How do Hollywood celebrities save face during a recession?

Take it from me, Hollywood celebrities do not skimp -- even in these harsh, recessionary times – on their beauty regimens.

But before you scoff, these stars are not alone. Among average women age 35 to 44 who were surveyed for a recent study, 41% are cutting child care and grocery costs. But they're reportedly not giving up their face-saving dermatologist appointments, according to "The Economic Impact on America's Skin Care Habits," which was sponsored by a company that develops and sells skin health products for the dermatology, plastic surgery and other aesthetic markets

Looking young when jobs are being cut is a good career move. But right now most women are not going in for expensive $30,000-and-up surgical face lifts. Instead, they're opting for less expensive, less noticeable and shorter down-time facial rejuvenation technology beloved by the Just Redo It Generation: what some in the business call "the four re's" -- relax (Botox), refill (fillers), resurface (Fraxel) and re-drape (Thermage)

Well, I'm just as vain as the next baby boomer. Probably worse. Because I constantly have to stand next to these stunning, ageless Hollywood beauties -- like Demi Moore, Sharon Stone and Michelle Pfeiffer  -- who probably get age-fighting treatments on a regular basis.

Although I've been cutting back on my DirecTV programming (sorry, HBO) and have started washing my own car and grooming my own dogs (all four of them), I have been seriously thinking about fighting Father Time a bit harder this year.

So after saving up my meager ducats, I went in for one of Hollywood's hottest high-def assists: the Thermage face-tightening routine, performed by Dr. Joshua Wieder at his UCLA Medical Center offices in Westwood.

Wieder did my first Thermage back in 2005, back when the experience was a LOT less comfortable than it is now. I loved the effect, but I was way overdue for another one. And I was pleasantly surprised by how much Thermage has improved (much less discomfort!) in the last few years. 

But I'll let the doc explain the whole new and improved Thermage shebang on these videos.  In the first one, Wieder talks about the latest technology and the combo of Fraxel and Thermage. In the second, we discuss the pain threshold and age range of most of his Thermage patients. We also talk about the effect of the heat on the collagen and how long the Thermage results take to kick in -- and how long the results last.

You can see for yourself how painless it is. And you get a scary "Fantastic Voyage" view of the inside of my nostrils. Is that Raquel Welch in there?

As for meds, two Tylenol prior to the procedure.

Check back with me in six months when my face has "peaked."

Oh, if you're wondering about that strange Maori tattoo grid on my face and neck, that's applied in the beginning to help guide the doctor doing the Thermage. And it washes off easily. Thank God.

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Video: nurse Ann Zeller