Faced with a sunbed habit that left her skin seriously damaged, Samantha Wilson booked in for Botox aged 20. "It was a disaster - my face froze and I had one eyebrow up in the air," admits Sam, 26, a beauty blogger and advocate for Harley Street Skin. "It was only later as I self-educated on skincare and procedures that I realised things might have been different if I knew more back then." Here she shares her skin story, and how it started with THAT appointment.
'I was a tan-oholic at the time, so to scare the life out of me about sunbeds, a doctor put me under a [Wood Lamp] camera to show me the extensive damage in the deeper layers of my skin. I could see exactly how much I'd prematurely aged my skin. He even showed me what I would look like at 40 if I didn't change my habits. I became obsessed - all I could think was 'how am I going to turn back time?'. I had a high forehead and all I could think was, 'I look like I've got a radiator on my forehead'.
At the time, I was modelling and surrounded by girls that were heavily into achieving perfection. They were constantly talking about cosmetic surgery and whether they needed more Botox or if their lips were too small. It was a shock at first - I thought it was only middle-aged people who went for facelifts and Botox. Then, faced with my own damaged skin, I saw Botox as the answer, to freeze the muscles and prevent further damage.
I don't think there's anything wrong with having Botox for the right reasons, but I do think it's important not to be swayed by pressure. Back then, I was so self-conscious about my skin and I did feel the pressure to be perfect, whatever perfect may be! I think there's even more pressure nowadays that breast and lip enhancements are rife. My advice to anyone considering Botox is to take your time and build up to a procedure. All I could think about was how I would look afterwards. The end results can be convincing, but think about the reasons you want the procedure, not just the finished look.
Now, I am a firm believer that prevention is better than a cure and if I'd known how to take care of my skin, I wouldn't have needed Botox so early. Before treatment, I recommend really looking at your skin and routine to see if you can make any adjustments. There is so much skincare available now that can make a real difference. My day cream must is This youth regenerating cream works wonders! I use and this little beauty reduces the appearance of ﬁne lines, dark circles and puﬃness. At night, is my secret weapon! I also take collagen supplements for my skin and it's also great for hair and nails - . I mix it into a smoothie or tea.
The only person who tried to persuade me not to have Botox was my mum. She filled me with fear of all the things that could go wrong. I think because of the industry I was in, she worried that I'd come home pumped up to my eyeballs, but I was determined. I had a referral and booked myself in. I learnt the hard way and realised I should have done a lot more research.
As Botox can only be administered by a medical professional, it's important to check out any practitioner is registered with the GMC (General Medical Council), MBCAM (British College of Aesthetic Medicine) or BACN (British Association of British Nurses). The person who prescribes the Botox may not be the person who actually administers it, so ﬁnd out exactly who will be treating you and how much experience they have.
I realised my doctor should have given me a lot more advice, rather than sticking in a needle in and letting me walk out of the door. It is important to have a consultation prior to treatment. No face is the same, which means your chosen practitioner will need to assess your medical history and complete an in-depth assessment in order to create a personal treatment plan for you. It's also your chance to share how you want your face to look, the areas that are important to you, and to understand the treatment. With Botox, when one muscle is frozen, another activates so you need to understand this.
Also consider the costs. You always get what you pay for. So if the price seems too good to be true, then it probably is! And ask yourself: "Can you afford the maintenance?". It's expensive and you can get used to the results and, as I found, I wanted to maintain the fresh look and feel. Look for customer feedback or personal recommendations. Ask to see 'before and after' images of their previous clients as this is a good way to gauge their proﬁciency.
If I could give my younger self one piece of advice, it would be to teach myself to love the skin that I'm in. I think the power of that is underestimated. It is a cliché, but it is so true and you don't realise it until later. I taught myself to accept and love my natural self, as I soon realised that beauty is about being who you are, and not being like your best friend. Being a clone of another person will not make you stand out, but just blend in.
Botox is the only procedure I have now - once a year. I'm natural in everything else I do and minimalist with makeup. It's just to stop the lines from deepening and I genuinely believe that it will prevent me doing something more drastic like a facelift later down the line. I'm happy to embrace ageing gracefully, but, unfortunately, thanks to my earlier habits, my skin ageing is not going at the rate it should be, so I choose to correct this.'