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Tweakments trend in London

Tweakments & Self Image

I do not condone, nor encourage the idea of gaining confidence from male attention or anyone else’s for that matter, but as a somewhat naïve and insecure young adult, the male attention received during university helped to quell any ideas that I was hideous.

It was late 2011, during my first year at university; Feminisms 4th wave had already taken hold by this time. I was late to the party, but eventually stumbled across body positivity, mainly aimed towards black women on Tumblr. I was in awe of the various sized scantily clad bodies and varying phenotypes which found themselves on my dash; I understood then, at a basic level, that true confidence and beauty comes from inside.

An ardent supporter, I began to try and view my physical appearance as beautiful (emphasis on the word ‘try’. Body positivity was something that I had control over as a woman. I began to take care of myself from the inside out. Ironically, I began to use makeup to enhance what I already had, rather than change it. This gave me a sense of confidence, as superficial as it might be considered. I felt like a new and improved ‘me’ and this was not due to any expectations of me as a woman, or because of the male gaze. At least I think.

I must admit, I struggled with the concept at first, it wasn’t as smooth sailing as the previous paragraph might have you believe. Like many other young girls, society had introduced me to the sport of self-deprecating jokes and self-ridicule, which I, not so proudly, dabbled in for many years.  However, I can now say  that I am at a place where my physical appearance, or ‘flaws’- whatever that means- are no longer at the forefront of my mind. I’ve chosen to look at myself through a different lense. Whilst I, like many others, have boarded the body positivity train, there has been a simultaneous increase in cosmetic treatments, namely ‘Tweakments’

 

Tweakments, what are they?

Tweakments are aesthetic changes that are made to the face, in an effort to achieve subtle changes rather than drastic ones. ou see that colleague at the office who suddenly looks different but you ‘just can’t put your finger on what’s changed’? Yup, they’ve probably had Tweakments!

One of the most common Tweakments are dermal fillers, which are strategically placed to help ‘improve’ the look of the ‘flaw’ that bothers you the most. Fillers can be placed in the lips but can even be used to define and refine the jaw or chin, all of which can be completed in under 90 minutes! Botox also falls under the Tweakments umbrella.

With the rise of this form of treatment I have been wondering if it is possible to undergo treatment, but still feel pretty positive about your ‘natural self’  or is this a paradox? If I were to take advantage of cosmetic enhancements, I wondered if it was possible to exercise self-love and self-care whilst feeling positive about my natural form; to the degree I had been. Some have, and would argue that you can. In some circles I imagine that Tweakments are considered a form of self-care, lots of our clients attend the clinic for treatment as if attending a hair appointment at Toni & Guy, and they certainly seem to leave the clinic a little less tense than they walked in. Do they attend because they want to improve what they already have? Or do they attend because they don’t like what they already have?

There are some studies which show that Botox can be beneficial for mental health. In 2017, a study was undertaken with 28 subjects all diagnosed with clinical depression. Half of the subjects received a placebo dosage of botox whilst the others received genuine botox. The findings concluded that botox can be effective for the treatment of depression.  No, really. The method of anti-wrinkle therapy means that patients are no longer able to frown, or pull facial expressions which can negatively affect the mood. Many of our patients who did not undertake botox for depression have reported a mood shift.

A 2015 study showed that a high level of patient satisfaction was common amongst those who had undergone full-facial aesthetic treatment (including ‘Tweakments’), with 92.9% of subjects very happy with results 6 months after treatment, and more than 94% recommending the treatment to others.

The benefits don’t stop there.illers have also given those who suffer with volume loss due to health conditions such as cancer a new lease of confidence. By increasing the volume with injectable fillers they look healthier and feel better. In this case, then, can they be considered self-care?  Or maybe a representation of self-love?

Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself. Altering your outward appearance to appease a society constructed idea of ‘beauty’ can only be concluded as an unstable sense of self, right? And if that’s too harsh, surely enhancing your physical appearance just to be ‘pretty’ or ‘prettier’ is a level of self-indulgence closely related to narcissism? I don’t fall under either category. At least I think.

