If you think the treatments available at a medical spa aren’t for you because you’re not old enough, think again. Autumn’s story will change how you think about those barely visible fine lines between your brows, around your eyes, and around your mouth.
Find out which treatments have been her secret weapon since she started coming to LJC in her late twenties. From Botox to microneedling to laser skin resurfacing, Autumn shares how each of these treatments delivered a subtle, natural result to keep her looking like she hasn’t aged a day.
- Learn more about laser skin resurfacing
You’re listening to The La Jolla Cosmetic Podcast.
Welcome, everyone to The La Jolla Cosmetic Podcast. I am your hostess, Monique Ramsey, and I have someone in the studio today who has been a patient in our medical spa. She’s had Halo laser treatment with Khanh. She’s had Botox and fillers with Julia and Lauren, and microneedling with Julia. Welcome, Autumn. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi. I am born and raised San Diego. I found La Jolla Cosmetic Surgery Center a few years back and fell in love. The more I come here, the more I just want to stay here. I feel like everybody’s like okay, you can leave now, because I’m just like popping in every room. I’m saying hi to everybody. It’s a great place.
It’s really nice that you’re willing to take a moment and share your experience with the audience because I think a lot of us have things on our wish list that we might want to do, but we don’t really know how to go about it or what the experience is like, so it’s always nice to hear from people who have really gone through the experience and can kind of talk to what their motivations were and how the treatments ended up, and did it satisfy the goals that you had. If we go back to the beginning, what was the first cosmetic treatment you ever did, and how long ago was that?
I believe it was 2018 is when I first started getting things done, so I was 28. The first thing was Botox, and then it was kind of from there that every time I would see them I would just ask hey, if you were going to do something about my skin, or if you were going to do something about pigmentation, or whatever my things would be, these little lines, and it just kind of led to this is what they would recommend and then I just considered it over a course of weeks or months or whatever, and then I got on schedule.
I have to tell you, you guys can’t see her but she looks about 22. I’m really stunned that you said your age because I’m like wow. Okay, so whatever you’re doing just keep doing it.
Yep. Started early and I think that’s kind of it too. It’s like, if you…they explained it like if you continue creasing a paper, and that kind of made a lot of sense to me, like you can crease paper a ton of times and then you unfold it, and no matter what you do, you can flatten that paper out so many times but you’re always going to see that line. I was like oh, I don’t want to be creasing the paper. You know what I mean?
That’s a great analogy and it’s so true. I’m now 54, so we didn’t get Botox.
Everybody, let’s just talk about Monique looks like she’s 35.
I’m not joking. Whatever she’s doing…
That’s the filter, but really, we didn’t have Botox until I was 30, and I was pregnant with my first child. I was like, but I want it. Can’t I have it? They’re like there’s nothing that says you can’t have it when you’re pregnant, but let’s not take the chance. I’m like but I know I need this. Some of us couldn’t start until later, but I think people who do start to do some of these things earlier in life, you get to A, enjoy it longer, and you have a more natural result because you kind of never age. There’s a new thing, this is kind of good for the audience to know.
So when Botox first came out, it was only indicated for between, like the elevens, that area between your eyebrows, so it was like 30 units or something, whatever the recommended number was. Then people got in their head oh, that’s the number of units I should get. Then over time they were indicated for the crow’s feet. Then they were indicated for the brow. Now if you had all three areas treated, you’d be at 64 units, which some people are like whoa, that sounds like a lot. But you’re kind of treating all the areas and it’s kind of natural when it’s being treated together, so I’m up in that territory, and I highly recommend it. The number of units is so dependent on how strong your muscles are, and how quickly your body metabolizes it, so it’s something that providers can play with, but Botox is a great kind of starter into the med spa world.
It’s amazing. It really is. First of all, zero pain. You don’t have to do any of the numbing stuff. I feel like when I do anything that requires the numbing cream, those are the treatments that you get more in the uncomfy zone, just because numbing in itself is really uncomfortable. I really don’t even like that part but I know that that’s required for whatever, like the Halo laser. You have to do that, but numbing your whole face is such an uncomfy feeling all by itself. Immediately your skin starts to feel all hot because you’re having that reaction to the numbing cream of it numbing, you know?
