A combination of too many video calls, stress and changing attitudes to the needle have created a so-called Zoom Boom for ‘tweakments’ that go the extra mile.
If you’re new to all this, or even if you’re not, it can be confusing. To some people, Botox still seems like the devil’s work. But frozen foreheads and an eerie absence of any crow’s feet are not de rigueur. Many patients request the opposite.
‘Most of mine just want it to give their eyebrows a subtle lift and make their eyes look fresher and more wide awake,’ says Dr Sophie Shotter, who has become an insiders’ favourite because her results are discreet but effective. The jury’s still out on whether Botox becomes less effective over time, but on aesthetic grounds alone, it’s not a bad idea to limit the frequency and amount. One added bonus is that Botox may help with depression, according to researchers at Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of California San Diego, who analysed more than 40,000 patients’ experiences. It’s thought this is because Botox injections, no matter where you have them on the body, disrupt a feedback loop that reinforces negative emotions.
For seriously droopy eyelids, blepharoplasty is the best option. It’s less drastic than you’d think, with stunning results. Consultant ophthalmic surgeon Naresh Joshi sets the gold standard (he was responsible for Katie Piper’s facial reconstruction; bupacromwellhospital.com).
Double chins are another concern. A facelift is the silver bullet, but it’s a huge step and doesn’t improve skin quality. Alternatively, you could have a neck lift (see Rajiv Grover for both of these, rajivgrover.co.uk). A thread ‘facelift’ entails having ultra-fine threads inserted below the skin to tighten it. It takes about an hour and results last up to three years. Sometimes it’s combined with Ultherapy, which uses ultrasound to heat subcutaneous tissue and kick-start collagen production.
Dr Shotter can deliver threads and Ultherapy but increasingly prefers the latest tweakment that’s making waves – literally. Profound RF is a radiotherapy treatment that uses needles to penetrate the lower dermis where they deliver 67C of heat to stimulate cell repair. Results can be a third as effective as a facelift (measured in terms of ‘lift’), and skin quality should also improve. Full effects won’t be seen for six months, although you should begin to see skin firming within weeks. There’s significant downtime, depending on the individual –bruising and swelling for several weeks in some cases.
Ultherapy and Profound RF cause minor damage to cells, which triggers their own repair system. Not everyone likes the idea of deliberately damaging the body. But if sag’s an issue, the pros might outweigh potential drawbacks.
Other options include Cool-Sculpting, which doesn’t use needles, and Belkyra, a newer technology, which does. They can all achieve excellent results, depending on the patient and practitioner.
Lip filler – in fact, all fillers – have a terrible reputation, but Dr Michael Prager is the king of creating natural-looking results (drmichaelprager.com).
Understatement is key, which is why Profhilo has become popular – in this treatment, hyaluronic acid is injected into the face and neck to give the skin an almighty glow and fire up the skin’s own collagen production. However, if it’s injected too deeply, results are negligible. As ever, it’s about finding a practitioner who can create the effect you like. Word of mouth is always the best source.