They say true love lasts forever; but can this be said for Britain's love affair with Botox?
Botox and fillers have undoubtedly cemented themselves as a cosmetic phenomenon in the last decade, as the injectable treatments offered patients a younger-looking face without the pain, and hefty price tag, associated with invasive surgery like facelifts.
At one point it seemed like the world and his wife were nipping to the doctor's office on their lunch breaks for shots of the now infamous muscle relaxing injections. From Hollywood A-listers to Mrs-Brown-from-down-the-road, it seems trickier to find someone over 35 who hasn't tried Botox, rather than the other way around. However, last week a new poll of UK men and women suggested this love-affair with wrinkle busting injections may be coming to an end, as 3 in 4 Botox users admitted they'd like to try an alternative treatment to reduce the signs of facial ageing.
If the honeymoon period is finally waning, and the search is on for different minimally-invasive, or even entirely holistic, ways to treat those pesky crow's feet, many will be keen to see more of what the UK cosmetic treatment market has to offer outside of nip/tucks and injections.
Being 28, and a militant sun cream fanatic due to my vampire-like pale skin, I'm lucky enough to have not yet found myself trying to iron out creases around my eyes with my fingers. However, I have sun-worshipping friends who are not so fortunate, and I also have a mother who's approaching 60 that asks me (at least once a week) if there are any wrinkle-reducing treatments available that don't cost the earth, or require time off work. The answer is of course yes, yet few people are aware of what options are available to them, probably because we hear less about them in the press.
When people think of cosmetic treatments they automatically see a surgeon wielding a scalpel or needle, but the truth is there are numerous effective aesthetic treatments on the market that can subtly improve your appearance without surgery or painful injections. At The Cosmetic Surgery Guide, we're forever on the lookout for the latest anti-ageing treatments to make sure consumers know there is a choice when it comes to giving their appearance a boost. What works for one person may not be appropriate for another, and when speaking to readers of the magazine, I remind them to investigate lesser-known (yet entirely effective) treatments that can roll back the years without leaving their face expressionless.
For example, there are numerous cosmeceuticals (combining the words 'cosmetic' and 'pharmaceutical') on the market that offer brilliant results on lines and wrinkles without the need for injection or knife. Popular ingredients found in these products include hyaluronic acid, Vitamin C and collagen, which while found in minute doses in basic skincare, are far more concentrated in cosmeceuticals and can offer a notable improvement to the skin's texture and plumpness.
If lack of facial volume is the concern, there are modern 'holistic' treatments available like Oralift- a mouth guard-inspired device you wear over your lower teeth- which can actually reduce, and delay, further signs of facial ageing by activating the muscles in the face. As no needle or knife is required for treatments such as this, I think we'll soon see a surge in doctors offering alternatives that actually rely on the body adapting and therefore naturally improving itself (with a little help) rather than injecting toxins.
There are now even high-tech skin tightening treatments available using radio frequency or ultrasound energy (which cause the elastin beneath the surface of the skin to tighten) that can offer the effect of facelift or injectable treatment without lengthy recovery time or repeat treatments. Gwyneth Paltrow is a fan of energy-assisted skin tightening, openly admitting earlier this year that she chose it over Botox treatments. A glowing recommendation really, considering the actress looks much younger than her 40 years, with not a wrinkle to be seen.
I doubt Botox will become extinct in our lifetime, let alone overnight, but for those who are interested in anti-ageing treatments it's important to be aware of what options are available. Exploring treatments, both invasive and non-invasive, and taking the time to understand the pros and cons of cosmetic intervention is absolutely vital in ensuring consumers not only get a great result, but they are also safe. I speak time and time again about the importance of finding a reputable doctor, surgeon, nurse, dermatologist or dentist who puts patient safety at the top of his or her list. Even non-invasive treatments carry risk, and it's worth researching any procedure extensively before putting your cash, and health, into the hands of a practitioner.
Be safe; be savvy. Visit www.thecosmeticsurgeryguide.org for both surgical and non-surgical information and impartial advice if you're considering any anti-ageing treatment.