Botox, fillers, tooth whitening and veneers
Lord knows we aren't about to enter the debate about whether plastic surgery is right or wrong. We wouldn't dare.
However, if you're going to embrace non-surgical means of enhancement, such as Botox and fillers, or dental procedures such as tooth whitening and veneers, do let the wisdom of Mumsnet be your guide to how to achieve the best effects in the safest manner.
Injecting poison (to be specific the bacterium Clostridium botulinum) into your forehead ain't for everyone, but there are those on Mumsnet who swear by it to temporarily get rid of frown lines and crows' feet.
Step forward one noddyholder, the boards' most enthusiastic proponent of the dark art of the teeny-weeny jag.
"I have found it subtle but effective. I still have the remnants of lines but faded like in my early 30s. It has made make-up and hair a pleasure again." noddyholder
Oh and Mumsnetter GetOrfMo1Land is rather keen, too: "It is brilliant - I am a natural frowner and it has got rid of the frown lines completely. I look 100% better - but I don't look 'done'. Just less grouchy."
The Department of Health says there are a number of questions you should ask to help you decide whether to have non-surgical cosmetic treatment and where. These include:
- Who will carry out the treatment?
- Can you see an accreditation certificate?
- Is it painful and, if so, what form of anaesthesia is used?
- How is equipment sterilised?
- What is the dermal filler made of? Will you be tested for allergic reactions?
- What are the risks involved?
- Will there be swelling and bruising afterwards?
- What is the aftercare regime?
- What is the cost of the treatment?
- How long do the results last?
But, like any invasive procedure, there are side-effects and it's not for everyone.
This is one Mumsnetter's cautionary tale: "I started getting flu-like symptoms, Sunday I had diarrhoea, nausea and the most god-awful heaviness in my brow, coupled with a terrible feeling of anxiousness. My eyelid had dropped and the pressure on my head was terrible. Both eyes are droopy today, and have a Herman Munster look with the dropped brow. I am obviously in the percentage of people for whom this is not a good treatment option."
Obviously, if you're already taking medicines or supplements you need to be certain they won't interact with the Botox. NHS Choices has the lowdown.
As you'd expect, Botox is out if you're pregnant or think you might be pregnant, or breastfeeding.
And in pursuit of a new, smoother-faced you, do put in the necessary woman-hours to find a reputable practitioner because non-surgical cosmetic procedures are currently unregulated.
Advice on dermal fillers
There comes a point when even the most glamorous woman has to choose between her face and her backside; if one is lusciously plumped, the chances are the other is a little over-padded.
This age-old backside-face dilemma is now being tackled by plastic surgeons using injectable fillers, such as Restylane, to fill out wrinkles and re-contour sunken cheeks.
And according to one Mumsnetter, "they ****ing hurt". Nevertheless, as long as you remember to ask for numbing injections first, some Mumsnetters love the effect of fillers.
"I still look like me - just a much less tired version. My only advice (besides making sure you are in the hands of someone with lots of experience) is if you have an event coming up make sure you have the fillers a couple of weeks beforehand so that any bruising and swelling can clear up." MrsDaiBreadTwo
DIY jobs are out: like Botox, fillers are invasive procedures with the risk of side-effects. And again, like Botox, you need to be 100% certain that the person doing the injections is reputable. The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons has a 'find a surgeon' function - all its members are on the Specialist Register of Plastic Surgeons maintained by the GMC.
"Seen some very nasty pics recently of a lady who bought the filler online and did it herself - you can see the lumps where it has set under her skin and she needs surgery to remove them." thumbwitch
The colour of our teeth is, like hair colour, determined by genetics, however years of drinking red wine and coffee will darken them over time. It's widely known that MNers take nothing stronger than Fairtrade organic camomile teas, but some of them appear to have had the treatment anyway.
"I used the trays the dentists gave me at home for about two weeks, one hour a day. I got reasonably good results, my teeth were at least 50% whiter.
One tip from the dentist was that you don't have to do every tooth, every time.
I would not recommend that anyone goes for a DIY approach without seeing a dentist first. They need to check your teeth and gums to make sure you are OK.
Mine included two follow-up appointments after I had used it at home." cabbageroses
First of all, a word of warning from Mumsnetter Tobylerone: "It's technically illegal."
Oops, what's that you say? The supply of tooth whitening stuff is illegal? Correctamundo, read on.
"It is an offence under EU law to supply products with more than 0.1% hydrogen peroxide in them. It's the dentist/supplier who is breaking the law, not the patient. Also, tooth-whitening products are usually very low pH. This can cause demineralisation of the teeth and increased likelihood of decay."
So head for your dentist, not the high street, if you want pearly white gnashers. The General Dental Council (GDC) says tooth whitening is a dental procedure that should only be carried out by those registered with the GDC.
Veneers are thin porcelain coverings attached to the front of natural teeth ("like a false finger nail is seated on the real nail" explains melissasmummy, helpfully).
Used to cover discolouration or mask minor orthodontic problems, they can be exorbitantly expensive and they involve a great deal of filing down of your poor real gnashers.
However, we all know that in the mutton-to-lamb makeover show, a nice set of white teeth can be infinitely more transforming than a new haircut or the most controlling of control pants.
"I had them on my two top front teeth (both very wonky, one broken). Didn't hurt although they are more sensitive now." Lulu25
Do be aware, however, that while the veneers will not decay, the back of the tooth is still vulnerable to deterioration, so good oral hygiene is an absolute must.
Should you wish to swap flossing tips, or indeed discuss your favourite brand of Botox, get your game face on and join in the chat on the Style & Beauty board.
Last updated: 5 months ago