Trending Fossil – Part 1

Be wary of Fortune, for she is a fickle goddess,

but if you must ask for favors, ask

For a sound mind in a sound body, a valiant heart
Without fear of death, that reckons longevity

The least among Nature’s gifts.

– Juvenal, Roman poet

A long life is not a longer youth, physically anyway. Healthy septuagenarians (that’s 70’s, kid) say they think as young as ever, until they look in the mirror.

Let’s look at the forces lined up against a youthful skin once you go around the last Go! at (gasp) 30 years of age.

1) Depopulation
At 30 years old, about 50% of your cell population in the skin has packed up and left or simply gone to sleep. The body does this to protect you. Long story we will set aside for later. Anyway, by 30, think thinner but in a no fun, not chic way. Visibly this can be depressing to observe, feeling helpless is not uncommon.

You’ve taken care of yourself, exercise regularly, radically limited your daily chocolate consumption to one See’s Candy mixed sampler box. What gives?

Nature is unkind? It does seem that a relentless agenda is at work.


(Important culture reference note: this is a Daffy Duck exclamation, often made at the dire moment of truth in his 1950’s cartoons that like Bugs Bunny, often vexed Elmer Fudd.)

2) Integrity
The cell population left behind functions less than optimum. Far less. The cell energy and communications departments go from slacker to in-your-face lazy. Skin architecture goes from a layer cake to mudpie. Thank you, Sun.

3) Landfills
So much skin cell waste collects deep in the dermis instead of being hauled off to the kidneys/liver that at first glance it seems a busload of drunk pigmentation cells have passed out on your face, hands and arms.

4) Nature
Nature has decided long before you were born that once past a certain age, you need to be shown the door. You will have so much damage by the environment in your cells at fifty years old, that every new daughter cell is more homely than the last. ‘Please leave’ is the message. Ask a friend who reads the obituaries like the sports pages, she’ll show you the pattern.

5) Properties
Elasticity, resilience, turgor, and resistance are replaced by a sagging, vitiated crocodile imitation leather that even the Dollar Store would reject; or, a gristle-like parchment resembling stained butcher paper; or, the translucent membrane of an insect wing and often all of these together in a less than delightful patchwork design. Old skin.


Now what’s a mother to do?

1) Depopulation – on this factor almost all of skincare has been focused. What we know now, after fifty years with a cohort of millions of end users, is that anything applied topically has a great chance of increasing cell population. All the magic ingredients and even the not so magic ones and even very naughty ones do this. This is definitive. Yay!

But the cells are temporary, fragmented, and the same visible problems return. Grrr. The topical made us swell up for a short time is all. Wrinkles went away and then came back. What’s worse is that if these topical applications continue in order to keep the population count up, the skin weakens, becomes addicted, and prematurely ages in looks and biology. Cells deform, disappear, and strange ‘pigment’ spots now announce themselves.


Diet poor in protein, high on drugs (prescribed and recreational) and the physical activity level of a sloth will also have a visible result. Think Keith Richards.

(On the other hand, he found that drugs, liquor, smoking, rock n roll and all around bad habits have allowed him to stay alive for over 900 years, according to reliable sources and experts, so there’s that.)

You could try this, instead:

Start with nothing topical but a mild cleanser (free of betaines) like 302 Skincare’s REVIVE. Use this as a rinse-off cleanser and a leave-on moisturizer. Great value, unique product. Nothing else. Think of that as your gym wear.

You must learn to stimulate the skin, like exercising your muscles, not wear it out generating free radicals. Think of your skincare as a metabolic training regimen. A cardio. High energy workouts and then back to normal (as in rest phase).

You do that by introducing highly active, multi-functional, metabolites. There are really only four in all of skincare. The rest, no matter what you have heard, introduce a lot of temporary cells taking up a lot of energy to form and then haul away in a process that includes the formation of nests of “age spots.”

You may have read or been told in other locales about literally hundreds of natural and synthetic molecules (ingredients) with a compelling list of benefits. If all the benefits actually occurred, even if just a few did, we would all be walking around with the skin of an acne free twelve year old.

It can be bewildering to read through these endless lists of amazing skin benefits from about everything. As a result of this wall of endless noise, we have many people layering product after product per day (!) in the belief they will revert back in time to embryonic skin. Or something.

Don’t waste your time or money. You will end up with the “Ins” as in – “inflamed,“ “insane” and “in bankruptcy.”

The skin does not absorb topical products as if they were food.
This notion is the equivalent of pouring gasoline on your car to make it run.

Your skin does not work like your digestive system. If it did we would look quite different. Like, oh, a sponge.

The Big Four are powerful tools, not food. Learn how to evaluate and use them – observation and common sense are required to optimize results.

So, the Big Four:

Vitamin A (as in retinol), Vitamin B3 (as in niacin or as found in skincare: niacinamide), Vitamin C (ester form only) and the 302 molecule.

In addition to depopulation (#1), they address factors #2, #3, #4, #5 but each with a different emphasis. That is, every one of these has at least one key secondary function that the others don’t. Just as you try various workout machines and gadgets to learn which do best for you, so with the Big Four.

The Dork reads the skin biochem journals that present the next great thing for skin and invariably after drilling down into the Big New Advantage it is without fail about producing more cells. That’s it. And after a period of time the study ends and no follow up.

Because what really happens next with continued daily application is a rapid decline in cell population and worse, a wearing away of skin resiliency. The skin weakens, looks drab, it has prematurely aged. A year of saturation applications will add ten years of aging in looks.


The issue is not merely quantity of cells, it is quality. There are key activities in the skin that determine the quality of cells. Without cell quality, your visible skin becomes a sheet of parchment, gristle and spots. The Big Four bring an overall qualitative improvement to the cell. That’s a big deal.

But, they are easily abused. Anyone who advocates daily application of these is from the Keith Richards’ School of Esthetics.

Stay tuned for Part 2 when the Skin Dork will evaluate The Big Four as skin tools so that you may look younger, make friends and happily influence people, and of course, conquer the planet.

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