My Experience with Restylane – the Healing Power of Beauty Therapy

restylane beauty treatment

Five months ago, on New Year’s Eve, I injured myself in the most unspectacular of ways. Just as I was getting ready to go out I made an awkward move and twisted my left foot, which was still asleep. The rest is history: I wound up bringing in 2016 with ace bandages and ice packs, cradling my foot while watching the proverbial midnight ball drop on TV.

My doctor informed me that for the next little while I was to refrain from walking, riding a bicycle, or even doing yoga, and while I did manage to sneak in a few of those activities every now and then, for the most part I was rendered housebound, working from bed. He also told me that I couldn’t travel, which certainly presented its difficulties given I work primarily as a travel writer. This sudden and unfortunate immobility inevitably led me back to my old bad habit of overeating when I’m depressed.

Putting on extra weight certainly wasn’t helping my mental state any, but the situation ultimately led me to some of the best advice I’ve ever received, and in the most unexpected way.

The Aesthetics Center

A friend had told me about Lucy Peters Aesthetic Center (LPAC), a Manhattan practice exclusively staffed by women, and of the wonders they did for her skin. In desperate need of a ‘pick me up’, I decided to give the place a try. My ride on the subway and mad, hobbled dash to the Center had put me in quite a state, but as soon as I entered the sleekly decorated office my shoulders relaxed. Not every medical spa will have this effect on you, but a savvy one will.

There I was greeted by Kinga Bagnowska, a stunning 44-year-old beauty technician of Polish origin who also serves as the LPAC’s General Manager. Like Ms. Bagnowska, I too am Eastern European, and women from our part of the world pride themselves on their high cheekbones and subjective beauty.

“Everything you do to beautify your appearance heals not only the body, but also the soul,” Kinga explained. “Very often women come to the Center at times when they’re looking for work, in the middle of a divorce, or simply when they feel their life in general just isn’t going that well.”

I remember once reading that if Russian women are obsessed with makeup, it’s because it’s the one thing they can control and escape into: a fantasy of aesthetic perfection outside the unavoidable mess of depressing politics, abusive governments, and sometimes just plain existence. I guess I’m no exception – I fully admit that I employ beauty rituals as an escape from my existential angst.

Admittedly, I wasn’t in the best of shape when I first walked in to the LPAC. After a stint as a professional model, I’d gained thirty pounds over the course of two years, and had relapsed into a depression. Kinga turned out to just the person I needed to help me get through it. She explained how one tool to guard oneself from overeating is to do anything therapeutic that doesn’t involve food. Yes, snacks can be a great temporary stress reliever – as can alcohol – but ultimately just lead to more stress when eating all those sweets and junk food upsets your nutritional balance, leading to serious weight gain and poor health – again, just like alcohol.

“Everything you do to beautify your appearance heals not only the body, but also the soul,” Kinga explained. “Very often women come to the Center at times when they’re looking for work, in the middle of a divorce, or simply when they feel their life in general just isn’t going that well.”

Beauty Therapy

I know that for myself, gaining weight made me feel unattractive because my sense of pride about my beauty was negatively affected. It was a vicious circle. I’d eat because I was depressed, and then get even more depressed when I noticed myself getting bigger, which of course led me to eat that much more to relieve the guilt and depression brought on by gaining weight.

Kinga had this to say about the cycle I was in: “It all starts with stress, which leads to negative side-effects like gaining weight. The first step for most people affected by these things is to investigate beauty treatments and look for potential solutions.”

I already knew that therapy and exercise were important steps towards getting back on a healthy path, but the highly accessible option of undergoing beauty therapy was something I’d never considered.

Together with Kinga I chose what part of my appearance to focus on. We started by making my cheekbones slightly more prominent with Restylane, and injectable filler also used to smooth facial lines and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Much like Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) and yoga, in my opinion beauty rituals such as applying makeup, getting a good massage, and visiting a medical spa can be as powerful as psychotherapy or whatever your personal healing go-to is.

After consulting with Kinga, I was ushered to meet Yone Tierney, RN, Injection Specialist and trainer. Yone told me that “what often helps people the most is just one simple syringe of Restylane – it makes them feel better and fresher, lifting them up and placing them back down on a better road. Sometimes you just need a little lift like that, even if we’d prefer to believe looks are not that important.”

The procedure involved insertions in the cheekbones, which would make me look almost the same – only more well-rested and refreshed, lifting my entire face from my chin to eyes. Tierney explained that the catheter she was going to insert contained hyaluronic acid, a structural component of skin which can be found in our body’s natural chemistry. I didn’t like the word catheter, but she assured me that the solution was numbing and that I wouldn’t feel a thing. I was aware of her working, but the whole procedure took only around five minutes. After the procedure my cheekbones looked exactly the same to me, but my face had a lighter, happier look.

For me, it was as simple as understanding that a lack of self-care usually came hand in hand with my bouts of depression. Restylane helped me break that cycle. Says Bagnowska, “you have to take care of yourself. No one else will do it for you.”

But it sure helps when you have caring, expert guides to lead you along the way.

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