Beauty Blogger Confession: I had Plastic Surgery. Kind Of.

So, this is a big confession. I had plastic surgery last week. Kind of. Well, a plastic surgeon cut on my face, though the last time I had this same thing done (a mole removal from my face), it was a family practice doc that did it, so does it still count? It sounds a bit more superficial and flakey (and makes for good copy) if I say it was plastic surgery I guess, but really I had a big, super obvious mole removed.

We all have things that we love and hate about our bodies. Those may (or may not) be the things that you liked or disliked growing up, and they may not be the same ones that anyone else would pick for you. We’re also all our own worst critics.

Growing up, I was definitely kind of awkward. After about age 12 I was very tall and skinny. A size zero at 5’9″ and definitely not coordinated. I was smart, and looking back I think I was definitely pretty, but more often than not I went to the high school dance with a group of girl friends and the one time that I had a date to my high school homecoming it was with a (still closeted) guy friend. I had a lot of insecurities!

When I started 15 Minute Beauty Fanatic at the age of 29, I still had many of those same insecurities, though they had grown up a bit. I was no longer a zero (thank goodness! I look and feel much better as an eight), and while I’m still not very coordinated I can walk a little more gracefully now. I’ve grown into my features a bit.

Ironically, blogging about my obsession with beauty products, made me feel much more comfortable about many of those insecurities, especially since I started showing my face on the blog. (I was incognito for my previous job, this was pre-summer 2009.) I used to think my nose was huge, my eyes were too big for my face, my lips too thin, etc. Maybe it’s writing publicly about beauty and letting everyone see (and comment, which yes, they do) all of those things. Maybe it is just being in my 30’s, I’m really not sure. But, those same features that I hated so much as a teen are now ones that I fully accept. They’re just me.

One thing that I wasn’t really comfortable with is the mole on the side of my nose. It’s been there as long as I can remember, but it has probably grown to 2-3x it’s previous “stable” size over the last 4 or 5 years, especially in the last 2 years. I feel like this mole is growing and changing on my face, and it truly made me start hiding from the camera. You can look in my iPhoto and notice that my head is frequently turned so it wouldn’t show to the camera. I was cropping pictures so it wouldn’t show up, and even worse, for the last couple of months I’ve been photoshopping it so it was less obvious. (It was still there, but I was making any light hitting it less bright so it was there, but not such a beacon of “look at me, the giant mole”.)

Basically, it was changing my behavior and I didn’t like that. Bring in the fact that I’ve had 2 body parts biopsied in the last 2 years (I’m not quite ready to talk about those episodes), and another growing entity on my body could be pre-cancerous too… yeah, I wanted it gone!

So, during a routine physical this fall, I asked my primary care doctor about it. I’d had a mole removed from the tip of my nose while in residency (in So Cal), and it wasn’t a big deal. My family practice doctor had done a punch biopsy, thrown in a stitch and that was it. I even removed my own stitch.

For this mole, my new internal medicine/pediatrics guy thought I needed a referral to plastics (I asked for derm, he refused and sent me to plastics). Why? My mole was at the size (about 6 mm across) that it was a pretty difficult removal. There was the possibility that the scar would be hard to hide. So, off to plastics I went.

So, after many scheduling issues (I’m busy, the surgeon was busy, and once the power went out for the surgical center on the day my mole removal was scheduled), last week I finally had my mole removed. The PA had talked about flaps and such in the office, but the surgeon thought I’d be a quick in and out under local. But, I still had to go to the OR to do it. Last week I spent about 30 minutes in one, with most of my face under surgical drapes, while they cut it off of my nose. I had 5 stitches, one of which was a deep, inside stitch with a dissolvable suture.

I was instructed to keep it out of water for about 48 hours, put bacitracin on it 2x a day, and the surgeon told me to cover it with a bandaid at work. He didn’t want strange ICU bacteria getting in there. On Monday I had my stitches taken out. In the close up of it to the right, it still has a little bit of swelling, and they took off a tiny scab when they removed the stitches. But overall, it looks really good! The incision was right into the curve of my nostril, so it should hide any scar very easily.

Scar Prevention Products
After my sutures were out, I was instructed to take care of the site a little differently, primarily for scar prevention.

