About two weeks ago, I was invited to a private event hosted by LaserAway along with a few fellow bloggers. We were offered our choice of services from a menu of products, inluding laser hair removal, JUVÉDERM® (fillers) and Botox. Leading up to the event, I had my eye on a particular service, but I was very nervous and needed to consult with the profesionals before deciding.
LaserAway’s first location was in Rancho Mirage, CA, where it was started by Roy S. Winston, M.D., a doctor specializing in cosmetic surgeries. His focus with LaserAway was services you could get on your lunch hour. There are currently 10 LaserAway locations (Marina Del Rey, Santa Monica, San Diego, West Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, Carlsbad, Orange County, Lake Forest, San Francisco and Walnut Creek). We visited the West Hollywood location which has been open for approximately two years.
Upon arriving, we were greeted by friendly and helpful staff who answered any questions we had about our desired services. I was interested in Juvederm for my lips, but having watched too many “Real Housewives of Name-Your-City” I was neverous about a potential over-inflated result. After all this is LA and the natural look is typically not what you see around town. If how I normally looked without fillers was considered normal and the over-inflated lips of your resident TV reality housewife was the desired result (for some), I wanted something in the middle, but closer to normal. My questions for the staff, owners and Allergan rep who was also there to help were as follows:
WILL IT HURT? I was told that it would hurt a small-to-moderate amount, depending upon my pain tolerance. The Juvederm is mixed with Licocaine, so the lips are somewhat numbed by the first injection. They also iced each section of my lips to help with the numbness.
WHAT IF THEY ARE TOO BIG AND RESEMBLE TROUT LIPS? The lips puff up immediately upon injection, so the technician and I can determine if and when more is needed. They explained that they also go slowly, allowing me time to review the results.
WHAT TYPE OF REACTIONS WILL I HAVE? WILL I SWELL? BRUISE? It was explained that everybody will react differently, but the more common side effects include temporary injection site reactions such as redness, pain/tenderness, firmness, swelling, lumps/bumps, bruising, itching, and discoloration.
My last question and concern was “what the heck am I putting into my body/face with JUVÉDERM®”! It was explained that JUVÉDERM® is comprised of hyaluronic acid which is a naturally occurring substance in the body. Cosmetically it is used as a dermal filler to provide a smooth, long-lasting correction of moderate to severe facial wrinkles and folds.
Alrighty then, let’s get started! My dear friend Lisa came with me into the room for moral support. She held my hand throughout the procedure. (Having never experienced childbirth and having only a very small amount of pain-tolerant experiences to draw from, I was extremely nervous.) I spent a few minutes talking to the lovely technician about what I wanted – and didn’t want! She understood and agreed to go slowly, we could always add more. While we chatted, I held a small ice pack to one half of my upper lip. When ready, I laid back and she began the first injection. It’s a smallish needle, and the closest sensation I can equate it to is a dentist’s injection, but the needle is much smaller and thinner and doesn’t take as long at each injection site. Once the first injection was done, she wiped away any surface blood, checked to see if I was okay and moved on. Immediately upon injection, I could feel small balls or lumps in my lips. We continued on, icing, injecting and checking the results until the upper and lower lips were filled. Together, the technician, Lisa and I reviewed the results. We also consulted with my friend Marcia who was also there. I could see the results immediately and was amazed! We decided that a little more needed to be injected in my lower lip in order to achieve the desired result. Once done, I was sort of numb, a bit tender, but nothing incredibly painful. I was given an ice pack and care instructions that included no alcohol for 48 hours, no excessive pursing or puckering of the lips, no sun exposure, no hot liquids. I had a small amount of swelling, some in my lip area and some outside of my lip-line, but nothing excessive or freakish looking. I was told that what I saw was approximately 20%-30% more swollen than my actual result.
The next morning I woke up a bit more swollen than the night before. That day my out-of-town guests and I had a day of shopping planned in Beverly Hills. By mid-morning, one-half of my upper lip swelled to several times its original size and was very tender (not so much painful, just uncomfortable and tender). As the minutes ticked by, the swelling seemed to be getting worse. A call to the kind folks at LaserAway calmed my fears. They explained that this is a normal reaction, to ice the area and to take an anti-inflammatory. Since we were on the go, only ice was an option. By the time we got home that evening, one dose of an anti-inflammatory and the swelling immediately started to subside. The swelling continued to reduce over the next 48 hours, and by day 3 I was able to view the result within any swelling at all. I did have a couple of small bruises at the injection sites, but nothing too discolored.
The result and my reaction? I’m happy! I was very cautious going in to this but now a small part of me wishes I went a little bit bigger. My lips are just a bit more pouty than normal. I saw several family members and friends over the 4th of July weekend, and nobody noticed anything different. I confided my secret to a few of them, and they all said they thought I looked good, but just couldn’t tell that I had something done.
I have no more pain, tenderness or swelling. I can feel very subtle bumps in my upper lip when I explore it with my tongue but the appearance isn’t at all bumpy.
The million dollar question (or $550 question in this case) is would I do it again? At this point I’m undecided. While I’m happy with the result, I don’t know that I personally would pay that much for this service again. That being said, if I did decide to do it again, I would opt to go a little bit more plump since I now know what to expect. Since my treatment is expected to last up to a year or more, I have plenty of time to think about it, and save in the event I decide to do it again.
Thank you to the kind folks at LaserAway for my pouty new lips! ~Patty