Tag Archives: Botox

Scenes From a Derm Convention

Much as I dislike having my yearly skin check, I always enjoy chatting with my dermatologist, especially about the crazy things women (it’s mostly women) will do in our mostly futile attempts to defeat the march of time.

She had me laughing during my otherwise unpleasant squamous surgery with the following report.

Dr. D had recently attended a dermatology conference.  She said you could tell at a glance what everyone’s specialties were.  The cosmetic derms all had the age-indeterminate, inflated look you get when you have unlimited access to fillers, Botox and multiple procedures. Designer clothes, Jimmy Choos and Birkins were de rigueur. She observed a lot of air kisses with this group; a vigorous hug could potentially squash an implant or two.

Dr. D says about cosmetic work, “Never make the critical mistake of only looking at the mirror straight on.” We need to know how we look from all angles, lest we resemble a blowfish in heat.

In contrast, the doctors involved with serious medicine such as reconstruction for burn victims had the slightly distracted look of people who wished they were somewhere else.  They greeted each other with firm handshakes; no frivolous air kisses for these folks.

One of the lectures dealt with a client whose complaint was that her labia were uneven. (One wonders how she knew that.)  In any event, she’d had cosmetic surgery to repair the issue — I forgot to ask whether one side was inflated or the other side deflated. Next visit! But as Dr. D says, “If you’re with a man who loses interest at the point he can tell that your labia are uneven, you have much bigger problems!”

Finally, here is one of my favorite anecdotes:

One of Dr. D’s clients tried Botox and complained that it “didn’t work” and that she didn’t look any different. Her husband told Dr. D in confidence, “You’ve saved our marriage.”

Apparently, every time the poor man offered a suggestion about where to have dinner or something equally benign, his wife would scowl at him. To avoid an argument, he’d usually change the subject.

Now that she doesn’t scowl, he continues talking and is amazed how often she will be receptive or even agree with him!

Fine Lines

Our lives are filled with lines, both literal and metaphorical. I’ve been pondering them lately: the good, the bad, and the ones you can fix with Botox.

One of the great things about getting to be our age is that you have a much better handle on the lines you don’t cross. For example, you now know better than to sleep with your best friend’s spouse. (Unless it’s Sean Connery, in which case go for it.) We’ve also learned that swearing like a truck driver in front of a devoutly religious person is not likely to go over well.

What’s harder to manage is drawing the line with people who are belittling, critical, or drain your energy faster than a Jacuzzi when the hot water runs out. These include toxic co-workers, “frenemies”, needy obsessives, and relatives who like to remind you how pretty you “used to be”. Time is short; why waste it with people who make you unhappy?

Since these folks are more focused on themselves than on you, they probably won’t even notice – let alone be offended – if you change the subject, claim a migraine, or excuse yourself to go to the restroom. When you don’t rise to the bait they’ll move on to another victim.

Other lines I love include vertical stripes and long scarves (who doesn’t want to look taller and thinner?); swimming lanes that allow me to paddle along at my own, slow pace; and a nice, tall fence that blocks out the neighbor who likes to garden in the nude.

On the flip side, one of the worst lines, except for maybe the DMV, is the ladies’ room at any theater/movie/sports arena. Fun fact: it takes the average mammal 21 seconds to pee, regardless of size. So why do women take so much longer than men to get out of a stall? And why are we all there anyway? Do women automatically head for the “head” at intermission like lemmings heeding an ancient siren call? It’s one of the great mysteries of life, along with why you always attract the people you find least appealing and who first decided to eat sea urchins.

As for those lines on your face, I believe what you do is your own business. If they don’t bother you, great; if they do, you shouldn’t let anyone bully you into feeling it’s wrong to address them. That said, the overall “frozen” look is more aging than wrinkles, so a light touch is best.

A word about Botox: First of all, think twice before telling your husband, who, if he’s anything like mine, will panic about the fact that you’re injecting deadly botulism into your body. If you must, calmly explain that Botox doesn’t enter your bloodstream because it’s not injected into a blood vessel; tiny amounts are inserted under layers of skin to block signals from the nerves to the muscles. Then fix him a drink.

If the passing years have gifted you with a permanent scowl, Botox is an easy fix. Consider these benefits: 1) Why look angry when you’re not? and 2) When you are angry, no one can tell how much they piss you off. This is very zen, and buys you time to plan your attack.

I still haven’t found a remedy for the vertical lines above my upper lip since I’m afraid fillers will be painful and/or leave me with duck lips. But your derm or plastic surgeon can tell you if chemical peels, laser resurfacing or fillers will give you a good result. If you don’t want to go that route, all the major cosmetic lines offer products that temporarily soften the appearance of fine lines.

I’m a fan of L’Oréal® Revitalift® Miracle Blur, which is available with or without sunscreen. The sunscreen version is easier to apply and daily SPF is a major way to avoid making lines worse, but for camouflage I prefer the thicker non-SPF version. It’s kind of waxy so press it on sparingly or it can bead up.

What’s the best line of all? The horizon – as you watch the sun dip below it at the end of another day. That peaceful feeling more than makes up for the endless line of rush hour traffic.