To do:
• Massage the area 2-3 times a day for a few minutes.
Using a clean finger, push down and firmly move the whole side of my nose in little circles. You’re not rubbing, but really just moving the whole area around. And don’t press too hard, it’s about half the pressure you apply to help a bloody nose. This helps bring down swelling by promoting lymphatic drainage.

• Apply Vitamin E or a “good moisturizer” to the area.
I’ve opted for neither of those options, but instead for Kate Somerville, D-Scar. It has a bunch of other ingredients good for scars, so I have high hopes! I’ll update you on the progress later.

This is definitely true. I tell my patients (our ICU is the peds burn unit for the city) that the best way to prevent scarring (or at least minimize it) is to be a crazy sunscreen person for the first year after any insult. It’s true for my patient’s burns and it is true for my surgical scar.

I’m already a bit crazy with the sunscreen, but I’ll keep using my favorite sunscreens. First, my favorite Kiehl’s goes all over (I don’t even know how many times I’ve repurchased that stuff, it’s pretty amazing) and then if I’m heading outside with my daughter to play, I’ll be wiping a little of the Murad on my nose. That one has a lower SPF but is really meant for prominent areas like the nose, since it is a balm that will really stay put and I’ll be able to easily apply (and reapply) as needed. They both have the same active sunscreen ingredients (see below) and of course now that I’m writing this, I’m noticing the UVA II gap. Hmmm….

 photo uvrangetop.jpg
 photo avobenzone.jpg
 photo octisalate.jpg
 photo octocrylene.jpg

So, yes. I’ve confessed, to probably what is the closest I’ll ever get to real plastic surgery. My surgeon joked during my procedure that a lot of people “decide they need to be parted from their mole” and it was just my time. It’s been about 9 days now, and I admit it is strange to not see the bump in the mirror or to feel it on my nose at all. I doubt that I’ll ever have anything really done as I get older. I have good genes (you should see my mom, I’m lucky!) and I’m a sunscreen girl that doesn’t smoke. Beyond that, I’m busy earning every wrinkle I get. In the future though, look for more pictures of me looking to the left instead of the right!

Product Sent for Review
Note, 2 of the products mentioned were sent for review (I’ve purchased the Kiehl’s about 10 times, I’m not sure that it was ever sent from PR) and the medical procedure discussed was paid for by me.



  1. May 8, 2013 / 2:49 pm

    I totally believe that you need to do whatever you think is right to help you look and feel your best. And while I'm not a big advocate of plastic surgery, this is definitely not altering your overall face AND it's something that sounds like it will make you feel so much better in the long run! Congrats on the tough decision to do it and I'm glad you're feeling happy with the outcome.

  2. Anonymous
    May 8, 2013 / 3:19 pm

    Good for you! I've had Belotero for my dark circles and it changed my life. I truly believe anything that helps us feel our most beautiful and confident is beyond judgement (unless you pull a 10 procedure/forever frozen face kind of thing). Enjoy your new mole-free face!

  3. May 8, 2013 / 3:25 pm

    Congratulations to you! How awesome to be able to change something that made you feel insecure. I have the same mole, in the same place (you can see in the pictures I don't have my head turned to the other side, too)…and I know exactly how you felt. I have had mine as long as I can, remember, too. (My Dad had one in the same place, too. His GP wanted it removed because it was "suspicious." Lucky.) I dream about getting mine removed… It's the first thing I see in picture, the mirror, etc. But, I'm afraid insurance won't cover it's removal — and being a stay-at-home mom of three girls with a single income household I can't afford to pay 100% of the removal. Maybe I should just ask my PCP — it can't hurt to ask what can be done, right? I don't use the word "hate" often, but I hate this mole…

  4. May 8, 2013 / 3:42 pm

    I just started using that Kiehls and now for sure I'll continue. I didn't know about the Murad but it seems great. I burn very easily and never used sunscreen when young – it was invented yet. Yikes. I slather my baby boy up even if we go outside for 10 minutes.
    Great post because someone will read it that needs the courage to go through this and they'll see how easy it was for you.

  5. May 8, 2013 / 4:30 pm

    Well done you! it's important to eleminate anything that makes you feel negative about yourself.

