Happy U-turn on Botox and Dermal Fillers
By India Knight, Sunday Times correspondent
India writes about her change in attitude to age intervention treatments such as botox and dermal fillers since reaching the age of 40. She previously wrote articles on the evils of botox and plastic surgery, deploring any kind of procedure aimed at concealing the inescapable fact we are getting older.
So how do we avoid going down the slippery slope of age intervention treatments? Is any intervention “crossing a psychological frontier into another country”, You could be losing a few lines; the next, you have a face like a balloon stretched over a melon!
Why does public perception that lines and grey hair turn men into “silver foxes” and women into grizzled hags? It’s not difficult to construct an argument in favour of growing old gracefully and thus against any kind of cosmetic procedure, surgical or otherwise (and, by extension, against hair dye and eyebrow tweezing). It’s rather trickier to come out praising such procedures but praise them I do, to the skies.
India, noticed, that her was looking grumpier and grumpier. So she informed myself and eventually went off, with some trepidation, to a private Skin clinic with a medical reputation.
As the doctor sat studying here grumpy face, she explained that she disapproved of Botox and was only on a sort of investigation. Quite right, he said. He said however what he would do to achieve the best result.
It took her about 45 seconds to decide that I wanted the Botox and that I wanted it right now. He did his thing – lots of tiny pricks rather than two or three big ones is the idea. She jumped out of bed every morning for a week to stare in the mirror and try to frown. The frown became slighter each day and after a week I’d stopped looking permanently cross. Result!
I could still wiggle my eyebrows, or raise them, or look furious – but only when I wanted to look furious. And, sure enough, lots of people since have told me how “well” I look. Not one had asked if I’d had “work” (I guess the cat’s out of the bag now). I showed some girlfriends who had screamed with horror when I’d first mentioned Botox and begged me not to do it and even they conceded that perhaps it wasn’t such a terrible idea.
Middle-aged women like India, who don’t fancy anything extreme and have no desire to compete with pert twentysomethings, but who nevertheless would rather not look like they’re about to knock someone out with a swift left hook or who don’t fancy brow cleavage – that stubborn line that lodges itself between the eyes – or who, while resisting the idea of being as smooth as a blancmange, aren’t really crazy about having jowls at the age of 38.
I don’t think feeling demoralised by jowls makes you insanely vain, or self-hating, or part of the conspiracy to make women feel ugly and inadequate: I just think it means you don’t like jowls. And why should you? They’re not nice.
Botox and fillers now comes under the category of hair dye, tooth-whitening toothpaste and waxing. India said she could wander about looking like some kind of angry badger, with huge grey streaks, stained teeth and goatlike legs, but whom exactly would she be pleasing? What would she be achieving and who for?
If India did “crossed the psychological frontier into another country”, it’s one that she recommend. She said ‘go for it’. If you have horrible teeth, get them sorted. If you have dreadful skin, get it seen to. If you feel that you’re rather more prune than plum and it bothers you, go and see somebody about it. You have nothing to lose but your decrepitude and nothing to be embarrassed about whatsoever. Normal people have “work” done, too. And no, it doesn’t hurt.