Right now, as you read this, if you are over the age of 25 your collagen levels are tanking. All part of the normal aging process. Oh yay!
In short, as our collagen reproduction decreases in conjunction with other intrinsic factors slowing down, not repairing or becoming disconnected and Wham! Wrinkles, sagging, dryness and brown spots begin to appear. Adding to insult sun exposure (Hello! Florida the “Sunshine state”), pollution, tobacco use and sugar intake and before your very eyes you begin to resemble your mother.
So what’s a girl to do? Can anything be done? Well yes and no. We can’t stop the aging process but we can take steps to alter our changing skin and stunt the aging process. There are the obvious tips like daily sunscreen application, stop smoking, cut out the sugary junk, various skin care creams of all makes and price points (I have one that I love that humanely harvests snail mucus. No, that’s not an autocorrect- snail mucus). Once you’ve got those covered, what else?
I am going to let you all in on a little secret of mine. How do I minimize my own wrinkles and droops? I go to the professionals for regular maintenance. Now bear in mind, this is a service you do not want to skimp on. Do your due diligence when seeking out a professional and do not cheap out. Otherwise you could wind up with some seriously scary results.
Here are some of the interventions I tried, what’s stuck for me and what’s left me with underwhelming results.
I jumped into the world of aesthetic interventions around my mid-30’s. I sought out a trusted physician’s assistant at a well known plastic surgery center. I opted for Botox injections to get rid of my pesky forehead lines that were beginning to be ever-present even when I wasn’t surprised. The results were perfect. Quick with minimal pain. What I loved about this gentleman was that he understood and provided what I wanted. A natural expressive face minus my forehead crevices. He did not push me to do anything else. In fact, he suggested against it. With that he had my trust and I have now followed him to his new practice.
Along the lines of neurotoxic injections I have also tried Xeomin and Dysport. I found the longest lasting results to be by switching between Botox and Dysport. I make these a regular part of my anti-aging war by having them done about every six months or when I begin to see the lines returning.
Somewhere in my late 30’s I began to notice that no matter how well rested I was I had developed chronic dark circles beneath my eyes. I went to my trusted professional and he explained that I was beginning to lose the fat and collagen of my cheek area creating a sunken and darkening look underneath my eyes. He suggested a filler called Radiesse, explaining the pros, cons, cost and reasoning. He explained that the filler would lift the cheek area and further prevent my skin from sagging by replacing soft tissue loss. I opted to try it. Having the filler injected was a bit more uncomfortable than the Botox injections but not unbearable. Initially, I was a little shocked with the results. I felt like it was so obvious and that the apples of my cheeks were huge. But after the swelling decreased I felt more comfortable with the results. My initial concerns were addressed. The dark under eye circles were gone! So filler became incorporated into my routine. I went for filler about every year to year and a half.
I recently swapped out the filler along my cheek arches for a new product called Sculptra. Sculptra is a collagen stimulator. So you do not get the instant gratification that you get with other fillers. Results can take up to 8 weeks! But what Scupltra does is stimulate your system to produce collagen. It also lasts longer than filler. Sculptra is more costly than traditional fillers up front but when you consider longevity the cost balances out. I decided to try Sculptra after watching conservatively to see if it was a fast fad or a new tool in the aesthetic tool box. It is about as painful as filler. I opted to continue with the areas along my cheek bones and some hollowing I had observed around my temples. The results of my first treatment were underwhelming. I felt disappointed that I had spent more money with less take away. I wasn’t very pleased. However, after a second treatment I am a believer. This will now be my fix rather than the traditional fillers. I have only had the Scupltra since November of 2019.
Sometime in between my foray into Botox for my forehead and filler around my cheeks I began to feel as if my lips were looking skimpy. Thus after talking with some girlfriends who had experience I ventured into lip fillers. My first go at lip fillers I had a crazy reaction with a tremendous amount of swelling and bruising. I looked like I had been on the losing end of a tussle. For that brief time until the bruises faded and the swelling reduced I was very self-conscious and embarrassed. Afterwords I loved the resultant plumpness and definition that the filler provided me. The lip filler product I used did not have the same staying power as the cheek filler. So the next go around I tried a different method called “threading”. During a lip threading lift essentially suture type threads are injected into the lips to boost collagen production and increase lip definition. I was happy with the results but the procedure was painful. I am still on the fence about whether or not I will go that route next time.
So that’s my dirty little secret. I have never shared such an in depth account of my dive into aesthetic beauty maintenance. For several reasons I have kept these interventions as private as possible. I was a bit ashamed of my vanity. I know that people are very opinionated regarding cosmetic procedures and I didn’t want to subject myself to judgment. My body, my choice, right? But the reality is there is nothing for me to feel shame or guilt about. I am a responsible consumer who understands both the potential risks and benefits. Why should I feel ashamed of doing what I think is acceptable to my body to keep myself in peak condition? I realize that every person will not agree with or approve of my choices and that is fine. You live your best life and I’ll live mine.
As far as home care tools go I have tried the dermal roller that is having a popular moment right now. Can’t say I notice results one way or the other. I am very neutral about my roller’s benefits. But it’s cheap and it’s easy to work into my night routine a few days a week, so why not.
On a whim (probably an Amazon deal or something) I bought one of those home laser contraptions that are supposed to promote collagen stimulation. It requires a commitment of daily use for 3 minutes an area for a minimal of 8 weeks. It’s not painful. The laser is actually pleasantly warm but keep your eyes closed because that light is powerful! In all fairness I cannot comment on whether this is an effective home tool because I have yet to use it to its suggested consistency. However, it wasn’t expensive and the current research suggests that laser may be beneficial so I am hoping to be more consistent in the future. It was a New Year’s goal of mine to use it nightly but………….
That is my entire journey thus far into assertively taking charge of my face’s aging process. I, for one, refuse to grow old gracefully.
Just to provide a comparison:
Me 10-11 years ago pre cosmetic intervention.
Me now- post all intervention listed and about 20 lbs. lighter. That’s a whole other blog post though. The point is to demonstrate that yes, I am in fact still aging. But my choice of interventions facilitates slowing things done while maintaining a natural not overdone look. I am still me!
What are your thoughts on cosmetic intervention? Is it a personal “yes” or “no” for you, and why?
xxxxxxxx- stay gorgeous!