I’m not going to lie. I’m almost 60 years old, and while I can exercise my body every day to make it appear younger, there isn’t a whole lot I can do to make my face appear more youthful.
I apply Retin-A, the gold standard of retinoids, on my face two times a week, and on my neck every single evening. Without fail.
I also exfoliate my facial skin, moisturize with some of the very best facial creams on the market (La Mer, Jurlique, JK7 from Hawaii), get regular facials, use sunblock, employ a Clarisonic, and apply serums as often as I can. On a big night out, I’ll use a special wrinkle eraser called Roloxin – it’s great to use, especially if you travel and know you’re going to have your picture taken. (I use it all the time on cruises, especially on nights when I know I’m going to have my picture taken.) As an expert on the subjects of beauty and travel– I have used some of the very best skincare products on the market. I do it all in the hopes of erasing facial lines and crow’s feet. I also sleep on a silk pillowcase, as silk is softer than cotton and does not let facial wrinkles form. My life — and my “Gorgeous Globetrotter” book — are all about how to look good and feel good when you travel.
And my face still has wrinkles and expression lines. Oh yes, and a great deal of laugh lines. (Laugh lines courtesy of my husband Bill.)
I recognized that I need “a little something extra,” and did my research. I definitely wanted to have a facial treatment with the injectable Radiesse, as I had read and heard so many positive reviews about it. Radiesse is an injectable dermal filler that is FDA-approved for the correction of moderate-to-severe facial wrinkles and folds. Since 2004, more than 3.8 Million Radiesse syringes have been shipped to treat patients worldwide.
Second, I wanted to employ the professional services of a Board-certified plastic surgeon, but also, a doctor who had the aesthetic background and artistic sensibility to rejuvenate my face. I scoured the web, and also asked friends and colleagues for their recommendations. I was very impressed with the recommendation for one surgeon in particular: Dr. Michael Yaremchuk of The Boston Center for Cosmetic Surgery in Back Bay, Boston.
Dr. Yaremchuk is currently a professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School, and is world-famous for specializing in cosmetic and craniofacial surgery. He is an expert Boston plastic surgeon of the highest repute. He has written three textbooks, and has written more than 100 scientific articles relating to plastic surgery. He has also traveled worldwide, to universities around the globe, as a Visiting Professor. He is also certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. “Being board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery means that there is a rigorous training program that doctors have to fulfill, and they have to take rigorous exams to be eligible,” says Dr. Yaremchuk. “Once they finish that training, they must take oral and written exams to be certified by the American Board. That training is different and unique from any other group that considers themselves cosmetic surgeons.”
If you visit Dr. Yaremchuk’s website, here is what you will read:
Dr. Yaremchuk imparts facial balance – the ideal facial blueprint – using anthropometric measurements, science, elements of nature and rational thought. He uses proportion of parts and elements of symmetry to guide his work with each individual patient. With this repertoire, imperfect features or faces can be reconstructed or rejuvenated to make a balanced whole.
Translation: “Anthropometric measurements are surface measurements of your face – to see what’s normal based on various measurements of the face and facial skeleton, and since everybody is different, you then try to relate different parts of their face so they are in harmonious balance, “ explains Dr Yaremchuk. “The whole idea is making things relate appropriately one to another on your face. That is the idea of balance. It has to all fit together.”
The appointment was made.
What I really appreciated about my medical visit with Dr. Yaremchuk is that he took the time to study my face, and not only discuss my concerns, but to compare my face today with pictures of myself from years past, which I brought to our consultation. Dr. Yaremchuk’s website advertises that he specializes in “bespoke surgery.” He says that this means that he customizes every operation and surgery to the patient. He says: “It’s like getting a custommade suit It’s not off-the-rack. You customize the procedure for the aesthetic needs of each patient.”
I was thrilled and impressed with the information that Dr. Yaremchuk told me about my face. I had visited him, hoping to get an injection of Radiesse for my nasolabial folds. Dr. Yaremchuk decided against that, saying that I didn’t need it, and that, in looking in photos of me when I was younger, remarked that I had the same nasolabial folds back then. And you know what? He was absolutely right. However, he felt that my cheeks could use some plumping, and he recommended Radiesse injected into my cheeks to pump up their volume, along with Xeomin (pronounced “zee-o-min”) for my crow’s feet and forehead, and Belotero Balance dermal filler into my nose and lips. More on these in a minute.