I kind of get it. It kind of flushes your skin. You get this kind of pink, red…
Rosiness and stuff, and that’s how I feel like if you have that reaction you already know that you’re going to have the results from the laser. I wasn’t expecting how crazy that laser was. I thought I was going to look a little sunburned. My eyes were swollen shut for like three days. They were just big, puffy, so I just stayed in the house for like the whole four days, and then you start to see little new baby skin, and I feel like it’s like the hijacked brain you go through with pregnancy.
I’ve never been pregnant, but I just know people that hated their pregnancy. They go through all this crazy stuff. Then their baby pops out and they’re like oh my God, I’m going to have a second one. I’m like friend, you hated that. That’s how it was. The moment you see that fresh bright pink baby skin, all new, forget everything about the swollen eyes. You don’t even care. You’re like I’m ready to do another one, and I really am. I’m going to do another one in Fall. I’m so excited.
That’s awesome, and actually anybody who wants to see, Dr. Swistun recently had the Halo laser, and so he took progression photos every day, and so he showed the morning after the procedure. I mean, he looked a little puffy when he left here and a little pink obviously, and he said he didn’t elevate himself in bed. He was flat so that he got extra swollen. But he was freckled looking.
Like coffee grounds.
Yeah, and then his eyes were not quite shut, but they looked pretty puffy. But honestly, I think he did it Friday and by Monday he looked totally fine. He was in the OR. Then by day five he was like you would never know. I mean, it was really amazing to see that shocking day one in a way, and then be like wow, that really resolved itself quickly.
Yeah. It goes by fast. The results, you see every day it’s better and better. Every shower I feel like that stuff just kind of sloughs off, that coffee ground looking stuff. But yeah, I looked more like how I look when I leave with microneedling.
Yeah, so I was just going to ask you what’s the difference in how you looked and felt between the Halo laser and the microneedling?
When leaving the office, I looked pretty similar. I had a lot of bleeding with both, but that’s kind of the way my body responds to everything, but I think that’s kind of good. The microneedling I’ve done I think four times, and I feel like the results that you see with the Halo laser in one session, you see with the amount of times that it took me to do all the microneedling. Very similar in healing and downtime, and stuff like that. Maybe a little bit more scab-like with the microneedling, less like flaky coffee grounds. The laser is so even on your skin, like your whole forehead is like one perfect, perfect coffee ground. With the microneedling I feel like because she changes the depth dependent on what you’re trying to treat, if you have scarring or what’s going on, so some areas take longer to heal than the others. But very similar in downtime, very similar, not uncomfortable with either because they numb you, but love them.
Did they do the the microneedling?
Oh, interesting, interesting. Okay. Before that first Botox treatment was there something specific, like a moment that pushed you over the edge? Like you didn’t get carded and you were expecting to or somebody said something, or it was just kind of like oh, I’ve heard about this and it’s time?
Nobody really said anything. It was more the way that I was seeing the movement in my forehead. I was seeing so many lines starting to appear. I’d be completely resting and I’d have these little tiny lines and I’d find myself trying to smear them out. I’d be like what the heck is going on up here? They’re not going away. My dad has heavy creases in his forehead, and he’s always in the sun. I love the sun, and so I was like you know what? I’m not going to take chances.
Yeah, smart. Now, do you remember how you found our center, like what research you might have done or what made you choose us?
I’m always the person that looks for the best. I really do. I’ll just start Googling, look at reviews, do my research through that. I think it was something through there. This was maybe, I was probably 21 at the time when I very first found you guys. I went and got a consultation to get my breasts done with Dr. Saltz. I never ended up doing it, but then I found out about the med spa through there. I think I did a facial or something at one point, and then come 28, I was getting needles. But I love it. It’s honestly the best place, I feel like. Everbody’s recommendation, nobody’s ever overdone it with me. I’ll be like what do you recommend, if anything, you can do anything? They’re like you’re kind of doing everything already, so just stick with that.
Yeah. I think that’s kind of a nice thing with our providers. They tell you when to stop or they tell you when you’re good. At one point I was asking about lip filler. I’m like well, it’s been a couple years but I’m not really sure. They’re like you know, I think you’re good. I’m like okay good, because I kind of felt like I was but then you kind of, as a patient, don’t want to be ignoring something that’s obvious to other people. It’s like tell me what you think. I love that. Sometimes you need something dissolved. I had had my filler under my eyes done years ago. All of a sudden, I had these big bags under my eyes. I was like wow. I guess I need to get my eyes done. It’s that time, all of a sudden. Well, they figured out it was filler. It was old filler.
