m very supportive of my children, so when my entrepreneur daughter announced that she wanted to sell me a product to take off the skin cells on my face, I reacted enthusiastically.

“No,” I enthused supportively. She set up several small bottles containing magic potions and assorted goop.

“Honey, please, I don’t want my face defoliated,” I said.

“Ex-foliated,” she corrected. “Here, rub this on your face.”

I massaged what felt like granules of sharp glass into my cheeks, wincing manfully. “Ouch!”

My daughter explained that a person’s skin is grown in layers, so that if you peel away the outer ones, underneath you might be someone else. (“That’s not what I said,” my daughter claims.) When you’re done exfoliating, your face will be as smooth as a baby’s behind, albeit with wrinkles and a two-day beard. (I don’t shave on weekends and anyway don’t make a habit of asking people if I can inspect their baby’s butt.)

My daughter was selling me a chemical exfoliant, but there are also manual ones you can use —rubbing your face with volcanic rock, or an electric sander. 

Ex foliation differs from defoliation in that you don’t use Agent Orange.

“OK, so is that supposed to be funny?” my daughter demanded.  She wanted to charge me 34 bucks for a bottle of the exfoliants. “No way,” I said, paying her.

Next, my daughter tried to sell me some anti-wrinkle cream. She showed me pictures of how miraculous the stuff is: In the Before pictures, the women were all wrinkled and grumpy. In the After pictures, they were all wearing makeup and had combed their hair. “It uses 3-D crystals to fill in your wrinkles and make them invisible,” she said with a straight face.

“So will I have to wear special glasses?”


“Honey, all crystals are 3-D. You want to get my attention, sell me a 3-D television.”

I bought a tube of the stuff for 40 bucks, and we gave it a shot, rubbing it into my baby-with-a-beard smooth face. “You’re right, my face is completely invisible,” I praised her.

“You look 30 years younger,” she affirmed.

“What? I’m not old enough to look 30 years younger,” I protested.

“You know what else you need?”

“I didn’t need any of this,” I pointed out. “I was happy before, when my face was dead and not in 3-D.”

“Moisturizer,” she replied to her own question. “Here, this is a really good one.”

“Honey, if I want my face to be moist, I’ll put water on it.”

“Oh no, tap water dries the skin,” she said, as if this could possibly be true.

“Exactly,” I agreed. “I took a shower the other day and got so dry I had to drink a quart of sand.”

“Dad. Put this on.”

I rubbed the moisturizer into my poor abused face. “Great, now my 3-D crystals are all moist,” I complained. I touched my cheeks. “No wonder our outer skin dies, we suffocate it under all this stuff.”

Next she sold me a toner, which she said would “define my pores.” Now, I don’t know about you, but I already define my pores. I call them “the little holes in my skin that I sweat through.”

“Dad, stop. You want your face to be healthy, right?”

“Healthy? I thought you said it was dying. If it’s healthy, why do I need exfoliant?”

She eyed me critically, assessing whether there was any more money. “I think you need a cleanser,” she decided.

“So now that I’ve put all this stuff on, you want me to wash it off?” I demanded.

“Dad. Not now. For at night.”

“I already have a cleanser, honey. It’s called soap.”

“This one is much better.” She put it with my other bottles of gunk. “It costs 36 dollars.”

“That is better!”


I pulled the last bills out of my wallet. “I’m just glad you’re selling skin care products and not yachts,” I muttered.

My daughter left, and I took the bottles of face slop back to the bathroom and put them away.

I figure I’ll give them to her for her birthday.

To write Bruce Cameron, visit his Web site at


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