  6. May 8, 2013 / 5:40 pm

    I think it's great you got it taken care of because out bothered you and had changed. My Mom had a skin cancer scare when I was a child so I grew up wearing tons of sunscreen (back when no one else was).
    It's funny, or sad how hard we are on ourselves. For the most part I am fine with my looks until I see a picture of myself. Then I sit there and point out all my flaws. But I'm trying to stop doing that because I don't want my daughter doing the same thing.

  7. May 8, 2013 / 9:14 pm

    That's awesome! Like others have said, I think we should do the things that make us feel like a million bucks.

    I'm interested in the scar prevention you've mentioned. Last year, I had parathyroid surgery. I've had friends in the past who have had thyroid surgery and their scars are barely noticeable. My surgeon told me explicitly no vitamin e or any other creams on it back when I had the surgery.

    It's almost a year later and this thing is still very visible. I'm tempted to say to heck with it and try that D-Scar you mention. It's all closed up so I can't see why it would make a difference.

  8. May 8, 2013 / 9:52 pm

    Oh honey. AS IF that qualifies as plastic surgery. :p It was a teeny little thang! It made you feel like a million bucks to have it removed so it paid for itself in that way…Ya live once, be happy!

  9. May 8, 2013 / 11:23 pm

    This is so helpful, thank you for sharing. I always thought you were the epitome of loveliness, and I commend your bravery for sharing this personal moment with us. : )

    I will be using these tips now, they are very timely because I just had surgery recently for breast cancer, and I will want to minimize the scars, it doesn't matter that most people will not see them. I have also shared my surgery story on my blog, and it has been very rewarding in terms of feedback and support : )

    Happy healing 🙂

  10. May 9, 2013 / 9:59 am

    Thanks for sharing this really personal post with us. I don't consider that plastic surgery though! haha

  11. May 9, 2013 / 12:19 pm

    I don't think that counts as "plastic surgery". If you had your nose completely altered that would be something totally different. Glad that you did it and it makes you feel more beautiful.

  12. Anonymous
    May 9, 2013 / 1:58 pm

    Good for you! I had a mole removed from the side of the face a few years ago, and I don't regret it. When I started draping my hair over it so it wouldn't be noticed I thought it was time for it to go.

  13. May 9, 2013 / 6:14 pm

    I am having something similar removed from the top of my forehead. Why not if it makes you feel better about yourself? I would agree with an earlier comment that I dont actually see this as plastic surgery, but I too will be concerned to avoid any scarring.

  14. Deb
    May 9, 2013 / 7:13 pm

    Good for you! Whether anyone considers this plastic surgery or not, the point is it's your face and your choice. And you did what was right for you. Nothing to feel the slightest bit of shame for, nor do you owe anyone an explanation. I had both my upper and lower eyelids done years ago. I had huge bags and overhanging lids. Hereditary. Some of my friends were horrified; stating over and over again that I didn't need plastic surgery. What a lot of people just don't seem to understand that's it your body, your choice, and if you're doing it for you because it bugs you, it's no one else's business! I am a firm advocate of plastic surgery and have more planned. It's for me and only me.

  15. May 9, 2013 / 11:19 pm

    I'm so happy for you! I had a weird skin thing/mole/tag sliced off my nose last year too and I love my nose so much more now!

  16. May 11, 2013 / 4:06 am

    Because it was deep and growing, besides just esthetic reasons, I believe you've done the right thing to be proactive for your health too.

  17. May 11, 2013 / 3:37 pm

    I had to comment because this post is wonderful and inspirational – it's definitely not plastic surgery and as long as you are happy with yourself, that's what matters. Life's too short for us to second guess our decisions.

  18. May 12, 2013 / 4:37 pm

    Thanks for posting this! I had some moles removed just a few days ago and I really identify your reasons for why you did it, and also how hard it is to get it scheduled! Thanks for the scar prevention tips. That's huge. Mine was done by a plastic surgeon so I guess that's plastic surgery but maybe that's not the point? I felt I needed it to make me look and therefore feel better. And I believe I deserve that, whatever you call it. 🙂

  19. May 20, 2013 / 12:22 am

    Great post, I have a mole on the bridge of my nose that I have been unhappy with recently, I've been thinking about having it removed but was concerned about scars so it's really helpful to see the before and after and of course the tips. thank you for posting this

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