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Silver Threads: Testing the wonders of wrinkle cream


Bettye Anding

Bettye Anding

I don’t remember exactly when surgical remedies for aging faces became popular among folks who aren’t appearing on the stage or screen. But today — just take a look at the lined countenances of 70-something men appearing in our newspapers’ social columns and then check out those of the wives of almost 50 years standing beside them. Many have had “work” done for sure.

So, in tune with the times but unwilling to go under the knife (remember Meg Ryan and Priscilla Presley?), I’ll be conducting an experiment this week. If my column of July 9, three days after I’ve turned 79, carries a brand new photo, don’t be surprised. I will look as though I’m only 69 — perhaps even 49, give or take a few years.

I’ve taken the bait, so to speak, and ordered some of that new cream that can provide me with a countenance that will look better than if I’d had a face lift.

The day I ordered the magical emolument, the ads for it appeared with a photo of a woman who looked like a chimpanzee — and I bit. “70 year old grandmother looks 40,” was the quote from Dr. Oz of television fame, and “Better than a facelift,” with before and after photos of six women whose jowls, crows’ feet and other wrinkles had reportedly disappeared.

If you use a computer — and you do if you’re reading this column — and you’re within 20 years of my age, you know about these annoying little ads that pop up every time you sign onto your email. Annoying, isn’t it? But somebody has to be buying the hype, and this time it’s me.

The magic stuff arrived a scant three days after I ordered it, and consists of a cream in a little jar — a 14-day “trial” — and a small bottle from which you pump out a lotion to apply over the first product. It didn’t cost me anything; just a $5 shipping charge. But when I read to the bottom of the instructions, I found out that unless I cancel further shipments of the cream and lotion, I will be getting them monthly at a charge of $89. They already have my credit card info; I supplied it to pay the shipping fees.

After I got the cream and foam and applied it, I’ll admit to checking my face in my magnifying mirror every two to three hours. I went to a lunch party on the second day, and nobody noticed my new youthful appearance. The third day was spent at home, and my husband seemed unaware of any change.

The fourth day I got to thinking about the time when I was only 9 or 10 and a traveling salesman came through our rural neighborhood, touting a facial cream guaranteed to make any woman look as though she were in her teens.

My mother and an aunt bought the pitch, and the product, and while I don’t recall any miraculous results, I do remember the amusement generated among our men folk. They dubbed it “wrinkle cream” and for years thereafter laughed about the episode.

Mother and Aunt Steve, just in their 30s at the time, were only mildly concerned about their aging faces (the salesman must have been charming and persuasive), and, indeed, I don’t remember that even the most elderly of my female relatives ever commiserated much about wrinkles and sags and droops.

But that was in the ‘40s, and I expect great things from this experiment, slightly hazardous though it is. This morning — the fifth day — I noticed a red tinge on the skin over my left cheekbone, and recalled the words of the friend I’ve entrusted with details of my experiment: “You. Really. Put. That. On. Your. Face?!”

Stay tuned.

Bettye Anding is a former editor of the Living section of The Times Picayune, for which she wrote “Silver Threads” until her retirement. Email comments to her at


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