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Non-surgical cosmetics

Alison Taylor from Medical Cosmetics answers your frequently asked questions...

Say the word cosmetic surgery and a whole range of images spring to mind – Anne Robinson, Helen Mirren, Lesley Ash’s lips, PIP implants, horror stories - also some fear and mystery, age-defying looks and awe inspiring beauty. It’s a confusing subject. Partly cloaked in medical mystery, but partly it is over exposed in every magazine and discussed through every walk of life. It has a magnetic quality when it comes to the media.

Straight talking
Most people have some confusion about cosmetic treatments. Botox, fillers, collagen, plastic surgery. They are all well known terms but the real facts; the medical evidence; is not so deeply explored.

• Botox® is actually not a treatment; it’s a trade name. Like Hoover is to vacuum cleaners, it has become the popular term - much to the delight of Allergan ® who make it. It’s a prescribed medicine and as such must only be given by medically trained nurses, doctors and dentists.
• It is the most popular term to describe the treatment for relaxing lines between the eye brows.Many brands are used but the principles are the same.
• It is a watery solution containing a protein derived from the botulinum toxin. This sounds scary but most medicines are derived from bacteria, moulds, fungus, even tree bark and it’s actually a very safe product.
• It is widely tested and used in hospitals daily treating children and elderly for numerous muscle spasms.
• It lasts about 12 weeks, takes a week to work and in cosmetics, tiny amounts are used.
• It will relax the frown, remove an unintentional stern expression – ‘Mummy’s angry face’, and gives the face a more open and relaxed look. A good treatment should look natural and fresh and should not look obvious.
• Always check that the person giving the muscle relaxing treatment is a qualified medical practitioner – that is a nurse, doctor or dentist. They should assess you first and you should ask as many questions as you need.

Fillers, Dermal Fillers
The sad fact of ageing is the appearance of shadows and lines – from nose to mouth, around the lips, sunken cheeks and sagging jaw line.
Fillers are used to plump up the skin from underneath, rehydrate and boost the skin.
• Dermal fillers nowadays are temporary, reversible and hyaluronic based. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance found in the body tissues of all animals. It has already been used widely in general medicine to help eye surgeons perform cataract operations, and for injection into arthritic joints to aid movement.
• It is estimated that 30 million patients around the world have been treated with some form of hyaluronic acid.
• Hyaluronic acid has less allergies than collagen which is now a little outdated.
• The practitioner should take a medical history to make sure that there are no reasons why you shouldn’t have the treatment. Just as with muscle relaxing treatments, you will usually be asked to read detailed information and sign a consent form which means that you have understood what the treatment may do, along with any potential side effects.
• Dermal fillers are not prescription medicine and so technically, a non-medical person can obtain these but the anatomy, physiology and applied knowledge required for safe administration will be lacking.

All the press coverage has been about permanent fillers. I never use permanent fillers and any treatments I do, I have years of training and experience with and am constantly updating my skills including becoming a nurse prescriber - a top level clinical nurse. If you are thinking about having any of these treatments, I will guide you, advise you, not pressure you and give you all the facts – and the results can be fantastic!

Alison Taylor Medical Cosmetics, 5 BerkeleyMews, 29 High St, Cheltenham, GL50 1DY. Tel: 01242 234707; www.skindetox.co.uk