So, what if Botox isn’t for you?

I haven’t really talked about this on the blog before, although it’s something I’m fairly vocal about IRL, but I’m not a fan of Botox. I’m actually not a fan of any of the more invasive “anti-ageing” treatments (fillers, skin boosters, etc.) but it’s a little bit tricky to explain why. It’s not that I’m not tempted (I am) or that I disapprove (I don’t); my opinion comes from a fundamental need to be able to look in the mirror and love the face I was given.

Me in the sun
Me in the sun

Now, things get a bit fuzzy when I say that I do believe in getting non-invasive treatments like peels or derma-needling, because technically these should affect the “face I was given” too, but at the end of the day I’m just uncomfortable with anything that affects the muscles of my face. It’s a very slippery slope that I’m not ready to get on and I’ve seen one too many women in their 50s and 60s who look an absolute fright because of too many nips and tucks. It can, of course, be done subtly and beautifully so that you don’t end up looking like the Cat Woman but, like I said, nurturing my self-esteem is a lot more important to me. I’ll never say never though – It’s just not for me right now.

See, in the sun again...
See, in the sun again…

So, with that in mind, I was invited to visit my friend Sally Gilder at Cape Aesthetics a couple of weeks ago for a skin consultation and she ended up giving me my very first peel (more on that later). The practice, based in Claremont, includes an aesthetic skin therapist (that’s Sally), an aesthetic practitioner (Dr Cara Duminy, who does the more invasive treatments) and two in-house plastic surgeons for when a scalpel is required. Their overall approach is one of maintenance – this isn’t the place to come for a pampering facial or an eyebrow wax. The team at Cape Aesthetics is all about results-driven skin health, and offering surgical or non-surgical options where necessary.

Yup. In the sun again.
Check out those freckles.

My consultation with Sally was extremely interesting and we agreed that tackling my sun damage and pigmentation was a good place to start. I already have a strong skincare routine and use antioxidant serums and daily SPF, so she recommended two things: Regular peels and an oral antioxidant to boost my skin’s free radical defense. I ended up having a 15% Lamelle beta (salicylic acid) peel, which Sally recommended because BHAs are the least inflammatory and can be used on all skin conditions (pigmentation, melasma, congested, photo-aged skin) and Fitzpatrick skin types. Downtime varies hugely between people, but I experienced about 4-5 days of flaking i.e. my skin peeled in some parts of my face (chin, nose and nasolabial folds, between my eyebrows and on the outer corner of my eyes). The peel itself was slightly painful for a couple of minutes – well, more hot and tingly than painful really – but afterwards I didn’t experience any redness or discomfort. Sally gave me a good barrier cream to help with the dry tightness that comes with the peeling and off I went.

Probably wasn't even wearing SPF
Probably wasn’t even wearing SPF

The “downtime” didn’t bother me at all; a few days of light peeling really isn’t an issue for me, but if this is something that would affect you then there are other, more gentle options. The result after about a week was completely clear skin that was also incredibly smooth. Over time, with Sally’s recommendation of six, monthly beta and Restistore peels, I can expect to see continued improvement in skin clarity as well as a reduction in visible pigmentation. I love the idea of looking after my skin in this way – as a 33-year-old who has spent a lifetime in the sun (like most South Africans), my skin just isn’t what it used to be and peels are a great way to help maintain my skin’s health and quality as I age. I’m not expecting to look 10 years younger, but I have no doubt that actively managing how my skin looks and feels beyond the lotions and potions I put on it, will have positive long-term results.

In the shade for once
In the shade for once. Please enjoy my insanely cute (and chubby) little nephew.

P.S. If botox IS for you, then Dr Cara can help! You can read our friend Natalie’s post on Tails of a Mermaid to find out more about the process. You can also follow Cape Aesthetics on Instagram for amazing celebrity before-and-afters, skin tips and product recommendations.

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Cape Aesthetics

14 comments on So, what if Botox isn’t for you?

  • Terri-Anne

    I’ve declared 2017 as the “year of the face” and keen to have my first peel ASAP – any joburg recommendations? I’m 36 and apart from 8 years living in London I’ve spent the rest of my life in the South African sun like you!
    LOVE your blog by the way!!!

    • Jules (author)

      You can try Skin Renewal, I know they have a few branches in Joburg and they definitely know what they’re doing. P.S. Thank you!

    • Kim

      Yes I would recommend Skin Renewal – I use the Parkhurst Branch. They are fabulous!

  • Tamsin

    You speak my truth, Julie. Definitely trying a peel when I’m back in CT. X

    • Jules (author)


  • Robyn

    Love this post.

    • Jules (author)

      Thank you!

  • Niecole Smit

    Love the honesty of your post (all of them actually).
    I agree, I wouldn’t want to use something that manipulates the muscles either (have you seen Courtney Cox lately???)
    I must admit that my oily skin does tend to look younger than some of my non-oily friends, but then again I’m not a sun lover either, so that helps.
    But I do love taking care of my skin in ways you’ve described.
    I struggled with some acne scaring a few years back, and I had a peel (not as intense as the one you’ve described) and it just helps your skin repair itself better.

    Thanks for always being honest and for your great reviews and writing.
    You’re beautiful!


    • Jules (author)

      Thanks so much Niecole!

  • Simone Cameron

    I’ve also decided I want to go the peel route this year. Had 1 a few years back, but I didn’t understand the reason I was having it (LOL) and I wasn’t into makeup and skin at the time, so never went again.

    You look so fabulous in all these pictures 🙂

  • Bhakta

    Oh heavens, I don’t think at 72 my skin would take kindly to a peel, but thank you so much for the informative articles that have assisted so many people and the gems you discover and share with us. I now tend to try less drastic or invasive means and have been using a natural skin rejuvenating product for the past few months that is made right here in Cape Town nogal. The results are amazing, so please forgive me for not sharing the name as they only make small batches and I cannot imagine going without due to a sudden surge in demand.

  • Kim

    I don’t know about you, Jules, but since starting peels a good year ago, I’ve actually wondered why conventional facials are even a thing! They’re pampering and cleanse your skin for a day, but I’ve never felt that I’ve had RESULTS from a facial. After 30, peels are the way! I’m slowly convincing all my friends too 😀

    • Jules (author)

      Totally agree, which is the main reason I never used to have facials and find them even more pointless now! If you look after your skin properly on a daily basis, I really can’t see the benefit of a “regular” facial that isn’t actively treating something.

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