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My sneaky botox trip… | by Zelda Benedetti

Zelda Benedetti is a British journalist and published author.  She is also a mum of three based in the UK and who has also spent a number of years living in the UAE.  She just attempted her first botox treatment and is telling us the funny side of it. 

“You’re not going to get anything done, are you?” my husband asks as I leave the house. He knows I am going to see Dr Maurizio Viel, a fabulous plastic surgeon I met while living in Dubai who also much to my relief has a practice in London.

Of course I am, but I’m not about to tell him. Partly because I’m still not sure what I want to get done, or what I need to get done. I am relying on Dr Viel to tell me that.

“No, of course not,” I reassure my husband as I kiss him goodbye. I think I may even have meant it at that moment, but the closer I get to the clinic, the less sure I am.

I have not yet made the final leap from noninvasive to invasive treatments, but if I’m honest, I don’t think I can resist the temptation any longer. There are wrinkles appearing on my face that are too prominent to ignore. Every time I look at myself in the mirror I almost reel back in horror. Who is that wrinkly woman staring back at me?

It is a bright, cold, winter’s day in London. Dr Viel sits opposite me in a red leather chair looking suave and wrinkle-free. He studies my face a bit like a portrait painter would study his subject.

“Smile,” he says. I grin. “Frown.” I scowl.

“Have you ever had Botox?” he asks.

“No,” I say. “But I’m willing to try. Only I don’t want to look frozen. Or mad.”

He walks over to me and guides me to a mirror. He stands behind me and asks me to show him what bothers me the most.

“This.” I point at my most offensive wrinkle. “This vast wrinkle between my eyebrows, which makes me look constantly livid. As well as my whole forehead and the myriad lines around my eyes. Shall I go on?”

“The lines you have could be treated with Botox,” he says. I feel my heart skip a beat, like a teenager hearing the name of her secret boyfriend. “And you will not look frozen. It’s a question of knowing where to inject and how deep to go.”

I nod as he works his fingers around my face, asking me to smile and frown in rapid succession. Then I lie down on the treatment bed and Dr Viel gets to work. “Frown for me,” he says, needle in hand. He pinches a piece of my skin. “It’s a tiny needle and only the tip goes in, so it shouldn’t hurt too much.”

My husband’s words, “You need braintox, not Botox”, are echoing in my head as I feel the first pinprick. If it all goes horribly wrong, I’m in deep trouble.

After less than five minutes, all the Botox is done. Amazingly, I hardly feel a thing. And I’m not good with needles.

The effects of Botox take at least three days to show. That is your muscles take three days to be paralysed. I spend most of the following days in front of the mirror, monitoring my wrinkles. On the second day I have a Eureka moment. The most-hated wrinkle is a shadow of its former self. On the third day it has completely vanished. And the crow’s-feet are slowly slipping away. My whole face looks smoother, younger and more relaxed. I look like I’ve had a great night’s sleep. In fact several great nights’ sleep. And I can walk past a mirror without reeling back in horror.

The best of it is that my husband hasn’t noticed a thing….

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