May 19, 2024

10 things I wish I’d Known Before My Appointment

Until a few years ago, my commitment to vanity was purely surface. I’d never gone under the knife, experimented with lip filler, or spent any legit money on one single alteration, opting instead for keratin treatments, at-home dermaplaning, hot tools, serums, supplements, Swiss Kriss laxative facials.

Not because I’m opposed (I come from a family of proud plastic-surgery advocates), but because it never occurred to me that I didn’t have to wait until I was 60 and then get the full lift—that I could make small tweaks along the way.

I came to focus on my lips because—truthfully—I was hyper-aware of a specific standard of beauty that started to pervade and overtake popular culture, and I found myself hoovered right in. With every Insta girl that I upward-scrolled past, the more my face started to seem too pedestrian, too uneventful, too earnestly natural. Big, pillowy, fake-looking lips were everywhere, even on girls almost two decades younger than me, and I wanted in.

If you’re thinking about lip filler, read this first so you leave with exactly what you came for.

1. Clearly describe how you want your lips to look in the consultation

In the year that followed, I got lip injections twice, by two different board-certified physicians. The first time, I was acutely disappointed – I went to a buzzy, fancy practice that some of my beauty-editor friends frequent – and felt as though I’d taken $900 and tossed it to the wind, Samantha Jones–style. The doctor asked me nothing and seemed disengaged, and I left feeling swindled and unhappy. There was no difference, and I was told I could pay for more if I wanted to see one.

By the time I visited doctor number two – Michele Green, M. D. , a New York-based dermatologist and RealSelf contributor – I realised the first round might have been more successful if I’d been assertive about what I wanted. I told Dr Green right away that I wanted to see a noticeable difference, and she spent time both studying my face and asking me questions.

We decided on one syringe of Juvederm, which is what I’d had the year before, although Green concentrated it all on my lips, whereas the previous physician used some in the skin around my mouth.

2. You need to prep

The first step, according to Dr Green, is to decide how big you realistically want your lips – think long and hard about whether you really want to go from thin-lipped to Lisa Rinna in one fell swoop. It will be obvious. “You really, really don’t want [your lips] to be overfilled, and it’s easier to have too little than too much,” Green said. But if you know you want to see a real difference right away, it’s on you to voice that – especially since I’ve found that most doctors prefer their work to look hypernatural.

Physically, Green suggests refraining from aspirin, Motrin, Aleve, fish oil, multivitamins, and vitamin E for about a week before your appointment, as each can act as a blood thinner and contribute to post-injection bruising.

3. Leave the Kylie pic at home

The professional jury’s out on whether you should bring a photo with you to your appointment. I’ve read that some doctors like it, but others don’t. Dr Green is in the latter camp, likening it to bringing a picture to the hair salon – you can show your stylist what you want, but your hair type may not achieve it, so then you leave disappointed. “Everyone’s anatomy is different, and everyone’s [face] has a different shape,” she said. You’re better off explaining what you think you want and letting your doctor work with the configuration of your mouth to achieve it.

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