It’s no secret that lockdown has made many of us reassess our lifestyles. However, it is a secret that many of us are actually enjoying lockdown and the lifestyle changes that it has brought with it, particularly regarding stress.
As Dr Harpal Bains explains, “The surprising secret about lockdown is that 80-85% of my clients feel better at the moment – despite many having a more intense workload. I think there is guilt to admit that you’re feeling good amidst the pandemic when it’s such an awful situation and so many people are ill. In the privacy of our consultations, I am hearing first hand that patients are generally feeling better, more relaxed, and finding that a lot of their symptoms are going away. It really highlights how big of an impact stress has on us.”
In some circumstances, lockdown measures have alleviated stress because we find that we aren’t rushing as much, whether that’s darting around in the morning to get dressed, hurrying to get the kids to school or running to catch the train to work. We’re not stress-eating because we haven’t had time to make breakfast. We’re not skipping our skincare regimes or that ‘morning me-time’ because we rolled out of bed 10 minutes before we were supposed to leave the house.
Many people led very stressful lives before lockdown and are now finding themselves more relaxed. This sends the body into a ‘recovery phase’. This happens when you’ve been in fight or flight mode for a long time and suddenly the stress dramatically reduces.
In this phase, your body receives a signal that it’s ‘safe’ and doesn’t need to be prepared to ‘fight’ the stress anymore. You know when you’re feeling run down but you keep pushing to get things done; then when you finally stop and relax you get ill? This is actually your body trying to keep you alive. Once your body thinks that you’re safe, it goes into repair mode, making you ill. If you had acne, weight loss or hair loss before lockdown began, you might find that for an initial period during lockdown, these symptoms initially get worse before they start to get better.
Therefore, it’s important to pay attention to your appearance. Yes – being vain can be a good thing!
Stress can play havoc with your hormones, causing imbalances that mess with everything from your mood to your appearance.
When hormones are imbalanced, some female patients might notice that they have some – or all of – the ‘five Bs’:
Bitchiness (or more politely, bad moods, feelings of being low or down or depressed)
These symptoms are due to oestrogen dominance – i.e. more oestrogen in relation to progesterone. When you take the stress out of the equation, it’s a chance for your oestrogen to rebalance. Therefore, during lockdown, you might have found that these five Bs are no longer plaguing you.
But beware, as time goes on and we slip back into a regular routine, the hormone tables can turn once again!
Oestrogen imbalance can manifest in poor skin quality – but it’s not just breakouts that are the problem. It’s thinning skin and wrinkles, too.
Crepey, paper-like skin is due to a loss of oestrogen, which is why it occurs more frequently, and sooner in life, in women than it does in men. Testosterone (the male sex hormone) encourages skin thickness and oiliness. This is the reason that some men appear to show physical signs of ageing later than women.
Dr Bains explains, “I don’t think vanity should be taken lightly. Skin is really revealing. We should take it seriously and think of it as a tool to point out issues with other things within the body. Your skin is the largest organ in your body and if it’s not happy, there’s every chance that something else in your body not being happy either.”
If you’re experiencing wrinkling skin, whether it’s due to a stressful lifestyle and its impact on your hormones, genetic factors, or even an expressive face, Botox can provide an easy fix.
However, many people think of Botox quite simply as a wrinkle-reducer. It’s actually much more clever than that. Botox is injected into the muscles rather than the wrinkles themselves. The formula then trains the underlying muscles to avoid the movement that creates the wrinkles in the first place.
“The aim is to get rid of the muscle memory so that after 12-18 months you can still frown, but you just forget to because your brain has forgotten how to do it routinely. This treatment is all about stopping the problem at the root, rather than covering it up at the surface.” explains Dr Bains.
For someone with deep wrinkles or who frowns a lot, Botox is recommended every three to four months. Unfortunately, the nature of Botox means that the treatment starts to wear off towards the end of this period; so in order for the brain to be trained correctly, treatment should take place at regular intervals over the course of a year to 18 months. Following that, a top-up once or twice a year should keep up the effects.
“Botox isn’t just beneficial for the face. For those who experience regular headaches and continuous teeth grinding, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) Botox is a very cheap fix compared to painful and expensive dental work at a later date.”
Many people consider wrinkles as simply aesthetic – but they go much deeper than that. There are studies which reveal that frowning can signal to your brain that you are sad or angry. If you cannot frown due to the use of Botox, those negative mental neural associations actually decrease.
It can also affect the way others interact with you. Picture someone you know who frowns all the time. Do they come across as unfriendly or unapproachable? A correction with Botox relaxes the underlying muscles, making them seem more relaxed and open to communication.
As Dr Bains relays, “My patients who are mothers say they know when it’s time for a Botox top-up because their kids start asking why they are angry all the time!”
In the UK, it is traditional to charge for Botox by the number of areas treated. This can be costly and put people off seeking treatment. At Harpal Clinic, we charge by how much Botox formula is used. This means that, if a patient desires a more natural look, we may be able to treat more than one area with the same amount of Botox.
The Nefertiti neck lift is just one of the many Botox options we offer that make a dramatic improvement in aesthetic, without costing an arm and a leg. With age, the bands around the neck can pull the face down, which causes heavy visual ageing. The Nefertiti line treatment improves the ‘stringy’ appearance of the neck, while at the same time preventing the face being pulled downward. It’s the non-invasive equivalent to a facelift – without the price tag!
If you are experiencing a less-than-desired impact on your visual appearance due to changing stress levels surrounding lockdown – or any other aspect of life – consider remedying that with Botox. You can find out more about the cost of Botox and the Botox treatments we offer, here.
Of course skincare isn’t only about botox and fillers. Think of skincare as something that affects all layers of the skin; if we take care of all the layers, we have a much better chance of maintaining excellent skin for our age. Collagen stimulating treatments like radio-frequency, are really relevant in stimulating new collagen and elastin growth in the skin. Sloughing away surface skin with microdermabrasion or a good chemical peel helps with renewed regeneration of the skin. Then, of course, there’s always excellent nutrition, being well hydrated and living a well balanced life. Every little helps and your skin will show you when it’s in a good place.
Is Botox Safe?
Keep in mind that Botox was first developed by an eye surgeon under medical conditions to treat eyelid twitch, and that’s how they found out that the patient would also have fewer wrinkles. It is also used medically to treat anal fissures and urinary incontinence in much higher doses.
If Botox treatment is performed by a professional, who knows what they are doing, the results are fantastic and there really are no long term implications besides the possibility of looking a bit artificial if someone puts too much in. As stated earlier in this article, the treatment wears off after a few months. This is because the amount used is so little, and your body eventually gets rid of it.
Does Botox Hurt?
It’s uncomfortable but it’s tolerable. The needles used in Botox treatments are even smaller than an insulin needle. Plus, the dose is very small, so the appointment won’t take too long.
If You Feel Like The Effects Are Too Much, How Long Until The Botox Wears Off?
Two to three months. Some people are scared of the ‘Spock’ look, but that is easily correctable by your practitioner. It just means the placement wasn’t quite right. Sometimes when the Botox is injected, it can seep out of the skin straight away. We always offer complementary top-ups after two weeks in these cases.
Is Botox Addictive?
Whilst you could be addicted to your new appearance, Botox itself is not addictive. A good practitioner will tell you when too much is too much.
If You Stop Having Botox, Will Wrinkles Suddenly Come Back?
Wrinkles can come back; however, if you have Botox, you are always in a better position (in terms of visually ageing skin) than someone who has not had Botox as you have now bought some time in delaying the muscular actions that cause the wrinkles.