An OWLS View: The Signs of Aging vs. The Times of Anti-Aging

Droopy eyelids, wrinkled or sun-damaged skin, and sunken cheeks don't help older law students look as alert or prepared  as they may be for an assignment or interview.  Signs of aging may be mistaken for evidence of being tired, hung over, out of shape, etc.  Many OWLS I know want to look their best for upcoming interviews.  Some older students choose to have cosmetic procedures to freshen up and believe it will make them more competitive in the job market.  At a recent law-school fund raiser, which included attorneys from the community, procedures such as peels, facials, and injections were among the most popular silent auction items.  I don't think it is a secret that successful women are expected to look good as they age.  Regardless of exercise, diet, cosmetics, and sun exposure, skin loses elasticity as we age. The “high road” may be to accept nature’s changes.  Admittedly, vanity may play a role, but some procedures may also benefit our professional and personal lives.  Thus, I told my family I wanted Botox for my birthday.  My husband and daughters ridiculed me-  they believed even considering a procedure like that was embarrassing and shameful.  While learning more about cosmetic procedures, I have discovered that it is a topic, like how much we earn, that people do not discuss.

Yet, millions of Americans spend considerable time and money on procedures such as injections, peels, and surgery to because they do not want to look old or tired. As a 3rd year law student, I do not have much time, money, or exposure to the tools people use to improve their skin’s appearance.  Although I feel like I have earned my wrinkles, I would rather be rid of them.  Whether addressing a prospective employer, jury, board meeting, or client, these procedures can improve how we appear and hence, how we are perceived. And, how others perceive us may affect our success as lawyers. 

The U.S. anti-aging market, is presently a $30 billion market. In the next three years, it is expect to grow to $70 billion and is now the fastest growing market in the U.S.  On what treatments are we spending our time and money? Keep reading and I'll tell you ...

Among the top ten reasons women undergo plastic surgery and facial rejuvenation:  1. Smooth facial wrinkles, 7. Remove bags from around the eye area; 9. Plump up lips, 10. Improve the appearance of sun-damaged skin

 The top five procedures for invasive and top five for non-invasive in 2006 were:  invasive- 4. Eyelid surgery;  non-invasive- 1. BOTOX® injections; 2. Chemical peels; 3. Hyaluronic acid injections; 5. Microdermabrasion (FN1)

Based on my internet research, here are common facial procedures, average cost, and time factors:


Full Facelift = $11,281

Cosmetic surgery to tighten loose facial skin and jowls, and lessen the appearance of wrinkles. Treats forehead to neck. A combination of a lower facelift, mid facelift, and brow lift (forehead lift). Recovery takes 2 weeks. Procedures in 2009- 103,625

Lower Facelift = $9840

Cosmetic surgery to eliminate jowls, targets lax skin on the neck and jaw line, address deep wrinkles, and raise the corners of the mouth. Treats lower third of face. Recovery takes 2 weeks.

Mini/Weekend Facelift = $5,707

Reduces sagging and droopiness. Modest improvements tightening in cheeks, jaw line, neck - addresses the jowls, early deepening of the facial creases, and minimal neck laxity. Treats cheeks, jaw line, neck- not forehead or brow. Recovery-5-10 days. Lasts 4-10 years

ThreadLift = $3749

Addresses sagging of underlying tissues of the cheek and jaw line by threading 4-to-12 barbed sutures into the skin and deeper soft tissues. The non-absorbable threads stay within the deep tissues and provide support. Treats cheeks, jaw line and neck. No talking first 24 hours, movement limited first 2 weeks. Lasts 2-5 years.

Thermage =  $2728

Tightens and tones sagging facial and neck skin. Non-invasive radiofrequency energy. Uses a measured amount of radiofrequency energy to gently heat the collagen on the underside of your skin. To stimulate skin tightening and wrinkle softening. No downtime. Up to 6 months to see results. Lasts about 18 months. Maintenance treatments necessary. Procedures- over 400,000.

Ablative Skin Treatments: Removes top layer of skin (epidermis) with lasers, chemicals, or controlled surgical scraping. Improves wrinkles, acne scars, and overall skin texture. Longer healing time.

Laser Resurfacing/CO2 laser  = $2366

A carbon dioxide laser that removes skin layers by vaporization rather than with chemicals or a sanding device. Treats wrinkles, blotchiness or age spots, and scars from acne or other causes. It can be used on the entire face or specific areas.

Fractional Lasers = $4,000

Ablate smaller portions of surface skin than traditional ablative lasers. For treatment of blotchy pigmentation,very fine lines, moderate to deep acne scarring. Single treatment- significant downtime (7-10 days)

Chemical Peels = $1,200

The deepest- used only on face-- designed to correct blotchy skin caused by sun exposure, birth-control pills, as well as to smooth out coarse wrinkles and to remove pre-cancerous growths.  TCA PEEL $337 (trichloroacetic acid) peels medium-skin-depth treatments. help with sun damage, facial wrinkles, uneven skin tone, and pigment abnormalities. Downtime up to 1 week.

