Voices: Botox? No thanks – I’d rather look old than look weird

·4-min read
I think women (and some men) care far too much about wrinkles (Getty Images)
I think women (and some men) care far too much about wrinkles (Getty Images)

When an aesthetic doctor recently offered me free tweakments to “freshen up” my face, I said thanks – but no chance! Even if she could erase my scowl lines for what she promised would be a “more neutral expression”, I have taken a stance against all invasive anti-ageing carry-ons. I’ve three reasons, and at age 45 I’m determined to stick to my guns.

In fairness, she was being nice. I had complained that in photos these days, even if I’m beaming, the lines on the top of my eyebrows give me a slightly quizzical look hinting at a disgruntled undercurrent. She said she could erase these pesky wrinkles so my default face would be a smooth and happy one. I laughed away her offer but inside I was raging. Neutral expression, my arse!

“Do I look angry in photos?” I asked my husband. “Not at all,” he said, after a thoughtful pause. He reckoned I looked like a 45-year-old should look – a little banjaxed, but nothing wrong with that. He was being supportive, but in truth if I did rush out tomorrow and get a face full of Botox I know he would never realise.

I think women (and some men) care far too much about wrinkles, but think about it: if you fancy someone, it won’t be because they have a smooth forehead.

Loads of women I know get Botox and don’t tell their partners. When Olivia Colman first got Botox she did not tell her husband. He just kept saying “hello pretty” for six months and laughed when he found out.

I wonder if Kate Middleton tells William? Perhaps it’s the 20 quid rosehip oil doing the heavy lifting, but I reckon Kate has veered towards the invasive anti-ageing tools.

At the UK premiere of Top Gun: Maverick, did she not have that tell-tale super-smooth forehead? With her dewy look she seemed more red carpet perfect than royal.

And sure, why not? The pressure she feels to look good must be huge. But think how powerful it would be for someone like Kate to eschew the need to freeze her wrinkles, to be able to say “hand on heart, lads, it’s the make-up, hairdresser, rosehip oil, yoga and my personality that make me look this amazing”. And maybe this is the truth – perhaps she has had zero work. I’m just guessing here!

The situation we have today is that, with most women in the public eye (and plenty of men) deciding to smooth out their faces, the message being transmitted is that looking your age is unacceptable – you will look tired and less sexy if you don’t step in and head off the wrinkles at the pass.

As a result we have many 20-somethings and younger swallowing the toxic preventive narrative: that if they start early enough they can dodge the wrinkles. I find it sad to be so worried about your experience showing.

One of the reasons I will not be getting anti-ageing injections is that I want to give my 11-year-old daughter a kinder message about body confidence: that flaws are fine and there’s no need to hide your wrinkles when you have earned them.

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Look, I’m not someone to embrace going down the drain. You won’t see my hair going grey, you will rarely find me without make-up. I run and do yoga and eat healthily.

And these things make me feel good. They enhance my life, whereas Botox or micro-needling or fillers, I feel, would subtract from it and inject a feeling of anxiety into my efforts to look after myself. I have a feeling that, once I started, I would never be content. Once the lines on the forehead were gone my crow’s feet would suddenly seem disgusting.

My second reason is the expense and soreness.

I have so many nicer things to spend my dosh on, and I shuddered last week when my hairdresser cheerfully described the micro-needling she gets every four months as being like getting a tattoo on her face.

Yet, despite some pinpoint bleeding and bruising, and having to stay indoors for a few days afterwards, she is thrilled with this treatment because it dissolves her fine lines. She is 26. I want to hug her and say stop worrying about fine lines – live your life.

My third reason is vanity: I’m not sure you look any better with no wrinkles as you sail into your forties. In a strange way, do you not start to look ageless and get that certain “look” after a while, the neutral look?

The bottom line is this: I’d prefer to look old than weird anyday.

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