facial injectables

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I still receive emails from my dermatologist’s office in Austin. I went there twice (and the first time, I saw a technician, or assistant, not even the actual doctor!) and left with a Clarisonic Pro (I’m very happy with this, for face and body with 4 speeds) and Neocutis Lumiere Bio-Restorative Eye Cream with PSP (made my eyes pucker up red and wrinkled, even with the most sparing touch) and Neocutis Bio- Gel Bio-restorative Hydrogel with PSP (was too scared to use it after the eye situation). I’ve never had any type of injections, no botox or fillers. I’ve never been against it, mind you. I’ve just never done it.

When your nails look like shit, uneven, cuticle disaster, brittle with thick ridges and very soft tips, you think it’s impossible to make any of it look even mildly approachable. And yet, a half hour in the corner salon, and your fingertips look polished and smoothed, as if each nail bed is a fat jewel. It amazes me. No matter how bad it looks, once you leave, you’re a smoothed cushion of lovely. I would love to believe that the same could be said about a visit with your dermatologist.

Aggressive facial poking aside, and never mind the redness or, oh, no!, swelling—wouldn’t it be nice to know that someone had your back face? Without regard to their own personal gain, they’d advise you on how to truly look your best in the most naturally-seeming way possible. Your cheeks will be fuller and hollows filled, circles—or pockets masquerading as circles—a thing of your past, expression lines? Not you. You look moisturized, radiant, plump and smooth, but to describe you, someone would simply say, “Good genes, natural beauty, so lucky.”

I am clueless when it comes to dermal injectables. I’m only familiar with the term since reading that recent Austin email. I’ve heard of Botox, Juvederm and Restylane (heard that one hurts like a monkey eating your face), but I was clueless when I came upon this list:


Radiesse (and Perlane) vs. Sculptra. The price of Radiesse is $925 per syringe; the cost of Sculptra is $1250 per vial.*
Botox vs. Dysport. The cost of a Botox or Dysport treatment starts at $550 and is determined by the areas treated.*

*Prices from a totally random NY doc website, no one I’d ever go to

Sigh. It feels overwhelming, and I feel a little behind, in terms of keeping myself looking my best. At least, I go to the gym three times a week to lift weights, doing a group fitness circuit training type class, which does make me feel better about taking control of my health. But as for the rest, I need some guidance and recommendations.

As for products, I think I need some Retin-A (for random acne and skin turnover) and 4% Hydroquinone cream to lighten any sun spots. And a major heavy duty eye cream that nourishes, something to kill any redness or irritation that usually accompany these other creams (so not an anti-aging eye cream which will only burn like a mother). I swear, it’s like needing downers because you’re on uppers. It also feels odd to say this, especially as someone who has dealt with body fat issues her whole life, but I wouldn’t mind (I did not say NEED) a more enhanced cheek (not an implant or anything severe, just some fullness).

I’m also very interested in testing out the new REN Bio Retinoid Anti-Aging Concentrate, particularly because it claims to have the benefits of Retinol without the harsh irritating effects. I’ll let you know once I’ve tried it. And the Murad Resurgence line of products (to address hormonal aging), said to reduce the appearance of “medium to deep wrinkles and increases skin firmness by 42% in 10 minutes.” Hello, friend. I’m on that, too. Will let you know. Trying Murad first.



  1. I tried Dysport once and would totally do it again.
    Of course, I was so nervous that I clenched my entire body until the injections were done and nearly passed out from the lack of blood flow (juice boxes were shoved into to my clammy hands as they laid me down and iced my forehead–embarrassing!)
    Did I mention I had the injections around my eyes?
    The injections didn’t exactly hurt; it was more of a stinging sensation. I bruised a little bit too. BUT!! After two days the crows feety wrinkly things by my eyes were gone and I definitely looked refreshed and less tired.
    The effects lasted the 3 months I was promised. I’d recommend it, just try to stay relaxed!

  2. I’ve read your blog for years, followed your days in New York, clapped when you met The Suitor, envied your days of playing tennis when you first moved to Austin, and worried when Phil updated us on the birth of Abigail and Lucas. I’ve shared your angst over holidays, wished for a proper guest room and wanted you to find real friends in Boca.

    Since you put it out there, I will tell you that Rodan + Fields products are one of the best solutions and best values out there. They were developed by the same doctors who created Proactiv, and are all aimed at aging skin.

    I’m a working mom of two, I wanted to look better and didn’t have the time or inclination to go to a dermatologist. Hydroquinone 4% and full-power Retin-A had left me looking like a scary tomato face. These products use the same medicinals, but at lower concentrations, so you can get the results over time, without the downtime of flaky skin, crazy tomato look, etc. I’ve used the Reverse line to get rid of my sun damage, and now I’m using the Redefine to address fine lines and wrinkles. All of our products have been clinically tested, only a few have parabens and none are tested on animals. Oh, and everything comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee.

