The Evolving Face

Whilst growing old gracefully sounds nice in theory, in reality it can be far from it. Thankfully, learning to embrace the increasing amount of wrinkles and frown lines that appear over time, is no longer something we have to accept. I know I certainly don’t: I welcome a helping hand, in fact, I practically beg for one!

The truth is, the modern day face has evolved. We have now become accustomed to seeing smooth, wrinkle free, plumper faces, especially of the rich and famous, who unapologetically flaunt their everlasting youth in our faces everyday. And like it or not, this is now what we, as a majority also aspire more and more to look like. Kylie Minogue being my firm favourite example, the woman is forty five for Gods sake and she still looks hotter than most twenty year olds! Plus, when it has become so accessible to us ‘normal’ folk: mums at the school gate start looking fresher faced than their kids, the receptionist at work can afford it, then inevitably, our question becomes ‘why should we be missing out on the wonder stuff’?

Now please don’t get me wrong, I’m don’t mean to sound flippant about sticking needles in ones face: this is something that I think should be done with great precaution. And when I say I’m a fan of faking it, I don’t mean to the extreme. I’m talking subtle touches, that are noticeable enough to see that you look good/better, but not noticeable enough to question why.

Admittedly, it is inevitable for the botoxed face to remain completely undisclosed. There are certain signs that even subtle botox gives away: slightly shiny skin and less movement, obviously. More major tell-tale signs are down to ‘bad botox’ which is why it is so important to visit a doctor who knows what he is doing. Not only will he/she reduce the ‘botoxed look‘ and give a more natural, fresher appearance, but you can also rest assured that you are in safe hands. It’s quite alarming the amount of unqualified and inexperienced practitioners there are out there, making a very good living from their botch jobs.

I have visited a fair few practitioners over the past five years and I have to admit that only with time and by experiencing a few botch jobs, (nothing too serious thankfully) can I now tell a good practitioner from a bad one.  It seems that I have had better experiences as the time has gone on, or maybe I am now more aware and careful to select who I go to.

I visited anti ageing specialist, Dr. Mark Holmes a few weeks ago and was surprised first of all, about the length of time he took with my appointment. Normally, when I have been for botox it has been a pretty straight in, straight out procedure, taking no more than ten to fifteen minutes. I was with Dr. Holmes for about an hour. He thoroughly explained everything and listened to what I wanted to achieve, not just with botox treatments for particular areas, but with my face as a whole. Sometimes after all, it’s not actually botox you may need, and there may be a better treatment available that can offer you your desired results.

So I asked Dr. Mark what we should be looking for when selecting a practitioner.

1. Are they a qualified doctor, nurse or dentist?

2. What training have they had?

3. When did they last update their training?

4. How long have they been doing it?

5. Are they insured?

6. What products do they use?…ask to see them

7. Is it medically safe for me to have these treatments?

8. What are the complications?

9.  Have you had any of these?

10. What will you do if I get these?

11. Are they qualified to treat anaphylactic shock (severe allergic reaction)?

12. Will I have to sign a consent form?

13. Do you take before and after pictures?

14. When will I be reassessed?

15. (If having fillers) I am unhappy with the fillers you put in, can you dissolve them?…will I be charged extra for this?

16.  The bottom line is ….do you trust them?

I was interested to hear about the variety of anti ageing/beauty procedures Dr. Holmes offers, from skin peels to hypnotherapy to help people feel better about themselves. This is a doctor who looks at the person as a whole and who genuinely intends to offer the patient what they need, rather than what they think they need.

Dr. Holmes suggested fillers to lift the cheeks slightly, thus reducing the frown lines around my mouth. But he advised that I take some information away with me and have a good think about it. 

He said that he doesn’t like to do fillers on the first appointment, which I thought demonstrated him being a doctor who first and foremost considered the patients best interests. (Which believe isn’t always the case!)

I expressed concern about certain things which I wasn’t happy with from other botox treatments (a slight bunching of the cheeks just below the eyes) and he explained why these particular things had happened, which basically came down to a doctor putting the botox in the wrong place. And for the first time after having botox with Dr.Holmes, it hasn’t happened this time.

I am noticeably smoother and fresher looking, which yes, I have to say I am absolutely loving. 

Dr. Mark Holmes practices in East Grinstead and Buckhurst Hill. For more information check out his website,