Diary of an Aesthetic Virgin
With my Mediterranean olive skin I can safely say that I am no English Rose, but neither would I describe myself as a Greek Goddess, despite being half Greek!
Cue Aspire Clinic and a meeting that made me rethink not only my own preconceived ideas about the non-surgical cosmetic industry, but also what would make me happy in terms of my looks and what was possible with a little help.
I had never in my life considered any sort of cosmetic intervention to improve or enhance my physical being. Normally I just about remember the moisturiser, and isn’t toner the bottle that collects dust on the bathroom shelf?
But two weeks ago I found myself staring into a magnifying mirror examining the angry lines between my eyebrows (or the glabella for those in the know) a result of my endless frowning, and the many long, deeply etched laughter lines around my eyes.
Unless you have the hide of a rhino, there’s nothing like examining oneself at close range to expose each and every flaw, warts and all (which thankfully I don’t have!). But fear not, this exercise was not about making me feel rubbish about myself. In fact, far from it.
As I sat there pulling faces to make the stories of my life stand out even more – those lines indeed tell a story of a life well-lived - Jenna, my nurse-prescriber described how, with a little anti-ageing injectable help, my lines would be smooth, giving me a brighter and more youthful appearance.
As a complete and utter scaredy-cat, what sold it for me was Jenna’s first hand experience, as she pointed out where she’d had wrinkle-relaxing injections on her flawless face. Sensing my nervousness she metaphorically gathered me up in her nursing embrace, giving me the care and attention that comes naturally from a medical professional. And finally she filled me with excitement about enhancing my good bits and smoothing out the not so good bits, reassuring me that the result would look natural.
And so I decided that yes, I could do this. Now the thought of needles does not bother me in the slightest, and I barely felt the tiny injections into my wrinkles. But what exactly was I having injected into my body and what would it do?
Now for the science bit…
Botulinum toxin is a protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium Botulinum, which, when injected into a muscle, temporarily stops it from functioning by blocking the chemical messages between the nerve and the muscle, therefore, relaxing the muscle action.
By using facial muscles repeatedly throughout a lifetime, the skin creases in the areas of greatest use. The aging process causes the slowdown of collagen and elastin production in the skin so that as we get older, these areas of over-use become damaged and the lines become permanent. By reducing the movement of muscles in these areas, the overlying skin stops being creased and is allowed to recover, causing the line to soften or even fade away.
To reassure me further about the safety of anti-ageing injectables, Jenna explained that Botox has been used widely in the NHS since the 1970s, to treat conditions such as MS, Parkinson’s and cerebral palsy.
Feeling reassured about the process, my biggest worry now was the result. What if I looked permanently startled? What if I looked totally different? What if I didn’t feel like me?
Tune in for the next instalment of Diary of an Aesthetic Virgin, where we find out about the results of Christina’s anti-ageing injections, if she really is wrinkle free, and whether she’s any closer to feeling like a Greek Goddess…