Thursday, September 3, 2015

Why I Had a Lower Blepharoplasty

by Alyssa Barrie Weiss

It's one thing to talk about a general trend of patients coming out of the plastic surgery closet and quite another to give a first hand account of a personal experience, so I thought I'd share my brush with plastic surgery. That said, many procedures are not only becoming more mainstream but are no longer a shameful topic that one has to endure in secrecy.

In My Twenties

I was an actress and stand-up comedian. One day I was in my weekly meeting with my manager when she suddenly asked me, in a very matter-of-fact way, if I had a drinking problem.

Lots of Baggage
I was 22 and had bags under my eyes that were too much for even Louis Vuitton to carry. It looked like I was exhausted and routinely partied all night drinking (and drugging). My manager was concerned that film directors would be hesitant to hire me to work on $50 million budget films (that was a lot of money 17 years ago) out of fear that I would not be able to make it to work in the morning. The truth was, people always told me that I looked tired, so much so that I felt tired. My manager suggested that I consult a plastic surgeon to explore a lower lid procedure.

Yasmine Djerradine.
Ask Yasmine
That night, I discussed with my mother the possibility of having the surgery. She thought I was completely nuts – I was only 22 and she had never heard of such a thing! She suggested that I consult Yasmine Djerradine, founder of Yasmine Djerradine Institut de Beauté in New York City. (Yes, I have known Yasmine for 17 years.) Yasmine suggested that I see an allergist. She felt that I was too young and that surgery should only be considered as a last option.

Trip to The Allergist
I tolerated three sessions where I was poked and prodded with dust mites, mold and all types of god knows what. Bottom line: I was not allergic to any of it.

Remodeling Facials
I also had some microcurrent facial sessions that solely focused attention on my under eye area. While it delivered minor results the day of, I saw no long term improvement.

I'll Try Anything
I was desperate to the point that I started applying Preparation H (yes, the hemorrhoid cream) under my eyes (after all, it does shrink tissue, right?!). I even began taking juniper berry supplements that rid the body of any natural water retention. Oh, and did I mention that I also iced my eyes in the morning for 10 minutes prior to showering? Nothing worked. There was also not enough concealer on earth to hide my puffy lower lids.

Time For a Consultation

I returned for a visit to Yasmine and gave her a full report. She gave me a suggestion that I wanted to hear but was not prepared for: "Alyssa, you should go for a consultation with Dr. David Hidalgo – he specializes in face and breast procedures and is pioneering a new method that requires no incisions or stitches; so you won't have any scarring. Unlike most MDs, he also believes in homeopathic remedies and you won't have any bruising."

Dr. David Hidalgo.
Meet Dr. Hidalgo
I walked into the waiting room and noticed that I was clearly the youngest person by at least 20 years. Even the receptionist asked if I was looking for my mother (whom I barely convinced to join me). When I was finally called in to meet Dr. Hidalgo he asked me what he could do for me. I told him that I had excessive bags under my eyes and that I was an actress and having a hard time booking jobs. The truth: I was just tired of people telling me how tired I looked. It was wearing on me emotionally and physically.

The Verdict
Dr. Hidalgo told me that I had lipid deposits under my eyes and that it is a genetic disposition. In fact, I was a perfect candidate for the surgery. "REALLY! I'm not too young?" I was shocked. "Will the fat cells come back?" "No," he said, "in fact you will heal much faster because you are young and resilient and the longer you wait, the worse it will get. If you wait, the skin around the lower lid will stretch out and I'll have to tighten and remodel that skin as well." He continued, "It's much like a liposuction. I make a small incision above your lower lash line, stick a tiny vacuum in, suck out the lipid, and voila" (he didn't really say voila.) No stitches, no scaring and he even had a private operating room. I could have the surgery on Friday, go home that day and be back to work on Monday.

My mother was floored, but the rationale did make sense to both of us and she saw how much it meant to me. Acting or no acting career, the bags were getting in the way. My mother agreed.

Surgery Prep
Dr. Hidalgo had a kind demeanor and I was very impressed with his recommended pre-surgery prep. Starting a week before the procedure I was to take 30ml of Arnica Montana (little sugar-flavored pellets that dissolve under the tongue) and Bromelain capsules (500mg) every day and continue it for two weeks after the surgery.

I grew up eating a macrobiotic diet and taking homeopathic remedies long before they were trendy and mainstream and was always mortified by the fact that this was the regimen my mother subjected my brother and me to.

A Life Changing Difference
I went through with the procedure and because of it have recommended Dr. Hidalgo to many friends and acquaintances over the years. 17 years later, I think I may still be the youngest patient to have had the surgery, and my before and after pictures are still on the coffee table (that's me in the before and after photos). And, you would never know that I have had the procedure. Best of all, the effect was eye-popping.
Which Eye Cream Do You Recommend For the Bags Under My Eyes?
To this day, when people ask what eye cream will get rid of the bags under their eyes, I am always a little sad to relay the news. The truth is that no eye cream will get rid of your bags. Much of the time people have the same lipid deposits that I had, to lesser or greater degrees. And when I tell them my story, I can see the "Oh, no, I don't have that issue" brewing in their eyes.

In an enviroment like New York where no one can ever be thin enough, the thought of having liposuction, even if it's under your eyes, is an eerie thought. Concealer will only cover darkness under the eyes, but if you are not willing to carry those bags around forever, you just may need to go under the knife.

With that sad truth in mind, all is not lost! There are a number of effective products that do hydrate, plump and even smooth out the skin (and in my case, crows feet) around the eyes. Also, remember that the skin under the eyes in amongst the thinnest and driest on the visage, so even though under eye cream may not reduce baggage per se, it is still important to make it a part of your every day skin regimen.

Click to order Lavido Hyaluronic Acid Alert Eye Cream.
Here are some of my favorites:

Lavido Hyaluronic Acid Alert Eye Cream

Superb for those with mature, sensitive skin. Contains a combination of hyaluronic acid, cold-pressed avocado oil, organic pomegranate seed oil and citrus extracts to nourish and firm the skin around the eye area. It's creamy but not too rich.

Click to order Juvena Specialist Skin Nova SC Eye Serum.
You can apply under eye concealer immediately after.

Juvena Specialist Skin Nova SC Eye Serum

This Swiss skin care brand leverages a patented technology to support the skin's own production of stem cells. Sounds crazy but it's true! Skin feels newly created; and that is actually what the formula does leveraging its cell turnover technology.

This product is a clear emulsion, so if you are not wild about rich under eye creams, this is a great alternative.

Click to order B. Kamins Laboratories Eye Cream.
B. Kamins Laboratories Eye Cream

A dermatologically developed brand from Canada, this is the quintessential back to basics eye cream. Developed for mature and sensitive skin, it contains Episphere-Blue™ technology, which consists of heat-activated, time-released, tiny blue capsules of anti-oxidant Vitamin E, which reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Expert tip: Apply your eye makeup and mascara prior to applying under eye cream. Once you complete the makeup application, take a damp Q-tip and sweep it across the under eye to remove excess mascara and eye shadow that may have landed there. Apply eye cream, and then concealer.