© copyright DJ. Bowman-Smith 2019

 Smoothing out the Cracks

‘Can borrow some cream?’ asks my daughter, one morning. I’m not sure exactly how cream can be borrowed, but I smile, ‘Help yourself, love,’ I say, nodding toward my dressing table. She begins to scrutinise the pots thereon. And there are many.

I well remember when I was young with skin like hers, all soft, smooth, and glowing. In my twenties, a little light moisturiser was all I needed to maintain youth’s perfection. Nowadays I need an abundance of salves just to stop myself from drying out. And if any of the lotions I slather daily onto every part of my body claim to have extra benefits, apart from stopping me actually turning into a husk, then I am glad. Or should I say - hopeful.

Most claim they will restore my skin to its former glory and as I go about – what cosmetic companies like to term ‘my beauty regime’ -  I am optimistic that I will not only be less dry -  but also less old.

My family are cognisant of my penchant for moisturiser. Once my mother-in-law gifted me a balm for my wrinkles one Christmas. I was affronted. Whilst I welcome a bit of body lotion or hand cream, being given something to correct the state of your ageing face is downright rude – even if it was one I had never tried and really rather good.

My daughter is scrutinising the small print on the back of a plastic tub. I can tell by her face that this is not what she’s after. Possibly the words ‘anti age spots’ has put her off. She carefully replaces it and continues along the line. I am interested to see which sort of cream my daughter needs and as I make my bed I think back and try to recollect when the ‘cream thing’ began.

My mother used a particular face cream that had a distinctive scent. I certainly never took any; she wasn’t a sharing kind of person. Yet I definitely remember putting the hand cream - which lived in a large container with a dispensing nozzle beside the kitchen sink - on my face as a child.  The slimy relief from sun-burn was worth the rather odd smell. Years later and newly wedded, my husband watched me apply anti-wrinkle cream and asked doubtfully, ‘Does that stuff work?’

‘Ask me in ten years,’ was my reply.

In those days, I was happy with a face cream, a hand cream and a body cream. Middle age has exacerbated the slightly dry skin of my youth. I have day and night creams for my face. Creams that come in sweet little glass jars for my eyes.  Creams for my body, feet, hands and neck.  I have yet to find a brand that supplies all of these, with just one perfume. By the time I’ve had a shower or bath and applied the suitable lotions to the correct body parts – add to this something extra – like a smear of anti-inflammatory pain relief gel for my knees and a dab of something soothing for my haemorrhoids  -  and I am fragrant to say the least.

My daughter seems to have found what she is looking for. Hand cream. Off she goes, bless. Not a patch of dry skin in the world.

Bed made, slippers found, glasses on and I see I have left a pot of moisturizer I was using this morning on the windowsill - our cat’s morning roof parade may have distracted me. As I replace it alongside its fellows, I notice the words, ‘night cream.’ No wonder my face keeps falling asleep.