“You know what the fast track is now, 50 percent of your genetic blueprint is there,” Dr. David Colbert told me, pointing to my mother. I’d brought her in to see the man responsible for Naomi Watts, Michelle Williams, and a host of Victoria’s Secret Angels’ flawless faces, so he could predict my face’s future. “I can see tendencies that you have that you can intervene now if you want to maintain your face the way it is.”
Sorry, mom. Or…thank you?
My mom and me in 2017.
I’d brought my mom with me to see Dr. Colbert at New York Dermatology Group because I thought, what better way to get accurate anti-aging advice than to show the doc what my face will look like 37 years down the line. It’s like looking into a crystal ball, but, you know, my mom’s face. Evil? Maybe. Genius? Almost certainly. But my mother was into it, too―an Outlander fan, she’d spotted Caitriona Balfe in People‘s Most Beautiful issue crediting NYDG’s Formula 119 Cream for her Most Beautiful skin. And who doesn’t want to have the Most Beautiful skin?! So together, we made an appointment to get an evaluation at the fancy New York office.
After explaining that the first thing he’d usually do is give his patient a skin cancer screening, Dr. Colbert directed my mother to sit in the chair of honor and gave her the once and twice over, turning her head slightly as he told us what he’d do to shave a decade off her face.
“I would start with an Ultherapy ultrasound to lift and tighten the muscles in the face and then I would follow that with the Sublime laser, also to tighten the skin. Then I would inject [the area under the chin] with Kybella to dissolve the fat,” he stated casually.
“I would do a little bit of filler here to lift your face, then I would put filler here to lift the corners of the mouth, and then of course routine Botox here to lift the cheeks,” he continued, pointing to spots above her cheekbones, mouth, and temples.
“Botox here for no crows feet, here to make the forehead smooth, a little here just to give you a little lift above the eyebrow, and then I would treat the surface of the skin with a Triad and a couple Fraxels. That’s it. And then I would probably do your lips, too.”
My mom and me in 1997.
“Do what to my lips,” my mom asked.
“Just a little Restylane on the border of your lip,” he responded.
“My mom is very anti-filler,” I interjected from my stool, where I’d been watching this go down. We both have the Filler Fear, I admitted. “I’ve just seen a lot of really bad fillers,” she said, referencing some of New York’s most famous examples. “Right you’re going to notice the bad stuff, not the good stuff,” Colbert explained.
He also gave her a run-down of the products he’d prescribe:
Tone Control Facial Discs: to reduce hyper-pigmentation and dark spots caused by sun-damage and improve skin tone.
Stimulate the Serum: to stimulate collagen production and boost the skin’s radiance.
Illumino Face Oil: to be applied at night to nourish the skin and improve its texture.
Retensify Firming Cream: to improve skin’s elasticity.
He also recommended using a Retin-A cream three times a week and an at-home microscopic peel once a week. “Piece of cake,” my saint of a mother said.
And then it was my turn.
Dr. David Colbert
“If you’re wondering, ‘what can I do to stay looking young forever,'” Colbert said, taking a look at the 30-year-old canvas in front of him, “maybe start doing a little skin tightening along the jawline.”
“Right here it’s perfect,” he said, examining the area under my chin, “you don’t have any fat there”—”that’s shocking,” I interrupted. I’ve always been self-conscious about my at-risk chin—”but around 40 you’ll start seeing it and then you start treating it―then you do Kybella,” he said, echoing the advice he’d given my mother.
“I always think it’s a good idea around 30 to do filler around the corner of your mouth so you don’t end up with a downturned mouth —everybody does that by the way, it’s sort of the protocol, he continued. “And then on the forehead, everything looks smooth, but this is classic around 30, you’re starting to get fine horizontal lines, so you could just erase those if you wanted. But that’s a no-brainer, Botox is standard protocol. And then to maintain your collagen, It’s just using the right products,” he said.
For me, that means:
New York Dermatology Group
Tone Control Facial Discs: Same as my mother, to even out the skin tone
Stimulate the Serum: Also the same as mom, to up my collagen production.
Nutrify & Protect Day Moisturizer: To protect and hydrate the skin.
If you’re someone who wears a lot of makeup, Colbert recommends his oatmeal cleanser, if not, the gel cleanser is enough. “You should use the Illuminating Brightening Mask once a week, too, if you’re trying to make your skin perfect,” he added, which duh.
“You both should be wearing sunblock,” he also advised, noting that our Irish skin is particularly susceptible to sun damage. “Especially you, you’re more fair than your mother.” (“I did notice that you looked very pale in that Christian Siriano video,” my mom said to me. Thanks mom!)
So now that Colbert had dropped this Hollywood-grade knowledge on us…WHAT WERE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?
Botox. That’s what I was going to do about it.
Unable to fully shake the Filler Fear, I wouldn’t let him do any of the lifting he’d recommend, instead, I settled for what he called “a sprinkling of Botox.”
Zero pain meds, two minutes, and about 8 injections of a total of .25 ml of Botox across my forehead and temples later, I was done. There might be some bruising, he told me, and I’d see results in five to seven days. And I’d experience eternal youth―or at least the smoothing of the fine lines on my forehead―for about four to six months.
My mom, meanwhile, decided to go for the Kybella and Ultherapy to treat the area under her chin. The Ultherapy was a bit more intensive than my Botox―she took a Tylenol to take the edge off the pain and spent an hour with a doctor running the machine across her neck, jaw, and cheeks. (I watched, but because I’m not a MONSTER, I’m not going to post photos of my dear mum mid-treatment… but you can watch someone else having it done here.) The procedure hurt, she said, but was manageable.
Botoxed with Dr. Colbert.
Dr. Colbert then numbed her chin area and injected the Kybella into various points in the fat pocket, telling her she’d see some bruising and swelling (the more the better, really, he explained, “If you look like a bullfrog, that means it really worked.”) for up to two weeks and would experience some serious achiness.
My mom and I left Dr. Colbert slightly shell-shocked considering we’d thought we’d be spending our afternoon chatting and getting moisturizer recs instead of getting needled. But, as Dr. Colbert promised, it was all very easy, very fast, and less invasive than I would have imagined. We felt wild and crazy (though Dr. Colbert assured us, we really weren’t) and were both surprised with ourselves―neither of us have ever done any kind of serious dermatological procedure―but also pleased.
My mom did wake up the next day with swelling and a noticeable black-and-blue situation under her chin and sent me the photo to prove it (but again, can’t share because #notamonster). I have a tiny bit of bruising and can feel some slight numbness at my crown, but am now just waiting to see those fine lines disappear…and of course for my at-risk chin to appear in 10 years so I can go back to Dr. Colbert to nip that in the bud.