This Is What a Plastic Surgery Consultation Is Really Like

Hallie Gould
PHOTO:

Paley Fairman

As a beauty editor, I'm constantly fielding questions about hair and makeup products, techniques, and skincare. Usually, I have the answer—or can find it after a quick search on Byrdie. However, as fillers, Botox, and other skin injectables and treatments become more readily available, I found myself blissfully unaware of the process and subsequent effects (positive or negative). So, for the greater good, I decided to schedule myself an appointment with a plastic surgeon.

To be fair, I was curious too. I'm vehemently afraid of needles and always figured I'd stay far, far away from voluntarily injecting them into my face. But, as I start to get older (which is subjective, I suppose, because I'm only 27), the idea of smoothed expression lines, under-eye bags, and droopy skin has become more and more intriguing.

There are so many women—whom I originally assumed were skincare fanatics and genetically blessed—who have discussed their trips to the doctor's office for a round of natural-looking fillers. It's become a mainstay in our culture, and whether you (or I) agree with it, it's important to be educated. I'm a staunch believer in natural beauty, aging gracefully, but, more than anything, I think you should do whatever you want in order to feel good—free of judgment.

So, I spent an hour with a New York–based plastic surgeon, Scott Wells, MD, to understand the ins and outs of the practice. We discussed what a consultation is really like, what he recommends for women my age, and what he prescribes for me if I decide to take the plunge. Keep reading for all his best advice (as well as a few life-changing skincare products). 

I walked into Wells's office and checked in. The receptionist was warm, the sitting room was comfy, and the paperwork wasn't scary. That's a relief, I thought, as I filled out my information (including my current skincare routine, emergency contact, and any allergies). 

A few minutes later, Wells brought me back into his exam room and we got to talking. He began to explain his methods. "I often see young women who come too soon to meet the plastic surgeon—but they want to know how to manage the aging process. For them, I suggest an age management strategy."

Wells explained his approach: "It's kind of like if you were born with an inheritance of money—you need a wealth manager to help invest and maintain that wealth so you have it for a lifetime. I called it 'beauty for life,' the idea that we can work together to best preserve your inheritance of beauty. For a young person, we look at several different things before getting started."

"First, I want to know what your lifestyle is. Do you exercise frequently? Are you out in the sun a lot? Do you smoke? Do you drink? If so, how much? All of these things, in some way, influence the way in which you age."

"I want to know about your parents—how does your mother look for her age? That gives me a little insight into your genetics. Then, from that, we can look at the aging process from a few different levels."

"Third, I want to know about your nutrition, orally and topically. We want to make sure, from a nutritional standpoint, you’re doing everything you can for your skin. Patients will come in complaining of looking puffy and bloated—that can be from sensitivies to gluten and dairy. It can be caused by too much alcohol consumption. Sometimes, a really good, simple lifestyle adjustment in your oral nutrition can give you a healthier, better look. But, your skincare routine is even more important. You can deliver 40 or 50 times more nutrition to the skin from a topical product than through eating properly."

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