I didn’t want to go under the knife, so decided to turn to injectables.
On turning 32, I noticed something horrifying.
I was starting to age like my mother.
Don’t get me wrong; my mother is a beautiful woman, inside and out, but she also had an incredibly difficult marriage when my siblings and I were growing up with an unmedicated bipolar father who was regularly violent, and it took its toll on her skin. By her 40s, she was already noticeably lined with stress and a complexion heavy with the burden of constant apprehension; the deep crevices under her eyes revealing years of tension-fraught sleepless nights.
As someone who goes out of my way to avoid toxic relationships, eats well and exercises regularly, I was more than a little startled to find my genetics had nonetheless caught up with me as I looked back at a tired face in the mirror on my birthday and felt an overwhelming need to do something about it.
I should preface this by saying I’m a huge proponent of self acceptance – women have enough pressure on us as it is than to have to worry about conforming to some impossible social ideal even celebs can’t realistically meet. But I’m also pro-choice, including when it comes to cosmetic surgery and treatments in general; if you want to indulge in a little nip/tuck and you’re not doing it to please someone else or fill an emotional void, why not? It’s your body.
My own decision – after some lengthy literal and metaphorical self-reflection – was to treat myself to a good old-fashioned freshen-up, but at 32, I wasn’t quite ready (or game enough) to go under the knife. However I’d heard about a type of facelift perfect for women experiencing the first telltale signs of ageing that could be performed solely with injectables, and as someone who’s definitely not new to getting my face pricked in the name of beauty, I couldn’t think of a reason not to give it a go. So I made like a Kardashian at a publicity opportunity and headed straight to the master of facial beautification, Sydney’s Dr Jack Zoumaras, of Artiste Plastic Surgery, to see what he could do about turning back the hands of time on my face…
So, what exactly is a liquid facelift?
A liquid facelift is a non-surgical procedure that uses fillers to ‘lift’ the face. As we age, our skin starts to lose its natural laxity, leading to the development of fine lines and wrinkles and general volume loss, particularly under the eyes and in the cheeks, as gravity catches up to us and everything starts to head south.
“Using fillers can help to camouflage the skin laxity and volume loss by providing instant volume to the face and rejuvenating the appearance of the skin,” Dr Zoumaras explains when I come in for my appointment.
The most popular filler for this type of treatment is Hyaluronic Acid – a synthetic product that mimics a naturally occurring body substance to fill in lines and sunken areas, providing an overall subtle lift for a more youthful appearance.
Why go injectables?
“We consider a liquid facelift to be an office based lunchtime procedure,” Dr Zoumaras informs me.
In fact, because of its non-invasive and typically side effect-free nature, you can have the entire procedure performed during a normal lunch break, and return to work right away with none of your colleagues being any the wiser. And because it’s quick and performed in-office, a liquid facelift typically costs just a fraction of what a full surgical facelift would (anywhere from $500-$1500), so it’s an ideal option if you’re on a budget. Additionally, unlike a surgical facelift, which can require several weeks healing time before results become apparent, the results from a liquid facelift are instantly noticeable.
“Plastic surgery is still taboo and the availability of injectables by various doctors and beauty clinics takes the stigma away,” Dr Zoumaras tells me.
“But because they work so well and are so quick and easy, injectables definitely have less of a negative stigma now. People are quite happy to talk about it like they are getting a haircut or their nails done.”
What are some potential negatives?
It’s important to keep in mind though, that injectables are only a temporary solution. A liquid facelift will last between four to six months depending upon the type of filler used, the same as botox. And like most beauty procedures, there are some risks and potential side effects. Some patients experience minor pain (I’d compare it to a light ant bite-like sensation at the injection site) and depending on your skin type and general genetic makeup, some bruising. Rarely, necrosis of the nasal alar or visual loss can occur if there is anything injected into an artery around the eye when filling the delicate under-eye hollows. But Dr Zoumaras reassures these risks can be avoided if you do your research.
“It is best to see a qualified plastic surgeon with an interest in facial aesthetics and get the best advice and what can be done non-surgical and surgical.”
So what are the results?
Because it’s more of a subtle, rather than intensive lift, liquid facelifts are best performed on patients in their 30s, experiencing some of the first signs of ageing. Deep set wrinkles and distinct jowls can’t be erased away with a few injections, emphasizes Dr Zoumaras.
“Some people will get an excellent result if they have minimal volume loss under the eyes, and most people will get a satisfactory result. As a guide, the more ‘age changes’ your face has, the less effective the liquid facelift will be.”
As for my own experience? None of my friends or colleagues were any the wiser I’d had anything done, but I did notice a general overall improvement in my skin smoothness, and the much younger man I just started dating recently told me I was the youngest looking 32 year-old he’d met (which I’ve totally decided to roll with).
More importantly though, I still look like my mother’s daughter; my face is still largely the same – I have her deep brown eyes and prominent chin – but I look like a fresher, perkier version of myself; one I can’t help but smile back at when I look in the mirror each morning.
Featured image via shutterstock.com.
Comment: Would you consider getting a liquid facelift?