Botox for the everyman.
THOUSANDS of people all over Sheffield are jumping on the Hollywood bandwagon of getting regular Botox injections to help them stay younger for longer. Digital reporter Nik Brear spoke to a handful of Steel City folk to find out why they refuse to go without their lunchtime face fixes...
“IT never occurred to me that people like me could have Botox.”
Shelly Jackson sits patiently on a chair in her Sheffield kitchen while nurse practitioner Martin Scattergood mixes up a vial of prescription poison on her worktop.
“I mean, I’m just a normal person,” she adds, taking a casual sip of coffee. “I’m a cleaner, my husband works for the NHS, we have a son, one holiday abroad a year which we have to save for. Very ordinary.
“I always imagined people who had Botox were rich or famous.”
And Shelly isn’t alone in this assumption. Many of us associate Botox with a world of celebrity. And yet thousands of people are walking around the Steel City streets every single day boasting a faceful of poison, proving that it’s not just those with cash to spare opting for the treatment.
Engineers, builders, financial advisors and prison officers are among the ‘regular joes’ in Sheffield who have admitted to turning to the wrinkle-ridding injection in order to slow down the ageing process.
“We all have our vices and Botox is mine,” said Sheffield University cleaner Shelly.
Once the botox is prepped, it takes Martin, of Peach Practice clinic in Sheffield, just ten minutes to administer 18 injections into Shelly’s face.
“I don’t feel anything at all during the treatment,” she shrugs.
“A couple of the injection sites come out in a small bee sting for a few minutes but that’s it.”
Shelly is now on her fifth cycle of Botox and is more than happy to tell people what she’s had done.
“My mum didn’t like it, but mums are mums aren’t they?” said the 40-year-old.
“My friends said I didn’t need it, but they all admitted I looked great afterwards and even my husband’s coming around after seeing how good I look in pictures.”
The face of Botox is certainly changing.
What, five years ago, was still a hush-hush industry, is now filled with people all too happy to shout loud and proud about the work they’ve had done.
With everyone from Simon Cowell to Jennifer Aniston getting in on the act, it is fast becoming more and more acceptable for people to want to match their outward appearance to how they feel on the inside.
“My dad laughs at me, but I tell him if Wayne Rooney can have a hair transplant, I can have Botox!” said Peter Thornton, a 44-year-old train conductor from Sheffield who admits he has spent over £1000 on cosmetic treatments in the last year.
“My dad’s of a different generation, when a desire to look your best was often thought of as a female trait, but today’s society is different,” he said.
“Even men in the sporting world are having cosmetic treatments! Of course it’s partly vanity, but if it makes you feel good what’s the harm?”
Steve Walker, a 44-year-old railway engineer, told The Star his girlfriend loves that he has Botox.
“I work outdoors, in the elements, and constant exposure to rain and sun were starting to take their toll on my face,” he explained.
“I’ve always looked after my skin, but when I reached 40 I started looking more tired.
“I decided to have some treatments for my birthday and, though I didn’t tell anyone, people started mentioning how fresh and rested I was looking. From then on, I had the bug.”
Steve and his partner Kerry Jones, a part time carer and stay-at-home mum, live with their family in North Anston.
“I started getting Botox once Steve did, as I didn’t want him looking better than me!” said Kerry, 40, who has Botox every five or six months.
“We’re not Posh and Becks, just a regular couple that like to look good, and Botox has improved our confidence so much.
“Before this, neither of us liked having our photograph taken, but now we’re so much happier.
“I tend not to tell people what I’ve had done, as I’m quite a private person, but secretly I love it!”
People in their twenties are even starting to jump on the bandwagon, in the hopes that keeping their expressions immobile will keep them wrinkle-free for longer.
“I use Botox preventatively because the idea of ageing terrifies me,” said 27-year-old Sheffield hairdresser Megan, who chooses Botox over giving in to her lifelong phobia of needles.
“I’m always frowning in concentration when I drive or work and the Botox has completely changed my confidence. I love it and will use it forever!
“I tell everybody what I have done and am not ashamed to admit I’d love to look like the back of a spoon. Ideally, my face wouldn’t move at all.”
So what about the expense?
“Spread over the year, it’s a manageable amount for me, around £600,” said Megan.
“I’d rather spend money on my face, which I wear everyday, than a £100 pair of jeans I won’t use in a couple of years time. I hate the idea of getting older and if Botox can slow down the process and stop lines forming, I’ll pay out.”
Train conductor Peter added: “At the end of the day it’s a luxury and I wouldn’t choose it over paying the bills, but lots of people spend money on expensive clothes, I just like to spend my money this way instead.”
“Do you know what it actually equates to?” asked Shelly? “The price of one cup of coffee a day - that’s it.”
But it’s clear that what started as Shelly’s little treat to herself has now become a vital part of her routine.
“If I suddenly found myself without the money for Botox, I’d find it somehow,” she says simply.
“I’d have to, it’s a priority for me. I absolutely love looking in the mirror and seeing all my little lines are gone.
“I’m not ashamed to admit that its effects are completely addictive.”
Megan agreed: “I do have an addictive personality and the nurse who does my Botox does have to hold me back a little sometimes.
“It’s easy to see how celebs, with too much money and access to treatments like this, can go too far.”
Log onto www.thestar.co.uk to see our video report on Botox: behind the scenes in the Steel City.