Elm Tree Aesthetics

Bambi’s morning at Elm Tree Aesthetics.

Like many of us, I’m sure; my social media feeds are constantly overflowing with gorgeous glamazoids with their full-pouts hiding teeny teeth, and as a twenty-something I have been through my fair share of fad-diets, miracle products and masses, upon masses of MAC lip-liners trying to resemble a Jenner. But while I am not completely un-endowed when it comes to duck-pout selfies, I’ve always had a problem with the symmetry and volume of my lips. Obviously, it doesn’t come with a huge red hideous warning but when you look at your face day in day out, what some people might call quirks or think are cute become your outright nemesis. Introducing the left side of my top lip! I’ve suffered with paralysis here for almost as long as I can remember and it’s always left me feeling well, a little flat.

I’d considered fillers many times and in 2012 even paid £150 for a consultation at a  Harley Street practise, where I was left a little underwhelmed that the treatment and results I wanted couldn’t be achieved without regular (every couple of months) and costly (£500 a syringe treatments), but mostly I felt pressured to commit, as the non-refundable consultation fee would be taken off my treatment cost, should I choose to go ahead, even that couldn’t encourage me to take the plunge… or in this case stabs; not only that but their words had created the doubt in my mind that I might be condemned to never having the pout I dreamed of.

But older and wiser and with a growing list of friends getting in on the trend and providing me endless contacts/recommendations and my lip still as deflated, I decided to at least consider it again.

I began checking out the referrals through social media accounts and how my friend’s treatments fared. As someone with a chronic illness I was wary of any beauticians distributing or “at home” treatments. I wanted experience and sterility. After all, this is still a medical procedure, even if not too invasive. That’s when I came across Elm Tree Aesthetics, through mutual friends and social feeds. While some companies constantly share ultra-edited, post treatment, heavily made-up models. I found it refreshing that Elm Tree Aesthetics used real images and to see that the nurses, actually looked as nurses should. All it took was some encouragement from a very accommodating boyfriend willing to drive me and a Facebook message to Samantha to make an appointment and a couple of weeks later I would be walking through the doors.

The night before I was restless, both anxious and excited. As someone who has tattoos and piercings, I hadn’t really considered too much the pain or dwelled on the possibility of an allergic-reaction or looking more like Pete Burns’ little sister, it simply hadn’t crossed my mind much. Which I credit to Samantha, who had made herself so available from the off to answer any questions and had explained over the messages there was no pressure to get it done there and then, that I could go away and think about it and I felt reassured as she’d undergone the procedure herself she would be able to answer any and all concerns.

Elm Tree is located upstairs within salon 57, which for us was an hour’s drive on the other side of the river. It was easy to find, particularly so given the advances of GPS technology and with on-street convenient parking just outside. It was green ticks all around.

Samantha was waiting to meet us and led me upstairs to an inviting airy room with what looked like a super-comfortable and much more stylish dentist chair. The decor was minimal, no fur throws or fancily clad chandeliers unlike the staple of most beauty salons, all deliberately and immaculately for infection control but beautiful nonetheless and it all seemed impeccably clean and sterile, which is really what I’d prefer over try-hard embellishments any day. Despite my minimal research, I really knew very little about lip enhancement beyond the horror stories or the lip-envy imagery. So reassuringly the first thing was an informal chat before the nurse, Claire, arrived. We talked over what to expect from the lip enhancement procedure and what would happen in the days following my treatment. I was talked through the Juvederm® product range and advised on what would/could be used.

As I had already made the decision that I wanted to go for 1ml enhancement the two products offered to me were Juvederm ULTRA 3® and Juvederm VOLIFT®. I chose the VOLIFT®. VOLIFT® lasts up to 15 months and has a finer needle and softer finish, whereas the ULTRA 3 lasts 6-9 months. Instant relief at the finer needle comment! Again, I was asked if I wanted to go ahead and advised that at any point, pre-needle in the lip, I could opt out. But I felt calmer than ever.

Next for the paperwork. As expected, I signed a dermal filler consent form, a patient medical history form and a photography consent form. I was surprised to hear, especially post-treatment after talking to friends that these forms aren’t usually necessary, but I definitely felt in safer hands for everyone being aware of any allergies and previous illnesses. With that it was time to get in the chair and for Claire to talk me through the medical bit, including rare allergic reactions and what I should do if I experienced any issues like intense itching or shedding of the tissue.

