I LOOKED like something out of a Frankenstein movie, but it was going to be a fun party and I didn’t want to miss it. Fingers were soon being jabbed towards my forehead by friends who looked puzzled and slightly repulsed. “What happened to you?” they demanded. I had dotted lines of dark and blotchy marks from one side to the other. There was no point lying. “I did Botox. A friend offered to do it, so I decided to give it a try. I thought she knew what she was doing. Before injecting, she marked the locations with a pen and said the marks would wash away, but they didn’t. I almost scrubbed to the bone trying.” “Sure Richard, but you’re mad to use an amateur.”
She was no amateur. She was Miss Rozina Ali, one of the UK’s leading plastic and reconstructive surgeons. She’d made a simple error, which we laugh about now: using a surgical pen, which is like a permanent marker. Rozie (pictured) is a brilliant woman, her range of skills includes reshaping breasts, reattaching hands and rebuilding faces. She also works on helping people look younger.
The only good thing about getting older is that it happens gradually. The mirror, the scales, and the exercise machine all break the news to us very gradually. So gradually, we barely notice. Then, as you turn 40 and 50, you get just little reminders of the ageing “disease”. You see the first grey hairs, you read about sports stars being “too old” at, say, 32, and you start to make a little grunt every time you bend down to pick something up.
So, as we hit the gym to silence the grunt, what can we do about our ageing looks? Rozie believes that the anti-ageing industry is rapidly changing. Cosmetics are hitting the market that are clinically backed and not just hype. Know-how has also improved dramatically in the last ten years. The most exciting area may be lipo-sculpturing, where fat is moved from other body areas to fill out wrinkles on your face. Not only is it effective, but it is also believed that the stem cells in the transplanted fat may cause the facial skin to regenerate. We would all like a bit of that.
Society is changing too. The days are approaching when getting cosmetic surgery will be considered standard, even fun. “Look at my new nose!” Far from carrying a stigma, it will become a status symbol, a trophy. The rich and poor won’t be divided just by what cars they drive, but by how young and attractive they look.
In the meantime, if you suspect a friend of using Botox, you can use my technique.
Tell them some outrageous lie, like “Elvis really is alive!” and watch their forehead. If it doesn’t wrinkle, they’re guilty. Or you can always look for ink blotches on their forehead.
Richard Farleigh has operated as a business angel for many years, backing more early-stage companies than anyone else in the UK.