    If you’d like to see what products we’d recommend for you, I invite you to visit my website https://esapp.myrandf.com/Pages/OurProducts/GetAdvice/SolutionsTool

    Also, check out our new Macro-E exfoliator, which allows you to get the benefits of microdermabrasion through a 5-minute treatment in your home once a week. The initial shipment sold out in less than three weeks, and we can wait to get more of these in May. So far, it’s appeared in PeopleStyle, Marie Claire (sp?) and Allure. Good stuff!

    It’s been fun to finally comment on a site that I have enjoyed for such a very long time. I’d love for you to try our products, but most of all, I want to thank you for all of the great writing, the honesty and the sheer dedication to keeping this here blog going for so long.

  3. Hi Stephanie,
    please don’t ever inject anything in your face. You are beautiful, and toxic chemicals make a face look like shit in the long run. It’s not worth it! Don’t you want to age with dignity and set a good example for your children?
    Kind regards,

    1. Oh my god, I second what Allie says. Toxic chemicals! Set an example! And GAH! seriously – DO NOT INJECT JUNK INTO YOUR FACE!!!

  4. YOu are what, 36, so not ready to have ‘madame puppet’ face. I belive proper (and consistent) sleep, water, diet, as little drinking as possible, and good diet helps more than people think. Do you sleep on a silk pillow case? You should- for hair not to break but also your skin:) And don’t sleep on your side or face, that creates creases over time too. You don’t smoke, never remembered you mentioning on here you have- so that helps. Sunscreen, you do that too I assume.

    Sugar is a HUGE disaster in terms of wrinkles. Eating sugar leads to glycation, which leads to cross hatching (wrinkles) in skin, etc.
    I know you are a foodie so this might be impossible to avoid. I have heard people say botox is great for them. But PLEASE be cautious with the fillers.

    I can spot a face with fillers so easily. I wonder if it looked good the first time when the person had just a little put in, then increased as they returned to their derm. Puppet face ‘ is when too much is filled and you look implausible – see Madonna for an example. And then you have the hands- and the neck- they always reflect ‘real age’. And then knees- backs of the elbows…etc. My point is where does it stop? If women don’t opt for more filler on the return visit they often wonder what about this part next?

    I am not criticizing you for wanting to look good. I am 4 years older and totally get that feeling ‘maybe I should do something more?’ But it’s like ice skating uphill.

    I ended up on amazon looking at ‘The Perricone Solution’ and the reviews for that were amazing. Many reviews, not a few- so I bought it. It’s a healthy ‘inside/out’ approach. I also got a ‘facial exercise’ yoga book. It sounds like something ‘As Seen On TV!’ but the reviews for that were glowing as well. We shall see:) The cost of return visits to maintain fillers is prohibitive for many. But in the long run fillers are not fooling anyone- women just end up looking like someone their age who got fillers. Sigh.

    1. Author

      I totally agree, with all of it. And I need a silk pillowcase! I’ve thought it over (and looked myself over), and if anything, I think I’m going to try Retin-A (or something like it) and hydroquinone cream, and Botox on the forehead (between the eyes mostly). I know the Retin-A is going to give my eye area problems (red peeling and puckered!), so I’m going to ask the dermatologist what the FOO-MAN-CHOO to do about moisturizing. I mean, how does one “clean up” the “appearance” of fine lines around the eyes WITHOUT getting any retin-A type cream anywhere near the eye area?

      People say to put a serum with Retinol in it, but that too makes my eyes a disaster area. “They’ll get used to it,” people also say. These are the same people who tell me that your ASS BONE BRUISING from SPIN class will just simply go away after a few days. Not for me it doesn’t.

  5. Stephanie – right there with you. What to do, what to do…

    Allie – For some of us, it’s not about “aging with dignity”. I am 39 years old, and I was blessed with good genes. I’ve never had a problem with acne, and still have wonderfully full lips and plump cheeks. I have no problems with the laugh/frown lines I’ve earned, and the sun damage that was self-induced is just something I’ll just have to live with. However, I’ve had painful post-LASIK eye issues that have forced me to squint non-stop for the past two years, resulting in a vertical line between my eyes – a line that is ever-present, and at least once a day, provokes a comment by someone such as “What’s wrong? You look upset.” That? Is why I am looking for something to inject into my face. I am tired of looking “upset” and “angry”. While I’d never go under the knife, I am desperate for something to help me look normal again, and I’ve spent hundreds of dollars now on “natural” products that aren’t working. If a “toxic” chemical does it, so be it. If you don’t like it, don’t do it, and please spare us the self-righteous indgination. To each his own. We all handle life’s issues the best way we can.

    1. Kristen – I didn’t mean to offend anyone or appear self-righteous, and I’m sorry you feel that way and are upset. And obviously everyone has to decide it for themselves. I have just stated my genuine opinion.
      I can’t refer to you, I have no idea how you look.
      I just don’t understand why people who look beautiful (as Stephanie does!) would do this to themselves deliberately.
      As CC already pointed out, it’s no one-time thing, and after a while you can see whose face has fillers, and those people will probably be unhappy with their looks again. So where and when does it stop?