Lidocaine anaesthetic was topically applied to numb my face, and that was a great help. The multiple injections felt only like a mosquito bite that hurt for about an instant.
First step: Xeomin. Otherwise known as incobotulinumtoxinA. (Its competitor is Botox – I’m sure you’ve heard of it!) The United States is the 19th country to approve Xeomin for the temporary improvement in the appearance of moderate to severe glabellar lines – the frown lines between the eyebrows. However, Dr Yaremchuk used it not on my eyebrows, but on my crow’s feet surrounding my eyes, and on my forehead. Xeomin works by blocking the transmission of signals from nerves to the muscles; it hinders the production of the neurotransmitter to the muscle– the chemical that relays the signals. This causes the muscle to relax, giving your face a smoother appearance. Each treatment lasts about three months. Who wouldn’t love that?
Next: Radiesse, injected into my cheeks using a “blunt-needle technique” that required one tiny hole, not several. Dr. Yaremchuk employs this injection technique with Radiesse to minimize bruising. The method also decreases the likelihood of having unwanted intra-vascular injections that can cause dire consequences.
Radiesse is an FDA-approved calcium-based filler that works to add volume under the skin, and can instantly hide the signs of wrinkles and creases. And it gets even better: Over time, the benefits of Radiesse continue by stimulating your own natural collagen, providing additional structure after the initial effects of Radiesse have diminished. And here’s yet another advantage: In clinical studies comparing Radiesse to other leading hyaluronic acid injectable fillers, Radiesse proved to be statistically more effective at treating wrinkles, preferred by patients, and it delivered higher patient satisfaction.
Last step: Dr. Yaremchuk injected Belotero Balance into the bridge of my nose, and my lips. Belotero Balance is also FDA-approved, and is a hyaluronic-acid-based dermal filler. It is produced using a unique manufacturing process that results in a soft, cohesive gel that fills wrinkles, for results that are smooth and immediate. I have to say: there was some slight pain when Belotero was injected into my lips, but I felt that the pain was more than worth the results.
The cost for all this work, which took about an hour? Xeomin can cost $600-$900 per area. Fillers are $600-$1,000 for syringe.
Everyone reading this article should also note that, as with any drugs administered by a physician, there are risks involved, and you should discuss this with your dermatologist or plastic surgeon before deciding on elective surgery.
After these injections, you should avoid strenuous activity, extensive sun or heat exposure, extreme cold weather, aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and alcoholic beverages. You should also know – there will be minor swelling and slight bruising, but it was easily covered with makeup. In fact, the very next day after my injections I had a professional makeup application at Nordstrom, and the makeup artist couldn’t even tell I was swollen!
Xeomin, Radiesse and Belotero are all manufactured by Merz Aesthetics.
The results? My face not only is glowing, but the results are natural looking and subtle – which is exactly the outcome everyone should want. Let’s face it, who wants to look like they’ve had “work done?” When I told a dear friend – who used to work in a plastic surgeon’s office – Dr. Yaremchuck’s recommendations for me, and the injections he gave me – she felt that, knowing me (and my face) for as long as she had – the he was spot-on. I agree. My face appears more youthful, fuller, and – this is key – I don’t have that hideous swollen look that so many people get, after having too much filler injected into their face. “Faces with too much filler are swollen, and there’s no definition,” explains Dr Yaremchuk. “Your cheek and your lips should be on different planes,” he explains. “As as you get older you lose volume in your cheeks, and you certainly do. You have soft-tissue atrophy as you age, and filling your cheeks can be appropriate. You might also use fillers for fine wrinkles. However, people wipe out their nasolabial folds completely. You need to see a lip and a cheek – and if you obliterate the interface between them, it doesn’t look normal. It doesn’t make you look attractive, it just makes you look different. …or somewhat strange.”
Now I feel that I have a face to go along with my youthful attitude towards life. And speaking as a gorgeous globetrotter and travel writer, that also means dressing in a youthful way – think Zara and H&M – not Eileen Fisher.
My husband Bill jokes and says that he’s robbed the cradle.
Well, not quite. But my facial rejuvenation with Dr. Yaremchuk and Merz Aesthetics’ injectables does make me feel like I have turned back the clock. How does the song go? Right now, I’m probably just too sexy for my shirt.
If I only knew back then what I know now!