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the four things i do now.

By 6/11/2018


i'm feeling more exposed these days.  literally, figuratively, all the ways.  a real array of stuff is peeling off, and molting and changing and opening up.  

from the most literal news desk, i cut all my hair off.  and let's not fool ourselves, surely there's some symbolism there.  i shed inches and inches of my crazy red dyed to death hair and now my whole face is out.  i led with my hair, neigh, mane, if you will (follow that horse humor?), and not having it to hide behind is all KINDS OF WEIRD.  

accompanying that perceived vulnerability, i quit using self-tanner about a year ago and that's been an odd experience.  i'd sworn by it for as long as i can remember -- like high-school styles --  and it was great - it was covering up my body!  that felt much more comfortable, disguised that way.  i got to hide behind it - people don't have to see how i really look, because i've smeared orange all over myself.

now, i'm pretty aggressively pale and it's just out.  like, everyone can see what i really look like when i'm not covered up - and i feel super exposed.  all the tricks to entice my brain to think i was 'slimming' myself or whatever i thought, they're gone and i've just got to lead with just real-life me.  and btw: the whole porcelain skin thing, i feel like that's #fakenews because when you're this pale, you're covered in bumps and scrapes and bruises and hair focilies and spots, and all the normal things adult woman skin endures, yet you can see it all on my level of starbucks cup whiteness.

i feel like the office whiteboard that's left behind when a company moves out -- scribbles from a roadmap of trying all the things.

with all this exposure, my skin is becoming more precious to me.  right now, i've prioritized a few battles (with nature) worth fighting -- i feel better when i'm taking care of my skin, when i feel like i look fresh, and healthy, and yes, youthful.  because of my lifestyle, my life, how i live, whatever - i feel fairly youthful, and i admit, i'd like to look it.

so here are the things that i've tried, and stuck with b/c they work for me and help me feel my best self.  none of this stuff is particularly cheap, subjectively, but if you decide to spend some of your money on your face, here's what can tell you i've learned firsthand.  i do a combo of 4 things:

1. microneedling - this is a procedure done with a tiny roller with lots of little sterile needles on it that prick the skin, and in turn induce the body to create collagen and elastin to essentially heal the punctures.  it also opens up your skin to allow products to penetrate more powerfully - helpful stuff, like serums and creams. 

that sounds much more extra than it is, it's not scary.  it's pretty painless and you get a numbing cream beforehand - all in about 30 minutes.  my face and neck was super-red for 24 hours after, and i stayed home because it was definitely noticeable.  like after a hot yoga class, the hard one, where you want to die a few times.  the skin was inflamed - meaning it was sort of burning, and not the most comfortable, like a bad sunburn feels.   quickly, i could see noticeable results -- my skin was sort of plumper, and supple almost.  you can see it minimize pores and some fine lines.  it looked like fresh, new skin.  like one of those silky cotton h&m t-shirts that looks so nice the first time you wear it, (you'll never recapture that again, one-wear at it's $10 peak).  i do it twice a year, but it can be done every other month, and it's $350 per treatment.  

(i do this one at skin raleigh, here right off lake boone trail - they're great to ease into this stuff with.  the office is cute and the girls that work there are genuinely kind - it doesn't feel intimidating, like too real housewivey or too clinical.  i had no idea what i was doing when i first started going and they did a great job teaching me about the options, how things worked, what to expect and how to follow up.  what could be a scary or intimidating experience never felt anything but safe and professional and really friendly.)

2. similarly, i use a retinol cream every other night before bed.  retinal is vitamin a, and it also promotes collagen growth and skin renewal.  it's kinda like having an in-house dry cleaner for your h&m t-shirts so they never have to die in the washing machine, attacked by nubbles.  it definitely irritates the skin, a lot of first for me, so you have to ease into it, but if you stick with it, it begins to fight the good fight for you and starts speeding up your cell regeneration so you can have fresh new skin that's more even in tone, has less lines and spots, and is firmer underneath, softer on the surface.  like a conveyer belt in your closet that's minting new t-shirts.  the cream is by rx only and mine is $85 - i get about 3 months out of that.  

