A Nihilist’s Skin Care Routine

Nothing matters, so stop putting shit on your face.

Adeline Dimond


Lilith, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1867 | Metropolitan Museum of Art Open Access Program

I’m fifty, so my skin is a collection of smog, regret, Diet Coke, gasoline, traffic, heartbreak, cigarettes, movie popcorn, blue light, bridesmaid dresses, expensive dinners but also fast food, television, cleaning supplies, customer service representatives, parking garages, lost tax documents, wildfires, parking tickets, earthquakes, stubbed toes, lost chess games, middle seats, ex-boyfriends, martinis, car repairs, rescue animals, online mobs, doom scrolling, broken shopping bags, disappointing coffee, flight delays, and failed DIY home repairs.

Sometimes my skin is saggy, sometimes inexplicably it’s not. Sometimes I get acne, a cosmic joke of perimenopause. Or at least I used to have all these things. Now I look fantastic, and that’s because I no longer give a shit.

Before I started not giving a fuck, I had a militaristic dedication to a pornographically expensive skincare routine. I paid hundreds — no, probably thousands — of dollars for IPL treatments, Botox, skin care products that cost as much as a grocery haul for a family of four. I bought acids, fancy moisturizers, and experimented with cleansers made of mud, clay, and oil. There was even a product that was made from discarded foreskins. (Waste not, want not). I have a doohickey that looks like a…