Botox® : – “is a medicine which can only be prescribed by a doctor or dentist. It is made from a purified type of neurotoxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. It temporarily prevents the release of acetylcholine from sympathetic nerve terminals.”
Medical explanations aside… if your idea of “Botoxed” people include Cliff Richard looking like he has been whacked with a flying evangelist, Lulu, (who long since ceased to have any facial expressions at all) or heaven forbid, Jackie Stallone (who – lets face it must have had everything going 15 times over) …then think again! City Guinea has bravely entered the realms of the unknown on your behalf to discover the myths and facts behind the Botox revolution.
Years of holidays in the sun, the dreaded cigs (now thankfully forsaken) and a substantial amount of alcohol followed by more late nights than a gal can shake a stick at, had sadly manifested itself in a physical way and the odd “you look much younger than your age” comments were starting to seem hollow with the purchase of the magnifying mirror I now require to put on my make up, when I discovered the horrible and wrinkled truth staring me squarely in the err…face.
So when WATC asked – nay, practically begged – me to join the City Guinea crew I felt obliged to forsake any fears or concerns and in the interests of investigative journalism made my way to Advance Dental based in Liverpool Street.
I expected a swanky “up-market” (hand over loads of money so we can be swankier) kind of establishment with po-faced staff all looking down their perfect (and possibly plastic) noses at the poor chick expecting a miracle. Instead, what I got was a modest but clean and altogether pleasing establishment and – I have to say – the friendliest staff I have encountered anywhere, even amongst those who would happily relieve you of a few bob.
After the usual preliminaries around my medical history, instead of filing the finished article under “B” (for bin) it was actually thoroughly examined and I was even grilled on a couple of points for which clarification was required.I have to say it was a comforting thought to know that they were conscious of, and alert to, the smallest detail that could prevent successful outcome of the treatment
Formalities over I was introduced to Dr Anthony Bansil (my main man and Tony to his friends) who explained that when you smile or frown, it is a result of a nerve signal from your brain to your muscles causing them to move. Botox or Botulinum toxin (Advance use Vistabel ®) is a purified protein that blocks this signal from brain to the nerve endings. This means that the overlying skin becomes smoother and unwrinkled while the untreated facial muscles work normally, and facial expressions are not affected.
I further discovered that apart from the medical jargon (see top of page) what essentially happens is that it is injected under the skin and has to “bind” to the nerve endings in the muscles – therefore an immediate effect should not be expected.
It was now my turn for some serious interrogation (in fact the only things lacking were thumb-screws and a polygraph) so I began with the “not wishing to look like a startled bunny” comment, moving on to “How much does it hurt?” and finishing with “Tell me your horror stories or else!”. I have to say Tony answered all my questions with complete honestly and clarity. In fact so honest, he confessed he has refused to treat some people whose expectations were a little unrealistic, suggesting surgery may be a better option for them. There was also a very interesting tale about his wedding day which he has given me his express permission to divulge – he injected Botox into his “greeting” hand so that his guests would not be treated to a sweaty palm (Botox can be used for more than just wrinkles you know!). He finished with the immortal words “nothing is irreversible” which proved to be the clincher for me so by this time I felt Tony was trustworthy, that my face was safe in his very capable hands and I was happy to proceed.
My forehead and the area around my eyes were cleaned with pure alcohol to ensure complete sterility (Tony drew the line at me sucking on the spare swabs for courage which I thought was a poor show!). I was then asked to frown, smile, and grimace, frown some more, raise my eyebrows and generally pull some pretty stupid faces whilst he made some rather interesting notes on paper, on a face that thankfully looked nothing like mine! At this point he explained that the depth of the various lines and wrinkles dictated how much solution he would need to use and in what particular sites.
A number of injections followed although the needles are very, very thin so and I am both happy and amazed to report that not a single one of them was painful. In fact there hadn’t been any real indication that my face was being assaulted with sharp pointy things containing what is essentially poison. Hand on heart I felt no pain whatsoever. In fact by the time he had finished I sort of felt a bit cheated to be honest as I had expected to suffer for my labour of love!
That’s it – I was done and I was then issued with Arnica to reduce any bruising (none at all) and a few quite strict, but sensible instructions:-
Try to sleep semi upright on the first evening to ensure that you are not pressing on the injected site
No intense facials for 2 weeks
Limited alcohol (to reduce bruising)
No intense or contact sport for 1 week (and for someone whose idea of exercise is running for the ice cream van this did not pose a problem)
Finally I was told that I would see some results between 2-14 days and that they would last around 3 months – maybe longer.
The following day I could see a slight difference but that may have been wishful thinking. However, within 3 days there was a marked difference, after 4 my forehead felt “weird” but definitely smooth and by the end of 2 weeks I had lost count of the number of people who have asked me if I have been on holiday or simply said “You look well” without really being fully aware of why they were saying it!
Ultimately did I look like a startled rabbit? The answer is a resounding no and I would also suggest that the Cliff’s, Lulu’s and Grandma Stallone’s have had a tad more than Botox to ensure those perfectly expressionless faces.
So there you have it – that’s Botox for you…Bring it on!!