I Got An *Under The Skin* Facial, And It Was Basically Life Changing

It hurt like a b**ch.

I have a regimented nighttime skincare routine that takes about 20 minutes. There’s washing my face twice, plus peels, serums, creams, and on and on—but nothing would help my aging, spotty skin. After I hit 40 I started to get brown age spots, fine lines, and sagginess nothing would cure. I would want to cry when I took my makeup off at night. My husband probably does.

For real though, I don't have too many issues with getting older. I’m enjoying the ride and I wouldn’t go back to my 20s for anything. (Maybe a sleepover with Oprah, but that’s it. And it has to be harvest day.) But I started noticing everyone's skin looked luminous..what were they doing? All that time and money. So much money. The upkeep seemed impossible. So when New York City's Gotham Beauty Lounge offered up a new facial called PRP, I ran right over to give it a go.

I had no idea what I was getting into—I thought I would be face up on a comfy bed getting my pores steamed and massaged with the same old results, feels good for three days then back to my spotty skin. What I got was completely unexpected—in a good way.

Gotham’s founder and New York's go-to beauty guru, Chris Coffee, welcomed me at his gorgeous Midtown boutique, where a team of experts do head-to-toe beauty and spa services, from botox to highlights to spray tans, makeup, brows, skincare, and manicures. The place is a one-stop shop any woman would love to spend a day in. Or a week, whatever. It’s serene and cozy and you feel at ease when you see the set up.

I met with one of Gotham’s doctors, Dr. Adam Mauer, a former spinal surgeon turned top dermatologist—the guy knows anything and everything you ever wanted to know about your skin. He sat down with me and really inspected my makeup-less face, telling me what was wrong. Even though I religiously wear sunblock, sun spots were everywhere. “Did you grow up on a beach?” Dr. Mauer asked me. Unfortunately, no. That’s how bad the damage was. He pointed out the hollowness under my eyes (comes with age as your skin thins out) and decided on a facial for me called PRP, or Platelet Rich Plasma Facial. And his technique is original.

Here’s how it works. And I’ll be honest, I cried from the pain during the procedure, but I knew it was doing something. First, I got shot in my face with Lidocaine, which is Novocaine for your face. I thought I would feel nothing. I was wrong. Like Kim Kardashian's famous “Vampire Facial,” PRP uses plasma from your own blood mixed with Sculptra ( a natural filler) to plump up your face, making it look more youthful and even. It’s basically Botox without the Botox. After taking a vial of blood from my left arm, Dr. Mauer spun it in a special machine to get the plasma he needed for the mixture. But unlike the Vampire Facial way, Dr. Mauer doesn’t inject the mixture into facial points on the surface with a needle—instead he makes two small openings (the width of a hair, which leave no mark) with a needle on either side of your jawline.

And that's when I screamed.

He then inserts a very thin tube (not a hair, but not a Twizzler either) up into the hole and all the way up your face under your skin to your temple, squeezing out the mixture he is pumping in as he goes. This hurts like a b**ch. I cried. And screamed. And was covered in sweat. I didn’t care anymore if I looked ugly, I would learn to live with it. I would just be a monster with brown spots. Just get this thing out of my face.

When he pulled it out, my face felt hot and bloated and I felt relieved. Then he had to repeat it on the opposite side of my face. Again, insert tube, push up to my eyeball, press and squeeze the mixture out all along the side of my face. It felt like there was someone under my skin clawing to get out. A demon of some sort. Maybe a wild tiger.

“That’s enough, I don’t care if one side is horrible take it out!” I yelled. But he completed the job. Because he's a professional and my pain threshold is basically a two.

When I was asked “what’s your social calendar look like” by Dr. Mauer, I didn’t realize I would have to stay home for three days because my head looked like the Elephant Man’s when he got through with me. When I got home, my husband asked why my head was so huge. I told him I got a “special facial” and in a week I’d look like Gisele. “Uh huh,” he said.

Within three days, the puffiness went down, and my new head reared itself. It was glorious. I was still me, but my face was plump in a good, youthful way, my spots were fading, and the black circles under my eyes were fading. All because of my own blood mixed with a little Sculptra. What happens is, your skin starts to regenerate itself, which is better than what any skincare can do.

Two weeks later, I am thrilled with the results. My main goal was to not pile on so much makeup, and to just feel pretty sitting in my apartment alone with my husband. And I do feel a lot better about my skin now. “Beauty is pain,” Dr. Mauer had told me. He was right.

And the perfect thing about his PRP facial? You can do minor upkeep over the years, but with PRP, you only need to do it every four years. Thank God.

Now. (Not perfect, but much, much better.)

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