Daily Mail, 23rd March,2006
Good news for all women – the facelift is officially as dead as Davina McCall’s chat show. Facelifts have fallen out of favour and off the list of top five treatments now requested in the land of cosmetic surgery, the U.S. of A.
No longer are women rushing to have their faces ripped off in the search for eternal youth.
says the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
So has feminism triumphed, are we finally happy to grow old gracefully? Don’t be silly. As the
living shrine to cosmetic surgery revealed yesterday, for many women growing old is not an option.
“Everyone says I’m terrified of getting old,” she says, “but in my job becoming old and becoming extinct are one and the same thing and becoming obsolete and useless is
completely unattractive to me.”
At nearly 60, Cher has been lifted up and dumped more times than a suburban skip. She’s part of the old brigade, the facelift fascists who subjected their bodies to unthinkable surgical abuse in an attempt to stay young.
The next generation, our generation, say “enough already”. Certainly enough facelifts. It’s not that we are shying away from cosmetic surgery as such, it’s just that not since the medieval chastity belt has devised anything quite so barbaric to keep women in their place.
It shows the incredible pressure on young women to stay young that we even considered subjecting ourselves to have our skin peeled away from our flesh, lifted then stretched tighter than Tessa Jowell’s credibility.
It’s then replaced back over our face leaving it bashed and bruised for weeks and eventually
making us look ten years younger for (as Anne Robinson discovered) about five minutes.
As one cosmetic surgeon said to me recently – a facelift is like putting on a new pair of soft-
leather loafers, momentarily perfect, then they start to stretch.
Yet leave any group of 40-plus women together for more than a few minutes and the subject will inevitably turn to “having something done” – and increasingly it is not a question of “if” but “when”.
But ageing hits you hard and fast. turning 40 is a doddle, it’s 45 when it all starts falling
apart. You wake up and discover your jaw line has disappeared in the night, to be replaced by little saddlebags.
You get holiday snaps back and wonder who the bird with the triple chin is wearing an
identical swimsuit to yours. And when did those tiny crow’s feet turn into the talons of a
tyrannosaurus rex? No, it happens overnight. You go to bed one night and wake up looking
like Dot Cotton. But the facelift is such a radical procedure – and such a temporary one – that in the end it’s lost out in the vanity stakes to liposuction, nose jobs, boob jobs, tummy tucks and eyelid surgery.
Now as I look down the barrel of 50 – next year – I am becoming more inquisitive about the
alternatives. Because, let’s face it, something happens to a woman between the ages of 40
and 50. It’s that moment when you know, however thin you are (and I’m not), you can’t wear
jeans any more. No one wants to be a 20-year-old from the back and a 50-year-old from the front.
The age when you wonder if your hair is too long, your heels too high, when you ponder the
cruelty of a world where big bottoms are finally fashionable, thanks to the lovely likes of
Jennifer Lopez, and yours has gone as flat as a pancake.
When all your life you’ve wanted a flat tummy and you end up with a sticky out stomach
and a washboard bum instead.
Yes, this is the time in a woman’s life when her mind lightly turns to thoughts of cosmetic surgery.
Of course, there is always a girls’ new best friend, Botox. What an incredible difference that makes to all the early signs of ageing, especially the lines around the eyes and the mouth.
So far I have resisted, although every time I see one of my girlfriends after having it, I
am sorely tempted.
There are a variety of nonsurgical facelifts on the market now. Isolagen, a procedure
developed for young burns victims in which they take small samples of skin cells, isolate the
fibroblasts – cells that form collagen – cultivate them in the laboratory then inject them back
into your face.
Then there are threadlifts which work on sagging skin by inserting a barbed medical thread under the skin and pulling it like a drawstring to tighten cheeks, brows and jowls.
Sculptra is devised for hollow cheeks, a polylactic acid injected under the skin to pump up the
depressed area. Fraxel is a laser treatment that attacks sun damaged skin and stimulates the
renewal of collagen. It reduces the skin pigmentation and evens out the skin tone.
There are a number of Restylane products on the market, some for lines, others for general skin tone and elasticity, involving injecting into the dermis.
Restylane SubQ is a thicker version of the product used to contour faces, especially around
the cheeks and jawline.
I have no direct experience of any of them, although I do have the occasional Casey – so-called non-surgical facelift – invented to stimulate the facial muscles of stroke victims and found to also improve muscle tone and give the face a temporary lift.
The simple fact that the number of cosmetic operations increases every year, now even for men, shows we still want to hold back the years, we’re just not happy having major surgery
to do it any more.
And with the incredible developments in modern medicine, especially the new laser techniques, you can look younger for longer without surgery. That’s why we have reached this watershed in the development of cosmetic surgery.
Instead of going under the knife, we’re going under the laser. We may be witnessing the death of the facelift as we know it, but in its place we are embracing the slice-free, noninvasive,
There is still so much dishonesty among women about how they stay looking young. With a face as line-free as her young daughter Lourdes, Madonna says she won’t rule out cosmetic surgery. Rule it out? Who is she kidding?
Bette Midler appears on Parkinson looking fabulous and the reason he doesn’t even ask
the question we all want answered – how a 60-year-old woman has the face and body of
a 30-year-old – is because a celebrity is more likely to admit to having herpes than cosmetic
Goldie Hawn, Susan Sarandon, Sharon Stone, Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Barbra Streisand – ladies, how do you do it? So, enough sisterly silence. In the interests of transparency, I
will embark on a journey of discovery, to find out if any of these non-surgical procedures
Eventually, I will get on to acupuncture – better than Botox they say – but I will start with a
new laser treatment.
I’ve always suspected nonsurgical facelifts were about as effective as non-alcoholic wine,
as powerful as a placebo, but the weight of evidence is against me.
Today I will find out the truth once and for all, as this is the first day of my non-surgical
Yes, I will take pictures and I will report back on my nonabrasive facial rejuvenation.
Evidently, the laser stimulates the production of a girl’s best friend, collagen.
After four treatments I can expect to have my lines reduced by about half, and see a clear
improvement in the elasticity and quality of my skin.
There is no pain, discolouring or discomfort. It also reduces broken capillaries, lifts the eyes
and will give me back my chin just one of them, please.
It has taken me until nearly my sixth decade to succumb to any kind of anti-ageing
How glad I am that I’ve left it long enough to avoid the curse of the facelift.
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