i`ve never been particularly vain about my personal appearance. i wear what`s comfortable as opposed to trendy; although i apparently i clean up nicely. i`ve been told that i`m easy on the eye, but i don`t really see it and people always compliment me on my hair, but i could cut it all off tomorrow and not feel any great remorse; it is after all just hair and it will grow back.

my single vanity about my personal appearance is my skin. and i think that has more to do with gratitude than anything else.

i was born allergic and aside for my shellfish allergy; which has a far worse reaction; all my allergies showed up on my skin. in the first year of my life, i developed allergies to milk; human, cow, goat, milk substitutes, eggs and fish. it`s a wonder that i grew any at all.

these allergies continued through most of my childhood, but lessened to some extent. i knew i could only have eggs or fish one day a week, milk had to be powdered and mixed thinly. but by and large, for the first thirteen years of my life i had a rash of some sort and cabinet full of topical ointments. the other thing i learned early on is not scratch or pick which has came to serve me well later on in life. but that is a tale for another day.

as i got older; through the joy of hormones or some greater power looking down on me; i wasn`t saddle with ashy scales, acne or pimples. i just had naturally healthy skin. but having spent so much time taking care of my unhealthy skin, i wasn`t about to take anything for granted. i learned what soaps i could and couldn`t use on my skin, i realised that soap on my face was a total no-no. i had my first facial at 15 and learned to steam and give myself facials when i couldn`t afford to get one.

in my mid-20s i discovered another trigger for allergies; stress. in my fourth year at my first ad agency job, i stress myself out to the point where my entire back was just a giant rash that took almost a year to get rid of. there are no traces of it now, which is another interesting thing about my skin. i heal almost perfectly, much to the chagrin of my tattoo artist. if i use too much A&D ointment while my tattoos are healing, they will heal completely like a cut, leaving just the faint line of ink. while i was getting the last set of ink, he banned me from using anything other than petroleum jelly just before i bathed to keep it dry.

since i`ve moved here, i`ve found a soap that me and my skin are happy with, learned how to keep my skin moist on during the winter months and what to use as the humidity returns to levels i`m accustomed to. although i`m not currently available to afford it, there is a trip to the body shop coming. their body butter is the only thing i`ve used consistently in the last eight years that works no matter what time of year it is.

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