Find out how Elaine got on with her Lower Face and Neck Lift at The Harley Street Skin ClinicThe team here at Harley Street Skin are proud to be in the happiness business - at least, it feels that way. After all, smiles all round is exactly what we're aiming for.
We've reconnected with one of our patients, the glowing Elaine Stoddart, to discuss how she got on with her Lower Face & Neck Lift. Here's what Elaine had to say about her experience with Harley Street Skin...
There were a few moments that definitely set the wheels in motion, yes. [laughs]
I've always found that there is a certain amount of authority that comes with looking good - it breeds confidence that helps you make your voice heard, you know? I know it sounds a little shallow, but people take notice of you. The older I got, the more self-conscious I felt, so my presence and confidence really took a hit.
It began to affect my life in ways that, in my youth, I wouldn't have thought twice about. People just stopped paying attention to me; I stopped standing up straight - I even found it was difficult to flag down cabs.
The one that stays with me in particular, though, was when I was out for a friend's birthday. I went to the bar to get our drinks, and I must have stood there for 20 minutes. The barman served everyone else around me as if I were invisible. It was so embarrassing. I knew then I had to do something.
I felt that my neck was extremely ageing. It had become something that I felt wouldn't have been out of place on a really elderly woman.
I would only ever to wear my down and feathered to the front. I'd avoid sitting side-on - I would even hoist up my neck with my hands as if really intently listening to someone as they spoke. Anything I could do to hide the wobbly skin. When winter and scarf-weather rolled around, I was in my element. I had to be hyper aware all the time, and could never feel fully comfortable.
Blissfully happy and astonished. I feel better than I have in decades. For that feeling, it was worth every penny.
Sometimes you hear of something and it's like a light goes on. That's exactly what happened to me when I heard about the 'Return to Me' programme.
It's essentially a programme designed for women of a certain age who are looking for ways to turn back the clock - not change themselves, or distort any of their features in a quest to look young. It is specifically all about restoration. When I heard that, all of my Joan Rivers worries were immediately out of the window. [laughs]
I decided to do the whole thing using what they call 'twilight sedation'. That basically means that you're technically conscious - but very relaxed - throughout the procedure, but you're also able to avoid an overnight hospital stay.
I was quite nervous beforehand, but I needn't have been. It was a walk in the park compared to any experience I've ever had with general anesthetic.
The procedure took about five hours to complete, but I was having a fabulous time, floating around in this bizarre dream-like state. I have honestly had worse trips to the dentist.
Shopping used to be a complete fiasco that would leave me close to tears. Even polo necks couldn't hide my neck - the skin would just brim over - it was awful. I didn't feel that there was any point to shopping for myself, as if I wasn't worthy of wearing what I wanted anymore.
Recently, though, I've really started to enjoy it again. I even managed to find myself a few floaty dresses from shops I previously wouldn't have even bothered entering at my age.
It was also so refreshing to not need to pile on the makeup to feel presentable again. I ended up, completely by accident, going to do a whole food shop without a scrap of makeup on and it was so liberating.
I haven't felt that uninhibited in years.
I was someone that never once even considered surgery - always thought 'not for me'. 'I want to grow old gracefully - not wind up looking like Joan Rivers'. I just got to a stage where I felt quite helpless, to be honest.
I suppose I would say: if you are lucky enough to feel unwaveringly confident in yourself, then I salute you - of course - but if you aren't, it's just not worth staying that unhappy when there is help available. You really don't need to compromise how you feel - this treatment has taught me that.
I remember feeling like my time had come and gone - like I'd surrendered and this was just what I looked like now.
I'm so glad that I fought back because I had no idea that I was capable of feeling this fantastic again. The difference in how I feel now is nothing short of polar opposite.
People can hardly believe it when I say I'm in my sixties!
I would, yes.
Knowing what I know now, if in the future I began struggling again, I would feel 100% comfortable talking to Lesley again. She was very empathetic and knew exactly what I was going through.
I found the 'Return to Me' wellness programme to be a total lifeline, and it was empowering to feel that other women were struggling with similar issues. It's done me the absolute world of good.
If I'd have known about the programme sooner, I may not have invested in so many scarves…
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