It Happened To Me: I'm A Beauty Writer, And I Just Burned The Hell Out Of My Face

My mother is freaking out about how I "disfigured" my face in a cooking accident, but I'm actually OK with it. (And it gives me an excuse to use one of my favorite salves.)
Publish date:
June 17, 2013
confidence, It Happened To Me, burns

Funny how just a couple weeks ago, I was all concerned with the zits on my forehead. I say "funny" because now I slightly resemble Two-Face from Batman.

Why? Mainly because I’m a fool who doesn’t pay attention or understand the word cautious. Basically, I turned on the wrong burner on my stove and threw a piece of frozen chicken into a cast-iron skillet with boiling coconut oil.

I may not be that clever, but I do think fast. I turned my head and threw up an arm over my eyes, so the hot oil splattered over my lip, chin, chest, neck, and arm; which still seems like a win.

Maybe I’m too British, because after it happened, I finished my sentence (more compelling evidence that I CANNOT stop talking) and then finished making amazing soup.

So, I have a scabface. My mother called me last night, after seeing a photo of the burns on Facebook. She was crying.

“Your face! What are you going to do? You’ve been DISFIGURED!”

“What am I going to do?" I said. "Probably have some white wine and hang out on the porch.”

Because the weird thing is, I don’t really care. Like, I’m taking care of the wounds, yes, but from an “Oh God, my FACE!” standpoint? Newp. And I’m pretty vain (duh). But for some reason, I’m not sad that I’ll most likely have scars on a portion of my face for a long time.

Mostly, I feel lucky. It could have been worse.

Getting burned reminded me that I’m happy, confident and awesome, and having a mangled face doesn’t change that at all. People’s horrified reactions don’t phase me, because although I enjoy playing with makeup to achieve different looks, I know how I look will always be changing (hello, getting older!) and so I’ve never attached that much value to my appearance.

I also have a feeling like I’m somehow...exempt from trying to be conventionally pretty? I’m free to try looks I wouldn’t normally, because I’ve already strayed so far from my normal beauty routine of trying to achieve perfect, smooth skin and sun-kissed cheekbones. I’m really excited to get my hands on some orange blush, honestly.

I’ve been slathering myself in Surfer's Salve since it happened. I’ve used it on burns, tattoos and diaper rash since I discovered it on the Big Island in Hawai’i. It’s pretty much a miracle product; its botanical ingredients are soothing, antiseptic and help speed healing. It smells like hippie heaven, too.

So instead of being distraught, I’ve had fun playing with crazy eye makeup. I feel like with the ratty hair (so full of salve), deep-purple burn, bold brows and a smudgy cateye, I look like a 1970s scream queen.

Overall, I recognize that I don’t have it bad. I might have some serious facial scarring, but otherwise, I’m healthy, I have all my limbs, and I’m thankful that if I want to go to the doctor, I can.

Lots of people have scars and imperfections, and I have always dug them because they tell a story. My story is pretty weaksauce (“Chicken ruined my face!”), so if you can come up with a better one, that’d be great.

Has anyone else had something like this happen? How’d you deal with it? Until this, I just had the usual middle school forehead-meets-curling-iron problem. (Thank god for bangs.)