I graduated from my small New York City private school with an appalling attendance record, eight unserved detentions, and an award for my outstanding achievement in astronomy. Sure, I often “forgot” to bring a writing utensil to class and arrived 45 minutes late most days despite living no more than a 15-minute walk away, but somehow I never had a problem remembering exactly how many miles make up an astronomical unit (92,955,807) and the first man to accurately calculate the circumference of the Earth (Eratosthenes, a Greek scholar). My parents were both very proud and extremely confused.
Perhaps if I’d followed through on my passion for celestial objects and phenomena, I’d be studying a PhD in Astronomy at Cornell instead of writing about beauty products for a living. But I hated school and I love Sephora, so while I may not be able to predict how much longer we have before the next big impact event, I can tell you about a new face mask that’s positively impacted my skin.
Like the atmosphere of the planet it’s named after, Sunday Riley’s Saturn Sulfur Acne Treatment Mask is packed with, well, sulfur. The bright yellow mineral not only has antibacterial properties that make it exceptionally good for clearing up existing breakouts and preventing future ones, but it’s also partly responsible for giving the mask its unsettling shade of mint green. Add niacinamide, a B vitamin that’s become particularly popular recently as it caters to our universal desire for tiny pores, and oil-absorbing zinc, and you have one very potent acne-fighting product.
But, at risk of sounding too much like an amateur chemistry experiment (10% sulfur + 4% niacinamide + 1% zinc = ?) and not an innovative face mask worth its $55, the formula also includes bentonite clay, manuka, tea tree, turmeric, and neem — five additional ingredients often used by the acne sufferers of planet Earth, like myself. It significantly dialed down the redness and inflammation of my sensitive, hormonal acne-prone, currently blemish-ridden skin after the first use; a few more, and I can see little bumps clearing up, blackheads disappearing, and an angry cyst on my upper cheek slowly retreating back to wherever it came from.
I’m still holding out hope that scientists will one day be able to prove the existence of a multiverse and in turn discover a parallel universe in which I already have perfect skin, but until that day comes, I’ll stick to what I know: the importance of good skin care and the utterly useless fact that Uranus was discovered by astronomer William Herschel in 1781.