Is Botox a great way to spend your lunch hour in St Albans?
PUBLISHED: 11:40 25 April 2019 | UPDATED: 12:11 25 April 2019
The evening before my Botox treatment I went into slight panic mode - maybe I should have got my brows done beforehand. What if the doctor can not find my wrinkles for eyebrow? And although I also made a firm decision not to go for Mick Jagger lips, I was sure of one thing I wanted to change - my frown lines.
Over the last 10 years I have gone from being ID'd for a bottle of wine to being asked almost daily if I am alright, sometimes followed by “You look confused!” I can only assume that years of giving 'the teacher stare' - my former career - has developed my frown muscles. Are frown muscles even a thing?
I decided to join the growing number of St Albans women who, when they get to a certain age, opt for the odd nip, tuck or jab.
And the best thing is that it can be done in a lunch hour, so I left the office, grabbed a sausage roll and a coffee and arrived at The Hertfordshire Clinic, in The Maltings, slightly before 1pm.
I filled out a few forms and the doctor greeted me at the door.
Dr Julian Godlee came across as calm and reassuring, but also seemed very knowledgeable, which is what you want if you are going to let someone stick needles into the boniest parts of your face.
He has over 15 years' experience of doing this procedure and also treats people with tension headaches and underarm sweating. Oh - and - he also owns his own windmill. I wish I had a windmill. So far so good.
We discussed the clichéd potential of a slightly surprised look, but the doctor said this is rare and easy to fix, unlike the 'droopy effect' which can happen if too much Botox is injected.
Botox is actually a toxin, Botulinum. It is produced by the bacteria that can cause Botulism, a type of food poisoning.
Alongside eliminating my puzzled look, I considered something to slightly plump out my cheeks. Dr Godlee explained that a very small amount of dermal filler into the cheekbones would give the desired effect.
He said: “You want to look well - not like you've had something done.”
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Which I obviously agreed with, despite the fact that I'm publicising my treatment in a newspaper which reaches more than 30,000 people.
I popped out of the room for about four minutes while he prepared. I feared I may walk back into a scene from Casualty but it was not like that at all. There was relaxing music playing and about three or four small, sharp, friendly looking syringes. If needles had their own theme tune, Bach just might be the one.
He put ice on my forehead and then began the Botox. Tiny needles were pressed, one at a time, onto my forehead but it really was not painful in any way and only took a few minutes.
I then felt something sharp on my cheekbone and a slight pushing sensation. This was the filler. “Only two more tiny injections and we are done,” he said.
There was not really anything I could or could not do afterwards which is why it is known as a lunchtime procedure, the doctor told me.
Botox takes 48 to 72 hours to be visible but the filler is noticeable to me straight away. Dr Godlee said he likes to introduce fillers slowly to people, which makes sense to me too. I made an appointment with the receptionist for two weeks time for a check-in.
The verdict: I know ageing is a privilege not everyone gets and in a way we should probably all embrace our wrinkles, but it does feel really good to have a less scrunched up face.
The effects have given me a boost on the inside too. My new induced poker face helps a lot with face management too.
Dr Godlee said: “The results look good. It leaves a nice fresh natural look and does not look as though you have had work done.
“We want people to say how well you look, not asking you where you had your treatment. Unfortunately there are too many people who have been over- treated and can look very unnatural.
“I aim to leave a bit of movement so you can look angry if you still need to, just not looking angry and stressed all the time.
“Delivery of the correct dose and treatment is something that only comes with experience, and treating this excellent, and justifiably popular drug with the respect it deserves.”
As far as I'm concerned it is definitely worth the price and it really works. I've now become a massive fan and will be coming back for more treatment in the months (and years) to come!.