However, is it really such a strange thing to gravitate towards beauty? Humans have always strived towards it, examples can be found amongst the Ancient Greeks who pioneered the ‘golden ratio’ which champions symmetry in an attempt to quantify beauty. Despite it being non inclusive of anyone outside of the Caucasian race, and has since been largely considered to be a myth-, It is an indication that beauty, or the quantification and pursuit of beauty, is not a new concept.  In parts of sub Saharan Africa, women fatten themselves up as this reflects beauty in their culture. So no, it has not been born from social media and millennials, as mainstream media might have you believe (yes, I have a chip on my shoulder). It is important, however, to understand that whilst social media did not create the pursuit, it certainly does help perpetuate certain extreme ideas of beauty that are unattainable to many; and when they are attainable, the might come in the form of ‘Tweakments’

I am what you might consider slightly desensitised towards cosmetic treatment. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a complete outsider looking in at the ‘tweakment’ craze as it’s referred, I guess you might consider me a teeny tiny cog in the gigantic wheel that it is.  After all; besides writing about it, apathetically until now, my days are spent frivolously booking clients in for dermal fillers and Botox, as if taking orders for double cheeseburgers at McDonalds. But cosmetic treatment or ‘Tweakments’ are not double cheeseburgers and certainly do not carry the same price tag. Despite the apathy, I don’t count myself amongst those who ‘judge’ or look down on cosmetic treatment, I’m a firm believer in complete autonomy when it comes to your body.

As I had become un-phased by the rabbles of twenty – thirty somethings hurrying in each week for treatment, I knew that it would take more than simply research and humdrum observation. In order for me to fully understand the procedure(s) and its effects, I had to experience it first-hand.  Nervously I approached my boss who is also the aesthetic clinician at the practice, explaining how much of a great thing it would be to talk about ‘Tweakments’ as a patient.I wasn’t sure if he thought I was just trying to swindle free treatment, nevertheless, he agreed.  A week later I was sat in the surgery contemplating exactly what I had got myself in to.

The consultation

I was surprised how thick the air felt inside the surgery. I had had my hands placed on the arms of the chair, my grip tightened.  Of course I had been in numerous times, but never as a patient. I surveyed my surroundings as if I had never entered the room before. The nurse smiled at me in a way that was unfamiliar (despite us going to lunch together daily) but warm, and, actually,I felt safe. Aware that I was now a patient and in the hands of skilled and professional clinicians, I loosened my grip on the arm chair.

Dr Patel, asked me what it was that I was interested in ‘enhancing’- my mind went blank. Until then I had settled on just having 0.5 ml of filler (smallest amount) in my lips simply for journalism’s sake. The scroll of flaws I had locked away in the attic of my mind a long time ago had resurfaced; this time, however, I became aware that I didn’t want to change everything: ‘There’s a little hump on my nose and my chin slopes in which is weird, I don’t really like my profile…also my top lip is a bit thin compared to the bottom’. Dr Patel gave me an understanding look and denounced that he could improve the look of my profile with ‘chin projection and lip fillers’. I hadn’t considered a chin enhancement before, but thought ‘why not’ as I ogled my chin in the handheld mirror I had picked up. The consultation took 45 minutes. It was just as comprehensive as a GP appointment, with a full medical history taken into account and a facial assessment. We agreed that I would come into the clinic on a day that I was not working. Easy. I thought.

 

The Treatment

The journey to the clinic was like any other day on my way to work. This time though, I was accompanied by serious nerves for the entire bus ride. I felt sick, scared even. I didn’t want to do it, ‘what if it goes wrong?’ I thought. ‘I don’t want duck lips’, and ‘what will I do if I end up with a chin like ‘the child catcher’ from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?’. I wanted to get off and turn back. I want to say bravery and determination kept me on that bus- it wasn’t -the anxiety around becoming an FTA (failed to attend) patient far outweighed anything else.

