What would you say if someone offered to turn back the hands of time? Would you do it? Would you go back to a younger you?
My answer? HECK NO.
I don’t know about you but the only thing really good about my 20s was that I could eat McDonald’s and never gain weight and I actually enjoyed the taste of cheap beer.
Since then, my tastes and lifestyle have improved dramatically. I feel more at ease with who I am. I feel confident, smarter, wiser, and even prettier. But some things haven’t improved drastically.
Like my waistline.
I’m about 10 pounds overweight. I’d like to blame it on the baby but since the baby is rounding the corner to five, it’s probably not attributable anymore. Plus, I did lose the baby weight. I just put it all back on. I’ll save that for another day.
Let’s talk about skin now. How is your skin doing? Is it aging gracefully? Do you long for the youthful glow of your 20s?
My answer? HECK NO.
My Skin Through the Decades
I’m going to be honest and tell you that I had plenty of breakouts all through my 20s and I never really understood how to take care of my skin. So, no, I wouldn’t want that again. Plus, there was the whole thing with my eyebrows being big and dark and, well, it just wasn’t a good look for me.
My 30s were good to me. My skin cleared up and I started buying good skincare products. And then I got pregnant. You know that whole myth about glowing when you’re pregnant? It’s true. My skin and hair never looked so good.
And then it all started going downhill.
There’s the whole loss of sleep when you become a mother. That doesn’t help. My skin has lost some of its plumpness. The fine lines are settling in nicely. The gray hairs are popping out. And my face has more spots and bumps than I ever recall. Such is the life of the aging woman.
Then I got an invitation from BodyLase Skin Spa to review their services. As in, try their services. I hesitated for about 0.43 seconds and said You bet I will!
I had no idea what I was getting into, really. I hear “spa” and I think relaxing robes and candles and facials and things like that. This is a totally different kind of spa. This is a skin spa, sometimes called a medical spa. It’s the kind of place where women go and then disappear to “Europe” for 3 weeks and then come back looking so rested.
Well, to be fair, they don’t do facelifts at BodyLase. But to be honest, I’ve learned there’s a lot you can do instead of a facelift to make you look like you would never need a facelift in the first place.
Aging: Fight or Flight?
Let me first tell you where I stand on this.
I find that most people, when in comes to cosmetic procedures, fall into one of three categories:
1. “I’ll take a facelift the first chance I get. I intend to fight the aging process every step of the way” (e.g., Joan Rivers).
2. “I’m going to age the way God intended me too, wiry gray hair, pruny face, and all.”
3. “I don’t mind getting older but I wouldn’t mind a few improvements. However, I don’t want to take unnecessary medical risks. And don’t want to look like Joan Rivers.”
Guess which category I fall into? Yep. Number 3.
So I took the plunge and drove to BodyLase to meet owner, Karen Albright, and nurse practitioner, Jule Pjetraj. I intended to go in for a consultation only. To talk about the types of procedures available and what it’s all about.
I left 2 hours later with a laser treatment and photofacial.
Here’s how it went down.
I met Karen and she introduced me to Julia, an absolutely fantastic nurse. She has her Masters in Nursing and spent years as an oncology nurse before switching to dermatology and finally to the skin spa. She was smart, friendly, funny, and down-to-earth so right away I trusted her.
We talked about what types of treatment might be good for an “aging” woman like me. The word “Botox” was thrown around, as was the word “NO!” I’m fine with all my facial muscles moving just the way they do. Plus I don’t like needles.
We settled on what’s called a 2D treatment: Laser Facial and IPL Photofacial.
Julia used what’s called the Laser Genesis Yag 1064nm Laser. Sounds scary, huh? With proper eyeshields in place, I laid down on the table and she began to run the laser all over my face. It felt like hot pulses on my skin. She would move it back and forth until it was a little too hot for my skin and then she’d move on to the next area of my skin. She got me good. Real good. But any discomfort I felt went away immediately.
The laser treatment is intended to improve skin texture, diminish wrinkles and large pores, reduce facial redness, and stimulate collagen production. Did it work? Read on to find out…
Then we moved on to the IPL (intense pulsed light) photofacial. I was pretty excited about this because Julia explained that it uses a specific wavelength of light that is attracted to browns and reds in the skin. It’s great for treating sunspots and rosacea, specifically.
I have lots of freckles on my face and not all of them are of the cute Pippi Longstocking variety. I was happy to do a little clean-up on my browns and reds so I let Julia place what felt like a very hot stapler all over my face. It wasn’t painful. It just didn’t feel very good.
Again, after the treatment, I felt fine. My skin looked fresh and slightly pink… until Julia slathered it with cream. She wanted to make sure I was properly protected from the sun. She’s probably right but it turned me a whiter shade of pale that made me look a little ghostly.
I was gentle to my face for the next week or so. No washcloths. Gentle soap. And I slowly saw some of the unwanted pigmentation rise to the surface of my skin. It was as if the melanin, or whatever it was, got zapped and slowly disintegrated. It looked like dark pepper dots on my face and then they faded to oblivion.
About a week afterwards, I looked back to normal (no pepper face). About two weeks later, I thought I looked pretty good. And when I went in for my follow up photos four weeks later, I was happy. But it wasn’t until I saw the photographic proof – the before and after – that I became a believer.
Can you see some of my freckles have faded into oblivion? Can you see the redness around my nose is gone? (By the way, why didn’t anyone ever tell me my nose is HUGE?) And I honestly see a reduction in what they call “pre-jowls.” Yes, it’s sad that this is the terminology of my life now but it’s reality.
On this side of my face, I can definitely see less pigmentation and I think, overall, my skin looks much better. To me, the differences in the pictures are dramatic. It is my skin, after all. But to the outside world, I hopefully look “well rested.”
What do you think? Would you consider it? I still stand by my rule of non-invasive procedures but I’ve got to be honest, I’m looking forward to going back.
And my theme song is no longer “If I Could Turn Back Time.” It’s now “Forever Young.” YES!