3.  i've got those two items on offense special teams, but i've still got a few not-kewt dark spots from the sun that are like supernova freckles combining to establish deathstar territories on my face.  for those trouble spots that are out of retinol's league, i need a defensive strategy.  i've done ipl (intense pulse light), which is a laser that's super hot and works by targeting the pigment below the skin's surface and breaking it down with heat.  the tiny particles eventually come to the surface as scabs, flake off and the spot is gone.  i've got a fairly noticeable spot on my cheek, and i've had it done maybe 4 times in the last few years -- it fades each time by about 80%.  that's a lot.  enough for me to move on to something else to worry about.  i did my whole face in a series of treatments a couple of years ago, but now i just do spot treatments.  i recently did a spot i didn't care for on my arm and it's 100% gone.  my spot treatments are around $150, and the whole face was about $300.  i have this one done at skin raleigh as well.  

4. and finally, you knew it was coming.  botox.  let's make this not at thing, agreed?  it's not scary, it's not a big deal, it's the one thing that most of my friends haven't tried but are interested in and we whisper it in coffee shops and yell it in bars.  all the intrigue over botox.  just do it.  it's safe, it does exactly what you're hoping it will do, and it's not that expensive.

i've been doing my forehead for at least 5 years, and it doesn't have wrinkles.  soon after i added that furrow between your eyes.   i don't think i look particularly weird, or 'done' - you guys have seen my face plenty.  i am completely able to express my feelings, mostly angst and disgust, with my eyebrows, so nothing is weirdly frozen or too 'done'.  in the last year or so, i added in crow's feet, and feel great about that.  in technical speak, the botox was 'preventative' because i started early so that's team offense as well, but it's never too late.  essentially botox relaxes facial muscles, so it prevents and corrects lines and wrinkles because you're not doing a major scrunch with your upper face.  you can do it 4 x year (i'm 3 on average) and the price per treatment ranges from $350- $750, but i bet you'd be at the low end of that because you don't need much.  it's a few little sticks around your hairline and over your eyebrows - it's not fun but it goes quickly, and there's no down time.  you see results in about 3 - 4 days.

so, that's the long and long of it.  comment if you want to know more - my experience is really limited to just these 4 things, but they work for me, and i think they're worth it.  please share your experience as well - we'd all love to chat about it i'm sure.  let's make it not weird to be weird, kk?


15 comments

  1. Love the direction you are taking with your blog. So refreshing and wonderful to read. I've been doing botox for about 10 years now, twice a year. I added juvederm for my "marionette lines" for the past 2 years, once a year. It makes such a difference and I feel so much better looking in the mirror. I'm lucky in that my father is a plastic surgeon so it certainly makes it more affordable. My sister also gifted me a microneedler for my birthday that I use regularly and agree that you see a difference. The product line I enjoy and use most religiously is Drunk Elephant, their baby facial is delightful as is their vitamin C. I've been a Tiffany Masterson fan since The Wonder Bar days. Hasn't steered me wrong yet.

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    1. thanks for the nice words -- and I've heard great stuff about drunk elephant! will try soon

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  2. I've always wanted to try micro-needling. I've never been afraid of sharp and poky things, so this seems right up my alley. :)

    And retinol is life - I use the $10 from The Ordinary, it's not as harsh on my skin but I'll probably have to use it for longer to start really seeing results. Cool beans to me.

    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. oh, nice rec - I'll check that one out! hope you have a good week Michaela =)

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  3. I'm also a pale lady. My dermatologist treated some of my dark face spots with liquid nitrogen, essentially freezing them off like mole or wart removal. The spots got a little darker for a few days, then peeled right off, leaving nothing behind. I loved the magical disappearance. It was $100 for 3 spots.

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  4. You're not weird and I LOVE these kinds of updates!

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  5. Yes yes yes on botox. My treatments (11-12 units) are typically like $165 at Glo de Vie in North Hills when they do their unit sales. I'm 100% a fan and don't think it makes you look fake or done at all- just a bit more rested.

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  6. How refreshing that you are keeping it so real. Love the h&m tee reference and it is so spot on. Your writing is great. Thanks for putting it out there.

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    1. thank you Eleni - and thank you for following along for so long! good to hear from you.

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  7. My complexion resembles a translucent shrimp on the bottom of the ocean. I am loving that you are embracing the pale. I will ocassionally do try the lightest organic spray tan but still feel like Magda from there’s something about Mary so you are inspiring me to go au natural. Been botoxing since my wedding 9 years ago. Love the tips for the age spots. They are next on my list!

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  8. Meredith, that is the best description, ever. howling.

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