Healthista – May 2019

Botox, fillers and other anti-ageing treatments can help you cheat your way to younger-looking skin, but if you don’t want to look ‘done’ follow these ground rules, says beauty editor Annabel Meggeson

A respected face doctor once told me about fallow periods. They’re the months in between injectables, lasers and the like, when you should let your skin go back to normal. Otherwise you lose sight of normal and end up looking like more like an over-inflated lilo than a human being.

My latest fallow period has gone on so long it has become a furrowed period. With all its rumples and shadows, my poor old face looks like a ploughed field. With too much time on my hands, I sit here scrutinizing every flaw and fold. I know, it’s not healthy.

Really, I should just let the collagen continue its slow breakdown, the pigmentation its steady build up (minimized by rigorous good-girl applications of SPF), and grow old sensibly. But I’m too vain – and too informed.

As a beauty director who has had every treatment at her disposal, I know what a few sprinkles of Botox, a couple of rounds of Intense Pulsed Light (IPL, a type of laser) and maybe a shot of the latest ‘It ‘treatment (in early 2019, that’s still Profhilo – see below), can do.

These so-called tweakments can make the difference between waking up every morning looking so altered your own phone doesn’t recognize you versus feeling ready to take on the world 24/7.

Once you’ve had a taste of the good stuff, it really is hard to go back. You can get some satisfaction from good skincare, but it’s never quite enough. It’s why recently I’ve been dreaming of all the high-octane things I’d like to do to my skin again, if I ever win the lottery.

I’d start off with a few sessions of IPL. It’ll sting, but hopefully lots of that last-summer sun damage will be drawn to the surface, form crusty bits and drop off to reveal a brighter, somewhat more even-toned complexion underneath.

Then I’ll load up on the Profhilo – two rounds a month apart, involving multiple injections of Hyaluronic Acid just below the skin. This treatment has been dubbed ‘the injectable moisturizer’ and while I need to give it another go to be sure of what I think (I only had one round when I first tried it and you need at least two to get the desired results), the reviews have been glowing.

Once that has settled, I’d be back for Botox – tiny drops in my forehead, around my eyes and sprinkled round and about the place in the way that the top doctors do, using a combo of experience and artistic flair to dispense it round the face for an overall freshening effect. (The masters of this are the female doctors at Medicetics.)

In the same session: filler. A couple of ml in my chin and cheeks, to add a trace of extra volume – just enough for other people to register my face as younger without being able to put their finger on why.

Knowing what to do, what works and who to see has been hard-won, though (if you can assign that term to the pursuit of vanity).

I’ve ended up with cheekbones I definitely didn’t dream of and lumps in my face that have had to be dissolved. I’ve had one eyebrow higher than the other and wrinkles in my hair line where there were none before. (If you’re not careful, Botox behaves like Spanx – it smooths skin in some places, but the rest has to go somewhere; in this case I got the excess roll right at the very top of my forehead.)