How to Turn Back the Clock (without surgery!)

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Until now, my approach to aging could be compared to that bird that hides its head in the sand. Or a little kid plugging his ears and saying: “I can’t hear you I can’t hear you!”

I ignored it. (But in a mature way.)

If I felt young and looked young, I reasoned, then the number didn’t matter.

And all was well.

Until the day I no longer felt so young. Which was swiftly followed by the day I no longer looked so young.

While I thankfully have managed to avoid any major wrinkles, I have dullness, bags under my eyes, and discoloration.

One morning, after a sleepless night, the bags under my eyes actually startled me.

This, I thought, is what 45 looks like. 45. Seriously. That number and I have nothing in common. Wasn’t I just 25 with springy skin? Or 35 and planning for the birth of my first baby after years and years of trying?

How did I get old-ish?

It was time for professional help.

I quickly called the most gorgeous team in dermatology, Medical Aesthetician Amy Frederick and Dermatologist Dr. Michelle Foley of Parks Dermatology Center in Ormond Beach, Florida. Seriously, these two look like models from skincare ads, but without the retouching.

“I’ll have what you’re having,” I told them.

After a visit with Cosmetic Coordinator Gina Burdi, LPN, the team recommended a 3-step approach to tackling my skincare woes that included products, treatments and, for the grand finale, Botox and Juvederm. Here, the scoop on how to turn back the clock, without surgery.

  1. Skincare

Products and treatments go hand in hand, so the team recommended a couple of additional products to supplement my existing skincare routine. Here’s what I used, and why:

SkinMedica TNS Recovery Complex

SkinMedica TNS Recovery Complex, $172 plus tax, Parks Dermatology

SkinMedica TNS Recovery Complex, $172 plus tax, Parks Dermatology

This product contains growth factors to help rejuvenate the skin, which makes it especially helpful during a series of skin treatments.

SkinMedica Hydrating Complex

Hydrating Complex, $84 plus tax, Parks Dermatology

Hydrating Complex, $84 plus tax, Parks Dermatology

A very lightweight serum that hydrates skin without causing breakouts.

  1. Microneedling

Omygoodness. If I could point to only one game-changer in this entire anti-aging regime, it would be this. I am truly blown away by it. Why? It’s fast, it’s affordable, and there’s no downtime. Like, none. It’s crazy. Here’s how it works. After treating my skin with a topical numbing gel (optional), Amy ran a roller with tiny needles over the surface of my skin, focusing on trouble spots, the eye area and discoloration on the sides of my face. These needles cause tiny injuries to the skin which stimulates the production of collagen and elastin. And it was actually pretty relaxing – the only part that caused me any discomfort was the forehead and the nose (made my eyes water). The entire treatment, start to finish, took about 15 minutes, and I left the office with nothing more than a slightly flushed face. That’s it. Each treatment costs between $150 (for a single area) to $300 (for the full face), and at least 3 treatments are recommended, spaced 4 weeks apart. Mature skin may require up to 6 treatments, but for me, 3 did the trick. Here, the pictures. (You know I must love you if I agree to show you close-ups of my makeup-free face!)

(Note to future self: Even though your dermatologist and your hairstylist are right across the street from each other, do no schedule appointments on the same day, no matter how convenient. The makeup-less pictures are not at all improved by straggly eyebrows and stray gray hairs.)

BEFORE

Before: No makeup, no sleep.

No makeup, no sleep. I even had a rare breakout for added gorgeousness.

AFTER

After: No makeup, no sleep, no filter, but much better skin. Check out the skin under my eyes!

No makeup, no sleep, no filter, but much better skin. Check out the skin under my eyes!

BEFORE

Before: Discoloration and tired eyes.

Discoloration and tired eyes.

AFTER

After: Looking much fresher, in spite of a couple of stray gray hairs.

Looking much fresher, in spite of a couple of stray gray hairs.

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Just before the 2nd microneedling treatment.

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Immediately after the 2nd microneedling treatment. A little flushed and shiny (from the product) and that’s it!

3. Botox and Juvederm

A few weeks after the final microneedling treatment, Dr. Foley finished off my anti-aging challenge with Botox and Juvederm. Quickly and gently, she added a little Botox here and there to minimize the fine lines around the eyes and the forehead. For my other concern, the nasolabial folds, she used Juvederm, which she feels lasts longer than Restylane, and instead of injecting it into the actual “smile lines” around my mouth (what derms call “chasing the lines”), she added some on top of my cheekbones to lift and plump them, erasing the lines in the process. The entire treatment took about 20 minutes and was even less painful than the microneedling.

Plus, the results are pretty dramatic, don’t you agree?

Look how juicy my skin looks! The dimples aren't bad, either.

Look how juicy my skin looks! I wear glittery princess makeup whenever I get the chance.

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Here I am again, just looking all natural and glowy. 🙂

Sorry. Couldn’t resist a chance to sneak some pictures of my sweet girls onto the blog. Subtle, right?

Here’s the real after, one month after the Botox and Juvederm:

It's amazing that I managed to pull all my hair back for this picture, but I wanted you to see my face. The only makeup I am wearing is lipstick.

It’s amazing that I managed to pull all my hair back for this picture, but I wanted you to see my face. The only makeup I am wearing: a dusting of mineral powder sunscreen from Rodan & Fields, lipstick and blush.

This one may be a little clearer.

This one may be a little clearer. Nice shot of the ceiling at church. Aren’t you happy I am wearing a little makeup in this shot? I feel like I’ve tortured you enough. 😉

I couldn’t be more happy with the results. I just wonder why I waited so long! My takeaway? If you’re not happy with the way your skin looks, fix it! Don’t be afraid to try a new skin treatment or a little Botox. In the right hands, it’s remarkably effective, and can make you look like younger, fresher and more well rested!

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