Cosmetic Surgery…I’m not sure where your mind goes, but mine brings up images of people with plastic frozen faces. There is still such a negative stigma attached to certain kinds of treatments. Facials, IPL, breast reductions or chemical peels are acceptable, but getting cosmetic injections, fillers, liposuction or breast implants is frowned upon. In fact, when i told some people I was considering having some ‘work’ done, i was met with responses like ‘but you are beautiful just as you are, why would you do that to yourself?’ Read on to find out why I decided to get wrinkle relaxers and fillers in my face despite inevitable criticism, what each procedure involves and my views on it now.
Why I considered facial treatments:
I’m 30 and my skin no longer looks like it did 10 years ago. I don’t care what the celebrities or skin consultants say, no amount of cream or whatever else they are selling will get your skin to look like it did when you were 20. I had never had a cosmetic procedure done to my face, but I have tried a number of facial creams and treatments totalling hundreds of dollars for products that never produced much result. I’ve tried a broad range of products and ‘miracle’ creams and am yet to find one that would produce the same results that I got from cosmetic procedures.
I’ve watched over the years as my frown lines, smile lines and forehead lines grew larger and more prominant. My frown lines were my biggest concern, they made me look unhappy, concerned, or angry and it got to the point that I wouldn’t even be frowning but the lines were there.
Another part of my face that bothered me was the bags under my eyes. They were also ever present and made me look like I was tired or unwell. I tried under eye creams, serums and concealers but whenever I looked at photos I always noticed the big puffy circles under my eyes. This is hereditary for me so no amount of rest or cream would ever make it go away. I decided that going to see someone for a consultation to find out more about cosmetic procedures couldn’t hurt and then I could make an informed decision.
Where I went and what I decided to get done:
I’ve seen and heard of some cosmetic horror stories from overseas botch jobs or getting an inexperienced practitioner and I certainly didn’t want to be another horror story or to end up with duck lips. There are a growing number of places that offer cosmetic procedures in Western Australia so when it came to choosing where to go, I wanted to make sure it was somewhere safe, experienced and reputable.
My research quickly directed me to the Absolute Cosmetic website where I could see that they had many years experience (over 20) and to quote their Medical Director, Dr Glenn Murray, “we pride ourselves on remaining at the forefront of aesthetic enhancements, using the latest surgical and non-surgical techniques to ensure the best results for our clients. We firmly believe in not ‘overdoing’ cosmetic procedures…” This is what sold me on them. I wanted something subtle and I wanted to be in the hands of the best.
Having chosen where to go, I arranged a consultation with Dr Murray himself to discuss my concerns and my options. I was a little nervous but Dr Murray made me feel super comfortable. He asked me questions about my medical history, my reasons for coming and to make sure that I was being realistic about what could be achieved. I was actually interested to hear what his suggestions would be so I told him that I was hoping to appear more youthful and that I had some age lines I wanted to reduce. For my frown he suggested a wrinkle relaxer. I had no idea that there were more than one kind of wrinkle relaxer! Varying in price from $135 to $299 and how long the effect lasts.
He then asked if I was stressed or tired because of the bags under my eyes. I explained that they are always there and have gotten worse with age. He recommended a dual approach of putting some filler into my cheeks and also into the tear trough (bag) under my eye. Because my bags were both wide and low the dual approach would reduce the puffiness and dark colouring.
Out of curiosity I asked about my lips. I felt that my bottom lip was more full than my top lip and was surprised to learn that actually the ratio was about right. What is considered most beautiful is a top lip to bottom lip ration of about 40:60 or 50:50. So putting filler into my top lip would result in an unnatural looking ratio. What we could do was put a little filler in both top and bottom so the ratio remained the same but made the top lip a little more visible. After some further discussion we would to do my brow, lips and tear troughs over 2 sessions.
I was very, very nervous about getting anything done. I didn’t want to end up with duck lips or not being able to show the full range of facial expression! Plus I HATE needles. I’m a fainter. Why was i doing this again!? Reminding myself of something my mum used to say to me “vanity feels no pain”, I followed Dr. Murray into the treatment room and sat back in the chair bracing myself. While Dr. Murray prepared the wrinkle relaxer (I couldn’t watch, even just seeing a needle makes my blood run cold) we discussed possible side effects and after care. Possible side effects include: headache, redness, slight bleeding, swelling and/or bruising at injection site, numbing, or temporary paralysis of eyebrow or eyelid (Gulp! Slightly terrifying).
