Bo­tox has be­come a reg­u­lar fea­ture of many women’s beauty regimes. KATE HOLMQUIST looks at the Ir­ish con­nec­tion to the treat­ment

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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?

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