Oh my goodness.
It was like the color of your sweatshirt.
Sort of like having a green tinge or they said, something. I was like well, I’m having the darndest time trying to put makeup over this section. They said no, we need to dissolve that filler. It’s creepy.
That dissolve stuff works amazing.
I know. We did that twice over a two month period and I’m so happy, but I had no idea. I’m just thinking oh, shoot. I need to go get on the operating room table. But they were like no, no, no. Something’s not right and it sometimes happens to people. It’s coming up from who knows where, or had it come from my cheeks and migrated? I don’t know. But all I know was it looked bad and they were able to fix it, and I love that. I love the fact that they weren’t trying to solve it by doing more. They were taking it away.
When you were having your Halo with Khanh, what was it that you were trying to accomplish, I guess? What made you decide to do the Halo?
I mentioned earlier that I really like the sun, so I love the sun. Years of being in the sun, I always wear sunscreen, but sun damage stuff.
That’s me. I love it.
We like the sun.
I can’t help it. It feels good, but yeah, I try to keep it off my face.
I look like a glow worm right now with all these procedures, but I’m craving the sun at this point. I see Khanh, and my main thing was the pigmentation. I have really fine lines just from sun and smiling a lot and stuff like that, and so there’s things you can’t get with Botox, like around your orbital, really close to your lash line, things like that. For me I was kind of like I want as close as we can get to my eyeballs, you know what I’m saying? When I said that to Julia was like okay, yeah, definitely the Halo. They can get right up on it.
No wonder your eyes were almost swollen shut.
I was like just get right up on the lash line, to the hairs. But it’s true because when you put a little bit of makeup on, we do these things for our forehead and you treat all around your face, but if you can’t get your eyes it’s going to show. You’re going to look all beautiful and young and then it’s going to be like oh, something’s off around the eyeballs. Those were my two biggest things, I think. Then yeah, he told me about these metal contacts.
Yeah, you put in the eye shields.
Yeah, he was like okay, so we have two different options. You can wear the googles, which essentially they’re just like the tanning goggles, but they’re metal, to block the laser beams. He’s like but they do cover some of your skin. They kind of sit right around the outside of your eyes, so that area that I was talking about would be kind of covered by those glasses or goggles or whatever. I was like oh, and he was like the other option is these contacts. They’re made of this but they’re contacts, and I was like oh, they’re thinner, right? He’s like no they’re exactly these. They just go in your eye. I was like let’s do it. I just didn’t even question it, again, trust, and I just yeah, I let them put the numbing drops in my eyeballs and then these metal contacts, which were so nice, I have to say.
I was thinking they were going to be really freaky, and they were going to hurt or something. No. They were the comfiest and then you know, when you close your eyes you can still see the glow of the room, like the orange or the light or whatever. These things, apparently I had my eyes open because when he was about to go around my eyes he was like okay, shut your eyes. I was like they’re not shut? It literally just blacks out everything, like the whole room was just blacked out. I was like man, and then when he took them out I was like that was actually so much nicer with them on. It’s just very calming.
Yeah, they are weird looking, I think, on a patient, because it’s sort of like some futuristic movie, but to me, I’m like you. I’d be like oh, that looks kind of painful, but I guess these numbing drops are bomb.
You don’t even know that the things are there.
No, not at all. The laser, honestly, I had the numbing cream on, I did take the option they have to take medication. They give you, I believe it’s, I’m not even sure, a little cocktail of something, pain med and something to kind of relax you, and then the numbing cream, and I still was in pain with that laser.
Did you do the PRO-NOX, the laughing gas?
Oh, yeah, so then he handed me the laughing gas, and then I was still in pain with all of it.
Oh, wow. Okay.
I was still feeling it, especially just on the thinner parts of your face. I think my forehead hurt more, under my eyes definitely hurt. But they do the best they can with making you comfortable and as soon as it’s over you’re not hurting anymore. It’s not like a hurt. It’s like more annoying. I don’t know if you’ve ever had a tattoo. I have a lot of tattoos, so it’s kind of that constant scratching, kind of hot pencil feeling.
When you got home, let’s say, were you feeling hot still or uncomfortable?
No. Honestly, I went home and I just laid down and went to sleep, and just tried to rest as much as I could for the next two days. But it heals fast and like I said, your brain’s hijacked. I’m ready to do it again. I love it.
