Friday, April 26, 2013

What I Did for Looks.

RHYS BOWEN: When I was younger I swore that I would never have cosmetic surgery. This decision was confirmed by seeing a face lift on TV--watching the surgeon actually peel back the skin then pull it up and staple it under the hair line. Not for me. Never. But then I used to look like this:

Then I got older and lines started to appear and my jaw line sagged and I thought well maybe... Not a full face lift but just a little tuck here and there? I'd better not name actual procedures or I might get sued, but there was one that sounded good--an in office job, no anesthetic, no down time. Then I went on line to read the reviews. One woman had needed 50 injections to numb the pain. She described feeling the blood running down her neck and the scalpel digging around. Uh, strike that one.

Then the thermal heat sounded good. The doctor applies a wand with some kind of high frequency heat signals and it tightens the jaw line. I checked on that. The discomfort level was rated 5 on a scale of 1 - 5. No thank you. I'm a chicken when it comes to pain.

Have noticed how they use the word discomfort when they mean pain? My dentist always says "Just a little prick," when he means a bloody great four inch needle is about to be rammed into my jaw.

And then my dermatologist suggested I should have blue light therapy to correct my sun-damaged skin. They put gel on your face. You sit in front of blue light for 17 minutes. How bad could that be? Then I read the fine print. Again it mentioned that "most people will experience considerable discomfort." (For that read agony). Also...You have to leave the office completely covered from the sun. If any sunlight reaches you for 48 hours you can continue to burn. The face bleeds and scabs and some people couldn't go out for a month.

So I guess I'm resigned to having wrinkles and sun damage. The occasional microdermabrasion is fine, but it doesn't do much. Neither do those expensive creams. So do tell, Jungle Reds--what would you do/have you done for looks? Are you willing to endure pain to look good? And most pressing of all--can anyone recommend a procedure that will make me look young and lovely AND NOT HURT?

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: No. :-) Smiling, maybe.

LUCY BURDETTE: Oh Rhys you're so funny. No, big chicken on pain here too. And besides, everyone makes catty comments about a woman who's had a face lift--why is that a good outcome?

I would kind of like my eyelids pinned up before they droop so low I can't see out:). (This runs in my family, unfortunately.) But too busy to fool with it.

And we think you look amazing Rhys! xoxo

HALLIE EPHRON: I earned my wrinkles mostly by laughing, and I intend to continue to do so, thank you very much. Plus I'm cheap and I'm a fraidy cat, and I can think of lots better ways to spend my money. 

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: My beauty routine, such as it is, is a Retin A cream at night (when I remember) and SPF 30 every morning, which I never forget, because MELANOMA. I'm not opposed to plastic surgery per se, but I do hate the idea that aging is some sort of condition that one has to cure. My mother always said a woman's goal is to look like a really great ___-year-old, not like a superannuated teenager.

That being said, if I had the money to blow on surgically-enhanced vanity? (Which I won't until we're through paying college tuitions in, oh, 2021...) I'd get the girls lifted. If you have a great decolletage, no one cares if your face is wrinkled.


  1. There's a wonderful moment in the movie It's Complicated when a plastic surgeon explains face lift procedure to Meryl Streep, and informs her she'll have a headache for 6 months. Meryl's reaction was a hilarious combination of disbelief, horror, and hysteria.

    A headache for 6 months? Imagine.

  2. Enduring pain to look good? That’s so not going to happen . . . . I’ll be sticking to my jar of cream stuff [on those rare occasions when I actually remember to use it] because, thank you very much, it doesn’t hurt when I slather the stuff on my face . . . .

  3. There's some laser therapy that activates collagen and just makes your skin look healthier and slightly glowier. I can't remember what it's called. Something like pulsed laser light therapy? Someone gave me a dose once (I was at a dermatologist's for work). I looked like a well-slept person afterwards. So maybe it's anti-tiredness rather than anti-aging, but it felt warm and nice. Like sitting in the sun.

  4. Okay Anonymous...I'd try that. My bathroom looks like a laboratory..I have so many creams and potions. The knife...I kind of doubt it...I'm a chicken. And how hideous when you see a bad one!
    I just want to look like Anouk Aimee. Or Sophia Loren without the big hair and glasses.

  5. My favorite product name: L'oreal Revitalift Miracle Blur. ($20 for an ounce at Target.)

    I cracked up when I first saw it. I thought: it's gel to smear on your eyeglasses every morning before looking in the mirror. Cheaper still, just don't put your glasses on when you look in the mirror. Remember: You're as young as you FEEL.

  6. No cutting, Rhys, for me. No way. I deal with enough pain on a daily basis that I'd never voluntarily undertake pain just to look better. Someone told me when I was young that, by the time a woman's 50, she has the face she deserves. I don't mind looking older, certainly wouldn't mind looking like you! I wouldn't want to be one of those old people who obviously spent their whole life frowning and glaring. Like Hallie, I earned my face with smiles and laughter, and I'll keep it gladly.