      What bothers me about this topic the most is how natural and normal this choice has become, and how obsessed everyone has become with the concepts of youth and flawlessness.
      Of course our bodies age and wrinkle, but why obsess so much about it, no one can put a halt to aging anyway, not even plastic surgery and injections, because eventually it always shows, BIG TIME. I know a lot of people who underwent either those surgeries or injections (and many, not all of them), had insecurity issues. After some time, they were unhappy with their looks again.
      I think there is too much pressure and stress on one’s (and yes, especially women’s) outer appearance, so much that even beautiful, healthy one’s are damaging their bodies, when it is their minds and souls that relly need to be “fixed”.
      And I admit I’m worried what kind of legacy we will give our daughters and also our sons by it – getting your face/body done like you get your hair or nails done. Like it’s no big deal at all. It just dazzles me how “normal” this has become, how much it already is regular, mainstream behaviour.

      I’m not judging anyone in particular (because everyone’s life and issues ARE different, and I DO respect that, whatever choice they make), but I am criticizing the overall concept of this phenomenon.

      And I decided to reply in the first place because I read this article and instantly thought, NOOOOOO WAAAAAAY, she can’t be serious about this, she is so damn beautiful!!! I just needed to react, because I was sincerely shocked; not to offend anyone who has a different view on this.

  6. Also, Stephanie, I’ve been using Kinerase for the past few weeks. Perhaps it’s still to soon, but no noticeable improvements.

  7. While good living can certainly help, it’s really all about genes. I’m turning 50 this year and I look 35. I have done absolutely nothing to earn this – been a smoker since I was 12, had a lingering cocaine problem in my 20’s, baked my fair WASPy skin in the sun for hours (with baby oil) and am a very active foodie and social drinker. I have many friends who live extremely active, healthy lives – do everything right – and they look much older than they actually are.

    I never thought I’d be in the market for any type of enhancement to the natural “me”. I was lucky in the gene pool and people are shocked to the point of loud exclamations when they find out how old I am but this year I tried Botox for the first time. I liked a lot of what it did for my face (see ya later crow’s feet!) but I did notice that I took on the distinctive look of someone who’s had “work”. It probably wasn’t noticeable to anyone but me but I hated the aging starlet vibe I was feeling. I will probably try it again – turning 50 is a huge bummer and it’s hard to let go of my youthful sensibilities – but at a certain point I do think women need to accept aging gracefully. It’s embarrassing and uncomfortable to look at the ladies of a certain age who just won’t let go. They don’t look young and they don’t look good and Yes, people are staring at them because they look so terrifying.

    All of that is just to say: aging is really hard and if you’re the kind of woman who has any sort of self-worth invested in her looks get ready for a rough ride.

  8. Youngest daughter (almost 19 year old college freshman) was in the car with me the other day.

    “Mom”, she said. “I have to talk to you about your dent”.

    “In the car?” I asked.

    “Nope – in your forehead. Am I going to have one too?”

    I reflected for a moment, “Yep – prolly. Genes, baby, genes. My advice? Smile more, use sunscreen, don’t smoke and NO facial tattoos.”

    “Mom – you’re square.”

    “Yep – and I’m always right.”

    And the requisite rolling of eyes and exhalation of sighs. Ah…life. Wrinkles aren’t the worst thing. Embrace your inner beauty, baby.

  9. Can’t help you out with injectables, have never tried them. However I am a fair skinned red head and have sun damage though I never go out into the sun without a high SPF. Regardless, I can’t recommend a couple of IPL sessions for the sun damage. Best thing ever. I initially went to get just my sun spots zapped, but the clinician talked me into a full face IPL, and what a difference it made! It got rid of damage that I didn’t even notice, since I was so preoccupied with the bigger sun spots. After he week or so that it took for all the dark areas to finally shed I got so many compliments! I went three weeks later for another full face IPL then three weeks after that for spot IPL on the actual larger sun spots I initially went for. Each session for sull face IPL cost $250.00 since then I continue with high SPF and vitamin C serum during the day and Retin A micro .04% about three times a week. I am 42 years old and my skin looks great.

  10. I have used Retin-A every day for 25 years. Started when I was 35 and haven’t missed a day since. From day one I never used it full strength but cut it half and half with Kiehls ultra facial moisturizer. Just a pea size dot for each. Used around the eyes and on upper lip only at night. Never had any problems with redness or peeling. I use Shiseido 65 sun block for my moisturizer and have never had any problems with that either. It absorbs into the skin perfectly. I just got the 4% hydroquinone cream for a brown spot on my cheek. Have used it for a month and spot is almost gone. Other than that, you won’t need anything else and you’ll see results in less than 6 months. Remarkable results. I have no wrinkles and everyone says I look 20 years younger (I’ll be 60 in June!) Really, this is all you need and it will do the trick. Simple and effective.

  11. When my mum died at 68, she was freckled, wrinkled, beautiful and loved. Wear SPF, drink water, get on with life.

  12. Somme product line is all you need. The only time in my life when I ever got compliments on my skin was when I used it for my wedding.

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