My next question was going to be would you do it again, so apparently that’s a yes.
One hundred percent. I’ve been recommending it to people. I’m like I know it sounds insane, but highly recommend.
You know, it’s a really great laser because it’s sort of that in the middle. I think when it first came out it was trying to be like the fractional laser but less intense, right? There’s the fractional C02 lasers and those can be pretty major. It was kind of trying to be something lighter. Well, the thing that we found with it is that they can really customize it, so it could be nice and super light if you wanted it that way, but they can really customize it and get it to be uber effective. I think Julia was saying almost every way that she does the treatment, you have about five days downtime, maybe a couple more, but it’s super predictable, good for almost every kind of skin. It’s the workhorse of the office, I feel like. It’s just one of those things that is really good for a lot of people at any age, and it can accomplish a lot of different things, which is really nice.
Exactly. Yeah, I heard it’s extremely safe. That was kind of my thing going into it before. I looked up a bunch of different lasers and that seemed to be talked about as one of the safest ones on the market because it scans your face and does these things. It knows the depth of what area to go deeper. I don’t even know. It has science all in its own little machine.
Science with a capital S.
Yes, all caps.
What was your post-op regimen after Halo? Did they have certain things they wanted you to do?
Oh my God. That was the worst, actually. That was the worst. They give you laser balm, which is just petroleum jelly. It’s literally the main ingredient. It is petroleum jelly. Okay, first of all, they cover you with that numbing cream so you’re all goopy from that, and then they wipe all that off. They come in, they do your laser, and then Dr. Khanh rubbed my whole face with that laser balm and he handed me this super high powered fan that was in a tube. You have a cool off period of like 30 minutes or 20 minutes or something. I don’t know. I was on drugs, so I have no clue.
That’s about right?
Yeah. You have to have a driver.
A little blower to cool your face down, yeah.
Yeah, and so he was like move that around on your face and just chill in here. We’ll be back to check on you. You’re already all goopy from the Aquaphor, and I mean, it’s in your hair, it’s in your ears. It was everywhere. I go home, I just kind of sleep. I don’t even worry about taking a shower. I just kind of let it be, whatever. You definitely have to have clean pillowcases, all that stuff. Everything clean. Don’t cuddle pets. I’m again, a super freak about healing, and so I didn’t let anybody touch my face. I only touched my face, my hands were clean, clean pillowcases almost every single night. Honestly that was the worst part for me was using those things throughout the whole healing time.
Was that about a week?
Whenever they see you back in the office that’s when they tell you if you can switch back to using your gentle stuff, and then you use gentle things that are pretty mineral based for another two weeks. Then you can switch back to if you were using Retin-A, Retinol, whatever at night. I use all the SkinMedica, which is another thing I absolutely love. We can get on all kinds of SkinMedica combos because I’m obsessed. It’s the best skin care line I’ve ever put my hands on.
Let’s shift over to the microneedling. Was the post-op care for that different?
They don’t give you laser balm. They still give you that Vanicream, that lighter stuff that you can use.
The last topic we’re going to get to is, because you brought up my favorite skin care line, and I love all the stuff we carry. We carry some wonderful things, but everybody knows I’m a total sucker for SkinMedica. What’s your can’t live without SkinMedica product?
Love the Aha Baha cleanser. It’s like a staple in my house. I’m 100% into the HA-5. I use that.
The hydrating, yeah.
I use that religiously. I literally get these every time I’m out. I’m going to leave here right now and I’m buying them so that I’m stocked up. They’re the best.
Do you want a secret?
Okay, here’s the secret. The secret is if you go onto our online store, shop.ljcsc.com, you go into the SkinMedica area and then you can have them put it on a subscription. If you say every 90 days or every 45 days or every 60 days, then it’s 20% off and it comes right to your door.
My God, I’m doing this.
We have our Glam Fam discount, which is 15% off, but on that SkinMedica site with the subscription, and they don’t do it on your first order, it’s on the next order.
Can you combine the Glam Fam and the SkinMedica or is it just one or the other?
It’s like a micro-site that’s run by SkinMedica, so they don’t let you combine our discounts. We already have, though, everything in that whole store is 10% off. That’s the highest they’ll let us go. Everything in there is 10% off, plus it has the whole category of all the SkinMedica products. What we carry in the office isn’t the whole line. There’s a whole bunch more stuff, but what I love is then it just comes to you automatically. You never run out, and the 20% off, and sometimes they have other little promos, like buy two of this and get one of those free. I mean, they have other things that they have in there, but that’s Monique’s hot tip.
