The Ugly Truth of a Woman's Concussion

Skin care, makeup routines, facial beauty change for women after brain injury.

Posted Oct 03, 2018

Mark Mook Fotografie/Pixabay
Source: Mark Mook Fotografie/Pixabay

Older family physicians have a unique way of assessing recovery from a car crash — scrutinizing the face, observing how injury on the inside changes the outside. Concussion makes you ugly. Beauty returns with recovery. Oh sure, facial features at first don’t change. But take a look in the mirror right now. Check out your hair. Lustrous, maybe a few grey hairs your hairdresser will regularly touch up or hide. As you age, you may lose a few strands every decade or so. Check it out; look in your sink. Not many hairs in there, eh?

When you've had a concussion, that porcelain bowl can become a regular repository for handfuls of your gorgeous hair. Transparent white infiltrates your black or golden tresses, dulling them. But fatigue drags you to the couch, not to the hairdresser. When you wake up, you look in the mirror. Your horrified eyes drop from your balding scalp down to your fattening cheeks. Your skin is popping up little red patches that move around your face, and your face is . . . bloated. Not exactly attractive.

Concussion did that.

Open up your cabinet where you store your favorite lotions. Now toss them. Brain injury no like them. You have to find moisturizers that heal the skin, soothe the hot patches your brain throws up, as it can no longer regulate your body temperature. You need creams to reduce the swellings. Ice cubes become your friend as you stroke them across your flaming, edematous face. Freezing-cold showers give relief from the constant heat erupting from within you. You may not sweat anymore; your skin burns and suffers. This is not your body. Is it?

Your face rejects foundation, then powder, then eyeshadow and mascara. As brain injury saps your energy and weakens your dominant arm, being able to draw that perfect eye line becomes a memory. One day, you wake up and realize you haven’t worn makeup nor had a night out, and you don’t care. You haven’t had the energy to make yourself beautiful; your skin raged in itchiness if you tried, and your social skills have vanished. Laughter, flirting, dancing while music beats and lights syncopate is impossible. All you want to do is hide in the bathroom. Even a quiet evening with friends turns into a miserable ordeal — a few voices assault your senses like they were a cacophony of hundreds; perfume gags your throat; your sinuses clog; your face swells; and your eyes droop. Your nights out turn into alone nights in. Your self-image becomes a stranger.

Concussion isn’t a statistic. It’s a nightmare. Protect your head. Drive defensively. Save your life.

Copyright ©2018 Shireen Anne Jeejeebhoy. May not be reprinted or reposted without permission.