“I don’t know what it is, but your face looks different.”
It’s a statement I fear most, and one I replay in my mind, when I think what my friends might say after they see me following a bout of cosmetic injections on what I consider to be GMLs – or ‘grumpy mum lines’, commonly known as frown lines, 11s and medically as glabellar lines, which sit between the eyes. These lines are common and become more prominent as we age due to the change in elasticity of our skin. They often give the appearance of aged, sad, tired, mad, stressed and even an angry look no matter how much of a good mood you are in. That’s why they are the first thing to be treated when it comes to cosmetic injectables.
Mine were evident so some ‘softening’ would have been welcomed.
After much research, procrastination, curiosity, looking longingly into other women’s faces (not in the lovingly way, but because I am searching their face for tell-tale frozen face signs) and reading monthly purchases of the Women’s Weekly – they cover anti-ageing and cosmetic injectables better than any other magazine on the shelf today. (Who would have thought the trusty lamington recipe would sit next to an article about trout pouts and frozen frowns?).
Driving past the cosmetic injectable clinic is what I did on numerous occasions, thinking to myself “if a park comes available right in front of the clinic, then it’s a sign for me to pull in and make an inquiry”. As it turned out, with each wish there would be anything up to 7 parks available to park in. What sort of sign is that?
Instead, I opted for a phone call to make the appointment.
After much anxiety and fear of running into every single face I knew around town, I pulled into the car park and walked (shirking is what it looked like) into the front door of CRC Geelong. I didn’t have to wait long before the office manager, Kerry popped her head around the corner of the reception to greet me like I had been at CRC many times before. Immediately her warm, friendly personality was reassuring.
Thinking I would wait in a waiting room – like most clinics so we can all admire one other whilst guessing what each one is having ‘done’ – Kerry immediately ushered me into a private treatment room to fill out the necessary forms and meet with the wonderful Ms Niamh Corduff.
Niamh was great.
I asked the most concerning questions I had circling my mind like, first up – what if this doesn’t work?, What can go wrong?, What if I look fake and everyone notices this?, to statements like ‘I don’t want to resemble a Barbie Doll; this is only to minimise those deep set wrinkles that make me look tired, I am not keen on getting my lips pouty and big, please don’t make me look like a Real Housewife of Melbourne.’
In my first 5 minutes of meeting Niamh her charm and honesty was disarming and I felt comfortable in her presence. She was a great listener and, given her vast experience and length of time in the industry, she no doubt had heard all of my questions before, some more or less ridiculous than my own, but not once did Niamh cue an eye roll, a dramatic sigh, or begin tapping her fingers. She, in her professional manner, answered and explained everything with ease minus the jargon and technical speak.
However, I did notice one thing whilst having a consultation with Niamh; she looked fantastic! But the fantastic without looking like she had work done. As Niamh herself says – notice the staff and if they look like they have gone too far, then you know you shouldn’t be there.
Wise words – I say the same about hairdressers.
On my first day of injectables, Niamh was going to treat my frown lines just between the eyebrows and along the top of the eye brows. This area tends to be the most popular and least risk, with first timers.
As I laid down on the treatment bed, Niamh volunteered the opportunity to show me the needle. The needles Niamh uses to inject are very thin and the injection is not very deep at all.
On the count of three I felt a slight pinch feeling during the injection, but not much pain and certainly no after-pain feeling either which was my worst fear. Within 30 seconds and 5 injections Niamh was done. All through this (a whole 3 minute treatment time) Niamh encouraged conversation to take my mind off what was about to happen. What really made me feel like I was going to be ok was that Niamh had reassured me she was only going to inject me with a conservative amount and touch up the results during a follow up treatment if it wasn’t enough. This would help to ensure natural, optimal results without the risk of over-treating my frown. I liked that idea given I was gifted with a small forehead.
Looking in the mirror afterwards, all that was noticeable was a couple of spots resembling mozzie bites, but you had to look for them. I had to head back to work and I felt confident knowing my secret would be safe. Niamh did stress not to undertake any exercise and to call the clinic if I had any concerns, noticed any odd side effects or mild swelling or redness of the injected areas. I walked out of CRC feeling like I had bought a gorgeous pair of shoes and couldn’t wait to use them…..in 3 to 7 days.
Results are not immediate so over the next few days I watched closely for the appearance of my new forehead. To give you an idea of how long it took to take effect, I had the treatment done on a Wednesday and by Sunday, no more GML!
Taking the forehead for a test drive was weird to say the least. For me it took some getting used to and can only liken the feeling to having duct tape plastered to my forehead. My best friend didn’t even notice – which is exactly the effect I was going for. When it did come to frowning – especially at my young children – there was slight scrunching of my nose and making a peering face with my eyes – this was my sans frown substitution.
It has now been 2 months since my appointment and I don’t even think about my frown anymore. There is a little frown movement but nothing warranting a return visit too soon. I love the smoothness and my face does appear more relaxed and less ‘aged’. I like knowing that I have a new anti-ageing strategy in place that works. Yes, I know I might sound like a tv commercial but you can’t argue with research, which shows that these types of injections do have a preventative effect on ageing.
And while I’m aware some people will scoff at the idea of using their hard-earned money on something so subtle (a treatment like mine costs about $247 and lasts about 3 – 4 months), personally, I would sooner put my money towards an intervention that works than a jar of hope from the pharmacy counter. Does it mean I might have to forego the odd night out at the cinema or nice pair of shoes to afford subsequent treatments? I’m ok with that. My priorities have changed and now caring for my skin has become my commitment, and I’m not relying on a miracle.