Botox for lunch, anyone?

2013-02-24 10:02

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Imagine stepping out of the office for lunch and returning an hour later with thicker lips, plumper cheeks and fewer frown lines?

It sounds impossible, but an increasing number of South African women are opting for a procedure known as the liquid face-lift, instead of plastic surgery.

A liquid face-lift, which can be performed in less than an hour, is a combination of botox and derma fillers and is a process in which soft tissue fillers are injected into the skin to add volume where needed.

This non-invasive procedure has taken local beauticians by storm.

Up to half-a-million derma filler procedures are performed in South Africa every year.

Over the past few years, well- known women like Khanyi Mbau, Edith Venter, Helen Zille and Noeleen Maholwana-Sangqu have admitted to having undergone liquid face-lifts.

Mbau, the self-proclaimed queen of bling, described the procedure as “the best thing any person can do to preserve their beauty and ensure they are looking 10 years younger than they are.”

She says she has a sexy man many women would die to have, so she has “to ice my age and maintain beauty if I want to keep him”.

Last week, the 19th World Congress of Aesthetic Medicine was held in Cape Town.

Doctors from more than 45 countries attended the conference, which focused on the latest trends, new techniques, discoveries, products and devices.

Caroline Van Hove, director of Allergan – a pharmaceutical company that manufactures facial aesthetics products for the European and African markets – told City Press that between 400?000 and 500?000 derma filler procedures are performed by dermatologists and medical doctors each year in South Africa (see correction below).

“Aesthetic medicine has become the most sought-after commodity in the world and the demand is growing fast in South Africa,” she said.

Hardus Bester, who owns the upmarket Best Body Skin clinic in Johannesburg, said: “The demand for lunch-hour liquid face-lift is so high you would swear that it’s all people think about these days.”

Dr Maureen Allem, founder of Skin & Body Renewal and Oasis Spas, agreed, saying the “liquid face-lift is one of the most popular procedures among our clients”.

“Most clients who visit our centres want to reverse the signs of aging on their face and our 3D face-lift is perfect for them as it reverses the signs of aging – from five to 10 years.”

While liquid face-lifts are seen as a quick way to looking 10 years younger, they don’t come cheap.

A session could cost anything upwards of R5?600, depending on the fillers you need.

And, because it’s just a temporary measure, you’ll need another in six months’ time.

But Bester says that doesn’t seem to be a deterrent.

“The high price tag that comes with liquid face-lifts doesn't seem to bother my clients.”

Mbau agreed: “It’s not about the money but about looking young and fabulous.”

Facelifts used to be procedures that only the rich or famous were able to afford.

But Bester and Allem said the shift in favour of non-surgical procedures meant that the middle classes were getting in on the action.

And it was not just older women either, but women as young as 28 who were coming in to preserve their looks.

Van Hove says this is a good thing for long-term beauty.

“The benefits of non-surgical anti-aging procedures are that, if started early, they delay aging.”

Allem agreed. “Botox from age 30 prevents aging as it prevents the creases or wrinkles from deepening. Botox injected into the brow prevents brow droop,” she said.

“Botox injected into the jawline and neck prevents jowling and Botox injected around the eyes prevents eye changes, such as fatty prolapse.”

While Allem and Bester sing the praises of anti-aging procedures, Van Hove warns those wishing to cut years off their age should do their homework first, and ensure they find experienced practitioners who know exactly what they are doing.

Correction: In the article Botox for lunch, anyone? (February 24 2013) we erroneously reported that Caroline Van Hove, director of Allergan pharmaceuticals, said the derma filler procedures were performed by dermatologists and highly qualified beauticians. She, however, insists that these procedures be performed by medical doctors and not beauticians.

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