It was 4 o’clock in the morning when our doorbell rang frantically. My neighbor Nancy looked lost, worried and in shock.
Seeing her pale face, I asked, “Nancy? What happened dear? Is everything alright?”
She just pointed out at her apartment and said: “Anita, she, she needs help”. Out of words, she kept mum for the next few minutes. Without wasting time, I decided to go and have a look. We almost reached her apartment door, when we heard Anita cry out loud in pain. Nancy unlocked the door and we saw Anita sitting on her bed. She had covered her face with her palms and was sobbing inconsolably.
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The situation was extremely tensed but we somehow managed to calm her down. All I could understand was that Anita tried a new facial mask and after some time, she was in pain.
I gave her a bag of ice to control the inflammation and rushed to my friend Maya’s home. She is a dermatologist. She gave her medicines to control the inflammation and asked to meet her immediately for a detailed check-up at her clinic.
Anita’s face was full of acne when Maya first checked her. Maya said “You have serious skin issues. I wonder what cosmetic brand you are using? I need the complete list of cosmetics you use. I also want to know about your detailed diet, daily routine, water intake, everything.” As she was talking to Anita, I started recollecting the first time I saw these two young girls who moved to the flat next door.
Both were from different states but stayed well together as roommates. The girls worked in the hospitality industry and were working with one of the most reputed event management companies. Because of their demanding jobs, they used to work for extended hours.
We became good friends and would often meet each other over tea or supper.
Anita was always inspired by beauty channels on Youtube. She always wanted to try every new look of her favorite Youtuber. No wonder, I have never seen her using the same eyeshadow or trying the same eyeliner style.She literally had a new look every day throughout the 365 days! She would have new hairstyles, new eyeliner shades, new lipstick shades, every day! I would always think, “This girl might be spending all her earnings on cosmetics”!
One day, my nephew wanted to draw a tattoo on his shoulder for a play in school. I asked Anita if she could lend me some of her makeup. As she opened her full-length dresser, I was amazed! I saw each and every shade and hue of lipsticks, nail paints, blushes and what not!I picked one eyeshadow but it was unbranded. It was cheaply priced and smelt very unnatural. I checked a few more, but only a few of the items were branded! Even if they had labels, those companies were unknown. I could sense those products were definitely not safe for the skin.
I asked Anita about it and was kind of expecting what she would say. Being indifferent, she said, “These products are perfectly OK. They serve my purpose and I don’t have to spend a fortune! If you are talking about ingredients, even branded products use these same ingredients but they misguide us.” While saying this, she was not trying to convince me. She was trying to convince herself.
“Most importantly, instead of paying for 1 lipstick of a big brand, I get 10 different shades of lipstick at the same price!”, she said, feeling pride in what she does.
She continued, but I just could not understand her psychology. She was always generous while eating out or boozing or shopping branded clothes. So, how come she never thought about her precious skin? Did she think she was a mutant who could shed her skin every day and grow a new one? The reason started becoming clear to me.
How would anyone come to know what she was using?
They could make out which brand of sunglasses, clothes or jewelry she was wearing. Even if they couldn’t figure out the brand, they could easily catch a low-quality item. But how could they ever know about the brand of her make-up? She could easily say, she was using this ultra-luxury brand using the most skin-friendly ingredients!
I tried to warn her about the complications people face because of horrible skin care products. But she was adamant.
She thought she was ‘saving tons of money’ and still was able to flaunt new looks every day.She was creating an impression in personal and professional life. So, she was happy.
Moreover, Anita ignored all the warning signs her skin was giving. If she got itchy skin, she would rub ice on it. If she got rashes, she would cover it with more makeup.
To make matters worse, quite often Anita would come home tired. She wouldn’t have enough time or strength to clean her makeup. Forget about deep cleaning skin care routine!!
“Would you accompany me again this afternoon? I have an appointment with Maya to discuss my reports”. Anita was visibly nervous and needed company very badly.
I said, “Absolutely Anita. I am with you on this. Everything will turn out well.”We reached Maya’s clinic. The reports were not good. Anita’s skin was badly damaged due to excess amount of toxic and harmful ingredients present in the cosmetics. Maya advised her not to apply even a sunscreen lotion without her advice. She was prescribed specific soaps and toiletries.
Moreover, Maya had estimated around 3 to 6 months for the recovery. And the expenses of medicines! It was hundred times more than the cost of any branded products for 6 months!
And the worst part! She had to utilize all her earned vacation days. When she joined office, she was shifted to back office duties. The reason? She was not looking presentable for people facing roles because of her skin issues.One weekend on tea, she said “I feel defeated and humiliated. Wish, I had taken your advice seriously. You were spot on, when you used to advise me to limit the dose of these cheap foundations, blushes and other things.”
Recollecting that dreadful day, she continued, “That day I had to attend a very important seminar. As I had an early morning flight to catch, I had only slept for a few hours. As I woke up, I wanted to try the instant glow face mask. As soon as I tried it, I felt I was in hell. Never did I imagine, I would have to lose so much for a low-quality product.”
Continuing she said, “I fought with my entire family for this job. I don’t know how they will react after hearing all this. They would definitely try to take me home for good. But that is the last thing on earth I want to do.” Anita burst into tears and there was nothing in her mind, other than getting fully treated.
I said, “Whatever happened is past. Don’t stress out. You are going to be alright.”
With all the strict lifestyle changes and support from us, she gradually came back to normal life. She strictly followed the routine advised to her. This routine didn’t just include medicines, but skincare and food as well. She was almost recovered in 3 to 4 months.
The motive here is not to disgrace any new or unknown brands. I am not even questioning the price that they quote. But we have to choose our products wisely. Beauty products should be treated as an investment. Investment for our skin’s longevity.
Anita always thought 1000 times before eating from a roadside joint. Then why did she blindly trust any unknown cosmetic product?
She never thought twice before buying latest mobile phones, where she might not have used even 70% of the features. But she was always on a budget when buying skincare products!
She went for attractive packaging and low price. But did she take a little more care to research the brand before buying?
If she would have chosen good, branded cosmetics, the story would have been different. Big, well-known brands create products after years of research. They use the best ingredients that repair and pamper our skin.
It is also never the case that every well-known brand makes great skincare products. It is also not necessary, that great cosmetics are always very expensive.
The important point is to be aware of what you are buying and never compromise on quality.
It is always better to use ‘the best skincare product’ instead of looking for ‘the best doctor’ when your skin is in trouble.
What do you think of Anita’s story? What is your personal skincare routine? Would love to hear your comments!