My friends delight in the fact that I carry out medical aesthetics, not just because many of them choose to benefit from it personally but because they find it to be the basis of great humour. One such friend inspired me to explore why we view the consumption of Vodka and Botox so differently and prove to you how much these powerful potions have in common.
They are both poisons
It is true, Botulinum Toxin A, commonly known as ‘Botox’ is classified as a poison. However, when used for medical aesthetics by a qualified practitioner, there have never been any serious incidents. Allergy is very rare and the doses used to get rid of wrinkles or stop sweating are very small.
It was licenced to use in the NHS since 1994 for numerous conditions including migraines, spasticity disorders and overactive muscles. Therefore, we do have reasonably long term data on its use and safety in quantities 1000’s of times larger than the dose used to achieve smooth, wrinkle-free skin.
If only the same could be said for Vodka – in 2013 there were 8416 alcohol-related deaths, over 1 million hospital admissions and the total NHS bar bill came to an astonishing 21 billion.
I use the daughter test to guide my decision making as an ethical practitioner – knowing what I know, would I carry out this procedure on my hypothetical daughter. I can honestly say that I would much rather a daughter of mine had a shot of Botox than a shot of vodka any day.
They both take away your muscular control
Loss of control is one of the things that I hate most about drinking alcohol, losing control of my frown muscles however is a dream! With Botox, there is no regret, no lapse of judgment and you look fresher the next day than the night before!
On a serious note, one of the things my clients are most nervous about is that they will lose their facial expression and appear ‘plastic.’ I always reassure them that skilfully administered anti-wrinkle injections can be as natural as you want them to be. Clients are always surprised that they are still facially expressive, simply with fewer wrinkles. It also surprises them that their friends don’t know anything out of the ordinary has occurred except that they appear ‘fresher’ and more ‘well rested’.
They are both expensive
Which do you think is the more expensive habit – vodka or Botox? It may surprise you to realise that for most of my clients it would be the vodka! For one area of Botox, my standard pricing is £180 and then £50 for every additional area. Most clients have an average of 2 areas and return for treatment every 4 -6 months, which averages a £50 a month habit. The average Londoner spends more than £65 on alcohol each month. Therefore, to me it seems like a no brainer – would you rather spend £65 and accelerate the aging process or spend £50’s a month and look 10 years younger?
They both make you feel better
As well as administering medical injectables and doing teeth whitening in salons across London and the Home Counties, I also work as an NHS hospital dentist in the oral surgery and oral medicine departments. I am lucky in that I find it hugely satisfying and getting someone out of pain is very rewarding. However, what is often more profound is the complete transformation in confidence that my aesthetic treatments can bring about. Something as seemingly minor as yellow teeth, a prominent frown line or deep nose to mouth grooves can leave someone feeling acutely self-conscious. It is the best feeling in the world when clients finally see their bugbear disappear and are a changed person – happier and more self-assured. Unfortunately, those who seek happiness from the bottom of a vodka bottle have a rude awakening.
They are both delivered in shots
Does anybody actually enjoy doing a vodka shot? The sudden fire at the back of your throat, followed by the wave of unsavoury memories from the last time you were somehow persuaded to inhale this colourless concoction – it takes your breath away. The same can very definitely not be said for anti-wrinkle injections. The needles used are tiny and the sensation could only be described as mild discomfort at worst. I train all my dentists and doctors that work in White Swan salons in the art of near painless injections. Dermal fillers on the other hand can be quite uncomfortable so I always offer clients topical numbing cream or a dental block to completely freeze the area.
You can get both of them at parties
‘Botox parties’ went through a wave of popularity a few years ago where you would have drinks, nibbles and all sit around having facial aesthetics. I do not offer these as I think it's important for all procedures, even though they are not invasive, to be carried out in a clean, specially designed environment. For me, aesthetic treatment in a luxury beauty salon is the perfect balance between clinical and comfort – you still have your treatment with ideal lighting and chair positioning whilst also sipping a glass of champagne or having a pedicure!
They are both addictive
We all know that the more we drink on a night out or a dinner party, the more we want. The stop signal just isn’t there sometimes, particularly with the London culture of after-work drinks extending into the early hours. People apply the same logic to anti-wrinkle injections and body enhancement – will I get addicted and want more and more until I am one big Botox balloon ready to burst? This is simply not the case. Of course, there will always be a small minority of people who take things to the extreme but most clients will have a select couple of favoured treatments and do not find themselves on the slippery injectable slope of excess.
Ultimately, I hope I have achieved my goal of proving to you that in fact Botox and Vodka are the same in so many ways but only one can cause serious risk, accelerated aging and no long-term benefits. With this in mind, why is it more socially acceptable to drink alcohol than have Botox? Why would you feel comfortable telling your friends about a messy night out but yet I am the only one entrusted with the knowledge of your secret anti-wrinkle treatments? So remember, whether you want to grow old gracefully or stay smoother for longer, be open-minded about the fascinating and ever-changing world of medical aesthetics and all it has to offer.