In August 2005, I went to my hair colorist. Like most beauty salons in Southern California, the place was milling with talk about the latest beauty tips and aids. Among them that caught my interest like a heat-seeking missile to a target was this “latest thing” – mesotherapy. The aesthetician and the girls were just raving about it- how it shrunk and tightened and smoothed your skin.
I am not particularly bad looking, but I do have this issue with my face. I have high cheekbones, which is a good thing, but the bottom of my cheeks are hollow. If you can imagine, I had shadows across my cheeks which distracted a lot from my appearance. And I thought, “Well let me see about this mesotherapy.” I asked for the phone number and proceeded to make the appointment.
After talking with the aesthetician (she was a physician assistant), we agreed that she would give me what they called an “meso-lift” on the cheeks. I was given the numbing cream and in a few minutes, she was injecting me with a cocktail of different solutions which supposedly would shrink fat cells (danger zone, I should have recognized!) and vitamins that would be good for my skin. She told me that with mesotherapy, I should expect a good amount of swelling and some bruising.
Good amount indeed! Overnight, my face swelled up like a chipmunk’s– no, like a helium balloon. I could not recognize me! I had a lot of bruising and swelling on the injection sites and ALL OVER my face where it wasn’t even treated.
Let me backtrack. When I made the mesotherapy appointment, I has no intention of telling my husband. I was under the impression that I could pull this off and explain the “slight” swelling and bruising to a bad facial procedure. Well, so much for that! By night time the swelling was bad enough that my husband refused to take me out to dinner. He told me that I looked like a battered wife! Lesson # 1: Never lie to your husband, in case something terrible happens.
The following morning, the swelling was even worse. It was so bad that I didn’t want to go out. I placed a call to the aesthetician. She told me that the swelling and bruising was normal with mesotherapy and that I should be fine in two days.
So day two goes by, then day three. The swelling was going down, but ever so slightly. I still looked like my face was stung by a swarm of bees. Even the bruising was still bad enough that I started to panic.
Day four…. this is bad, I started to think. I should go to see her. So I made the long drive from Garden Grove, where I live, to deep deep South of Orange County. I was a mess. I did not want anyone inside the beauty salon to see my face, but that was not possible. Of course, there just HAD to be no private entrance, so I was forced to bear the humiliation.
The aesthetician told me that some people are prone to more bruising and swelling. All I could do was wait for it to go away.
I was a good two weeks to almost three weeks before the swelling went down. But the discoloration, which I thought was bruising, did not completely fade. I now have even dark, larger areas of shadows across my cheeks– worse than before I started the mesotherapy. I felt devastated.
I went back to see her again. She took a good look at my face and told me it was melasma. She said that mesotherapy does not cause discoloration and that the melasma was more than likely due to hormonal change. I, of course, did not believe her. Hello? I did not have discoloration pre-mesotherapy! And now I have it? Logic would dictate the discoloration was due to the mesotherapy. She again reiterated that there is no known fact that mesotherapy causes this. I left her office as a ruined, victimized woman, feeling angry, depressed, and a part of me feeling guilty about my vanity that started this whole thing. The thing that started as a quest for a little more beauty, which had turned into a quest to fix a mistake. The quest to look like me– the way I did BEFORE mesotherapy.