    And Jack Getze, you won the copy of EVERY BROKEN TRUST. Email me your postal address at lindalynetterodriguez (at) gmail (dot) com, and I'll have it sent to you.

  7. I had surgery on my neck almost 25 years ago, and resolved that "elective surgery" was pure insanity. Ugh. Pain.
    Plus, I seem to like my face the longer I know it -- weird but true --
    I love a facial once in a while and I also wear sunscreen year-round. And, that is it.

  8. I LOVE Retin-A! Great stuff. Maybe if I had some extra $$ I'd splurge to have my eyes lifted. Maybe an overall small facelift. But it bothers me that society puts so much emphasis on having to look young. For once, I'd love to see movie stars, models, etc. look REAL. It's as if aging is a dirty word. Pity.

  9. Okay, Anonymous, I'd try that, too.

    And you know what really works?
    Sleep. It makes such a difference. (Now I sound like my mom, but..)

    I look completely different after 8hours sleep than after 6 or even 7.

    ALso--sigh--not drinking. I used to love martinis--well, ONE martini. But then I realized my face looked different the morning after. Seriously, we're talking ONE DRINK. So I stopped.

  10. Lucy, you don't want the eyelid lift, trust me. My step-mother had that many years ago, and it sounded gruesome.

    She also suggested to me that I get a head start on some botox "because you have that line between your eyes." I was 39. She meant well; she wished she'd done preventative Botox early. But still.

    I won't do anything. I like the idea of a culture that venerates the aged for their wisdom. Ha! I can dream.

  11. I want to look like Meryl Streep who is about my age. I don't think she's had work done but she looks great.
    And I don't need to look like Joan Collins (who is older than me. Ha Ha) but I do hate my sagging jawline and I really hate it if I go out without make up and someone in the supermarket calls me "dear".
    Dear? Me? No way.
    And capcha is mocking me this week. It's eerefil cannot. How prophetic is that?

  12. I have considered plastic surgery - for a short period of time. I've mentioned that I've lost a lot of weight. It resulted in saggy "bat wings" and knees that look like shar pei faces. It's been 4 years since I started the weight loss journey and things are resolving themselves. And insurance doesn't cover any of this unless there's a medical reason (skin infection, for example.) Besides, I'm almost 62; I've earned this saggy skin. And the grey hair that I stopped coloring over 10 years ago.

    Maybe I could be a size or two smaller without the excess skin but who cares? However, like Lucy, if I did have a procedure done it would be an eyelid lift. That's all.

  13. Know what I hate? I hate that my wrinkles are so much more noticeable with make-up than without. But without make-up my spots and sun damage scream out like neon signs.

  14. Rhys, I'm glad that it's not only me that Captcha has it in for. :-)

    Hank, yes. I can't drink anymore because of the meds I have to take, and my face looks younger than when I could--and after my children were born, I never had more than one drink. Now, if I could just get the sleep. I don't like to take pain meds until there's no other choice, but usually pain makes it impossible for me to sleep more than 6 hours a night. I'll take that over being a constant zombie, though.

  15. I think if I had the money I'd go for the breast reduction & lift, but the face - no! I'd still be super cautious about any elective surgery. Would have to make sure the surgeon was really the right one for me.

  16. What is capcha? I don't think cosmetic surgery is in the cards for me. Fortunately I have inherited good genes. My mother-in-law had a facelift years ago. She said it was for business purposes; she had her own travel agency and thought a younger face would be an advantage. She certainly had the energy to match! Anyway, she did it, to her big sister's dismy. So, she is in an elevator at the hospital, all bandaged up, dragging an IV stand with her. My sympathetic father-in-law said that everyone was as far away from her as they could get; she was probably an AIDS patient. You'd have to know him; actually they are a case of true love to this day.

  17. The trick is to be so fascinating and lovable that nobody cares what you look like. I'm stil working on that. :-)

  18. One of the best things one can do for one's skin is to stay OUT of the sun. Fortunately for me, I have always hated laying out. My brother gave me a gift certificate for a spa, so I used it for my first facial last year. The aesthetist said I have almost no sun damage for my age (I was 60 then).

    My question about the trend for all this facial reconstruction: Are the results, when everyone ends up looking like some kind of weird space alien, better than actual aging? How can that be? And they all look weirder in exactly the same way, creating this odd class of strange-looking older people. I don't get this. At all. I'd much rather look like myself, even if it doesn't jell with my own image of myself. At least my own family will recognize me. ;-)

  19. I'm with you, Julia, re the sunblock. I NEVER walk out the door without at least SPF 30 on every exposed surface. My dad died of melanoma.
    For sun spots, I've discovered a product that does a great job--Murad Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Gel. I noted a significant difference on face and hands after only a week.
    Wrinkles and sagging? Well, they're here to stay since I can't see risking my life--remember Olivia Goldsmith who died having a face lift?--for a cosmetic procedure.

  20. I debated about whether to talk about this, but since both Julia and Jody have mentioned it, I will. I had reduction surgery three years ago (also removal of extremely painful benign cysts.) Even though I ticked every box on the medical necessity form, my insurance company didn't pay for it. Turns out BCBS has a special "exclusion" clause...

