God Bless Filler!

OMG. I got my filler last Thursday morning, and at the 70-hour mark or so now I can honestly say I love it; much more than I even thought I would. I checked myself into the best aesthetic clinic I could find, one with a beautiful and well-done interior that’s owned and operated by beautiful and well-done nurse practitioners, who get rave reviews and are clearly passionate about their work.

My main concern was my smile lines on my face, which have grown deeper over the past 5 years; the nurse practitioner I consulted with said I have good volume (not to mention good skin) to begin with, but, interestingly, the issue is mainly caused by volume in my cheeks starting to sink and press against that fold, making it look deeper. Filler injected into the upper part of the cheek helps to fill out and rebalance that, as well as draw the natural volume I have back up, relieving the pressure and softening the fold. That was to be step one of my rejuvenation; we decided after that was done we could then inject more filler directly into my nasiolabial folds to soften them further. The key is that injecting filler just into the nasiolabial fold without the cheek filler would have just made that whole area of my face swell, while leaving the fold in place, which is not something either of us wanted.

Another concern of mine was the seemingly permanent (and slowly worsening) dark circles under my eyes, which she said could be corrected with filler. Which is interesting; she probed my under-eye area to get a better idea of what was causing it, since some instance of dark circles can’t be corrected with filler (apparently mine can!).

She suggested that before filler I might like to try out platelet-rich fibrin (PRF), a treatment that injects factors distilled from my own blood to nourish that area of skin. Well, that’s interesting; I had no idea there was such a thing. But before I injected anything, she suggested, it might be best if I started with some medical-grade cream for it (I use no product for it now); she gave me a free sample to try on, and I think it might help. I decided to put that whole issue on the shelf though, pending how I see the rest of my face turned out; after my big road trip next week, I might come back in and consult about the under-eye area.

An area that was not of concern when I came in but that she suggested was my jaw; she thought that we might want to try some filler in my jawline, so as to make it more defined. I was intrigued, and looking at myself in the mirror I just couldn’t resist trying it out. So we provisionally agreed to have that done too, pending the results of the other work we were doing.

Then, it was set: my appointment was for Thursday morning. Impressive, considering I only had my consultation on Tuesday morning!

At my appointment, we started by injecting one syringe of Restylane (a hyaluronic acid filler; the substance is basically inert and is found naturally in the human body) into the upper part of my cheeks (half a syringe in the right side, plus half a syringe in the left side), and wow, that made such a difference! My folds were so softened, my cheeks were so full, and my face so well balanced it was like 5 years were just erased in the space of a few minutes of injections!

Looking at my folds, I wanted more softening if possible. Now, they shouldn’t be filled out to the extent they’re not there at all; I’ve always had somewhat of a fold in that area, and on my face it wouldn’t look natural if it was completely filled out. But there was ample room for improvement, nonetheless. So she broke out the Belotero; that’s another hyaluronic acid filler, but with a more liquid consistency than the likes of Restylane, which flows better when you move your mouth area (a more rigid filler wouldn’t move as easily and would make you look odder when you smile or make an expression). In my case one syringe was used, which amounted to half a syringe on each fold.

The effect wasn’t quite as dramatic as the cheek filler, but it really helped fill out my face and make it more even, more voluminous, and more youthful-looking. I was ecstatic about the results, so I gave her permission to do the jaw filler too.

We started with one syringe of Radiesse, half a syringe for each side. Radiesse is a dermal filler but it’s not based on hyaluronic acid; rather, it’s based on calcium hydroxylapatite, another inert compound that’s found naturally in the human body, in bone tissue to be precise. The gel it’s made of has a harder and bonier consistency. I can only assume the consistency is not too unlike rock paste or wet concrete; think what Doctor McCoy used on the Horta in “Star Trek: The Original Series”.

