To Botox or Not to Botox?…That is the Question – I Am Asking Myself Currently

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Overall, I would say I am aging well. Yet, even saying the words “aging well” makes me feel like I am getting older, and well, I guess I am. I don’t feel my age, but I think I may be starting to look closer to my age than before. Some of you may know my age. For those of you that don’t, how old do you think I am? People usually say they think I am in my mid-thirties, which is kind of the age I feel. I still have a good level of energy, exercise regularly, and overall feel like I look good. Yes, it has been harder every year to maintain my weight and fit into my skinny jeans, but I am fighting weight gain every step of the way! My olive skin, the fact that my skin was oily when I was younger, and the care I have given my skin with moisturizers, sunblock, and facials, have all helped me avoid getting premature wrinkles. But, in the past year or two, I have started to notice a change in my skin. It is no longer oily, it is dry, yet I still get a pimple every once in a while. I have tried different moisturizers and serums, and I think I finally found one that helps maintain my skin well moisturized.

In my teens, I had bad acne. I went to a dermatologist and he helped me clear my skin with treatments, specialized acne products, and medication (Accutane). Getting rid of my acne helped my self-esteem. We treated it just in time and I didn’t pick at my acne, so I didn’t get scarring. It was an expensive treatment (I paid for it from money earned with my part-time job), but worth every penny! That dermatologist’s name was Dr. Stokos and his office was in Chula Vista. I will forever be grateful to Dr. Stokos for helping me treat my acne. I continued to use his products for many years and still use some of them. To this day, I get compliments on my skin and when I tell people I used to have bad acne, they do not believe me. Years later Dr. Stokos sold his practice to dermatologist, Dr. Eugene Nowak (Nowak Aesthetics, now located in the Eastlake area of Chula Vista, CA). Dr Nowak has continued to produce his own skin care products and has added several treatments, such as facials and fillers (plus many more) to his practice. I have continued to use some of the products and have been to the office for facials. The new office Dr Nowak opened several years ago is much larger, modern, and nicer. One of the products I have continued to use is their Gentle Wash (face wash) which I use to remove my make-up, including water proof mascara. This product is very gentle on the skin and I believe has helped me care for the area around my eyes. I have a few small wrinkles, but not deep wrinkles around my eyes.

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(March 2017, the fine lines around my eyes and marionette lines are beginning to be more visible)

Throughout the years, especially after I turned 40, I started to wonder if I should get Botox or fillers. Particularly for the area around my lips, the expression lines I have between my eyebrows when I squint, and the fine lines I am starting to get on my forehead. During my work as a television host, I interviewed a cosmetic surgeon and later appeared in his commercial. The doctor also did smaller cosmetic procedures, such as fillers and Botox. I believe I was about 37 at the time and did not have visible wrinkles. After the interview, I asked the doctor is he suggested I get fillers. He said that even though I did not need them yet for visible wrinkles, it would be a good idea to get them as a preventative measure. He said I could fill in the areas where I was starting to get fine lines, this would help avoid or at least delay the next step which is deeper, more visible wrinkles. Because I didn’t have visible wrinkles, I decided to wait and postpone getting any fillers until I felt I really needed them.

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(March 2018)

Today, I am 43 and can now see some wrinkles. Fine wrinkles, but also the famous marionette lines (long vertical lines that circumscribe the chin). I have a few fine lines around my eyes and I can see the fine lines on my forehead when I raise my eyebrows. So, now I am deciding if I should get Botox or not, or fillers perhaps. Several friends and acquaintances have gotten fillers and Botox and are very open about it. I appreciate their feedback and honesty when I ask them. Most of my friends which have gotten fillers look wonderful! They are around my age, so they don’t need that many fillers. After their treatments, they look refreshed. They still look like themselves, just a refreshed version of themselves, some maybe with fuller cheekbones and less double chins (I know this requires a different procedure, not fillers). The optimal option for me would probably be to get the procedure where the doctor takes fat out of my own body and injects it into my face. But, I have been told this procedure requires anesthesia, minor surgery, and may be riskier, which is something I don’t think I am willing to subject myself to for the purpose of getting fillers (at least not yet).

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(Fall 2017, wearing hardly any make-up)

No one in my family has gotten fillers. At least not that I am aware of or that they have shared with me. Both of my grandmothers, my mom, aunts, and dad have all aged well. I may have inherited those genes. Or, at least I hope I did. The difference is though, that I don’t have a round face. I have a thinner, more elongated face than some of the women in my family. Plus, I am thinner (and want to lose a few more pounds), which in the case of wrinkles makes them more visible. Same goes for sagging skin or cheekbones. I remember a reporter friend of mine who was about ten years older than me saying she didn’t want to lose weight because it would make her face look older. When one is overweight, for the most part or in general terms, one has a fuller face and as a result wrinkles may be less visible.

