By Vivian Vassos
Botox. Yes, it’s a toxin. Yes, it’s had its rep propped up and dragged down. And yes, we keep on using it. For every overdone Meg Ryan, there’s a subtle Linda Evangelista; for every Nicole Kidman, well, there’s a Nicole Kidman: There’s no arguing she’s flawless, perhaps frozenly so.
The good doctors interviewed here are no frozen faces. They are all about making the most of their patients’ assets, without taking the syringe to the max. And for many dermatologists across Canada, it’s also their own dermo drug of choice. They happily inject themselves with what Dr. Frances Jang of Vancouver calls a “hugely preventative” procedure — from their furrowed brows, down to their chest, indeed right down to their knees. The average cost of Botox treatments at Skinworks, where Dr. Jang plies her trade, is from $300 to $700, depending on the number of areas treated (for example, crow’s feet, frown lines, forehead lines, lip lines, etc.) and the degree of muscle activity in these areas, which varies from patient to patient.
These doctors are their own best advertisements. Jang looks nowhere near her 50-plus years — but she manages to look real nonetheless. Winnipeg’s Dr. Victoria Taraska is approaching her 40th birthday, sporting a few subtle smile lines as evidence of the good life, but without a trace of some of the harder ageing wrinkles that would otherwise have made an appearance by now. When I visited Dr. Lisa Kellett on Avenue Road — midtown Toronto’s Botox Boulevard — I was struck by how fresh and youthful she looks at the age of 40 and with four young children.
Sign me up. I’ll have what they’re having.
These women are pioneers of sorts, not afraid to experiment with the toxin in hopes of further slowing down the tick-tock of age. They post photos of their faces on their Web sites, as evidence that it really works.
Sure, there are occupational hazards. Sipping through a straw after a shot in the upper lip is suddenly a dangerous sport, and chewing food after a shot to the jaw can be a messy business. But just for a brief time. The benefits, all agree, outlast the few days of minor facial-muscle malfunctions.
Now, almost 20 years after its introduction, Botox is a household name. In 2005, according to Botox maker Allergan, the almost 3.3 million treatments performed made it the most common cosmetic procedure available. It is certainly the most common treatment in dermatology.
LISA KELLETT, MD, FRCPC
DLK on Avenue Toronto
dlkonavenue.com Age 40
How long have you been using Botox? I started using it at 35. Do you do the work yourself? I have my nurse, Diana, inject me. I’m much too picky to do it on myself, as I like it to be perfect and it’s hard to do it backwards in a mirror! How often do you use it? Every three to four months.
For what areas of the face do you use it? Crow’s feet, to turn the corners of the mouth up, vertical lip lines above the upper lip and– ready for this? –neck, chest, knees. Also, I’ve had four pregnancies so I have developed a really great way to use it on the stomach.
Are there new applications you are recommending to your patients?
That depends on the patient, as every patient is an individual and I listen to their areas of concern first before recommending anything. Why do you use it? It is effective, safe, easy and fast and it makes me look well rested.
What do you think is next? I think the areas I inject for myself (neck, chest, knees) will become more commonplace.
What is the most requested application area by your patients? My specialty is an eye lift with Botox. It’s safer and cheaper than surgery, takes only 10 minutes and you can go right back to work!