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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I spent £5,000 to look 10 years younger: One woman's quest to turn back the clock on a decade of stress and hectic living


The woman in the picture was someone I knew very well. After all, I had seen her in the mirror for years. I could even remember smiling for that particular picture. It had been a friend’s hen night in Leicester Square. It was a great night, I was having fun.

What a difference a decade makes: Karen Cross, pictured left aged 32, decided to spend nearly £5,000 on anti-aging beauty treatments to turn back the clock after realising she had prematurely aged in the last ten years and ended up looking much older than her 42 years, pictured right

I’d forgotten the snap existed until it popped up — as is the case with the digital age — on Facebook recently. Another friend, whom I’d only met in the past two years or so, commented: ‘Gosh, you look so young. When was that? It must be at least 20 years ago.’
I was taken aback. The photo was only ten years old! Did I really look so different? But as I stared at the photo, and then at myself in the mirror now, I had to accept I did.

Before and after: Karen Cross pictured left before under going any treatments and right after the treatments

My skin was dull and lacklustre, criss-crossed with a network of angry red broken veins. When I smiled, my face creased into a myriad wrinkles, my jowls were sagging and my crow’s feet were beginning to spread down my cheeks. I always used to look young for my age, but now I’d be more easily mistaken for 50 than 42. I looked worn out, wrinkled and, well, old.

Final result: Karen Cross pictured after undergoing a variety of anti-aging beauty treatments in 8 weeks

I’ve never been beautiful, but looking at that photo, I think it fair to say I used to pass muster. I had my fair share of dates and romances in my 20s and 30s.
But I have never been vain, and my beauty regime could at best be described as sloppy. I viewed beauty salons as somewhere only pampered women with too much time and money on their hands frequented, and I was always against cosmetic surgery.

Sticking with a skin care regime: Karen Cross bought the new NeoStrata range after years of not cleansing, toning or moisturising

‘You should love yourself as you are,’ I would say smugly to friends who ‘wasted’ money on fillers and Botox.
But it’s easy to have principles when you’re young and fresh-faced. In the ten years since that photo was taken, I’ve been through the stresses of a broken engagement, redundancy, miscarriage and the break-up of a second long-term relationship, which landed me back on the singles market.

Turning back the clock: Karen Cross also underwent Botox on her forehead, chin and jawline

Coupled with a lifetime of eating badly and smoking, every stress, strain and sleepless night showed in my face.
Looking at myself in the mirror, I hated what I saw and I knew it was time to change. I had some savings, which were meant to be kept safe for a rainy day, but I decided that the rainy day had come. I was going to spend the money trying to look like the girl in the photo again.

'It felt like I'd spent a week in tropical sun without SPF': Karen Cross pictured left having a second Glycolic Peel and pictured right immediately after the treatment

It wasn’t an easy decision. As a freelance journalist, cashflow can be very chaotic and I need a buffer in the bank, but I saw it as an investment in my future. In five years’ time I would love to be happily married to a wonderful man (please)! If that means blowing my savings so I can catch the eye of a potential suitor, then it’s money well spent.
So, two months ago, I set myself the goal of looking ten years younger by the New Year, so I could see in 2013 as, hopefully, a glowing, fresher-faced, more confident version of myself. That gave me eight weeks to undo ten years of damage.

Quest for the perfect pout: Karen Cross having Restylane Fillers to plump up her lips

I did a lot of research on treatments that would make a real impact on my appearance, and sought advice from beauty clinics and cosmetic surgeons.
As well as investing in a good skincare routine, I decided on a course of laser treatment for my red veins, some Botox, Dermarolling and micro-Mesotherapy for my wrinkles, fillers for my thinning lips, and a teeth and hair makeover. Together it would cost almost £4,500 … I hoped it would be worth it.

Getting a youthful smile: Karen Cross having her teeth whitened at the London Centre for Cosmetic Dentistry

Time for a new do: Karen Cross having her hair cut and coloured at Charles Worthington salon

'Greeting 2013 with a dazzling white smile': Karen Cross after completing all of her beauty treatments

‘You look fantastic, really glowing!’ one commented. And out Christmas shopping I even got wolf-whistled by a builder. That hasn’t happened in years and, although officially I was offended, it made me grin for hours.
This experience has changed how I think about beauty and taking care of myself, and I’ll definitely keep up my skin and haircare routines, Botox and fillers. And if any of those pesky red veins reappear, I’ll be straight back for more laser treatment, despite the pain!
I may not actually be ten years younger, but at least I resemble that laughing girl in the photo again, and I’m greeting 2013 with a dazzling white smile.

Read more detail at dailymail

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