At 51, I try my hardest to take care of myself. I am 5'2", and at this point in life, my ability to grow is limited to sideways, not up, so I watch what I eat and I work out regularly. Having grown up when we basted ourselves with oil like bikini clad turkeys in the sun, I now have enough skin cancer removal scars to know that sunscreen is my best friend. And when it comes to my face, Sephora rests easy knowing I shall always be on hand to keep them in business, and their shareholders reaping dividends. I am determined to hang on, if only by a thread, to how I "see" myself. I don't want to start avoiding mirrors for fear of the reflection. I want to smile with confidence, meet another's gaze with my own.
But as Dolly Parton once said, "Honey, time marches on and eventually you realize it's marching across your face."
Which is how Body Tonic first joined Sephora and my BowFlex in my arsenal in the battle against time's army.
Little did I know that my arsenal was about to grow.
About a month ago, while getting a Botox freshener, Gina showed me some videos for a new procedure Body Tonic was considering bringing on board: threading. Eurothreads to be exact. The insertion of surgical grade “threads” equipped with tiny barbs into the jowl, face, and neck areas was fast, appeared relatively painless, and yielded immediate results.
As I watched the short videos, I was instantly intrigued. OK, ok, truth be told, I pretty much begged Gina to beg the owner to begin offering them.
Fast forward to two weeks ago when I received a text asking if I would be a training model for the office. I believe my response was more emojis than words.
As a longtime client of Body Tonic, I have slowly expanded my rejuvenation repertoire with the help of Gina and Iris. A few Botox injections to kill the crows stomping around the outside of my eyes, led to Juvederm along my chin and lips, to bringing light back to the dark circles under my eyes with Restylane, to daring to bring that OG curve back to life on my cheeks.
It may sound like a lot, but it has taken me years to work up to that list. What I have always loved about Body Tonic is that no one pressures you to do more than what you are ready for. If anything, I have been very conservative in my approach to various areas. It literally took Gina over a year to convince me she could banish the topographical map of Tibet that was my forehead, and that I would still have the ability to raise my eyebrows. And once she worked her Dysport magic? Well, if you're heading to Tibet, my forehead will never again be available for travel planning.
All of that is to say, my eagerness to step up and be a training model was based in years of comfortable treatments, the warmth of the entire staff, and the implicit trust I have in Gina and Iris. They are not capricious or careless about anything they do. I knew I would be in good hands.
Arriving for my session, Gina took those lovely “before” pictures that always serve to remind us how amazing we look in our “afters”, and make us kick ourselves for every minute we have waited to attack a problem area. She then slathered my face and neck with numbing cream, not sure exactly on which areas the trainer would choose to focus.
The woman doing the training was lovely, confident, and very calming - the perfect antidote to a face numb, ball of nerves, 51 year old.
Nervous? Of course I was. Sure, I no longer blink about letting Gina use needles right under my eyes, but as any good teacher’s pet would, I had done my homework, watching more videos, reading personal reviews, etc. And while the results I kept seeing were impressive, I was doing something new, so I was filled with that fear of the unknown, apprehensive about pain, insertion, needles, etc.
As the trainer looked me over, identifying where she would like to work, it was decided they would insert two threads on each side of my face, beginning at my temple hairline and going down to areas just above and just below both sides of my mouth. I quickly did that word problem in my head: Jack has three watermelons and a canoe to get to town. If a cannula is inserted at one’s temple, how many miles does it travel to reach the side of one’s mouth? And why the hell does Jack need three watermelons or a canoe?
I kept coming up with 100 miles. OK, fine, in truth it is roughly six inches, but when you are nervous and not a fan of pain, it might as well be 100 miles, and Jack shoving watermelons under your skin. With a canoe.
Here is what I can tell you - it was nothing like I worried it would be. Lidocaine is injected first at the insertion site, and as the cannula containing the thread is slowly moved under the skin, they are ready to quickly inject additional lidocaine as needed along the route. To be honest, those injections hurt more than anything related to the cannula - if anything, it was awareness of something moving under my skin, but not so much pain as simply sensation of pressure.
Once the cannula reaches its destination, it is gently removed (no pain at all) leaving the barbed thread under the skin where they begin to work the tissue around it, up over it, gently pulling the thread upward, finally anchoring it in place with what sounds like tiny clicks under the skin - again, no pain involved in this step. One last turn, click, and snip and the end is safely tucked under your skin..
Both Gina and Iris worked on me, each doing a side of my face, closely guided by the trainer. Based on the compliments they were receiving from her, they are both quick studies, understand the anatomy of the face and how these threads can be manipulated, and deserve their reputations as rock stars.
Once I sat up and looked in the mirror, I was shocked. In the best possible way - I still looked like me, but suddenly fresher, the corners of my mouth lifted, the jowliness of gravity dragging my facial fat to my jawline was greatly diminished, and even my temples were fuller. The effects were instantaneous.
Now, like any filler injections, my first night home was one of ice packs and Tylenol and more Arnica. Also sleeping on several pillows and on my back. But come the next morning, I was surprised at how little swelling I had (more the result of the lidocaine injections than the threading), and how faint any bruising was. I went about my day, not even a Tylenol needed, and not hiding at home.
Day two I sent Gina more selfies, with no coverup or foundation so she could see for herself how quickly everything was resolving. Threadbare - bare skin, no visible signs of the procedure, no, you cannot see the threads under your skin, and no Houdini level sleight of hand necessary with the concealer.
I cannot recommend this new option strongly enough - the applications are endless, the types of threads available are varied (smooth, corkscrewed, barbed, long, short) depending on your personal needs/desires. And the best part is the effect is not only long lasting - up to two years - as the thread dissolves, it encourages the growth of collagen.
Should you decide to give Eurothreads a try, start taking your Arnica a few days prior, it really does help. And be aware that for the first couple days, depending on where you have them inserted, you may feel a little tautness when you yawn, take a large bite of food, or chew vigorously. Not pain, just awareness of the threads - and this quickly dissipates as well.
“Some people weave burlap into the fabric of our lives, and some weave gold thread. Both contribute to make the whole picture beautiful and unique.” ~ Anonymous
My threads are purplish, not gold, but in the hands of Gina and Iris, they have done more than just tighten up my jawline - they continue to weave more confidence back into my personality, and that makes for a beautiful and unique picture indeed.