Breakfast host on The Hits, columnist for nzherald.co.nz Life & Style.

Polly Gillespie: The beauty treatment that left me housebound

I should have predicted that what may cause minor swelling for some people would be extreme swelling for me. Photo / Supplied
I should have predicted that what may cause minor swelling for some people would be extreme swelling for me. Photo / Supplied

I suspect I need to be more careful when selecting beauty procedures.

I was fortunate enough to be offered a treatment that gets rid of red veins and freckles on the face. Part of the reason I wear foundation every day is because I don't like the little red spider veins I've got from being a good Kiwi lass who goes out for brisk walks in howling southerlies, hits the beach a little too often and ... is getting older. I thought the idea of having them zapped away seemed brilliant.

I may have underestimated the immediate collateral damage.

I was told there might be a little swelling, but I had no idea I would end up looking like a caricature of myself.

I quite possibly should not leave the house for a week, or two.

There is always a proviso given on almost everything, whether it's a medicine or a procedure:

"Ten per cent of people will suffer adverse effects. Blah blah blah..."

I am invariably part of the 10 per cent. If there is going to be an extreme or violent reaction to anything, I'm your girl. Therefore, I should have predicted that what may cause minor swelling for some people would be extreme swelling for me.

"It doesn't look that bad," said my kind and loving partner (liar).

"No. I didn't even notice, Mum," said my eighteen -year-old son not looking up from his game of Call of Duty he was playing on the computer (bad liar).

I do think when you can't see out of your right eye properly because your eyelid is so fat it is a rather extreme reaction.

To type this on my iPad I have to close my right eye and tilt my head down on a precarious angle. Being someone who likes an easy fix, I've Googled remedies and they all seem to suggest ice - the cold stuff, not the drug stuff.

I've been icing my face for the past two days but it's not getting better. In fact, it's getting worse. Yesterday all the puff was in my cheeks where I was zapped. This morning it looks like I've been crying solidly for a month and had an allergic reaction to pineapple.

I was hoping there was a drug available called "Fat face be gone" or "De-puff". Sadly, there isn't.

In the pursuit of personal perfection some of us will give anything a go. I take complete liability. I vainly want Nicole Kidman's skin. Actually, the nicest skin I've ever encountered is Cate Blanchett's. I was so mesmerised by her luminescent appearance that I almost forgot to interview her. (Why, whenever I hear the word luminescent, or luminous, do I imagine Suzanne Paul and her "luminous spheres"?). Cate Blanchett and Nicole Kidman both have ridiculously beautiful, luminous skin, and I want it. They also have perfect, willowy figures but that takes genes and discipline. Yeah ... nah.

So I'm stuck indoors dreading having to go and visit my mum. I love my mum, but having to go out in public will be excruciating. I had to dash in to town yesterday to pick up a corsage for a school formal. As I barged in to the flower shop, head bent, I felt it necessary to blurt out:

"I'm sorry about my face! It's been laser zapped. I'm so sorry that I look even stranger than usual!"

Is it worth it? I don't know yet. I'm living in a constant anxious state right now, almost convincing myself that it's permanent. I wonder though if I'll eventually forget this state of extreme puffiness, half blindness, and paralysing anxiety and opt to do it again. It may in fact miraculously turn me in to Cate Blanchett. THAT would be worth hundreds of days spent looking out one eye and avoiding humans at all costs.

Wish me luck. I am a vain and silly woman.

- NZME.

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Breakfast host on The Hits, columnist for nzherald.co.nz Life & Style.

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