‘It seems like only yesterday that I came suddenly.’
I believe that was the long-lost, slutty fourth verse to The Beatles Yesterday.
So… Let’s pick back up where we last left off: I’m a few days into Seoul, I’ve eaten my weight in several forms of grilled/fried chicken and today was the day I was heading into one of South Korea’s best skin clinics for a consultation. Thanks to the magical front desk at the Four Seasons, I was able to jump into a house car and have it wait for me while I was getting
poked and prodded gussied up.
Bottom line, Seoul has one of the best skincare scenes in the world. They’re known for cutting-edge techniques that aren’t available in the States, skilled doctors and reasonable pricing. For the total price I spent at this Gangnam skin clinic, I saved about half over what Dallas doctors charge. I was also able to get access to treatments that aren’t done in the US, as they’re not yet FDA approved. Who wouldn’t risk a little toxic shock syndrome for a line-free face?
The hotel called ahead to let them know I was on the way and a clinic representative met me at the vehicle as I was pulling up. She spoke perfect english, had a comfortable demeanor and stayed with me throughout the entire process. She also served as translator between the doctor and myself during the consultation.
Discussing your skin is a little bit like a therapy session: They ask you your goals, daily cleansing/moisturizing routines, diet, sleep patterns, caffeine intake, water consumption, etc. Based on how far you want to go, they also ask how much downtime you’ll have in Seoul before flying home. I wasn’t looking for lasers, peels or anything extreme. Instead, I was wanting a procedure called ‘mesobotox’ or ‘skin botox.’
Unlike traditional botox, the doctor goes just slightly under the skin- but above the muscle- with the injection, depositing a micro dose of solution into the pore. This is done in a tight grid pattern all across the face, resulting in about 100-150 total injections. In Seoul, they also offer additional compounds mixed with the Botox. For me, I wanted the combination of stem cell and Botox, as it’s known to produce a reliable result that lasts 6-8 months.
Ultimately, it’s called ‘glass skin’ by the locals for good reason. It tightens the pores, stops excess oil/sweat and gives the skin a very smooth, porcelain-like appearance. The addition of stem cell stimulates collagen production and existing damage repair.
While at my regular injectionist in Dallas, I don’t opt for numbing cream on my face but the skin clinic in Seoul wouldn’t let me refuse it. I felt it was a bit of a waste of thirty minutes, sitting there in a private room with EMLA smeared all over me. While waiting and catching up on world news on my phone, the translator told me that Koreans aren’t known for their pain tolerance and most clients sit for over an hour to ensure their face is completely numb before being injected. For me, I don’t mind a little pain as it allows me to be fully aware in the event something goes or feels wrong and I need to tell the doc to stop.
The procedure itself was easy. The doc was a pro, worked fast and I felt fine afterward. It usually takes 5-8 days for any neurotoxin to kick in, so this wasn’t something I’d recommend if you’re wanting an immediate there’s-an-event-tonight result. What impressed me most was that the doctor was able to create a perfect grid system across my face and neck. He didn’t pre-mark any part of me. I ended up looking a little like a crocodile, as being fair-skinned, I tend to take trauma to the skin a little harder. While none of it was painful, I looked odd with 150 or so small bumps on my face. It would have been the perfect time for me to audition for the Korean version of The Elephant Man.
They offered me a face mask to compliment my sunglasses and walked me down to the waiting car. It was an efficient, professional, enjoyable experience and one that I will continue once the threat of COVID minimizes and Americans are let back into Asian countries. The price was worth the 15 hour flight, especially when you also take into account how much there is to do and see in Seoul. It’s a wonderful city with really interesting people.
I filled an entire suitcase with skincare and sheet masks. I mean, yeah, some of it was requests from Stateside friends who knew I was going, but a lot of it was product that I will use over the next year. Seoul- specifically the Myeondong area- is the flagship for beauty brands like Innisfree, Etude House, Dr Jart, Skinfood and Tonymoly.
