It’s 15 years today since Botox was officially approved by the FDA for treating frown lines, but while millions of women have had the anti-ageing jab, far fewer will actually admit to it.
It’s not surprising when Botox is still such a taboo. The celebrity world is full of women who swear they’re 100% natural or those like Cameron Diaz who’ve tried it in the past then sworn off it because they didn’t like the results. And celebs who’ve spoken openly about using the line-freezing jab, like Courtney Cox, Simon Cowell and Katie Price , have come in for their fair share of stick for their efforts to hold back time.
Dr Jules Nabet , one of the top Botox doctors in the UK, is aware of how sensitive and secretive many clients are about having their faces injected with botulinum toxin to temporarily paralyse expression lines. It’s not uncommon for his patients – some of whom are high profile – to sneak in and out of his clinic unseen via the underground car park at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington where he’s based.
“My clientele includes models, actors and TV personalities, but I am in confidence with them,” he says. “However attitudes to Botox in general are changing and people don’t seem to think they need to hide the fact like they did 10 years ago.”
So if you’re already a Botox user or thinking about having your first injection, should you come clean or keep schtum? We asked two writers to give their view.
“Life’s too short to spend frowning. So I choose not to. I’ve had Botox injections on and off for the past 10 years and go through six-month cycles of being thrilled by my smooth forehead then horrified when the ‘creased leather bag’ look starts creeping back in. I could give up chocolate more easily than my Botox fix. And that really is saying something.
“I don’t see the point of fibbing about what I do. Firstly, it’s my job to try out things that work and then blab all about it. Secondly, I’m over 40 and it would be cheating to pretend this is how my face would look all by itself. It’s no big deal – I just see it as essential maintenance, like covering grey roots.
“Also, as a beauty journo I feel it’s my duty to be upfront about what works. It’s unfair to tell women they can maintain a wrinkle-free forehead forever with a cream. If you smile, frown or basically have a life, you’re going to develop expression lines and once you have them they’re only going to etch themselves progressively deeper into your face. If you’re happy with that, then fine. And if you’re not then Botox is a very effective way of getting rid of them. End of.
“I can also be open about the good and bad experiences I’ve had with needles. There’s no bad Botox, just bad practitioners. I’m lucky enough not to have had any real shockers but I remember the time I told a doctor I really, really didn’t want a Ming the Merciless expression. He took me at my word and left me with eyebrows flatter than then ‘meh’ emoji.
“One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that Botox on its own isn’t a magical cure-all, and it’s vital to treat your entire face holistically. I remember once lunching with a 50-something woman who’d had so much Botox her forehead was totally frozen, bar a half-centimetre frame all around her hairline which rippled furiously as she spoke. It was most distracting to see such a mismatch above and below the eyebrows.
“My best advice would be to find a doctor you trust and stick with them. I see the charming and talented Tapan Patel at the Phi Clinic , a great believer in ‘less is more’ who has the knack of smoothing the rough edges off time without sacrificing facial expression. There is no danger my kids won’t know when I’m annoyed with them, for instance.
“So happy 15th birthday Botox. I don’t mind the world knowing we’re going to be firm friends for the foreseeable future.”
Rose says: “I have Botox every two months, but nobody knows”
“I have a confession to make: I’m a secret Botox lover. Yes yes, I know I should just ‘fess up and own my smooth forehead in all its wrinkle-free glory, but I can’t quite bring myself to admit it.
“A few years ago, Botox was not something I would have considered. I’m a little squeamish, plus the thought of altering my face’s natural expressiveness seemed, quite frankly, absurd. But then two things happened to change my mind.
“Firstly, I turned 30, and the lines on my forehead suddenly seemed less like cute expressive lines and more like full blown wrinkles. Secondly, I moved to London, and it seemed like everyone around me was having the jabs. It was no longer such a big deal; it was just like having a rather expensive facial.
“The first time I plucked up the courage to have Botox was a disaster. The doctor injected my forehead willy-nilly, and, when the results began to show, I felt absurd. There was no movement whatsoever in my brow – no matter how hard I tried, my eyebrows just wouldn’t budge. I felt massively self-conscious for a couple of months, and a few times I felt people’s eyes flicker towards my forehead during conversation, and was sure they knew my secret.
“It was another year before I decided to try again, this time opting for ‘baby botox’ where smaller amounts are injected for a more natural result. I went to Dr Karen Orempuller at the Smilepod Clinic in Canary Wharf, who ensured I retained the use of my eyebrows.
“I’ve now been having it every couple of months – the downside is that the effect wears off more quickly. But having Baby Botox means that I’m able to keep my secret – and my facial expressions.
“Rationally, I know there’s nothing to be ashamed of in having the injections, but I guess part of me is embarrassed to admit being vain enough to splash out hundreds of pounds on treatments. I do think there’s still a stigma surrounding Botox, though I think this is changing – in a couple of years it will probably be seen as a the norm. And I’ll come clean then.”
via – Mirror.co.uk