Anti-Aging: Skincare Vs. Procedures, My 3-Year Transformation | Full Disclosure!

There are 2 comments/questions that I get almost every day from readers/viewers:

  1. You’re aging backwards! (which is usually followed by: What’s your secret? or Have you had surgery?)
  2. You’re cheating! How can we tell if your skincare is working if you’re full of botox and fillers?

In this post I’d like to try to address both comments and clear up what I think is a common misconception regarding aging skin and what can be done about it.

First off, I want to say thank you for all the wonderful comments that I receive daily — you guys really know how to make a girl feel good and I appreciate the support that flows my way!!

Second, I want you to know that the purpose of my channel and my blog is to be 100% transparent about anti-aging skincare and procedures. I started Hot&Flashy because, like you, I was tired of hearing celebrities who have boat-loads of money to spend tell me they look so youthful because they drink water!

My goal is to be open and honest about everything I do to fight the aging process so women have a place to go to see how different approaches to anti-aging work (or don’t work) and decide for themselves if they want to go down that path. So, when I get botox or fillers or a laser treatment, I do a post on it and show you my results, and if and when I have surgery I’ll post about that too.

So, for the purposes of this post, I’ve taken the last 6 months off from getting any procedures and letting those that I’d gotten last June wear off. I am currently completely Botox-free, Juvederm-free, and about 98% Voluma-free. I took a photo of myself with no makeup 2 days ago and found a photo from 3 years ago to compare side-by-side:

B&A Dec 2012 to Dec 2015 Blog

Granted the lighting is different since I didn’t have studio lighting when I first started my channel. The Dec. 2012 picture is a still from a video using available window light (= harsher), but the Dec. 2015 picture is taken using a high-resolution camera so it shows more detail. Neither image is re-touched.

As you can see from the pictures, I look “younger” in the “After” picture where I have NO botox than I do in the “Before” photo in which I have botox in my forehead! In the “after” pic my skin looks firmer, my wrinkles are less deep, and I have fewer discolorations and more even skin-tone. What this illustrates for me is that my skincare routine is working.

My hooded, sagging eyelids are also much improved. I get asked daily if I’ve had eyelid surgery. I even did a whole post showing that I hadn’t had surgery (and people still told me I was lying). Now that the botox is worn off, I can state that the difference is without a doubt made by using Retin-A because I have NOT had eyelid surgery. I haven’t had any plastic surgery of any kind. I don’t put Retin-A on my eyelids directly, but it has firmed the skin on my entire face including my eyelids to the point that they are far less crepey and saggy than they were 3 years ago (although I see that one is improved more than the other).

One of the main points I wanted to make is that while in-office procedures work well, they are all temporary, and the injectables are very  localized. So, you can see in the “Before” picture that even though I have botox in my forehead, it doesn’t do anything for my crows feet or my hooded eyes, or my jawline. So if I do have an injectable and make a video on skincare it’s important to keep in mind that the injection is only affecting a limited area and doesn’t negate the positive effect of the skincare. Treatments like IPL, lasers, and peels treat the whole face while injectables only treat a limited area. Skincare also treats the whole face and helps to improve the appearance of the skin as a whole.

That said, there is a limit to what skincare can do and that’s where in-office procedures come in. Now that my botox is worn off, I’m able to move my forehead so more wrinkles will start to form. Those are “expression” wrinkles and they’re formed through years of repeated facial movements. Every day the crow’s feet and naso-labial folds get deeper from smiling, the 11s get deeper from squinting, the lip lines get deeper from eating and speaking and all the Retin-A and peptides in the world can NOT erase them. Only procedures can do that. Skincare can reduce and soften deep expression lines and help them lay flatter when the face is still, but over time it’s a losing battle because I’m still doing this:

Crows Feet Dec 2015 Blog

and this:


Elevens Dec 2015 Blog

and this:

Forehead Wrinkles Dec 2015 Blog

Botox can be used to prevent some wrinkles from forming since it stops the facial movement that causes the wrinkle. So even though my face looks younger in the “after” picture without botox, it’s not completely from skincare… it’s from a combination of skincare and procedures.

In the interest of Full Disclosure, here’s a complete list of every procedure I’ve had done, EVER!
(Also, in case you don’t know, I’m 53 now, I started my blog when I was 50.)

Botox – 2-3 times a year since 2007 in the 11s, starting in 2013 I added 15 more units in the center of the forehead, I’ve had my crows feet done twice, once in 2014, once in 2015 (lasts from 10 – 16 weeks).

IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) – A series of 4 full face treatments in January/February 2012

Juvederm (filler) – One time only for the nasolabial folds in January 2013 (lasts up to 9 months)

Voluma (filler) – One time only for the cheeks in September 2014 (lasts up to 2 years)

For some people this will seem like a lot while for others it’s nothing. The point is that all procedures whether it’s an injection or a laser or a facelift are temporary. The effects will fade or wear off over time. For me, skincare is what fills the gaps between treatments and even helps some treatments last longer. My skincare routine includes Retin-A, Vitamin C, anti-oxidants, peptides, sunscreen and moisturizers. Over the 3-years since my complete skincare routine overhaul, I’ve seen my skin slowly improving instead of getting worse!

Some people want to “age gracefully” and consider the use of “in-office” procedures cheating and that’s their prerogative. Others take a more pro-active approach to anti-aging and want to do what they can to delay the effects of aging. I fall into the latter group… after all, I have an anti-aging blog and YouTube channel! Aging is something we all have to deal with, it’s unavoidable but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with fighting the aging process and trying to look the best I can using the tools that are available. I’ve learned through experience that both skincare and procedures have their place and both can be effective and I want to pass on what I’ve learned to those that are interested.

I don’t have any secrets or any special knowledge. I’ve done lots of research and I choose carefully the products or procedures I’m going to try. I created Hot&Flashy so I could share my journey with other women so we can share experiences and empower others. It’s not just me saying “I love this product, go buy it!”, it’s an experiment in trial & error where I show you my naked face, up close, wrinkles and all so we can both see if product X or procedure Y is worth our time and money and you can be the judge of the results. I believe that knowledge is power and the more we share our knowledge the better off we’ll all be at choosing what’s right for us.



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