There’s definitely no denying, the B word has definitely been a talking point of late, not just in the media, but within my close circle of friends too. Would you? Wouldn’t you? Have you? Has she? I promise it’s not as ‘Real Housewives of Cheshire’ as it sounds… But whilst I’m only 28, the reality is that the constant stream of late nights, binge drinking (sorry Mum) and falling asleep with a full face of makeup on, are all starting to show their effects.
As a Beauty Editor of many years, the idea of having botox isn’t as scary to me as it might be for the average 28-year-old. Yes, I’ve seen some horrific frozen, shiny and completely inappropriate botched jobs, but I’ve also seen amazing results. The key? Getting a practitioner that knows what they’re doing.
For me, the main area of concern is my forehead, which I’m told by all the greatest in injectables, to be the most common for those under thirty. After too many holiday sunburns, and recognising that I speak with very expressive eyebrows, the fine faint lines horizontally across my forehead have become much more prominent. So, in the name of beauty journalism I decided to give botox a try, here’s what I learnt…
1. Age doesn’t really matter
I needed very little convincing before making my way down to the Cadogan Clinic, one of the very best locations in London (might I add) to speak to Nurse Libbie Wallace, a master in her field. After filling in a short consultation form, Nurse Libbie asks me how old I am. After replying 28, she chuckles a little, but continues… I’m not the youngest client she’s had walk through the door, but she does tell me that she would only ever treat those that actually can benefit from the treatment, ‘It’s important that I manage patients expectations’.
So what is the ideal age for botox? ‘There is no recommended age’, Wallace says, and Victoria Spyrou, the injectables expert at EF MediSpa agrees, ‘The recommended age differs because everyone’s muscles present differently. If someone at the age of 21 has visible dynamic lines that are causing a problem, then I will treat that person, however, if another 21-year-old comes in without any visible lines – I would decline to treat them.’
Most experts agree that Botox can also be a preventative measure for some younger clients, ‘It preserves the skin and stops lines developing,’ explains Spyrou. ‘Botox softens and temporarily freezes the muscles, which means the treated area will stay flat. If you can’t physically frown, then over time, the line will smooth out.’ That being said, there’s a lack information about the long term effects of starting botox at a younger age. “The long term safety data in these treatments is usually focussed on older individuals.” Says Dr. Justine Hextall, Consultant Dermatologist on behalf of The Harley Medical Group. So as with most cosmetic procedures, there are risks.
2. The dosage will vary, person-to-person
After relaying to Nurse Libbie that I didn’t want it to look ‘too frozen’, she agrees to give me 10 units across my forehead, and 15 in the centre of my frown- the average dose is between 10-25 units. I lay down across the bed in her treatment room and as she preps the solution, I’m asked to frown and raise my brows. As I do so she inserts the needle, and a tiny dose of botox by Allergen is inserted across six points of my forehead and in between my eyebrows.
3. Yes, it hurts a bit
Well, like you’re being injected in your forehead, there’s no two ways about it. Slightly stingy, but fast and sharp. Immediately after Nurse Libbie dabs away at my forehead clearing up any blood…this makes me feel a little bit squeamish.
4. Exercising straight afterwards is a no-no
She advises me that there are many conspiracies around botox- staying up right for more than two hours, is false for starters. ‘The solution takes 20 minutes to settle in your muscles, so I do advise you to stay upright for then, any longer wont make a difference’. She does however advise me not to undertake exercise that’s too strenuous or hot following the treatment (fine by me) and to carefully wash my face when I get home, not scrubbing or rubbing too hard.
5. A little bruising is common
Post treatment I was a left a little red and blotchy, so I cancelled any meetings I had straight after. Although the redness soon faded I was left with a few tiny pin prick points. I am told that bruising is common, but it all depends on how sensitive your skin is. I was also left with a slight headache, almost like I’d been wearing a swim cap for a few days. This too didn’t last longer than a few hours, and wasn’t anything that two paracetamol couldn’t fix. If you do experience a headache for longer than 48 hours, or any other symptoms like nausea or visual disturbances (although rare) you are advised to contact your practitioner.
6. It takes 3-5 days to see a difference
Another myth I’m told about botox is that the results are immediate. They’re not.
‘You’ll start to see an effect after 3-5 days’, instructs cosmetic doctor Rita Rakus, ‘however it may take two weeks for maximum results to kick in’. For me, my forehead had less movement after day three, but it wasn’t until a full week after the treatment that it felt completely immobile. It’s definitely a strange sensation as you go to lift your brows…but nothing moves.
7. Your mum will notice, your boyfriend probably won’t
The best reaction came from my mum, who is always honest. She isn’t afraid to tell me I look tired, pale or spotty, but when I saw her after my treatment she couldn’t have been more complimentary. After confiding in her that I had botox she yelped and said, ‘Wow you did really need it, now you look so fresh, like you’ve had a month of great sleep’. Thanks mum.
My boyfriend on the other hand didn’t really noticed…a few more complements from him, perhaps than usual, but that was exactly the reaction I was after. I only wanted to look like me, just refreshed. Test passed!
8. The effects will last around 3-5 months
After care from the experts was pretty simple and didn’t require anything too strenuous. To keep results looking optimum I’m told to avoid things such as smoking, excess alcohol, sun exposure and getting stressed – which can all help break down collagen faster, decreasing the longevity of Botox. ‘I always recommend that my clients use a daily antioxidant topical serum and an SPF 50 too,’ advises Spyrou.
Results I’m told should last anywhere between three and five months, this is dependent on muscle strength, metabolism and lifestyle too.
9. Botox costs can vary, but always do your research
Although botox is now more widely available than ever before, it’s so important you see a qualified, experienced expert, even if they are more expensive. Yes, there are some clinics that will charge you super-low prices, but remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Before booking into the Cadogen Clinic I read countless positive reviews on Facebook and Google, yes at around £300 it might not have been the cheapest, but I knew I was in safe hands. Be smart and do your research people, after all, this is your face, you don’t want f*ck it up.
Treatments start at £295 with Nurse Libbie Wallace at the Cadogan Clinic, for more information visit www.cadoganclinic.com.
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