Asian Girl Problem #99: Get Dat Glow

I know healthy habits and the right regime are the foundation for all good skin, but I wouldn’t trade my Asian skin type for any other. Commonly known traits include:

-Thicker and denser dermal layer with more collagen, which makes it harder to damage/age.
-Darker color (“caramel, if you will) that tans easier than it burns.
-Less likely to get skin cancer/diseases, because of the darker pigmentation.
-Retains darker scars after minor injuries. Still waiting for two bug bites from last summer to show some sign of fading.

Another reason I think we maintain dat glow is by drinking plain hot water, an unspoken and mostly unconscious habit passed down from our moms and grannies. In China, cold water that’s safe to drink only comes bottled, but you can find places to fill up your thermos with free boiled water almost anywhere. But now in America, where hot water no cleaner than iced and probably annoys servers, we still ask for it whenever we can.

My Asian girlfriends know what I’m talking about–when we roll up to a restaurant, we get hot waters all around. A spot of tea or squeeze of lemon is great, but can sometimes sullies the pure experience–steeping our face in the steam and inhaling the warmth has a magical effect. As it cools enough to drink, tastes different too–almost thicker and more mineral-y, like the heat enhances every flavor nuance.

Far more crucial than a blender or food processor in our family.

I forget how uncommon it is in American culture until I’m the only one doing it in the presence of non-Asians. Happened yesterday at a bar, after one too many whiskeys. (Which, for those of you who underestimate my alcohol sensitivity, is one whiskey.)

“You just got hot water?” they asked, followed by a long pause while trying to decide if I’m cheap or weird.

“It’s an Asian thing.” So probably both.

For all that’s great about Asian skin, we pay our dues in social chagrin: Asian glow*. I saw an exceptionally bad case the other day– a fellow yellow turned Crayola red within ten minutes of entering the bar. So red we couldn’t be sure if it was alcohol-induced or rosacea. But unless people are genuinely wondering if they need to be calling 911, I don’t see why it’s embarrassing. Maybe it’s compounded by coming from a culture that values self-control and reticence and being in the one situation where you can’t maintain a poker face.

*for an antidote, Pepcid AC 30 minutes before drinking has always worked for me.

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