FACT: There’s no need to spend a fortune on skincare products. If you’re spending as much on creams and serums as you do on office procedures, you’re doing it all wrong. Buying things like La Prairie and La Mer is akin to paying tons of money for Louis Vuitton, which is low quality leather covered in cheap, clear vinyl. They’re just selling the overpriced monogram to people who don’t really know any better. Don’t be uninformed and oversold.
For me, the backbone of my routine are daily sheet masks, a ton of high-quality hyaluronic serum, once-a-week glycolic/lactic acid treatments and a low PH cleanser combined with an all-over daily moisturizer. I want this on my headstone: He sure as shit wasn’t afraid of moisture. I spent the better part of my teens and twenties telling myself that moisture would make me greasy and break me out, which ended up being totally wrong. Combined with a healthy water intake, your skin NEEDS a ton of moisture no matter what type you have. Once my skin got used to the routine, it looked and felt better, giving me the freedom to use a wider variety of products. In essence, I’ve trained my skin. You can too.
Drumroll please. As promised… (click on the bold titles for more info)
This stuff is the most versatile skincare product I’ve ever used. Hell, I even jerk off with this stuff and have used it to fuck on occasion. It absorbs in quickly, gives a ton of moisture, doesn’t irritate and works well as a base to layer on other products. It actually pulls the product on top of it deeper into your skin. This is definitely my favorite thing out there.
DECIEM is one of the most progressive skincare companies, formulating serious acids and skincare at prices that don’t break the bank. This serum is a bit of a cure-all. It’s got a high quality peptide profile combined with added copper, making it an all-you-can-eat sort of product that’s good for nearly every skin type. In addition to this product, I’d recommend all of The Ordinary’s stuff… Just make sure to read reviews, descriptions and use their direct acids with care.
Even though it’s sold for skin conditions like keratosis, this glycolic-based body wash works well for any skin that can handle regular chemical exfoliation. I even use this as a face wash when I want to save some time in the shower. There’s a wide variety of glycolic body washes out there, but I find this one has the most consistent concentration of glycolic acid. It works the same way, every time I use it. I can’t say the same for other glycolic products.
This is another product I’ve used daily for 5+ years. It’s good for joints, hair, skin, nails and overall epidermal moisture retention. It’s one of the few nutritional supplements on the market that’s been vetted by Consumer Reports labs and has come back as being the real deal. While it’s not a quick fix, it is something that in 6-8 weeks will show serious results. Two scoops in a morning cup of tea or coffee and you’re good to go. Ideally, you’re looking for a minimum of 20g of collagen per day.
This is a great nighttime moisturizer that’s not too thick and absorbs quickly. For me, I have a tough time sleeping comfortably in products that make my face sticky or that make me stick to the pillow, so this light cream is perfect, especially when traveling, in hot climates and on long-haul flights.
It was serendipity that I found this product, randomly clicking through Amazon and thinking that their nearly-perfect 700 reviews were bullshit.
I was wrong.
This very gentle wash is low-foam, non-stripping and can be used all over your body: Face, hair, body, etc. The real selling point is the inclusion of Manuka honey extract. It’s good for healing skin and has antibiotic properties. It’s the perfect wash for easily irritated skin, sun-damaged skin or skin that needs to maintain a natural protective barrier of moisture without stripping it.
This thicker cream compliments the bodywash, has the same ingredient profile and can be used on all types of skin. It can be cut with a splash of water if it’s too thick for comfort, but it’s honestly one of the best all-purpose products I’ve ever used. I also like that it absorbs in completely and dries to a non-shiny finish. It’s especially useful in colder months when your hands and feet tend to dry out. This stuff keeps every part of me soft.
Well, maybe not every part… I’ve even used this stuff to fuck. Because it’s got various oils in the formula, the harder you pound, the warmer it gets and the smoother it gets. It’s also pretty nice for just solo jacking. Easy clean up. Big winner for me.
