This story wasn’t meant to be about my history and experience of non-invasive cosmetic procedures. The original post started out as tips for mature lips, but as I wrote, my words steered me in a different direction. I am told I look good for 47, and I do feel a bit like I am cheating when I don’t share my history of injectibles. So here goes.
Starting out with Non-Invasive Cosmetic Procedures
My introduction to non-invasive cosmetic procedures started when I went to see Dr Garry Cussell, a GP in Freshwater. Dr Cussell had a special interest in cosmetic procedures. I was discussing a large mole I used to have on my top lip, and it’s removal. We also discussed a large pair of frown lines with a small colourless mole in the middle.
Facial Mole Removal
I had those moles removed, performed by a highly regarded plastic surgeon, Dr Sawjin Tew, as the large mole above my lip was getting bigger and changing, and in Australia, it’s best to be safe. It was day surgery, under a local and made me feel very unwell. I later realised I was having a vasovagal response. As a result of the upper lip mole removal, my smile was now a bit uneven.
Turning the Frown Upside Down
I healed up well, but the frown lines between my brows were really bothering me. When I concentrate I frown and my forehead gets tense and I get headaches. I also give myself deep frown lines in the sun, when I squint. My frown was making me look unhappy and angry when I really wasn’t. I decided to take the leap with non-invasive cosmetic procedures and had a Botox™ treatment, at the Rejuvenation Clinic, run by GP Dr Garry Cussell. I knew he was reputable, but it was an expensive procedure. I justified it because I had my own makeup line and was a makeup artist at the time. Looking good was part of my job. I was a walking advertisement for my products and services. That’s how I justified it anyway. After a week I was over the moon. My frown lines had vanished and my tension headaches were gone.
Price of Anti-Wrinkle Injections
Getting rid of my very strong frown was an expensive procedure compared to today’s prices. I justified it because I had my own makeup line and was a makeup artist at the time. After a week my frown lines had smoothed out and my tension headaches were gone. I haven’t had it religiously since then, but usually about twice a year, and now the prices are very competitive. I figure that I don’t get facials, I do my at home skincare instead, so it works out the same as if I was having a facial each 6 weeks.
Broken Capillaries on My Decolletage
One of the other non-invasive cosmetic procedures I had was a single Fraxel Laser treatment on my decolletage at the Rejuvenation Clinic. Since having my two babies I’d developed lots of small broken capillaries, which looked like a rash. The treatment completely removed them and it was about $300.
Laser Hair Removal
Speaking of laser beauty treatments, I was complaining to a friend about getting so many ingrown hairs from waxing and she suggested I try laser. I had 4 sessions of laser treatments on my legs, underarms and bikini line. I have to tell you, it really, really hurts: it is hot and stings. BUT, when compared to waxing it is on parr, in my opinion. Most non-invasive cosmetic procedures hurt as they are done when you are awake.
I now have no hair and my lower legs or underarms, and minimal bikini line hair (although the legs and armpits were more successful). I wanted to get a Brazilian effect through laser treatments, but the pain was too much for me, so I still need to shave “down there”.
The Search for Lovely Lips
Due to the slightly crooked lips and the fact that I was getting older, I decided to try lip filler in my top lip. I went back the Rejuvenation Clinic and had Restylane injected into my top lip. I think it was half a syringe. I’m not sure what that is, but it wasn’t a lot. Despite a local anaesthetic, it was really painful and uncomfortable.
A Painful Reaction
The lips are very very sensitive and the injector had to massage the product to evenly distribute it so you don’t get bumps. At first, despite being red, I loved the shape. About an hour later, after the local wore off, the pain was terrible and I started swelling. A lot. I was in an immense amount of pain, and my lips were incredibly sore. I had to put ice packs on them on an off for days.
I’d had a reaction to the product. It took two weeks for the swelling to go down. I was happy with the result after that but boy, I did suffer for beauty. My vanity was the cause of the pain and my friends and family laughed at me, during that first two weeks. I couldn’t imagine doing that every two months.
Juvederm V’s Restylane
After that awful experience, I did a little more research and found a local doctor, Dr Susan Austin, who was absolutely lovely. She recommended that I use Juvederm, as it lasted longer and less likely to cause a reaction. I gave it a go, and she did a wonderful job. I was a little swollen for a few days, but nothing like with the Restylane.
Vasovagal Reaction With Facial Procedures
One thing I noted with any procedure around my facial area, from seeing the dentist to getting Botox, was that I got really clammy, felt faint and shaky and nearly passed out. I had one dentist get angry with me because I had this involuntary reaction saying I was “being ridiculous” and to “grow up”. I didn’t mean to have this reaction. I am pretty tough with pain, so I never understood this physical reaction. Dr Susan Austin said it was called a vasovagal response. The symptom were, before I passed out were:
- Pale skin
- Tunnel vision — your field of vision narrows so that you see only what’s in front of you
- Feeling warm
- A cold, clammy sweat
- Blurred vision
She helped me through it and made me realise that it wasn’t be being a chicken, it was my nervous system being triggered by the procedure. I’m a lot better now, but I tell anyone injecting my face that I may get this reaction and we angle the chair, and now use a different product to those early days. The causes for me were fear and seeing the blood.
