Glow-Up Acceleration: So Far, So Good

The last time I reported on my glow-up efforts, I told you I was accelerating them, and had work scheduled to be done just this month, January of 2024:

As for the stretch marks, I’ve got some in the upper arms and all round the abdomen area, even extending to the lowermost back. The quote I got at the clinic I went to, the best-reviewed in my region and indeed about the only one among the best-reviewed and beautiful-looking places that advertise they even deal with stretch marks, amounts to several thousand dollars.

I’ve opted to receive a series of three treatments with Vivace microneedling for those entire areas. Total cost? $5600. 💀 That sounds monstrous, and indeed is monstrous by the standards of the prices usually quoted for microneedling, which run in the hundreds, but that’s for one treatment in the face area. I’ve got a much larger area to treat, and for the treatment of a larger area of the body it comes out to about the going rate at most other places, in terms of the cost per treatment. The place I’m getting it at is a high-quality facility, so if anything I’m getting a relatively good value (indeed, I get the impression the cost is one reason my nurse was skittish about recommending I go get it!).

I could save about $1000 by opting for regular microneedling, but the word is that would require twice as many treatments to achieve the same results as Vivace, and that puts the final resolution well beyond when I’m going to Europe. I’d rather just get it done with now.

I was presented an option for 6 Vivace treatments, which amounted to $9900 (!); a lower cost per treatment, but honestly if I don’t more or less see my stretch marks cured in 3 treatments I’ll let the matter go, at least for the time being. Besides, researching online it’s not uncommon for stretch marks to more or less resolve in just one treatment, assuming they’re going to respond much at all. The good news is that the stretch marks that the Vivace microneedling device cures the best online, as seen in before-and-after pictures, look a lot like the ones I have, so I’m optimistic. Optimistic enough to give it a try, even if it is expensive.

As of this week I got my first treatment, and so far, so good. In fact, I could swear my stretch marks already look better just hours after they were treated, though the actual results won’t even start to become apparent for a few days afterward, with them more or less coming in over the course of weeks, with full results coming over the course of months.

That’s especially true for the infusion I got added onto the treatment, which stimulates collagen over a period of 6 months: namely, a topical application of calcium hydroxyapatite, specifically diluted Radiesse. Yes, it’s the same stuff that’s used as dermal filler, and that I got injected into my face last year. Interestingly, when the stuff started oozing in the area of the body that was microneedled actually felt better than it did earlier. And I had a pretty good reaction to the dermal filler in my face too when I got it put in. My body seems to really like filler. Weird…

My Microneedling Experience

As for the actual microneedling, as outlined above I got the Vivace treatment, which employs radio frequency to stimulate the skin at a deeper level than can be accomplished with traditional microneedling. It’s also worth noting that the Vivace device is a “stamp” type microneedling technique, so instead of rolling in a track continuously up and down the treatment area the nurse holds it over a specific spot and then moves on to an adjacent spot until the desired treatment area is covered.

While it’s over each spot, it punctures the skin with needles, the sensation and effect being rather similar to being cut, only considerably stranger. I felt very little in the areas that got the most numbing cream, but in some of the more difficult areas (e.g. right next to a bone or a nerve) I experienced a scrunching sensation, as if some metal shears grabbed ahold of those parts of my body and pinched them. Well…it didn’t feel nearly as bad as I make it sound here, but you get the general idea.

The immediate effect of the microneedling was to create track marks all over the treatment area, up and down those parts of my body, that resembled a blotchy red rash. At this point, however, it’s turned into an irritated and inflamed area not unlike a mild sunburn. And there are little tiny marks where the needles penetrated that are red from the shedding of blood. All this is normal and expected.

The idea of all this is that the scar tissue from the stretch marks will be disrupted enough and the skin irritated enough at a sufficiently deep level to stimulate regeneration, effectively treating the texture and discoloration of the stretch marks. On that count, I’m left feeling hopeful after my treatment, but I’ll only really be able to tell after some time has passed. Let’s hope!

The sensations weren’t the only interesting part of my treatment. The nurse did a more detailed inspection of my stretch marks, and there were considerably less on my back than I thought there were; on the flip side, however, there were some I didn’t even spot on my upper back and especially my shoulder (specifically my left shoulder…I think). She even said it seemed to her to be more than the 3 body areas my treatment plan said there were, but how to count them wasn’t up to her; that’s a price thing, so although it is very expensive I might actually be getting a bargain, all things considered. Golly.

I believe her too, since the whole procedure took two and a half hours (half an hour for the numbing cream to take effect, plus another two hours of microneedling), and she ended up running behind for her next appointment, since mine took longer than anticipated. That won’t be a problem next time, since she’ll make sure to set aside a somewhat longer appointment time for me.

The nurse also said that it’s actually unusual for anyone to get microneedling over such a large area of the body as I’m getting. Even getting microneedling on the body, period, is fairly uncommon in her experience; even at the place I went to, which is a clinic that specializes in aesthetic skin care, microneedling is most typically done on the face, not the body.