    For anyone who says they can't imagine wanting to be less "endowed," I say strap a five pound bag of flour to your chest at puberty and carry it around your entire life.

    The worst thing about the recovery after the first couple of days is getting your energy back, but the plastic surgeon was very (excuse the pun) up-front about the recovery time.

    Am I glad I did it?? YES YES YES. I wish I'd done it twenty or thirty years earlier, except that the surgery techniques are so much better now. I feel like a different person.

    But as for my face, nah. Scary, painful, and all to end up looking like a weird alien? I'm addicted to a Clinique moisturizer called Moisture Surge. I wear sunscreen. I wear a little make-up only when I have to, and I've earned my laugh lines.

    You are all so right about the sleep, though. The older I get, the more I can tell that even an hour less makes a huge difference.

  21. Deb, I bet your back feels better, and that you have an easier time sleeping, too, without as much boobage.

    Damned insurance companies.

  22. Karen in Ohio, interestingly, my plastic surgeon, who was wonderful, only charged me about a third what he would have charged through the insurance company. So as I had a high deductible anyway, I really didn't come out too badly.

    And yes, I can sleep better, walk better, no longer have huge dents in my shoulders, and can even run without pain, which I hadn't been able to do since puberty. Well, except for the pain in my knees:-)

  23. Why is it we say "Men get rugged looking" with age and women get "old and worn out" looking?
    A bit of unfair societal pressure there.
    I, too, have droopy eye lids. I may have to have something done eventually because I paint and it gets a little harder to see with each increment of drop!

  24. Now, see, I can understand the breast reduction and eyelid lifting when it's to ease back and other problems or restore better vision. That makes good sense to me. I don't understand those who get the waxed-fruit look in order to look younger.

    I had a good friend who went in for the very slightest plastic surgery, and her doctor did all kinds of things she didn't want while she was under. The sad thing was that she was beautiful before, didn't look anywhere near her real age, and didn't need even that slightest amount. Fortunately, the surgery hasn't left her looking like some of the stars we see, but why do even our loveliest women feel so insecure about their looks as they age that they feel they have to do this?

  25. I keep a photo of Vita Sackville-West, sitting on her garden steps with her cane and her German shepherd, on my bulletin board in my office. It reminds me that age equals character.

  26. I love this and shared it on my FB page! Joan Rivers was talking about all her plastic surgery procedures on the Dr. Oz show. Dr. Oz asked her where she would be "without" all that plastic surgery. She replied, "Unemployed!"

  27. Deb, the fact that your doctor charged you a third of what she would have charged an insurance company points up one of the major flaws in our health care system. Why on earth should there be two different prices? (I'm glad she gave you a discount, but geez.)

    Joan Rivers just flat-out creeps me out. I can't stand to see her any more. She's just lucky that none of her surgeries has been botched.

    Rhys, I forgot to say above that you look MAHvelous, darling, without surgical intervention. Just so you know. :-)

  28. I'd much rather have body skin tightened and a boob reduction than anything on my face. I grew up on the beach. Who knew? I think Joan Rivers looks scary. Her belly button has to be on her neck.

  29. LOL on Joan Rivers! What a bunch of smart women we have on this blog...

    The one thing I will pay for is some time with a personal trainer to beat back the scourge of what I call "old lady arms"...

  30. Old lady arms, Lucy! My granddaughter used to push them and say "Flabby arms." However when I had a major accident last year and broke my pelvis I had to support my entire weight on my arms for a couple of months, and it did wonders for the flab. Don't recommend the fall though.

    Deb, I've had several friends who've had breast reduction surgery and feel so much better.

  31. for my 40th birthday I had the girls filled out. Nursing 4 kids left my nice girls all flat and stretched out. I had over the muscle surgery and I was quite happy with my girls until I had breast cancer. Then I had a mastectomy and reconstruction on one boob. Based on that experience, I don't know if I'd recommend "lifting" the girls as opposed to having them filled out. You know they move your nipples?

    Anyway, I have a friend who is a facial person, I can't think of the name of what it is, and she is gorgeous. Peel, peel, peel is what she recommends, and Retin A. Both keep your skin youthful...and are a lot less painful than surgery

  32. Regular use of Retin A makes your skin thin, so after fewer years than you might think you get a rebound effect.

    I had the gel treatment/without blue light to kill precancerous lesions on my face in 1990. So far, so good. I didn't think it was that bad. when it cleared up my skin looked great for years. You would want to do it over your longest vacation when no one can see you looking like you have the plague. I think it's worth it.

  33. A side story about a coworker. I'm n SoCal, so perhaps the pressure for pretty is a little higher ... and so is the sales pressure from medical "professionals."

    My coworker gets a regular "mole check" from a dermatologist due to family history. She's 28. She returns from an appointment with her new dermo, and this dude told her that she should start having Botox now. She's 28! I mean, if she had wrinkles, sure, but 28!

    Of course, my coworker also noted that the dermo had a really hot ride, and I can see why.