Face Off: Plastic Surgery- 0 Botox-10
One day a few years ago, I was interviewing a famous actress—no names, but imagine an Academy Award winner who was looking 40 in the rearview mirror—when out of the blue, she dropped her fork, pulled back the top of her cheeks with her fingers and made The Face.
“Do you think I would look better? I think I would look better. No, I’m not going to have a facelift,” she said as I reassured her that she looked just fine.
Because who tells someone—let alone a world- famous actress—that she could use a little intervention? Still I regret that I didn’t gently suggest that she check out Botox and fillers.
The actress did not get a facelift or anything else. The last time I saw her was on TV—in an ad for osteoporosis.
As for me, I will not be getting a facelift. I had my eyelids “done” a few years ago and although I’m pleased enough with the final results, later that night I burst a blood vessel, which potentially, could have blinded me. I learned two important things from this experience: always program your surgeon’s cell number into your phone. That way you won’t be trying to dial her while blood is squirting out of your eye in six different directions. And surgery is surgery—there’s always some risk.
Dr. Shehla Ebrahim, a family physician with a special interest in dermatology, has twelve years of experience in the aesthetic industry. She is medical director of Ambleside Dermedics in West Vancouver. She confirms that I’m not the only one who prefers the pinprick of a needle to the knife. “While the numbers of plastic surgery procedures performed has gone down in the last two years, the use of non-invasive injectables is up about 700 per cent,” she says.
Personally, I use Botox (which relaxes the nerves under wrinkles to treat and prevent them) and fillers like Juvederm and Restalyne (which fill in lines and creases) to banish the hollows under my eyes and the unfunny “laugh lines” that bracket my mouth.
Dr. Shehla Ebrahim (photo: Ambleside Dermedics)
On my last visit, I happily discovered that you can even shoot a pinch of Botox into your lobes so your ears won’t droop under the weight of those humungous earrings you need to wear over the age of forty to frame your face. In the world of beauty, these injectables have opened up innumerable possibilities that simply didn’t exist twenty years ago. Many of us already color our hair—why not get rid of the wrinkles around our eyes? (I mean, there’s a reason they’re called “crow’s feet.”)
When I came up with the title “The Botox Diaries” for the best-selling novel I co-authored, it was meant to describe something exciting happening in our culture—women throughout all the stages of life are continuing to have fun, seeking out new adventures and we want to look as good as we feel—whether we’re starting a new career, going back to school, or we want to like what we see when we look in the mirror.
Alexis de Smidt, CEO of The Coliseum MediSpa, is not a doctor, but as owner of a busy spa, she is watching industry trends. She says there’s an uptick in the number of men requesting Botox treatments. “They want to look ‘refreshed,’” she explains. And even young women are using injectables, to forestall the first signs of aging. No figures exist for Canada, but in the U.S., 6.1 million people used Botox last year, and 400,000 of them were 19-to-34-year-olds.
De Smidt says that in choosing a medical professional, you should check out their reputation; do some homework, so you know what procedures are available; then have a conversation about what you want and what’s right for you.
“Each person has certain areas that they feel need attention,” she says.
And whether you’re looking to smooth out a furrowed brow or plump up a thinning lip line, Ambleside Dermedics’ Ebrahim has a succinct rule of thumb when it comes to aesthetics. “Injectables,” she says, “should be undetectable.”
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