Bernie Block: Beauty is Only Skin Deep

“What’s new, Claire, you look years younger?”

“Yeah, Delores, it’s a new anti-aging cosmetic regime the beauty company I work for introduced a few months ago.”
“But, you’re not that old yet that you have to worry about wrinkles.”

“It doesn’t make any difference how old you are, you should start fighting them before they start. My addiction to the epitome of beauty started right after I got married. Youth-looking skin continues to be a huge market all over the world as men and women look for new ways to fight the signs of aging skin. Do you realize that it is a world-wide business of $350 billion?”

Claire asked, “Where did you hear that?”

“Well, Delores, it started when I was in my senior year at college and I was taking history course in ancient civilizations. One of the segments my professor discussed was what the ancients did about beauty. I learned that the Egyptians and the Chinese were the first to document their attempts to halt the relentless march of time, noting the efforts of certain types of herbs, mineral treatments, diet and exercise on the condition of the skin, all desired to stop the inevitable first wrinkles and keep young and beautiful looking. Today it has developed into a complex study of molecular biology, botany and even philosophical and psychology research.”

Delores interrupted Claire’s spiel about when beauty had started, and asked “What else did you learn that would want me to start a hold-the-wrinkles-back campaign?”

“I’m not trying to sell you anything, Delores,” Claire responded. “But if Alchemists spent centuries looking for the ‘Elixir of Life’–the mythical ingredient that would grant them access to the ‘fountain of youth’ and eternal life–there must be something to it. Even today, chemists in the industry are looking back to the Egyptians use of olive oil as part of the beauty treatment program that was used in that era.”

Claire took a deep breath and continued. “Do you realize what the impact of television had on the beauty industry? With everyone in the U.S. and other advanced countries, it drove beauty advertising sharply upwards. Charles Revson was a master of using the new medium to grow brands. Now it’s the shopping channels like HSN and QVC that have become important places to launch new brands.”

“I know, I watch them a lot,” Delores replied.

Claire continued. “The evolution of beauty products really started with soap; that technology was known for thousands of year but was rarely used for personal washing. In the 19th century with water being pumped directly into homes, the demand for soap was linked to romantic success. It also happened in the perfume part of the beauty business.”

Delores broke into the story, and asked, “What happened in China?”

“Do you realize,” Claire replied immediately, That the use of beauty products in China in the 1980s was close to zero; today it’s the world’s fourth largest market and the top brands in cosmetics and skin are just like those in the U.S.”

“Thanks for the history lesson,” Delores said, “But I will need some proof that I should start now before the wrinkles set in.”

“Very simple,” Claire countered, “we have realized that we can’t stop the aging process, but we sure can slow it down. That’s the process that the cosmetic industry has taken. It makes sense to me.”

“Now that I’ll buy. What can I use from you?”

“Oh, I forgot. Don’t let’s talk about beauty and cosmetic surgery. That’s another part of keeping your skin and body looking younger. Besides, I’ve also have a great surgeon for you…..!
* Elderspeak-What Is It?…It’s a term that refers to the way some people speak to older adults, especially those with Alzheimer’s. It involves speaking slowly and using a high-pitched voice, using terms of endearment such as Honey” or “Sweetheart”, as if the adult was an infant or young child–For more info visit

* Book Review: THE CHAIR ROCKS…by Ashton Applewhite. Book is about being proud of your age. ISBN 978-0-996-0-99699347-0-1, 278 pages. Network Books, $19.95.
ONE-LINE-SENIOR JOKES: I’m wrinkled, saggy and lumpy, and that’s only my left leg.

Bernie is a real person who resides in one of our Brookdale communities. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Brookdale Senior Living.

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