Afraid of looking 'pillowy', Christa D'Souza swore she'd never have fillers. So what made her change her mind?
I would do anything to look younger. Literally anything. You name it I’d do it, but I won’t, as Meatloaf would say, do that. By “that”, I mean filler, of course. Come on. You know what I’m talking about. Nobody gets away with filler without looking 'done'. Anything, even the knife rather than that. We all know the movie star or fashion designer or magazine editor who has succumbed; it’s the absence of any naso-labial folds, the puffy elongated philtrum (that bit between the nose and upper lip) that gives it away - such an identifiable look that I so don’t want.
Yes, yes, I’ve heard how it’s come on leaps and bounds in the last 10 years and these days, if you have it done well, you really cannot tell. But my filler radar is so super sensitive I always can. Even if it is really subtle, it always, to my mind looks “pillowy” (Jake Gyllenhaal in Nocturnal Animals? Don’t you think?).
So it is, that at 56 ¾ I have always - a little regretfully, it’s true - resisted the urge. Until I met Dr Suha Kersh at 23MD , the discreet Chelsea practice which she set up with her husband, the BHRT (bio-identical HRT ) guru Dr Martin Galy, in 2015. Unlike in any other crowded cosmetic dermatologist’s waiting room I’ve been in (and I’ve been in a few), there wasn’t a trout pout or pillow face in sight. A better advert though, was Dr Kersh herself, a slim, sexy, super natural brunette somewhere in her late 30s.
Except, of course, she is not in her late 30s, she is in her late 40s. Has she had filler? Absolutely she has had filler, she’s a big fan of filler (“if used responsibly and with respect”) but if I could tell that she had had it, or indeed any of her clients had had it, then that would be defeating the purpose of what she set out to do, wouldn’t it?
I lay down and surrendered my filler virginity
And so it was, readers, I lay down on this marvellous woman’s couch and surrendered my filler virginity. Six darn vials of Juvederm (not exactly bargain basement at £650 per syringe lasting between eight months and a year) in places I never thought needed them such as my temples, my chin and above my eyebrows (crucially, she tends to leave those naso-labial folds well alone because “even two-years-olds have them… that’s not the problem”. The most counterintuitive place she put it though, was in my jawline which to my mind needs less rather than more but as she patiently explained, as one gets older one loses not just collagen but bone mass.
One should think of filler not as a puffing out agent then, but as a kind of re-scaffolding, a foundation upon which, for want of a better way to put it, to “hang” the skin. The very last place she went was around my thin old lady lips, not in them because again, that would be too obvious and that’s really her whole approach, targeting the area around the “problem” rather than the “problem” itself. Lord, did that hurt. Even with a built-in anaesthetic. But it was worth it. (She did some Botox too, underneath my eyes and a tiny bit in my forehead, but not too much because she dislikes a “solid shiny forehead.” Which of course makes me love her even more.)
The end result? Not one person, not my children, not my other half, not my hairdresser, not my sister, not my closest female friend has cottoned on. What Dr Kersh has done is literally undetectable to the human eye and yet… And yet. I look better, clearer, fresher, happier. Not to mention less tired. Less cross. Less hungover (a particularly unfair side effect of ageing given that I don’t actually drink). That 'turtle' chin now has definition and though those naso-labial folds are still there, the faux architecture she’s done around them has somehow made them fade.
But most importantly the face that confronts me in the mirror every morning doesn’t shock the sh** out of me as it had begun to do before. The ingenious thing is, I can’t quite figure out exactly how she has done it. Really, they ought to knight her for her services to womanhood.
My only regret, of course, is that I have now let you know. Why did I do that when I could so easily have gotten away with it? But you are the only person. Our secret, OK?
23MD is a clinic in London - find out more on their website