After one syringe’s worth, I loved the effect it had on my jawline, and we evaluated everything (as I held up the mirror to my face); she offered the option of putting in more. The deciding factor was how much I liked the appearance of one syringe’s worth when it was all swelled up freshly injected; the inflammation goes down over time, so if you want the final result to look like the initial result of one syringe you need somewhat more. So we broke out a second syringe of Radiesse, and we used up roughly half of it filling out my jaw area.

It looked like a bit much at first, but I was assured that after the swelling it would attain the sort of substance the fresh one syringe look had. Indeed, in the few days since then it has already subsided and spread out a bit into my face, and I quite like my new jawline. Indeed, the effect is almost as dramatic as the softening of the nasiolabial folds. Not only do I look younger, but I also photograph much better than I did before the treatment…or frankly, ever!

Combined with my recent weight-loss and strength-training program, as well as my spa treatments (permanent waves, more frequent hairstyling, and facials), I honestly think I look better than I did when I was a teenager!

There’s been another unexpected benefit: my whole face, despite having more mass injected into it, feels so much lighter, brighter, and airier; in hindsight that volume pressing down on my mouth area was honest-to-goodness weighing down on me physically and outright making me depressed. I actually feel considerably happier now in day-to-day moments.

And all it took was three and a half syringes of dermal filler! The stuff doesn’t come cheap; the clinic I went to charges $700 per syringe, so my total cost for my treatment was $2500 (would have been $2800, but the girl decided to discount me because I bought four at once). Filler does wear off; as a rule of thumb she said to expect it to last a year before it fades, but it could be anywhere between nine and eighteen months. But by golly, I’m going to keep getting these treatments.

I find it interesting how much better I photograph now than I did earlier…and I also recognize a distinct similarity to how basically anybody who’s a public figure achieves that perfect look that suddenly became common as dirt in the 2010s. For a long time I wondered: “Is it makeup? Some kind of top-grade skin care? It’s definitely not botox or surgery, and face-tuning filters certainly don’t account for it…”, but here’s the real answer: filler!

Too long, for my whole life, my face was a bit..off, especially on camera, but now? I’ve been elevated to the point where I actually like taking self-portraits with my cameras and looking at myself in a mirror.

A lot of people just get one syringe or even make do with half a syringe, so three and a half might sound like a lot, especially for a 29-year-old man who already had handsome features to begin with and who has only the earliest and most subtle signs of aging…but it really isn’t a lot. At least not if a skilled injector with a good artistic eye is recontouring most of your face. The changes in me are all rather subtle; a woman who works at the spa who saw me yesterday, who know I was getting filler in advance, asked me “did you get your filler?”, seemingly unsure.

That’s a good sign; indeed, as a rule of thumb if someone’s face looks a bit better or a bit younger but you can’t quite put your finger on what exactly they got done, it’s probably filler. Especially outside the realm of female celebrity types, it’s still not a very well-known procedure, at least in comparison to, say, breast implants or botox. My nurse practitioner, interestingly, says a lot more of her patients are young people and males than you would think, and I don’t even live in an area where sprucing yourself up to the max is all that common.

I for one am looking forward to confounding people at parties with how I look a bit better and a bit different; I wonder how many of them will figure it out?

I’m also looking forward to getting my teeth spruced up and whitened so I can get that pearly-white Hollywood smile; I got a consultation date with a great cosmetic dentistry practice late in July, after I return from my road trip to Cascadia.

In addition to everything else I mentioned in my last post, I’ve got some really old stretch marks (from around puberty) that I’d like to get rid of, but they’re all below my waist and on my upper arms, areas I don’t normally show off anyway, and even then they’re very mild. Still, they bug me and gnaw away at me; microneedling seems very promising, and at some point in the near future I’ll look into getting that done.

It might cost me a bit (good thing the Nasdaq just had its best first half of a year ever…I need every penny of those capital gains!), but god, does it make me happy! Rather than dreading it, as I was before, I’m starting to think my thirties will be by far my best decade yet!

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