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Smoothen your lines

Have you reached a point in your life when your appearance systematically bullies your self-esteem? Are you already thinking of negotiating the ageing process with a plastic surgeon or a Botox specialist? If yes, you can keep reading this article and explore more about the ways you can deal with the youthcult and if not, you probably are a Zen master or a Buddhist monk living in the Himalayas, waking up every morning at sunrise and chanting mantras all day long. Or you might be one of those exceptional human beings who live in the bliss of believing that the outside will always match the inside and that feels enough.
However I am here to talk about a world where women feel insulted if someone guesses their age rather than their weight. I am here to discuss with the co-founder and medical director of the Zurich cosmetic treatment center “Smoothline” the world of beauty enhancements, the myths and truths about the botulinum toxin and the idea of beauty in modern society. I have just been to my regular monthly facial, when my memories took me back to the first time I’ve ever applied a mask on my face. I was 14, following my mother’s routine on the weekends, while my father was lying under his old Moskvich, repairing just another broken gadget; a teaspoon of fresh seasonal honey and a dash of lemon was the recipe used for years in my family as the best peeling and moisturizer for the skin. Another recipe among my mother and grandmother’s favorites was a fresh tomato, rubbed all over the face. An excellent tip for cleaning the skin pores and creating a perfect daily glow. Both recipes worked but I doubt they could do anything further than a couple of days fresh look. Out of respect and sentimentality I kept the routine all these years, but meanwhile I started going for a regular cleansing and moisturizing every month. I also do a fruit peeling and mesotherapy once a year. I am well aware that this will keep my skin in a good shape for sometime, but once I pass the 40s things might change. I consider myself lucky: first because of my mother’s genes and second because my skin has the so-called olive tone, which makes it more resistant to sun-damage. Nevertheless, I will never dare say “never to fillers or Botox” and here are my reasons why.
In the early 1970s a plastic surgeon named Maxwell Maltz noticed that altering the physical appearance of his patients often created a remarkable increase in confidence and sometimes a complete change in the attitude towards life. Of course there was a group which experienced no psychological benefits no matter how spectacular the physical changes. Maltz concluded that cosmetic correction to the external appearance of a patient doesn’t work when their internal self-image is poor or, as he put it, when they were “scarred on the inside”.  Since then many women have turned their back to cosmetic surgery, but only to substitute it with less invasive treatments like fillers, laser treatments and Botox. Statistic shows that the demand for injectables has boomed since the 1990s when the Botulinum toxin first entered the market. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) Botox injections and other less invasive procedures increased by 6% from 2009 to 2010. Also, men contributed significantly to this growth. Botox procedures increased by 9% and dermal fillers treatments increased by 10% for men.
Myths and truths
While I am sitting in the immaculate white waiting room of “Smoothline”, nibbling on strawberries and grapes and drinking green tea, I am thinking that everything matters for the skin: the environment, stress, genes, diet and even hormones. Unfortunately, we can’t have control over all those factors, which is why we end up with lines drawn on our faces. Some can live with that, but others not. What surprises me, though, is why the opinions are sometimes so extreme and why the enemies of beauty enhancements sound so bitter and vicious? I want to ask Dr. Iselin, the managing director of “Smoothline” who are those who come to his beauty center, if there are so many Botox enemies out there?
There is this myth that the women who use beauty enhancements are desperate housewives or nouveau riche, but they are neither desperate, nor housewives, they are also not people with no sense of style. Our clients are well-educated and independent, working and confident people, who don’t want to reverse time and look 20 years old. They simply want to have that fresh and rejuvenated look”, says Dr. Iselin. “Smoothline” was founded four years ago and this month a new branch opened in Munich. In the beauty center, which resembles a daily spa, work five qualified physicians with experience in beauty treatments from all over the world.
Botox is still a taboo”, says Dr. Iselin and adds: “because people think of the so called “frozen look” and the inability to have mimic expressions. But the truth is that nobody nowadays does so much Botox that could freeze their face. Our results are unrecognizable. We achieve a positive, vibrant and relaxed natural look. We use Botox mainly in the big three: forehead, frown lines and crow’s feet. For the rest of the face there are the fillers”.
“So if I had Botox I won’t be able to frown, but I will still be able to smile?” I ask Dan Iselin.
Of course you would be able to smile. If you still are not convinced about Botox, you have to know that there are other ways to enhance your look. People who love to look good naturally even in their 60s want to defy age, must know that Hyaluronic Acid, for example, could work wonders for them. Hyaluronic Acid is biological constituent: in fact, it is inside your body, within every tissue”.
Fillers are injected into the skin tissue to restore and support hydration and volume, which has been lost due to normal aging. They literally “fill” creases and wrinkles.  There are two different types of fillers: biodegradable, such as hyaluronic acid and non-biodegradable ones. “Smoothline” works only with biodegradables, which have been proven safe for the skin.
The natural wrinkle fillers are suitable for all skin types and are known to improve skin contour, minimize fine lines and wrinkles, and aid skin renewal.
Before the beauty-shot?
A good doctor first asks what the client wants, then asks the client to make faces so he can make a conclusion about the characteristics of human facial expressions. We don’t exploit client’s insecurities about their looks. Most of our clients know what they want, but they always listen to our advice and then make their own decision”, says Dr. Iselin. A professional knows how important it is not to be mistaken with the amount of Botox, taking into account the particular personality of each patient. Since the majority of people lack perfect symmetry in their facial features, the amount of Botox injected in different parts of the face may not be the same. My next question to Dr. Iselin is where he sees Botox and the natural fillers in 10 years? “I think they will still be here, only the methods and the technique of applying them will be improved. Now more and more often we use the blunt needle technique rather than the classical method and this depends on the thickness of the skin and its elasticity, but other factors as well. Specialists are now working on developing Botox patches to apply on the target muscles.
The Botulinum toxin was first used only for the treatment of tics and muscle spasms, but eventually became used as a “beauty shot” and entered the market in 1990. For the first time after the injection some people might feel uncomfortable because of lost ability to make active use of facial expressions. Soon, up to two weeks the skin becomes smooth, without a wrinkle! Another benefit of the cosmetic injection is that there is no recovery time. People can do Botox on their lunch break and then go straight back to work. However, the results could be enjoyed only for 3-6 months, which on the other hand might be a positive thing if you meanwhile change your mind. If not, you might easily fall into the group of the beauty junkies, which doesn’t mean that Botox causes physical addiction – just a psychological one. Women are simply “stuck on a needle” because they want to always look refreshed or as Dr. Iselin puts it “they always want to look positive and rejuvenated”. Is this a sin? I guess not and no matter how many articles criticize our yearning for youth you will have to accept that, as statistic show, women love Botox almost as much as they love Paris!
Tsitaliya Mircheva

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