The procedure was actually very quick. I would have 2 injections; one above each eyebrow. First the injection site was cleaned and then I held ice on each area for a few seconds before Dr Murray injected the wrinkle relaxer on each side. I couldn’t believe how quick it was! I felt a little bit of pressure, a slight sting and then it was over! No tears, no blood, no fainting! Although I did start to feel the faint-like symptoms afterwards, so Dr Murray reclined the chair and raised my legs for a few minutes. Seriously I am such a wuss about needles! I looked in the mirror half expecting to see my face frozen but i still had full movement and could still frown. The 2 injection sites were slightly pink but that went away within 10 minutes. I was trying not to move around or frown but I was told I should try to frown as much as i can over the next four hours to aid the treatment in seeping into the muscle. Two things to note is that you cannot lay flat for the next four hours and no exercise for 24 hours. I had no side effects and started to notice my frown decreasing after a couple of days. It can take up to 10 days to see the full effect. If, after 10 days, I was still able to frown, I could go back into the clinic for a top up.
The procedure for my lips was a little more intense. Dr Murray informed me that he would be injecting a blocker (local anaesthetic) into the four corners of my gums from inside my mouth. This hurt more than the actual filler! It stung but the effect was almost immediate and my mouth started to go numb. Soon after I met Senior Nurse Stephanie who would be the one doing my lips as she is known as the Queen of Lips in Perth (and she certainly is!) She was so sweet and helped me to relax by chatting to me throughout the whole procedure. Injections for the filler didn’t really hurt (thanks to the numbness of my mouth) they just felt a bit uncomfortable. Stephanie also mentioned the whole lip ratio thing and identified asymmetrical parts of my mouth where she would place filler to create symmetry. The procedure took around 20 minutes and again I had no side effects. I was very happy with the subtle result. My mum didn’t even notice until I told her a few days later!
I was much less nervous going into the second procedure as I knew what to expect. To start with I had numbing cream put on under my eyes and on my cheeks. 15 minutes later Stephanie came to see me and explained I would be getting blocker into my cheeks. Again this was the most painful part. Stephanie explained how the centre of my face was quite flat and that putting the filler into my cheek would give me some nice definition but we would take a conservative approach because I have such a petite face and wanted to keep it subtle.
The weirdest feeling was when she used a tiny cannula to run the treatment along the tear trough (the actual bag under my eye). I could feel a little bit of pressure on the inner corner of my eye which wasn’t painful but a weird sensation! I had a total of 7 injection into my cheek. When Stephanie showed me in the mirror the difference between the left and right side of my face I could really see how subtle but effective the result was. After completing the other side of my face Stephanie suggested that we put some wrinkle relaxer into the the sides of my Mandible so that my muscle in my jaw would relax and appear less square. She showed me how strong the muscles in my jaw are which is creating a harsh masculine shape. Then we would put a little bit of filler into my chin so that it wasn’t disproportionate (small) now that we had adjusted other parts of my face.
I had no bruising except for a small dot on my chin, no swelling and no other side effects. It took about 10 days for the relaxer in my mandible to take effect and once again I am very happy with the subtle result. My friends and family do not notice I had anything done unless I tell them and even then they don’t believe me!
My thoughts on Non-Surgical Cosmetic Procedures after having it done
Getting wrinkle relaxer doesn’t hurt, it is temporary (3+ months) and it can have long term benefits in decreasing wrinkles. Despite stereotypes of plastic, unexpressive faces, Botox can look completely natural when done properly. So natural in fact that far more people have it done than I ever realised but because of the negative stigma attached people feel they have to deny or hide it. I want to be as authentic and transparent as possible hence why I am writing about this. I’m glad i broke my cosmetic injectables virginity, and I definitely intend to have it done again when my frown starts to return. My only regret…not having it done sooner!
Getting filler is a slightly more painful, involved and lengthy process. The effects of filler can last 9+ months so it’s important to be certain what you are getting done and to do small amounts at a time. Again, now that I have had it done, I can notice it more in others and believe me there are PLENTY of people who have had it done but would have you believe otherwise. I think that people should be applauded for being honest about having work done rather than shamed and criticised for admitting it. I look at images of so many woman who have these plump cheeks and beautiful full lips and it creates such an unrealistic idea of what is natural beauty.
I completely understand the concern for young girls and I in no way want to be a bad role model to them or encourage them to even consider any cosmetic procedure until they have finished fully developing (age 25 or older). But I think we forget to be concerned for us women who are starting the ageing process or who are middle aged and can’t figure out why they can’t achieve the wrinkle free youthful appearance of pretty much anyone in the media! Why are people so secretive and ashamed of not wanting to age?! Ageing sucks, wrinkles suck, and it’s scary! We’ve all tried tricks and magic formulas to slow it down so why can’t we just come out and say, ‘I had some work done’ without being shamed for it.
I hope that by writing this I am able to educate and enlighten some people on the reality of non-surgical cosmetic procedures. At the end of the day it’s my body, my face, my life and if this makes me happy and more confident then it really isn’t anyone’s business or concern. I’m single, I’m still trying to catch my fish and want to look my best. It’s a tough pond to swim in when your competing with all the other fish who have just entered the pond and are 10+ years your junior. I’m 30, not some child, and I made an educated and informed decision which I am happy with.
Until Next Time