Curious, if you ask me; given my experience this week I’m not sure I’d even want my face to be microneedled, period, but that’s easy for me to say, since all I need done to my face is some basic skin care and a spa facial every few weeks. Well…and dermal filler. And PRF.

My Platelet-Rich Fibrin Experience

Which I also got earlier this month, and will receive two more helpings of. PRF stands for “platelet-rich fibrin”. How it works is that a sample of your own blood is taken, spun in a centrifuge to refine it into a fluid with a higher concentration of certain factors, and this fluid is injected into your body. Yes, really.

In my case I’m getting it injected into my tear troughs, i.e. my under-eye area, in order to combat persistent dark circles under my eyes The whole process took just a few minutes and in the hands of the skilled nurse I have it was totally painless; hardly even had any bruising or swelling!

Like the microneedling, full results take weeks to manifest, and it hasn’t been quite that long since my first PRF treatment. Nevertheless, I can already tell quite a difference; in pictures I had taken recently, my dark circles, while still present, have shrunk markedly, and they are less visible when I look at myself in a mirror. Another two treatments just might get me the results I want. If not, I can always try dermal filler for the under-eye area, but my nurse says that should be the last option, only if PRF proves insufficient.

The PRF treatment is about the coolest thing I’ve had done lately, because I can see the liveliness and vitality return to the skin day to day whenever I look at myself, and for a long time the blood vessels, those little branches of fluid right under the skin, have been visible right in the area of skin where the color is returning. I feel like the protagonist in “The Invisible Man’s Revenge” (well, minus the whole “hunting down other people for their blood to transfuse” part, but eh… 😃 ).

The Teeth Timeline is Slipping…

Between PRF and microneedling, I should be in decent shape as far as looksmaxing goes…except for my teeth. My teeth have whitened substantially courtesy of the trays the dentist I went to gave me, but my progress seems to be stagnating, and the bottom half portion of my front bottom teeth are still substantially yellower than the rest of it and have not whitened nearly as significantly. The assistant at the desk the last time I got a refill of bleach said that’s common due to the way it settles, but I wonder if it’s because I sleep on my side and so it seeps away from the front area.

Anyway, it’s either not working or not working nearly fast enough for everything to be ready before I want to leave for Europe in April, so I’m going to ask about the possibility of doing an in-office laser whitening treatment to mop up those trouble areas. They do do that at the office I’m going to, though they prefer the trays (which is why I got the trays in the first place). It takes several weeks to order up veneers, so figuring a timeline of a month or two (just to be on the safe side) I really don’t have too long to go until it’s crunch time as far as getting started with the final stages is concerned.

If it was just a regular old whitening regimen like all the normies get I could just do what I could for the next 2 or 3 months with the trays and call it a day until I got back, since it wouldn’t exactly look horrible, but I have a composite resin that’s stained and really has a different color and quality to the rest of my front top teeth (thank you, school accident that chipped half of my frontmost top tooth off when I was a kid…) and frankly looks godawful, requiring veneers to resolve, which introduces more of an element of urgency to the whole enterprise.

Assuming I can have all that ready in time…that will more or less complete my glow-up.

What else would I like to work on?

I’ve still got excess fat in my abdominal area and neck that I’d like to be rid of, but at the rate I’m going 3 months should be enough to take care of it, at least most of it.

And then there’s my idea to start a tanning regimen, which indeed is a big reason I’m going ahead and trying to get rid of the stretch marks now: because those silver-white lines are much more noticeable with tanned skin rather than unexposed skin. But I always envisioned that as something I’d only start working on after I got back from Europe and started the process of relocating to California. It’s part of the beachy look, you see.

As is a wilder idea I have to dye my hair platinum blond and get myself some cosmetic contacts so I have vivid green eyes. Which completes a much beachier look…and would actually constitute restoring the sort of appearance I had as a child.

The Final Touches?

The coup de grâce for my remaining cosmetic deficiencies may well be anabolic steroids; I suspect that they’d both make me look a lot better and that my body would have a good reaction to them, which makes me interested in the idea of trying out a cycle, but my future platinum-blonde California beach baby is too important to me to risk any impairment of fertility, so (assuming I ever even actually go there) I’ll wait on that until after I have baby in my arms.

Which might not be long, in the grand scheme of things: if everything goes right and fast I could start the process to some degree by the end of this year! Granted, even then I’d be looking at maybe the tail end of 2025 for the actual birth, but even if the timeline slips from the most aggressive benchmarks it would be realistic for me to have a child by sometime in 2026.

I’ll have enough money to make it all work. Barely. And with its sustainability contingent on me finding some position or another that’s at least middling in pay. But that won’t be difficult. Honestly, with my birthday just a few weeks away, laying it all out like this actually makes me look forward to being in my thirties…my last decade when I’ll still be young. Like James Bond once said:

Take a deep breath. You only have one shot. Make it count.


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