These are my core group of topical products. In addition- and I can’t stress it enough– drinking plenty of water on the daily is probably the most important thing you can do for your skin. Most of us are dehydrated and don’t know it. I tend to drink upwards of a gallon of cold water a day and while it’s not always convenient taking frequent bathroom breaks, it’s strangely comforting seeing my clear piss hit the bowl.
When you’re hydrated, you retain less water, your eyes look clear, your muscles pop better, your skin is smoother and your body is able to maintain its maximum ability to detoxify and renew. For a little extra boost, I also add a few tablespoons of ACV into my smaller bottles of water to level out blood sugars and decrease my craving for snacks when I’m doing intermittent fasting cycles.
While I can’t guarantee that using these products will immediately change your life, they will help your skin look and function in a healthier way.
Always realize that skincare is a marathon, not a sprint. Most people only take better care of themselves when they see an issue already happening, which in most skin-based cases is too late to do any good. Ideally, you’d start early on, before the real damage has set in. I took my skin and body health seriously starting from my late-teens. Now in my late 30s, the time and effort have paid off. While I also get some MVP support from injectables, it’s not the backbone of why I look the way I do.
Contrary to popular belief, I don’t have a horribly aged portrait of myself hanging in some dusty attic. (I actually keep it safe in temp-controlled storage)
Eventually- realistically- I will have to make the decision to move into more invasive procedures in order to keep myself looking a certain way. I’ll cross that bridge when the time comes, but for now, I’m happy with relatively simple upkeep. Are there things I’d like to change about how I look? Sure. I’m just not so unhappy with myself that I’m willing to go through months of recovery to achieve it. As my mom used to say to me when I was younger, ‘Benjamin, there are just some doors in life you don’t need to open.’ I believe that now more than ever.
Changing topics a bit and getting back to a large part what makes 15MM so popular, I can’t be the only guy who’s finding ever-more creative ways to blow a load in these cock-blocked, pandemic times. Having already had three negative COVID tests (two traditional swab, one antibody), I admit to feeling a little more pressure to remain healthy. That said, I also have a sex drive that quickly tires of jacking off multiple times a day. While my FleshJack has served me well over the last 60+ days, there’s only so much fucking my shower that I can handle. Plus, having to constantly clean out the sleeve and condition it is time consuming. Unlike a simple dildo, it’s not the kind of toy you can just throw into the dishwasher and know it’s coming out spotless.
So… How have I handled it?
I’ve done some glory hole stuff even though it’s not really my thing. I much prefer to see a guy enjoy watching my body while swallowing my dick. Plus, I’ve got this weird urban legend fear of someone doing something bad to my cock when it’s through the hole.
I’ve seen too many horror films.
Jerked off with some dudes- no kissing, distanced- usually ending with me standing over them and shooting on their face or chest. A couple of guys wanted to cum on my feet, which is crazy hot to me. Honestly, I’m super cool just watching another guy while I stroke, especially if he’s into playing with his armpits or can get verbal from across a room. This isn’t rocket science. I don’t need to endlessly complicate things.
Bottom line, yeah, the idea of pounding an ass or getting my hole fucked is a real nice right now, but the look-but-don’t-taste situation we’re in at the moment is actually pretty sexy, as it’s forcing gay guys to get creative in how we safely achieve pleasure. That’s a welcome change from the standard Grindr-scripted chat-meet-fuck-leave script. Necessity is the mother of invention, even when it comes to sex.
While there is still a lot of the gay community that hasn’t changed their sex habits during the COVID, I remain committed to adapting my needs to this new normal.
I guess you could say that I …
I’m trademarking this. It’s going on coffee mugs. Possibly t-shirts.
Kevin O’Leary is going to try to license this phrase from me for 5 cents a sale in perpetuity.
Until we meet again dear readers, be well.