Here’s a confession: I’ve had “work done”.
Several years ago, when the skin on my eyelids would have stretched to my chin if I’d cut it loose, I had an eyelid lift, or blepharoplasty, which removed the unwanted inches of skin, as well as about half the crow’s feet I’d never been keen on anyway. The scars were neatly hidden in the hollow of the eyelid and my eyelids no longer drooped half shut.
Some cosmetic surgeons claim that eye-bag removal is the first cosmetic procedure women have – like a warm up for the real thing. But personally I’m not tempted to go further, no matter how many crow’s feet appear.
Getting “work done” has become quite the thing in Hollywood, so I’m right up with the play there. Celebrities rarely admit to cosmetic surgery, or “going under the knife”, but getting a bit of work done – a brow lift here, some lip injections there, a few jabs of Botox around the laugh lines, and top it off with injectable wrinkle fillers and who needs cosmetic surgery?
However, my “work” was done when I was well under 60. Celebrities start getting their work done in their 40s, sometimes even younger. The Kardashians have made a career out of it on social media. Like the chicken and the egg, it’s hard to know which comes first – celebrities promoting their procedures or people wanting them anyway, but last year in the US, just over 17 million people (mostly women) had some sort of work done, from full-on facelift, butt-lift and labiaplasty to minimally invasive work like porcine and bovine-based collagen injections and laser hair removal. By far the most popular was Botox (just over 7 million people).
The 17 million total represented an increase of 132% on 16 years earlier. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons statistics don’t give a breakdown of ages, but I’d be prepared to bet that people are getting all this work done at a much younger age now.
Plastic surgeons, particularly in the States where cosmetic tampering is so prevalent, are only too happy to promote some sort of appearance-enhancing intervention at any adult age. But women wanting a full-on facelift tend to be 50-plus.
So when is the optimum age for a facelift? “Freeze the aging clock before the more advanced signs of aging appear,” surgeons say. Their rationale is that we’re more likely to be healthier in our 50s, the skin is more elastic and will heal better, the results will last longer and there won’t be such a dramatic difference compared with if we wait longer. Waiting until we’re over 60, the change is more dramatic and may need a tune-up earlier. Either way, American research shows that a facelift can help reduce the age of your face by 7.2 years, on average. Turning back the time for such a short period hardly seems worth the effort and immense cost. Usually done with a neck-lift at the same time, the cost seems to be around $20,000.
At around $400 a pop (depending on how advanced the wrinkles are), Botox and all the other anti-ageing treatments are all beyond most of us on a pension anyway. It’s also beyond the boundaries of acceptable tampering. I mean, who wants injected into your face a toxin that causes a life-threatening type of food poisoning called botulism?
Injectable wrinkle fillers are apparently replacing Botox now – “plumping and lifting cheeks, chins, jawlines and temples, filling out thin lips, and plumping sagging hands.” The results are supposed to last up to four months.
There’s another fad to stop wrinkles: snake venom. If you thought having botulism, or pig’s and cow’s collagen injected into your face was bad enough, how about a juicy snake bite? If you’re in Sydney, you can pick up Viper Lift Snake Venom at the QVB Building. A snip at $240. Not in Sydney? You can still get a bite. Verdem sells a range of venom products, which when applied regularly, are supposed to yield the same results.
And if you’re feeling even more generous with your pension ($700 for a 90 minute facial), Verdem also offers a 24 carat gold Cleopatra facial. Described as “a fitness bootcamp for your face,” chrysotherapy claims to “use gold to improve skin elasticity and reverse cell damage from pollutants such as smoking and sun damage.
And when your face has been to bootcamp, you can start on perfecting your ageing body with another newish fad, brought to the world in vivid detail on “Keeping up with the Kardashians” and now right here in New Zealand. In exchange for $450 a session, you can have cryolipolysis, which is supposed to freeze the body’s fat, getting rid of unwanted bumps and lumps. If only it were that easy.
Finally, it’s not just us women who are ironing out the wrinkles with injectables. Men now injecting botox into their balls.
Here’s a confession: I’ve had “work done”.