As my readers know, and as I told Vogue.tv, I am a bit obsessed with my skin. We can pretend that it isn’t the case, but along with wealth and power, youth and beauty have a long history as currencies in our society. As the OWN documentary, “Miss Representation“ points out, even if a woman achieves great power and wealth, her beauty and youth are still questioned and attacked. Never does anyone discuss the looks of Colin Powell, Warren Buffett or Rupert Murdoch, but they will take stabs at Oprah or Hillary Clinton. It’s not only men judging women — women do it to each other all the time. It is no wonder that women turn to cosmetic procedures to help maintain their youth and beauty.
Outside of Los Angeles, many women are afraid to talk about cosmetic procedures. With the subject being a bit taboo, inexperienced women are left in the dark not knowing about helpful treatments, or knowing where to go for the best result.
Having reaped the benefits of plastic surgery as a seven-year-old after a traumatic car accident, and being involved in the beauty industry, I am happy to share what I have learned about the benefits of cosmetic treatments. My car accident left me with a broken nose, disfigured upper lip, and kept me in traction at the hospital for almost two month. Thankfully, several plastic surgeries fixed my lips and restored my confidence.
As I have shared with my loyal readers, I have used dermal fillers such as Restylane, Juvederm and Radiesse to fill in facial areas that have lost volume through weight loss and aging to restore a youthful fullness to the face, and I’ve used Botox, Dysport and the newly FDA approved, XEOMIN to relax and smooth expression lines. But until last week, I had never had a body treatment.
I’m a perfectionist and pretty hard on myself, so even at 5′ 7″ and somewhere between 110 and 115 pounds, I felt my thighs and derriere could stand improvement for the upcoming bikini season. There is only so much that diet, squats and lunges can do for a woman. Last Thursday, I tried Thermage a procedure that stimulates your skin to produce more and better collagen, thereby making it tighter and healthier-looking. With minimal treatment discomfort and no recovery, tighter, smoother skin and an overall more youthful appearance can be achieved. According to Allure, Thermage is Demi Moore’s favorite skin treatment, and UK’s Daily Mail reported that Demi spends $150,000 annually on Thermage.
My Thermage treatment was performed by Pattie Lynn Pumphrey, the aesthetician at the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery (WIDLS). As with any procedure done at WIDLS, I had to undress and do the “before” photos and sign a consent waiver. The first thing Pattie Lynn did was to “ground” me by placing a sticky pad to my abdomen. After I flipped over on my stomach, Pattie Lynn applied a cooling gel to my thighs which served as a barrier between the device and my skin, and helped the device glide smoothly over my skin. Each leg was to receive 200 pulses with the specialized body tip which keeps the outer skin cool while heating the deeper layers of the skin which causes contraction of collagen fibers, gradual collagen tightening and production of new collagen over time. Each pulse takes a few seconds and the heat gradually increases from the start to the end of each pulse. If you have ever had Laser Hair Removal, I would say that the heat is similar to that, but lasts longer as the pulse is longer. She increased and decreased the heat depending on my tolerance in a particular area. You don’t want to be in major pain, but you should challenge yourself a bit. The goal is for the aesthetician to stack the treatments on top of each other without stopping. As Pattie Lynn moved the device, she was pushing the skin upwards creating a lift.
Not having much body fat, I was much more sensitive to the heat closer to the back of the knee and obviously less so as she approached my derriere. There was constant communication as Pattie Lynn was checking with me to see how much heat I could tolerate on a scale of 1 to 5. I could only tolerate 1.5 on my right side, but a 2.5 on my left. I’m thinking that I must use my right leg more and have less body fat there to serve as a barrier to the heat, or maybe my body just relaxed at that point. We also did the front of my thighs to address the knees. This was a more sensitive area for me, as well. Many patients receive a Valium or Percocet before the procedure and have someone drive them home. I didn’t take any drugs and was fine.
We always hear about gravity taking its toll on our face and our body, but it’s really the loss of volume and collagen that causes skin to sag. Thermage uses radiofrequency (RF) energy to simultaneously tighten existing collagen and stimulate the skin to produce more collagen. The result is tightened skin, producing a kind of “lift” without a single incision. The energy heats the deeper tissue in the dermis, but doesn’t cause redness or anything to the outer skin. Unfortunately, collagen isn’t built overnight, it will take two to three months to see the results. At that point, I will come in for the “after” photos and Dr. Tina Alster will assess my progress to see if I should do another treatment of Thermage, or segway to BellaContour which combines resonant ultrasound, electrical current and lymphatic drainage for skin smoothing and body contouring. Thermage can also be used to give a face a lift without invasive surgery (see photo below).
I will keep you updated on my progress, although I won’t be showing any of my own before and after photos. Below are some before and after photos of other patients. The results are pretty incredible! – Miss A