The Face Off

Like many people, I’m a little critical of myself, particularly my appearance. I tend to notice every line, bump, dimple and spot. I use a lighted makeup mirror daily that gives me 10X magnification so I can more closely inspect the finest lines of my face because, while a normal mirror reflects an image I can be slightly be satisfied with, real imperfections can only be revealed at 10x or more magnification.

Occasionally, while waiting in a dreadfully long line at the grocery store, I’ll grab a copy of the latest beauty magazine. I’ll find myself lured into those glossy ads in which a beautiful, air-brushed model in a photo-shopped photo (shot under perfect lighting by a highly skilled professional) convinces me I can turn back time with some new clinically proven beauty product. I rarely buy into this, but if I happen to be in a certain state of mind at the moment, my curiosity, as well as my hope, is more than just a little piqued.

It isn’t long before my piqued interest has me heading to some high-end department store. The next thing I know, I’m splurging on an expensive concoction guaranteed to give me –  FINALLY – sheer perfection.  If I’m feeling particularly special, I might drop a very pretty penny on a bottle of the latest, scientifically proven serum that might give me such miraculous results. Oh, but it’s never just one miracle product that will bring results, right? To achieve a real miracle we must use a whole line of products together, each of which comes with its own pretty little price tag – of course. So I usually just opt for only the most essential one or two recommended products that wont cut into the grocery budget and hope for just a small miracle.

Needless to say, after such a purchase I’m left with a deep feeling of buyers remorse and no improvement in the depth of my laugh lines. Minimal improvement not even noticeable under a 10x magnification mirror. Not even the slightest suggestion of a small miracle.

What I need is something that will bring truly noticeable results. Something more definitive than an oil, cleanser or cream, but not too invasive; but with results lasting more than just a few months; somewhat cost-effective when compared to the cost of a years worth of only slightly useful products.  Oh, and painless would be good too. So, the solution I came up with? Something called pixel laser resurfacing.

Resurfacing. I like the sound of that. Resurfacing sounds promising though not really scientific. Nor does it sound painless. In fact, it brings to mind jack hammers and steam rollers. The pixel laser part sounds more scientific yet not necessarily pain-free.

I’m thinking back to the day I had lasik eye surgery. Everyone I talked to who’d had this procedure were very happy they did it and told me it was painless. Articles reported patients could see right away after having this quick and painless procedure which required very little recovery time. LIARS I say!

True, I could tell my vision improved immediately. Yet it was difficult to focus with burning, watery eyes that felt as though needles were being shoved into them. Yes, the procedure was painless; possibly because I was given a topical anesthetic maybe? Recovery, however was not painless. No, the pain was not excruciating, but it was alarming.  I was so convinced of the ease, simplicity and painlessness of the entire process, I was certain the pain I was experiencing was a sure sign something was wrong.

I realize I could be a bit of a wimp and my pain tolerance is likely lower than most. But in all fairness when someone says pain-free I am thinking free of any pain, even the slightest pain.  Even possibly, free of the slightest discomfort. I can actually do pain if I’m prepared for it.

But, once again, I digress…

Aside from pain, what also scares me is the list of possible complications that could occur with any procedure, regardless of how “simple”. While I am no raving beauty, I’m not exactly a circus side-show attraction either and I would like to at leat stay that way. Of course, the only guarantee of not looking like a side-show attraction is to be content with what I have and not tempt fate at all.

Because we live in a very litigious society, any one who provides any type of procedure regardless of how simple, must tell the consumer of all possible complications related to the procedure. As a consumer I appreciate being told these things, it helps me make a more informed decision. However, all the legal jargon, medical terminology and statistical references end up translating into “just to let you know, there is the possibility of mild scarring, permanent disfigurement and even death. Oh, and by the way, don’t expect a miracle.”

Ok,  as a pessimist I generally by nature never expect miracles and I know I run the risk of slight scarring, permanent disfigurement and even death, but what I want to know is will there be any pain?

“Some patients experience slight discomfort and a burning sensation. Afterwards you may experience tingling similar to a sunburn.” (Being a fair-skinned red-head of scotch-Irish descent, I have experienced some pretty painful sunburns, one requiring a trip to the E.R.)

Translation: “Hell yes there will be pain. We are going to torch the top layers of your skin off with what basically is a glorified blow torch! How could you be so stupid as not to expect some minor discomfort?”

So weighing the risks, considering the pain, challenging my own moral dilemma about chosing vanity and giving in to society’s skewed idea of real beauty, as well as my instinct to not tempt fate and be thankful for what I have, tomorrow I will  turn myself over to someone who only promises to burn the top few layers of my face off. Other than that no other promises can be made. And while I am likely to be pleased with the results upon a full (slightly uncomfortable) recovery, there are no guarantees I will be transformed into a radiant, highly successful supermodel. But even the pessimist in me can can find hope in the “individual results may vary” part of the glossy brochure right?

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