Aging gracefully: plumped, pumped, peeled, extruded and filled

This morning, I treated myself to a rare indulgence: a facial. Actually, my husband treated me to the facial. He knows how much I love pampering self-care, and he also knows that I won’t spend that kind of money on myself. Anyway, when I walked into the spa, the perfectly-coiffed and made-up staff greeted me, brought me a cup of coffee, and within minutes, I was talking with my aesthetician about my current skincare concerns.

Incidentally, they’re the same as they were last time – my skin is losing elasticity, I’m paying the price for all that sunbathing back in the 1980s, and, well, gravity. My concerns are the same, but my biggest concern is refusing to age gracefully by desperately pumping up my cheeks and forehead and lips to an unnatural psi, like an over-inflated tire with tread showing through here and there.

Don’t get me wrong. Whatever it takes to make you feel good about your appearance and self-esteem, I say “Do it!”  I’m not one to judge. And as luck would have it, today my aesthetician discussed a few more options for me, other than my usual deep-cleansing facial. A chemical peel was one suggestion. She showed me before, during and after photos. Normal, third-degree-burn-red, and seven days of peeling. Ouch.

“Fillers” was another suggestion. These are gel-like substances that are injected under the skin to fill in lines and wrinkles. The effects can last for months to years, but be advised, if you stop getting the fillers, the wrinkles and lines come back, and they’re probably bringing some of their friends with them.

Botox (another solution offered by my aesthetician), on the other hand, is injected into your skin for the purpose of relaxing facial muscles, thereby lessening the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It is derived from the same toxin that causes a life-threatening type of food poisoning called botulism. Common side effects: perpetually surprised or angry eyebrows, “bunny nose,” facial immobility, swelling and bruising. And if you stop getting the injections, guess what? Your real face shows up again. 

I love to look healthy, and I love to look and feel clean. So far, I have found solutions for both of these feel-good states. For now, I am going to steer clear of injections, fillers and peels. That’s not to say I’ll never undergo those treatments. Never say never.

Just not today.

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