BREAK TIME BOTOX
Botox has become a regular feature of many women’s beauty regimes. KATE HOLMQUIST looks at the Irish connection to the treatment
At Harvey Nichols in London you can buy tights and get Botox done in your lunch hour. In New York, people keep themselves topped up with treatments every three or four months at walk-in clinics.
Women have copped on that a handbag doesn’t make you look younger, but getting rid of the creases around your eyes does.
Either you agree with holding back the years through non-surgical cosmetic treatments, or you consider it sinful to tamper with nature, it’s your choice.
But so many people are quietly having injections of various kinds these days that unless they go for something silly, like trout lips or boobs like Jordan’s, nobody remarks upon it.
Botox gets rid of forehead wrinkles and crow’s feet by limiting the movement of a few well-chosen muscles around the eyes.
When it’s done well, people look 10 years younger. When it’s done badly, they look like robots, but then that’s a matter of taste.
Just look in the celebrity magazines and you’ll see plenty of frozen faces and eyebrows that lift so dramatically they can’t be natural, but some people like that look.
The Irish angle on Botox isn’t generally known. Not only did Allergan develop it in Ireland, where it is still manufactured and exported around the world, but the world’s foremost expert on Botox is an Irishwoman.
Dr Kate Coleman, an ophthalmic surgeon based at the Blackrock Clinic in Dublin, literally wrote the book on Botox.
In 2004, her teaching manual – Botulinum Toxin and Facial Rejuvenation – was the top selling medical textbook in the world. She has been injecting Botox cosmetically for two years – since 2005.
She discovered that Botox eliminates wrinkles in 1989, when she was using Botulinum Toxin A to treat patients with blepharospasm – facial tics in the muscle around the eye (technically known as dystonia). She noticed over time that when a patient had a tic in one eye and it was treated, the untreated
eye remained wrinkled, while the eye that was treated became wrinkle-free. She then started treating both eyes to balance out the face, then branched out into using Botox purely for cosmetic results.
“I really do think it’s an art,” says Coleman, who prefers a natural look with some mobility retained around the eyes. “It’s up to personal taste. I love loads of movement and no wrinkles, which is harder to achieve.
“The real skill is in the degree of movement you retain. But some younger people are happy to have their faces frozen and if they want to go to a practitioner who does that, then that’s their choice.”
Botox is one of a selection of treatments that can work well together.
While Botox eliminates wrinkles by stopping the muscle movement that forms them, Restylane fills in the deeper creases and folds in the forehead, beside the nose and around the mouth.
Such folds develop when the skin loses collagen due to damage by ultraviolet light and/or smoking. Restylane – the tradename for non-animal stabilised hyaluronic acid gel – replaces collagen when it is injected beneath the skin with a fine needle.
The result is instantaneous, and if you’ve seen those before and after pictures on the web – you can believe them.
Another increasingly popular treatment is Sculptra (polylactic acid) which is injected into the deepest layer of the skin and then massaged into the area vigorously by the patient for a few weeks. It’s ideal for people whose faces have become pinched and drawn from serious illness and weight loss, filling in hollow cheeks and lifting the jowls in the process.
It all works – if you can afford it. Prices for Botox range from about ¤250 for one “zone” of the face to ¤600 for the forehead and eye areas together.
Restylane costs ¤300-¤400 and Perlane, which is similar, about ¤500. Sculptra costs about ¤750 per treatment, requires three treatments, and lasts three and a half years.
Could this be where we get our Botox in the future?