Yeah. I love that. Everyone take that tip down.
They’re such good products, but they’re not cheap. It is an investment. It’s an investment in yourself, so to save five more percent on whatever you’re getting, and you know you’re going to get it anyway, then that’s the way to go.
I’m one of those people, I share almost everything I have. SkinMedica I don’t share at all. I’ll give people the tip. I’ll be like you should get SkinMedica, but if I’m on a trip and a girlfriend’s like oh, can I use some of that. I’m like so bummed to give her one pump of this. I’m like no, because it’s so pricey.
But it’s effective.
Yep, it works, and I’ve not had good skin my whole life, and so for me to get skin compliments now and those types of things, and it’s not because of Botox. It’s like wow, you have such nice skin. You have such clear skin, and I’m like SkinMedica. It’s all SkinMedica.
When you’re investing in your skin with the microneedling and with the Halo, it’s like why wouldn’t you? Cameron, our esthetician, says it’d be like going to the dentist and getting your teeth cleaned and then not flossing until the next time you go to your dentist. Of course you’ve got maintenance things, the things that you can do at home to make that last and really carry you through. Well, whatever they’re doing, like I said, you look amazing.
Oh, thank you. I’ve literally used all that SkinMedica stuff, so the Ulta Defense, those three were my combo, and then I recently saw Cameron after my Halo facial. They give you not a hydra-facial, but you see her.
Yeah, you get a special hydrating facial.
She was like I know you’ve been doing this skin care stuff since you were 28, 29, but now that you’re 32, I think it’s time for the big girl stuff. I was like ooh, yeah, spill it. I want to know what it is.
Well, if you look at her skin.
It’s amazing. She has such goals.
Unbelievable. The moment she tell me what to do, I’m like yes.
The TNS Advanced+ Serum?
Yep, so I just started on that.
You’ll love it.
Yeah, I’m already addicted.
I had let myself, not let myself but I had run out of it, and I work from home, so I’m not there everybody to grab it, and so I went about four or five weeks without it, and I saw a visible difference in a bad way after not being on it.
I was like whoa, that stuff is really working.
You can feel it.
Last question. What would you tell someone who’s listening who’s thinking about a procedure or maybe what advice you’d give them or maybe even how to look for a medical spa or provider?
First I would just say do it, 100%. Whatever you’re thinking about doing, go. Find somebody that you trust and you like, and just inquire. Just start talking about it. I would search La Jolla Cosmetic Surgery Center, and find them on Google, and call them and make an appointment. That’s how I would find my provider. No, but just research, really. I feel like talk to your friends, talk to people that you know that may do minor procedures, major procedures, anything, and just kind of get feedback, the more feedback the better. Personally I would rather hear everything from everybody and then make my overall decision off that. I think finding the person that kind of fits your style and listens to your goals you want to achieve with what you’re trying to do, and then kind of go from there. The internet’s a great place to start, and Instagram and all these places. There’s so many ways to get reviews now. I feel like back in the day it was really hard to hear.
Right. You didn’t know, and we’ve been serving our patients since we started in 1988. We just were cleaning out a closet and found these books, so we would send a paper survey out to our patients, and they’d write in and check boxes and write a little paragraph, and they’d send it back. Then we could black out the name, but we could photocopy it to show people while they were in the waiting room, here’s our reviews.
It’s so funny to see how far we’ve come to now be able to have over 8000 five-star reviews because it’s all in a computer thing that gets surveyed automatically, but it’s neat. We’ve got an Ultherapy seminar coming up and I was reading some of the things that our patients had to say about the Ultherapy treatment, and I thought wow. I just love the fact that as a prospective patient, you could be reading all these different reviews about somebody who’s had the procedure you’re having. People who are listening to this podcast are listening to you and your first person account of that procedure, and then reading what other people have to say, and it’s so helpful. Thank you again for coming.
Of course. Thank you so much for having me.
For everybody who’s listening, check the show notes for links and we’ll put links about each of the procedures that Autumn talked about, and how to look for a medical spa. We’ve got some different links on our website about how to choose your provider and anyway, thank you again.
Thank you so much.
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