Reaction to Local Anaesthetic
I experience a horrible time with garden variety locals. I get heart racing, shaking, my throat constricts and I feel sick. It is not a vasovgal reaction as it doesn’t happen with any other needles. It may be due to my sensitivity of suphates (I am allergic to suphates) as, according to a recent scientific study:
“Adverse effects from local anesthetics include allergic and toxic reactions.1 Sodium metabisulphite, a vasoconstrictor preservative contained in articaine and lidocaine, can also cause allergic reactions in patients with sulphite sensitivity”
Long story short, I have found that I prefer to avoid a separate local anaesthetic.
Dr Susan Austin introduced me to a new generation of filler, with local anaesthetic in the product so I don’t expereince the usual reactions.
According to Juvederm:
“hyaluronic acid (HA). What’s interesting about HA is that it’s a natural substance in the skin that delivers nutrients, helps the skin retain moisture and softness, and adds volume. Each product in the JUVÉDERM® collection of fillers is made from a modified form of HA…JUVÉDERM VOLUMA® XC, JUVÉDERM® XC, JUVÉDERM® Ultra XC, and JUVÉDERM VOLLURE™ XC contain lidocaine to help minimize discomfort during treatment.”
It;s honestly just scratch and then a pulling sensation as the injector ensured a smooth, even application.
My procedure was performed at Australian Laser Clinics Warringah Mall, and I had a “Lips To Love Package” for $389. I didn’t use all the product because I wanted it to still look like “me”. I don’t have a before shot, as I have been doing it for a few years, so I only ever do a top up now. It is said to last 6 – 12 months, but mine, being so minimal seems to last about 18 months.
Injectables such as Botox and lip fillers get a bad rap because people only notice (or know about) the dramatic transformations, like with Kylie Jenner, who looks lovely both before and after, so this is not a criticism. Mature lip filler examples such as Lisa Rinna who has now had lip reduction surgery after lip augmentation gone wrong, the result of scar tissue that formed around silicone injected into the lip when she was 25.
Lisa Rinna is still beautiful, but in her case nature knew best. Nikki Cox below was the best example I could find for overdoing the fillers without showing anything too outrageous. The last thing I want to do is a name and shame. My intent here is to show that a little filler can work and no one will know or comment. You will just look like you but better.
How I Do Botox?
Yes, I know Botox is a neurotoxin and that the idea of injecting it into my forehead is probably weird to the uninjected, but I love the effect. It is honestly the best and most effective way to look younger, compared to creams, lotions or other non-invasive cosmetic procedures. It smooths out all my lines, but I leave some mobility around me “crows feet”. I call “crows feet” laugh lines.
Several scientific studies on Botox and emotions, have shown that without the ability to smile and laugh with the eyes because you aren’t smiling properly. This affects your ability to create the motion of crinkling at the corners of the eyes and studied have shown that the physical act of smiling also affects your mood. You can see from my selfies above I am rocking my “crows feet”. Laugh lines make us look like happy people. I’d rather look happy and a tad older than blank. For now, I’ll stick to smoothing the lines in my forehead and my frown.
This time, as a result of budget constraints, I’ve found a Groupon Voucher for Anti Wrinkle Injections with Injectables Institute of Australia. I am using it to address the horizontal lines on my forehead. am attending to my forehead. I really need to do my frown, but cannot justify the expense, so am doing “one major area” for $79. The general lower end price for one area is $99. I have used a Groupon Voucher before with another reputable clinic and it was perfect, so I figure why not? They will try to hard sell me, that’s the reason they offer an introductory treatment so affordable, but I’ll stick to my guns and make the most out of it. I’ll invest in my frown next month. Just do you research on the clinic before you commit.
New entry 18 May 2017 – Day of Botox for My Forehead
Please excuse the most unflattering photograph of me, ever. I wanted to do a true before and after Botox. This was my forehead the evening it was done. As you can see loads of lines and wrinkles. I will post another photo in a week, which is how long it takes to kick in.
I took my $79 Groupon Voucher to The Injectibles Institute of Australian at 309 Pitt Street Sydney, but couldn’t see the place. Turns out it is just a few rooms at the back of a medical centre which is nice and discreet for non-invasive cosmetic procedures, but not very glamorous.
The vibe was very friendly, no nonsense, no hard sell (as I read in a bunch of reviews – which makes me think the reviews were written by competitors). I only had to wait a few minutes.
Normal before any non-invasive cosmetic procedures I get numbing cream before hand, but not this time. I went into the room and popped up on the chair/bed.
The injector asked which “major area” (areas that need a lot of Botox, such as forehead or frown) area I wanted and I told her “horizontal lines across my forehead”. No drama, she asked me to wrinkle my forehead and withing 5 minutes she was finished.
Fat, in and out…
Because she was so quick, didn’t have time to get anxious or panicky. I would only recommend this place to the experienced because it is very much “get in, do the job and go” and not very “spa-like” (such as Ella Rouge, My Botique, Laser Clinics Australia).
For me, having to take a longer lunch time, fast was good. It was also the most pain-free injections I have ever had.
Tip for lunch time appointments of botox: always take some powder foundation and a kabuki brush to swoosh over the forehead to cover the redness and injection sites. No one as work noticed.
I’ve posted again in a week to show what $79 of Botox can do. If all goes well next month I will do my forehead lines.
(Cover image via Juvederm.com)
This post was not sponsored in any way and was completely impartial.