THE SPIEL: Instagram, eh? Never before has a generation stared at themselves quite so much. Or, for that matter, stared at each other quite so much; squinting, judging, and endlessly comparing against something that is far, far removed from anything resembling real life. Images of unattainable perfection are so prevalent these days that you have to be made of stone to not let them affect you at all, so – full disclosure – even though I’ve already actually had a nose job, years of subsequent scrolling have resulted in the pressure to make it even more perfect. Perfect from all angles. Instagram perfect.
I know I’m not alone, either – and not just when it comes to noses. The Middle East in particular has such an inexorable emphasis on beauty that in your friendship group alone you can probably name at least one person who’s succumbed to the allure of lip ﬁllers and/or Botox. It could well be you. And if it is, I wouldn’t blame you in the slightest. I’m not quite the president of the fan club, but I’m deﬁnitely a fully paid-up member.
My club in particular is headed up by Dr Jaffer Khan of Al Manara’s The Nova Clinic, who also goes by the jaunty name ‘The King of Botox.’ A true Dubai ﬁxture, I’ve had many a pal tell me they wouldn’t trust anyone else to poke and prod around their face, and having seen him for my forehead crevasses a number of times now, I have to say – I totally agree. He is a gentleman and an artist. His ‘Face Art’ procedure, then, is aptly titled, having more in common with sculpture than surgery. The best part? You’re in and out in a jiffy, there’s zero downtime and you get to leave looking better than when you walked in.
“I look at the face as a canvas, and think of the needle and ﬁller as essentially my paintbrush and paint,” Dr Khan tells me. “I put volume in different places to change overall perspectives, to alter the balance and to create harmony. The idea is to distract people from certain things and bring attention to elsewhere in the face. That way, we create illusion. Life is all about illusion.” Ooh, it’s like poetry. I’m sold. Inject away!
THE TREATMENT: Aside from a bump-ridden, asymmetric nose – a “supratip deformity” in the wrong place – I also had a slightly small chin, wide cheeks and was a touch hollow and dark under my eyes thanks to what feels like a lifetime of late nights. I also deﬁnitely needed some help smoothing out the wrinkles in my forehead. The nose – my main focus – Dr Khan injects with ﬁllers, using a cannula which he tells me means bruising will be kept to a minimum. “If your nose is crooked and you ﬁll in the side that’s concave, you give the effect that it’s straight. It’s the same with the face – if someone has a weak chin, you want to extend it to match the nose in proﬁle,” he explained. “It’s all about triangulation.” I learned my face was quite oval and it would look “cuter” and more balanced if it was a bit longer with a chin that lined up more with my nose from the side. He injects in and around my chin and smooths the ﬁller with his ﬁngers to create a longer proﬁle. “It’s more about blending than just enhancement,” he explains, adding, “It always looks more feminine to have a slightly pointier chin.” The result? My face is longer which means my cheeks actually look thinner. It’s a very clever, if slightly uncomfortable, optical illusion.
Now for the mid-face. I’m told something called a “tear-trough ﬁller” will stop me looking as tired, with the doctor injecting under my eyes with a thinner form of Restylane “which tends to attract less water.” Less water = less pufﬁness. Apparently everyone from Gwynnie to Kimmy are having this done. They’re onto something – I now look like I’ve had a three-day nap.
The nose – bane of my life – is last ﬁller-wise before Botox gets sprinkled across my forehead. I’m told it’s a “difﬁcult nose.” Don’t I know it Doc, don’t I know it. “I’m going to counter this hump you have by going behind it with ﬁller,” he explains. “As it goes in, it has local anaesthesia in it so it actually gets easier and easier – especially with subsequent injections in one place.”
I sit up to greet my new face in the mirror and – somewhat inappropriately – hug Dr Khan. That tells you everything you need to know, really.
THE REALITY: Things I learned: ﬁllers are slightly more painful than Botox, although not much, and you can literally see immediate results. I actually got a bit emotional after seeing my new nose as soon as I sat up from the treatment chair. Elsewhere, I realised how much a judicious bit of volume here and there – even in the places you wouldn’t have realised – make a huge difference. The before and after photos of me look like I’ve lost about three stone. I haven’t. But such is the power of Dr Khan’s needle. Lastly, I didn’t bruise much at all, but there was some redness on the skin around my chin which faded overnight. I did get a tiny blood blister which I duly freaked out about, though. It lasted a day and I was forced to admit how much I tend to overreact. Overall, the entire experience was a pleasure – and that’s saying a lot for something that involves being injected over and over. I’m already planning my top-up in six to eight months.
Photos: Shutterstock and supplied