Wow, looking at my pics is a bit of a bummer. I spent too much money and although *I* see the difference, not a single person has commented. Aside from my sister, who saw me when I was swollen two days afterward, and said "What did you do to your face?!" I think I had an unrealistic idea of how much better this would make me look. I had a vague idea that this could 'fix' how tired I looked all the time. I think that I even had some unconscious (until now) idea that this plus Retin-A plus sunscreen plus yoga plus bathing in lambs blood on the full moon could actually halt aging. Um, no. Aging is what there is for those of us lucky enough to survive. There is this urge to get a procedure, and then another, and you gather steam in the pursuit of addressing every little wrinkle. But this is not the wisest course of action. It is actually possible now to erase all wrinkles, and age spots, and improve skin texture, and get rid of so many of the signs of aging. But if you go down that slippery slope, you end up looking HIDEOUS. Check out Madonna if you doubt me. So, prepare yourself mentally to still have flaws and problems; sags, drags and bags after a procedure, and you'll be happier with your results.
I chose my MD because I wanted to try an injectible under my eyes and he has very good feedback here and elsewhere on the web. And indeed, he is very good at this area. I have no complaints, and I feel lucky that I am not one of the people who had a negative result from this procedure. So, he actually reduces under-eye bags and darkness by both injecting into the undereye, but more by building up the nearby cheek. So, you get higher cheekbones. This is really good for some people. I have a rather square face and had 'baby fat' cheeks well into my 20s, and actually feel I look better as I age because I have lost some midface volume. I do think it turned out OK for me, but can see how it could be unattractive for some. If you're considering having your under-eyes done, you should actually be asking yourself if you think you'll look better with higher cheekbones/a 'wider' face.
I also wanted to get my lips enlarged and made more symmetrical. I have mixed feelings about how this turned out - I wanted something subtle, but I got a small amount of enlargement but no change in symmetry. I mentioned that I wanted my lips done, and the Dr. just started injecting them - no conversation about what kind of result I was looking for. So, I'm not surprised that I didn't end up with what I had in mind. After an initial injection, he paused and showed me his work and asked what I thought. I mentioned that I wanted more symmetry, and he injected a large amount in one spot, which bruised and is now a lump. That's pretty much my only negative feedback for this Dr. We had some Restylane and Perlane left over, so I had some injected in the bridge of my nose and in my nasolabial folds. I think this worked out well, but I have to say it is flat-out weird having a different nose. I was unprepared for how different I looked! Now that the swelling is down, and time has passed, I'm OK with it.
So, I have some advice for those of you who decide to have injections, based on my experience.
1. Take it slow. I ended up using 3(!) syringes and changing several of my features at once. I had been planning and saving for this, and I got carried away. The result was that I was swollen, bruised and weird looking for a full week. That has subsided to where the changes are really minimal, but for a while there I was worried and felt pretty silly for having done so much at once. You think that you want to change how you look, but actually, big changes are difficult to accept, for you and for others. There's no reason not to get one syringe, and then go back a week or two later, right?
2. Plan some time off. Yes, this is a quick procedure. BUT, there is real swelling, and sometimes bruising, involved. I had a big bruise on my lip and one small one under my eye, for a full week. Bruises are actually tough to cover with makeup, especially on your lips! Day two is really the worst, swelling-wise, so I'd recommend having this done Thursday or Friday (or whatever your day before time off happens to be).
3. Prep. start taking arnica and bromelaine - a enzyme found in pineapples that helps reduce welling - a few days before. Drink lots of water!
3. Bring an ice pack. The Restylane has lidocaine in it, so you don't feel much after the initial needle entry. So, I thought 'huh, I don't feel much heat or anything, maybe I don't need to ice.' Wrong. The Dr.s office had these tiny little ones that stayed cold for about 4 minutes. Lame. Bring a real one, and ice for 10-15, then take a break, then ice again. Even if you don't feel like you need to. you won't know how much swelling you're going to have for at least a day, by which time it's too late. Icing is easy, might as well do it, right?
4. Before and After pics are CRUCIAL. Make sure your Dr. will take them (and that you are going to have a follow-up appt where you can take good Afters). Otherwise, you won't really know what kind of change you have.
5. If you're new to this, or planning on doing several areas, make sure the receptionist understands to book you for a larger timeslot. I ended up taking a lot of the Dr.s time, to where there were 2 patients stacked up after me. I don't think the MD consciously rushed, but we didn't have the same leisurely injection - pause for assessment - injection pattern at the end of the appointment, which is when he injected my lip and left a lump.
6. Finally, make sure that you don't actually look tired . . because you're not getting enough sleep. I didn't realize what a sleep deficiency I had until recently.
That's it. Good luck, everybody!