I arrived at the clinic, and was taken into the surgery by the nurse, I sat down in the surgery chair as instructed. Dr Patel could tell I was tense, my top lip was sweating profusely and, if I had to pick an emoji to personify my feelings, it would be a combination of the wide eyed nervous looking emoji and the crying face (I understand that explaining your feelings as emoji’s might be an issue). ‘We’ll pop some numbing cream on and leave it to work for a while, then we’ll begin’ said Dr Patel Even though I was reassessing choices at this point, I had been psychologically preparing for the pain for a while.

When the first needle prick was made – or first ‘scratch’ as it was referred by Dr Patel – I did wince slightly. It was uncomfortable, but nowhere near the amount of pain I had anticipated. My eyes watered like crazy ! ‘you okay, you’re doing really well, we are almost done’ thank god, I thought. The nurse handed me the handheld mirror I looked into the previous week. Whilst I had only gone for 1ml of filler, I could see quite a distinctive change. The shape of my lips were more defined and, of course, my chin no longer ‘sloped in’. Insane. I was floored.

Dr Patel did explain that there would be ‘some’ swelling and boy, was there swelling. The next day my top lip had inflated to look like a small croissant! I literally screamed when I saw it. However, by the end of that day it had shrunk to an even smaller croissant.  After a couple days, all pain had subsided and 90% of the swelling had gone down.

Check out the results so far!

When I began my quest to fully understand the ‘Tweakment’ phase, my main aim was to see what the procedure would be like from an ‘anthropological’ perspective, in order to be able to write from a truthful place. I did not anticipate, however, that it would impact my self-confidence.  Like I’d said before, there was a time when I was immensely unhappy with my looks, but I realised that there was more to me than simply ‘look’s. I think I therefore had got to a place where I sort of blocked out or ignored the physical attributes -I refuse to call them flaws!- which I found…unattractive. I still feel the same, I find beauty in attributes such as talent, passion and intelligence. I find these more  than physical beauty. However, I appreciate and feel good about the natural ‘Tweakments’ I’ve had, I’ve noticed that I feel a little less self-conscious about my profile,-a friend even pointed out to me the other day that I was walking with my head held a little higher!I had never purposely tried to lower my head when I walk, but I guess it was a habit I had formed. Now I can see how there might be a link between self-care and cosmetic treatment. If you are someone, like many who find that they are immensely distressed by perceived flaws, or have found that their own mental health issues are affected by this; then, why on earth shouldn’t they go ahead and correct these things rather than suffer?

Besides, there are many clinicians -including Dr Patel- who offer a natural finish. Dr Patel is interested in creating symmetry using the features you already have, so you can’t even tell that you’ve had anything done! (check out my results below) and come and see us at Dental & Skin Islington!

It’s worth noting, that should you decide to go for Tweakments,  your clinician (and a good one will) should consider your mental health before going ahead with ‘Tweakments’, as they cannot fix the self-image issues which might lurk within.  Tweakment should be an addition or enhancement rather than a necessity.

 

Visit Dr Patel at Dental & Skin Islington to receive professional treatment from a qualified clinician. You can find him and his team at:

 

Address:

 

222 Essex Road

Islington

London

N1 3AP

 

Telephone Number:

0208 1274 567

 

Instagram: @dentalskin

Get your rejuvenation at Dental & Skin

Dental & Skin provides optimum rejuvenation treatment. With a strong foundation for natural looking younger skin techniques. We combine various modalities including simple treatments like; microneedling, gentle skin peels,  hydrofacial and medical microdermal abrasion, with complex treatments like; anti-wrinkle injections, dermal fillers, PRP, liquid face lift, thread lifts, korean thread lift treatments. If you are concerned about your skin please attend for a free consultation with our doctor aesthetic practitioner and we will provide you with options to meet your expectations.

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