27 October 2008

Here's a searching question for all you beauty queens: how old were you when you first started wearing make-up? I begged my mum to buy me some eyeliner when I was eight but it wasn't until I was 14 that she let me dabble with her make-up. She let me buy my own soon enough after that- sorry for ruining all your favourite lipsticks mum. I can understand why she tried to hold me off now; after all, she just wanted me to enjoy being a kid for as long as possible. But, as I continued to long for that first splash of black (or purple!) on my lids or that subtle hint of rouge on my cheekbones, the mesmerising thought of wearing make-up and "being grown-up" never left my mind.

So I can understand why teenagers in Britain today are so keen to sample the age-defying effects of Botox. A recent article in the Daily Mail - always a great source of cosmetic surgery news - mentioned that more and more young people are turning to wrinkle-relaxing injections in their teens, in an effort to turn back the clock before the big hand has even really started moving.

And why not? Their mothers and grandmothers are lucky enough to live in a world where wanting to look your best is a quality that's admired in spades and cosmetic surgery is revered for the confidence boost it gives people. Their children should be able to experience these life-affirming results when they want to - shouldn't they?

But it's not quite that simple. While Botox can produce a smoother face when used in moderation, excessive use creates that unnatural, frozen look that so many celebrities - say, Joan Rivers or Cher - wear so well. Last week, some of our surgeons felt the need to warn people that overusing Botox can cause the dreaded "Wrinklerexia"(an unhealthy obsession with keeping wrinkles at bay) and advised patients not to have more injections than necessary. It's important advice - and I hope that parents will pass it on to their Botox-loving children. After all, they're much more likely to appreciate the desired effects - and look fantastic for it - when they've got a few wrinkles to show first!