Claire, again was incredibly professional and equally reassuring; dressed, as you would expect a nurse to be, hair tied back wearing a uniform of tunic and trousers. Whilst Claire has had no lip treatments herself she was so knowledgeable in every aspect of the medical field and was able to answer my quite specific questions and concerns. I felt more at ease than I could have expected.

Claire had advised me that in the unlikely event of an allergic reaction, she was also experienced and prepared for the procedure of removing the filler with Hyaluronidase, a prescription drug that isn’t attainable for everyone. Which, had I gone to a nurse who wasn’t able to do this could result in additional expense and medical intervention. This was another feather in Claire’s cap of reassurance and suitability for the role.

Though as previously stated, having done very little to no research I hadn’t anticipated quite how many injections the fillers would take. It was explained that a border would be created first to help frame the lips and hold the filler in it’s necessary place.

I was able to discuss my flat-lip hatred and Claire agreed that more filler should be injected here to create the volume I desired which was music to my ears. Consent forms signed, procedure details (from start, finish, aftercare and any and all concerns addressed) we proceeded with the numbing cream! Prepare to look like you’ve been playing a losing round of pie face for a good twenty minutes! I had explained to Claire how I still had some sensation in my lips as numbing (for me) usually takes a little longer, or so I had found previously with injections, so she suggested it should be left for an extra five minutes. The fact there was no rush and everything was so relaxed made the whole thing very calm and unintimidating.

It was finally time! I was laid back and raised in the chair, serene music playing, Claire had advised me to breathe through my nose, clench the inside of my mouth through any parts that were uncomfortable, whilst leaving it slightly open, she had also suggested I might want to close my eyes… Before I could see any needles, my eyes were securely closed! The first needle was in and out without so much as a twinge. Claire checked in with me during the procedure, advising me of areas (such as the cupid bow) where there may be more discomfort or pain but surprisingly the whole procedure wasn’t painful at all. I thought it madness when Samantha had joked about a patient falling asleep but I could understand it at this point! Claire checked in sporadically to make sure I was ok, and gave updates on where we were with the look. She continually wiped away any blood and over the insertion points to avoid any infection. Then with the last following injection removed from my lower left side. I was done!

I had a total of 18 injections and an overall 0.8ml but the look was exactly what I had hoped for. I could have cried! All of the years of debate and indecision and all it had taken was 45 minutes. I couldn’t believe how quickly the results had shown and it wasn’t the trout-pout protrusion I had feared, my lips, though still numb and feeling very much Pete Burns esq. were beautifully smooth and full! There was the occasional blood spot, as to be expected as I’m a bleeder, but I instantly had the boost of confidence I had so craved. I was instantly smiling!

But as with all wonderfully numb sensations, the feeling eventually came back and all I can say is Ice is your friend. My lips felt a lot larger than I knew they were. Much like returning home from the dentist following numbing injections and constantly fearing dribbling. I sat with an ice pack on my lips for an hour immediately after getting home, as advised and then for five minute intervals every hour. The results fluctuated, in the morning, as despite all my efforts I still seem to be lured towards face planting the pillow (being the attractive sleeper I am) they were more sensitive and appeared darker but this soon calmed after an icing.

Samantha checked in with me the following day, knowing that we travel abroad often as a couple and that my lips were dry prior to the procedure (and that I had bled a little during, some bruising was expected) wanting to see how my recovery was going and as she had explained from the minute we met I responded with pictures and lengthy explanations of any concerns or sensations I had; when I was a little concerned following some bruising and swelling she continued to do so daily. This extension of customer care and thorough passion from start to finish shone through. One the fourth day following the lip enhancement procedure I was a little worried about some bruising I had, whilst minimal, Claire responded to me advising me to take antihistamines and to use a SPF lip balm regularly, and what a difference it made to the recovery! Within two days the swelling and bruises had completely subsided. The filler had settled and the finished results were envious. I couldn’t believe this was my mouth. I wore lipstick for the first time without having to worry about overlining or lip liner at all, I started to receive compliments from the off and the comment I love most is that people constantly tell me how natural and realistic they are… Well they are my lips people! But I could not agree more, though the full amount wasn’t used, Claire created exactly the lip I had hoped for, voluminous and defined but natural.

Before the procedure I had said to my partner how if I didn’t think the treatment was for me I wouldn’t have to get it done again and whilst fifteen months is a long time. I have the utmost confidence and desire to upkeep the treatments. I love my new lips!

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