My BF Carole lives 50 miles south of London where weather permitting (rarely, this being England) she grows and makes wine, raises guinea fowl and grows her own veg. My New York yuppie lifestyle is regularly the butt of her wry humor. And that's when she's in a good mood. We spoke on Christmas day. "So how much do you spend on all this crap then?"

I mustered a response that I hoped sounded both confident and casual. "Oh, about $1,000 a year. Not even." Carole guffawed. She'd been into Space NK and seen the prices. "You are up to at least $5,000." I started to do some mental arithmetic and it was adding up at a terrifying rate.

So, in the spirit in which Truth In Aging was conceived, this is the hour of reckoning. My annual potion and lotion and treatment spend is something like:

1.  Monthly facial treatments with Ildi Pekar           = $2,480

2.  Tracie Martyn Amla Cleanser ($65 X 2)             = $  130

3.  Skin Image Serum ($80 X 3)                           = $  240

4.  Avotone Anti-wrinkle Cream ($53 X 3)              = $  159

5.  Murad Renewing Eye Cream ($49 X 3)              = $  147

6.  Murad Skin Perfecting Lotion ($25 X 1)              = $   29 (UPDATE: I should add this has SPF 20)

7.  Murad Body Firming Cream ($49 X 3)                = $  147

8.  Murad Acne Body Wash ($35 X 3)                     = $  105

9.  Bliss Vanilla & Bergamot Body Scrub ($36 X 3)  = $  108

10. Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream ($17X 1)      = $    17

11. YSL Touche Eclat ($36 X 2)                             = $    72

12. YSL Teint Parfait ($33 X 2)                             =  $    66

GRAND TOTAL                                                    = $3,700

I'm not even going to get into hair care products. And, in the interests of full disclosure, that this list is comprised only of things I use regularly and IN ADDITION there are impulse purchases and experiments (failed and otherwise) that annually must come to another $350. OK may be more like another $500.

Thank you Carole for, as always, keeping me honest.

UPDATE 5/3/2008: I was greatly amused to find a site in Melbourne, Australia linking to this under the headline "Absurd Skin Care Regimen". Anyway, since this post, my weekly regulars have changed substantially. For the latest, click here. Perhaps the Aussie's will be mollified by recent conversion to emu oil.

I am extremely grateful for the attention of Melbourne Dermatology, but their concerns that I don't use a sunscreen are misplaced. The Murad Perfecting Day Cream has an SPF20. I've been using Fullene with an SPF65 for the last three years. Yesterday, I started using Anthelios.