In the end, all we are is dust in the wind. And in the eponymous song by Kansas, we’re also told that “nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky.” We obviously know this is literally true, that the earth will last in one shape or another until the sun swallows us as it dies. However, cosmetic surgery patients would rather believe that, though they cannot physically last forever, they can look as young as possible until their very last day. This is what they’re promised through the wonders of the cosmetic surgical procedure. More products are coming out that promise patients will be wrinkle free for up to two years, a lifetime in the injectable filler world.
And yet, according to Dr. Michael Prager, who is a member of the British Association of Cosmetic Doctors, in his clinical experience, anti-aging cosmetic surgery accelerates the process of aging. He says that four out of five patients he sees regret their initial decision to get cosmetic surgical procedures, and then come to him for non-surgical solutions. He mentions facelifts and liposuction as two of the examples, and states, “You can’t improve the state of healthy skin by cutting it.” Smaller blood vessels take over where the larger ones were cut, making the supply of blood to the skin less effective; skin volume is lost and skin becomes thinner; continuous stretching of the face (because the effects don’t last very long) creates a “flat, hollow face without the smooth, round, softness of youth.”
Take Elizabeth James. When she turned 50, she decided to get a face lift. At first, all was well. But within a year, the results weren’t quite what she bargained for: Her face began to sag. Her cosmetic surgeon told her there was only so much tightening of her face that could be done and recommended another face lift. This time, the upper part of her face was nice, but the lower part, around her lips and mouth, looked worse. Because she’s lost so much elasticity, she uses BOTOX® and other fillers “several times a year.”
Prager says that after liposuction, “the skin becomes rough, discolored and loose.” He says that if a woman has liposuction in her 30’s, by the time she’s 40, the areas that have been worked on will look like the skin of someone in their 50’s. Penelpoe Christforou got liposuction when she was in her 40’s, and says everywhere on her body she has the skin of someone in their 40’s, except on her belly where she received liposuction. She says the skin there has “become increasingly grey, mottled, and older.”
Besides the way the body reacts to cutting and suctioning, filling and stretching, another reason some people feel these types of things occur is that, until recently, cosmetic surgery was a booming business. Everyone wanted a piece of the pie. And, though there are plenty of talented cosmetic surgeons out there, people are always going to be looking to go with the cheapest and quickest. Lots of so-called cosmetic surgeons are nothing more than unscrupulous criminals who often aren’t even licensed.
Whatever you think of your cosmetic surgeon’s work, you need to be aware that some things will just never last forever, and maybe not even five years. This is simply part of the aging process, and no amount of work is going to change this fact. There are reasons people in their late 60’s and 70’s look the way they do if they’ve had work done. Stretching and pulling might work for a while, but you’d better be prepared to go back in to discuss how you can mask what your body didn’t want in the first place.