WHAT I TRIED Botox injections. This staple of the modern woman's beauty armour has been around for 20 years. A tiny amount of botulinum toxin is injected into the face - generally on the forehead and around the eyes. It temporarily paralyses the nerve ends, which prevents muscles from contracting, thus smoothing out the skin and giving a younger appearance. Botox injections are one of the most popular cosmetic treatments, and any number of clinics and salons - even some dentists - now offer it, many with mixed results (see below). I went to the Kaya Clinic in Abu Dhabi.
WHAT I WANTED A habit of quizzically raising one eyebrow had left a deep wrinkle on my forehead. Also, I could no longer ignore the fact that the "laughter lines" around my eyes were now definitely "crow's feet". I wanted to soften and erase the lines without looking as if I had obviously had something done. And here was the problem. Several years ago, I had Botox injections before a significant birthday. Three days later, my unnaturally arched eyebrows suddenly drooped in the middle. I looked like a very grumpy Vulcan. Too terrified to return to the clinic, I had a fringe cut to cover my forehead and waited for the Botox to wear off, which it did in about three months.
WHAT HAPPENED I was reassured by the fact that Dr Marian Coutinho specialises in Botox. "It's one of our most popular treatments, especially with British expats. I've got four people after you today," she told me. After a short consultation, she recommended injecting my forehead, between my eyebrows and around my eyes. She said my previous disastrous experience was probably due to the fact that I have a short forehead and the Botox had been injected too close to my eyebrows. Anaesthetic cream was applied and 15 minutes later she got to work. It wasn't entirely painless - it feels a bit like having tiny bee stings - but the whole process lasted less than 10 minutes. Afterwards, I was told not to lie down for several hours (so it's probably a good idea to have the treatment done early in the day) and to move my face as much as possible so the Botox would work its way into the lines.
VERDICT After three days, the deep wrinkle had disappeared and the crow's feet were diminished. But I can still move my eyebrows and they have not drooped. The effect is a subtle smoothing of the lines rather than their complete eradication, which is much more natural than the startled frozen look you see on middle-aged minor American actresses. The effects should last four to six months.
Botox costs between Dh400-2,000, depending on the number of units and includes a free "Skinscription" to determine the health of the skin. To make an appointment, call the Kaya Skin Clinic, Villa 218/1 Al Karamah, near Khalifa Hospital, Abu Dhabi (02 445 9923); or shop F11, First Floor, Al Raha Mall, Abu Dhabi (02 556 2911).
Clarins Foot Beauty Treatment Cream Did you know that our feet take between 8,000-10,000 steps a day on average, and while the skin on the sole is thick, the rest is as delicate as the skin on your hands. Plus, because of the absence of sebaceous glands, our feet age sooner than the rest of the body. Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream is one of the best on the market, and it's likely that their impressive new Foot Beauty Treatment Cream will become another big seller. Containing shea butter, arnica and myrhh, it has a creamy, rich, non-oily texture that nourishes and smooths. Apply after showering, or a good foot soak and exfoliation, then massage in slowly for 10 minutes. Dh132, stores nationwide.
Silkskin Eye Mask When stress, jet-lag or worry lines are causing us sleepless nights, or we're just having trouble dropping off, our SilkSkin Eye Mask is a night-time essential. Made from organic silk and filled with soothing lavender, it helps to maintain the natural moisture in the skin and protects it from developing more lines or deeper creases at a crucial time of repair. It also feels and smells wonderful and blocks out light like no other mask we've tried. Dh175, www.silkskin.com