What I have done these past five to seven years is used serums regularly. I also get facials regularly, and have had peels and microdermabrasion treatments. I know these help, but won’t do what fillers will. Will I get Botox or fillers? I don’t know. Maybe the question at this point is, when and not if?

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I am pretty open about sharing my beauty and personal care routines. I share tips and recommendations on this blog, with friends, and even with people I meet. I am open about coloring my hair, having worn eye lash extensions, using self tanner, gel nail polish, and the make-up tricks I do to highlight certain areas of my face, as well as conceal others,. I share the styling tricks I use to wear clothes which flatter my curves, including the regular use of Spanx. I’ve even opened up to talk about personal challenges with life, career, marriage, motherhood, fertility, and of course, my weight. Some people consider it a taboo to talk about fillers. I don’t think it should be a taboo. So, if I do get fillers, I will share my experience with you on my blog.

When the subject of fillers comes up, some friends say they have chosen to, as they say, “age gracefully,” while others say they are “fighting it every step of the way.” I would say I am in between. If I get fillers, I want to look like myself, but a “refreshed” version of myself. In talking with one of my aunt’s (who has aged incredibly well, but of course has always been blessed with beautiful clear skin, good cheekbones, long eyelashes, and thick nails) about fillers, she immediately said, ” no, it is better to age gracefully.” To which I responded honestly and candidly, “well, I respect your way of thinking, but I will probably end of getting fillers.” She respected my point of view, and just said “oh.” I respect the decision of my friends and family members which have chosen to age gracefully, and I also respect the decisions of my friends which have chose to get fillers and other procedures to look younger or refreshed, or perhaps to age gracefully with just a little help from fillers. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that we feel happy with ourselves and for some of us, that may also include feeling good about our physical appearance.

Have you gotten Botox or fillers? Have you considered getting them? Why or why not?

Hugs,

Paola

PS – I usually choose the pictures for a post prior to writing the post, in this case, I wrote the post first because it is about a life experience and how I am feeling, not of a specific event or product review. I looked through hundreds of pictures to find comparisons of my face from as far back as I have pictures saved on the blog files or I-Photo. The conclusions I came to are:

  • My weight makes a big difference in my marionette lines. They are less visible when I gain weight. They were less visible towards the end of my pregnancy because I gained 25 pounds, which made my face fuller.
  • The fine lines around my eyes are noticeable in pictures from about two years ago to today.
  • The type and amount of make-up I am wearing also make a difference. Some make-up makes my skin look smoother.
  • How big of a smile I am making also makes a difference, which is kind of a challenge because I don’t plan on smiling less so the lines are less visible.
  • Lighting and angle also make a difference.
  • But these are pictures, in everyday life you can’t control lighting or angles 🙂

Below are some pictures which kind of show the difference in how my marionette lines are more visible now (I found some pictures from 10 years ago). I also found one where the fine lines around my eyes are visible:

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This photo was taken during the Latino Film Festival last month, this one really made me consider getting fillers. Perhaps it is the lighting, perhaps the angle or my expression, or the make-up I was wearing, but I don’t think this is a good picture of me. Regardless, I still shared it on my Facebook page. Photo taken by Rogelio Arenas.

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These two photos demonstrates my point about lighting and angle, these two photos were taken just a few minutes prior to the photo above. I look quite different (in my opinion). Pictures taken by Amanda San Martin.

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2017

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March 2017 (a year after giving birth to Alessandra, I had lost the pregnancy weight, but wasn’t at my ideal weight yet)

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Mid 2016 (taken a about four months after giving birth Alessandra, I still had some extra weight)
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March 2016 – nine months pregnant (this is one of my favorite pregnancy pictures)

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2016 (9 months pregnant)

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2016 (eight months pregnant)

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December 2015 (seven months pregnant)

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Summer 2015 (about three months pregnant)

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Fall 2015

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Fall 2015

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March 2015

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March 2015

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Fall 2014

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Fall 2014

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2013

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2013

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2013

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2011 or 2012

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2009 or 2010

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2009 or 2010

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2008 or 2009307060_2026827674346_1111638728_n 2008 or 2009

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2008 or 2009 (10 years ago)

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2007 or 2008

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2007

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