"IF I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now."
"Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine."
Mary Schmich. Chicago Tribune, June 1, 1997
Few are given the chance to stand and speak before a hall of peers in caps and togas. Mary, just like me or you, is not one of those. So this columnist for the Chicago Tribune wrote what would have been her commencement address if she did make it to the podium. This became a global phenomenon...
Wear sunscreen. Of all the musts on the list of any dermatologist, this lands at the top, the most basic of skincare. Mary could have been a wealthy dermatologist.
I could have done this ages ago, had I been more conscious of my skin. I bear a pockmarked, deep scarred face after years of owning an acne farm during puberty, plus ten more years after. Sunscreen was not on the list, but the regular prick of the hypodermic needle was.
Then my love affair with the beach began and I started worshipping the sun. It gifted me with a beautiful skin tone while the salt water slew any attempt of any acne farmer to sow its lethal germs. My best friend was a bottle of deep tanning oil, with no SPF, mind you. To this day, I bear my perennial tan with pride and enhance it when necessary. It's my good excuse to head off to the island, with no sunscreen.
There came a load of unsolicited advice that came across as death threats. But how could I regret something I love doing? I am never coming out on a skincare ad. Or maybe I could- the "before" part. Or, on the face of my favorite tanning bottle- Government warning: over exposure to the sun is dangerous to your skin. God forbid. Yes, my skin is aging faster than the rest of mankind my age. Oh, I envy their smooth skin, if not genetically passed on, the maintenance is tedious. To each his own.
Recently, I am shifting into the other direction. Maybe I could compromise with my lovers, the sun and the beach, with our dates. My laugh lines are nearing the ravine category and I don't exactly like them that deep. The fact that the cameras are acting pretty weird these days and auto-focusing on the deep lines of my face means I should consider the scalpel, perhaps.
One of Skin Doctors' latest offering.
The Universe must have heard my plea, thus the intervention. I get a call from Dr. Pacita Belisario of Skin Doctors (talk about personalized service, it's the only way to success, I believe.) She didn't want me taking drastic measures and offered to give their new machine, the Matrix RF, a try. It's non-evasive and suppose to improve my skin's texture, at the very least. This skin resurfacing machine can "smooth out the lines of time," she said. The ravines are not happening on my face. So, I went to their newly-renovated Gaisano Mall clinic and tried it. (The envy-worthy skin of their clients were parading before us during the blessing of this branch).
The most visible results would come after a couple of sessions, I was told. There is a change on the first procedure and I am considering whole series of sessions and witness a transformation. Not that I will turn into a Daniel Henney, just aiming for my twenties look - the skin, not the fashion.
Thank God for good friends in the field of medical skin care. With their wide range of expertise-cosmetic dermatology to plastic surgery- aided by the latest technology- lasers, they could stop time, even revert it, in some cases. What's more exciting is they are at your favorite destination- the mall. This is a one-stop age-defying center.
Simulating my own Before & After treatment look.
(Maraming salamat Photoshop!)
Thank God for Skin Doctors and these ladies who epitomize beautiful and healthy skin, Doctors Maria Pacita Belisario, Lalaine Visitacion, Cecil Serrano and Karen Lee Alabado. Women who care. Professionals. Ethical. Women who make sure that achieving our personal essentials are within easy reach. Women who have a quest- to make us all in Davao beautiful! I say, they're on the right track. Keep up the fabulous job!
If you must know, Mary, now I am wearing sunscreen. It's never too late.
The Skin Doctors. Maria Pacita Belisario, Lalaine Visitacion,  Cecil Serrano, Karen Lee Alabado