About Face

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Kim Hess is ready for anything. Except looking older than she feels. Hess, a third-grade teacher in South-Western City Schools, derives a lot of energy from her students. And it showed when, while waiting to have a couple of cosmetic procedures performed, Hess was more excited than nervous. "I don't really know what to expect," she said. "I just thought I'd try it and see."

The 55-year-old's hope was simply to lessen some of the lines around her smile and come away with a refreshed look-nothing dramatic.

"I've always sort of been curious about it," Hess explained. "I'm not interested in looking like I'm 25, because I'm not 25. But if I can sort of transition into getting older in a way that I'm going to look a little bit better, then I'm all for that-as long as it's healthy and not terribly painful."

Ads and interviews she saw initially piqued her interest in cosmetic procedures, and she found out more when she broached the subject with friends.

"Probably a lot more people have had it done than what you realize. Because it's not something you sit around and think about talking to someone about, at least in my circle of friends," said Hess, an Upper Arlington mother of three twentysomethings.

Just a few weeks after a consultation appointment with Dr. Carol Clinton, Hess returned for a Friday treatment of the works: Botox, Juvederm, a laser-light treatment and a chemical peel. While the doctor was prepping, Hess joked about slathering on baby oil and laying out in the sun as a teenager, "before we knew."

Immediately after her treatment, Hess raved about the difference; she also experienced nearly invisible side effects: "I went out the whole weekend and nobody even noticed." Days later, she was feeling good and looking even better. The actual effects received some attention from friends, and her perceptive third-graders picked up on the fact that something was different, too.

"I don't think it's really anything really dramatic, because I'm not having people go, 'What did you do?' " Hess said. And that's what she wanted. "Most importantly, I can see the difference," she added, "and I really like it."

Picking & Choosing

After a bit of research and chatting with friends, Hess came to Clinton, a family friend who operates Timeless Skin Solutions in Dublin.

Clinton, who's been practicing since 1990, lists those both young and old, local and out-of-state among her clients. Her services include everything from laser hair removal to anti-aging injectables.

During her preliminary consultation, Hess explained her own concerns and Clinton suggested solutions, including a facial filler called Juvederm to raise the lines around her mouth and a bit of Botox Cosmetic to treat her crow's feet.

She also suggested intense pulsed light therapy, which treats sun spots and skin discoloration through quick bursts of a laser, along with a chemical peel to exfoliate Hess' skin.

Hess agreed to the plan, and scheduled an all-in-one appointment for the following Friday, giving her the weekend to recoup. (That wouldn't be necessary, as it turned out.)

The Procedure

Hess' half-hour treatment went picture-perfect. At one point, while lying on the private room's elevated, coverlet-draped bed, she said, "I feel like I could fall asleep."

Armed with ice packs, needles and a laser-light tool that required everyone in the room to wear special glasses, Clinton moved quickly and calmly while chatting with Hess.

Afterward, Hess looked in a mirror and marveled. To her delight, the lines around her nose and mouth were obviously lessened almost immediately.

After Effects

Clinton sent her patient home with SkinMedica's Hyperpigmentation System of cleansers, toners and moisturizers, designed to improve signs of aging. Hess left with instructions to relax and ice any swelling.

To ensure a lasting look and address additional concerns, Clinton's office recommends follow-up treatments. Two weeks after her procedure, Hess said she'll consider it.

"I do think the changes around my nose and eyes are noticeable enough, but they're very natural looking," Hess said. "I definitely would consider doing something else down the road."


Kim Hess' treatments totaled roughly $3,700 (including skin-care items costing about $550). Here's a breakdown:

  • Juvederm, $2,000

    An injectable gel that fills in wrinkles and folds in the face, or that can be used to enhance lips or fill in acne pock marks. Results are immediate, and follow-up treatments are suggested every six to nine months.

  • Botox Cosmetic, $680

    This medication is injected in small amounts to lessen frown lines and other facial and neck wrinkles by relaxing muscles in those isolated areas. The product takes effect in a week or 10 days and should typically be re-administered every three or four months.

  • Intense Pulsed Light, $300

    A laser treatment that takes care of hyperpigmentation and age or sun spots and can be done as needed.

  • Chemical Peel, $200

    Alpha and beta hydroxy peels can be formulated for an individual. The procedure exfoliates skin, treats fine lines and sun damage, and promotes cell turnover. Improvement can be seen after one peel and is repeated as needed.