Non-Ablative Resurfacing: Lasers that heat the layers of skin beneath the surface to promote collagen growth and skin repair without removing the top layer of skin (epidermis).

Fraxel Restore/Repair = $850-$1500 per treatment

For skin texture, mild tightening, mild to moderate wrinkle reduction.  Performed in a series with minimal downtime. Can go very deep into the dermis and promote new collagen production to plump acne scars.  Takes multiple treatments 5-6 weeks apart and 6 months to see the final result. Believed superior to older laser resurfacing technologies and Intense Pulsed Light, such as Fotofacial at revitalizing the skin.

Intense Pulsed Light Laser = $758

Treats sun damage, wrinkles, stretch marks, and age spots IPL laser hair removal can achieve hair reduction for darkly pigmented hair follicles. Takes 4-8 treatments. Procedures in 2009- 429,734.

Hyaluronic Acid Injectibles (temporary fillers): Natural component of the body between the skin cells that binds moisture, increases elasticity, and provides fullness. These fillers are used to plump lips, fill facial lines, nasolabial fold, fill in acne scar depressions, and other signs of aging. Lasts 6 months for lips, 9 months for folds. Procedures in 2009- 1,209,217.

  • Restylane = $685
  • Juvederm = $748

Semi-Permanent & Permanent Injectibles: To correct deeper facial creases and restore volume in large areas.  Injected deep within the soft tissue.

Radiesse = $1023

(Radiance)- a white, paste-like suspension of calcium hydroxylapetite FDA approved to treat nasolabial folds. Also used off label to add volume to the cheeks- meant to stimulate the body to produce additional collagen. Lasts 12-18 months. Procedures in 2009: 192,053.

Sculptra = $1988

(NewFill) FDA approved for aesthetic use on facial wrinkles, originally created to treat lipoatrophy in HIV patients.  Lasts up to 2 years, but may have a more permanent result by promoting new collagen production even after it has been absorbed by the body.  Procedures in 2009 — 85,883.

Fat Injections = $4,552

Injection of your own fat to various areas of the body to increase volume. Can be used on lips or facial wrinkles and facial folds. Can also help reduce the appearance of acne scars. Procedures in 2009 — 50,598.

Eyelid Surgeries: To get rid of drooping eyelids, puffy bags and dark under eye
circles. Upper eyelid surgery and lower eyelid surgery procedures are often performed separately. Return to work 2 weeks, Normal activity 3-4 weeks. Procedures in 2009 — 203,309.

Blepharoplasty = $4,112 (about $2500 per upper eye, $3000 for lower eye)

Botox = $474 (or $200 - $300 per area) and Dysport $443

Relaxes facial muscles to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles.  Treats existing facial lines caused by repetitive muscle movement, prevents new lines from forming. Injected in Glabella (region between eyebrows), Forehead, Outer corners of eyes (crow's feet), Either side of mid-chin, for down-turned mouth, Neck, for neck bands or visible chords. No down time- takes about a week, Lasts 3-5 months. Procedures in 2009 — 4,795,357.

Chemical Peels: Can help adult acne blemishes, wrinkles, and sun-damage, remove pre-cancerous skin growths or to soften acne scars. Concentrations
vary and are selected based on skin condition.  Procedures in 2009 – 1,142,949.

Glycolic Acid Peel $262 (or alpha hydroxy acid peel)

Superficial chemical peel that removes top layer of skin. Triggers the production of new collagen and elastin and erases fine lines and wrinkles, evens out skin discoloration, and improves skin texture.

Salicylic Peel $116 (beta hydroxy acid (BHA) Jessner’s Peel

Can diminish acne, smooth sun-damaged skin, and lighten age spots. Used for blemish-prone skin with blackheads or whiteheads. To treat acne and hyperpigmentation.

Dermabrasion: Cost = $1,446.  Not microdermabrasion. Small, rapidly spinning wheel with a roughened surface similar to fine-grained sandpaper is used to remove the upper layers of your skin. For scars, wrinkles, pigmentation, and pre-cancerous lesions. Procedures in 2009- 63,764.

MicroDermabrasion: Exfoliates skin to lessen mild sun damage, scars, and wrinkles, stimulates cell turnover, improves skin tone, and treats acne scars. Discomfort and downtime minimal. Procedures in 2009 - 910,168.



Lots of info—had no idea this was such a lucrative industry! Makes me wonder about our priorities and vanities—in some cases I’m sure the effect is worth the expense, but I wonder if that is in the majority or minority of cases…


You raise an interesting question about “our priorities and values” - whose priorities and values-  the individual seeking treatment, the legal professions’ or society’s in general? 

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